- Dude, Where's My Ranch?
"Dude, Where's My Ranch?" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' fourteenth season. The episode aired on April 27, 2003. It was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham and was the first episode directed by Chris Clements.
It's Christmas time, and the Simpson's go caroling around Springfield. They sing to Snake (who's busy robbing the family he has gagged and tied up), Krusty and his dad, and Mr. Burns and Smithers. The Simpsons continue until they reach the Blue-Haired Lawyer's house. He tells the family that they cannot sing Christmas carols, unless they pay a royalty. In response, Homer makes the lyrics for his own carol. Later, Ned Flanders comes in and tries to help Homer, until Homer kicks him out, but even then Flanders annoys him. Homer finds new inspiration in an anti-Flanders song, "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders". He plays the song at Moe's, and when David Byrne comes in, he likes the song so much, that he wants to produce and record the song. "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders" becomes so popular that even William Shatner does a cover of it. This leads to mass publicity, which annoys the Simpsons, who want to avoid it. They find a brochure for a dude ranch, the Lazy I Ranch, and go there.
The family arrives at the Lazy I Ranch, owned by the Rich Texan, who tells Lisa that the ranch was built on cruelty to animals and oppression of indigenous people, which annoys her. It makes her want to leave, until she meets a cowhand, named Luke Stetson, who stops her stepping on a rattlesnake egg, and shares her views on the ranch. The family meet a man called Cookie who shows them round and sets out some dinner. Homer and Bart also have their own adventure when they meet a tribe of Native Americans who want a dam removed so they can reclaim their land. Homer agrees to do so if they build a Casino on their land, which is accepted. They are confronted by beavers when trying to kick it apart and they start making Homer part of the dam, but Bart manages to tie a rope to Homer and drags him away on his horse, but the rope breaks and the beavers continue to bite Homer. They eventually destroy the dam after luring the beavers away with old wood and removing the master log, and give the land back to the Native Americans who include them in their tribe by giving them cups to drink from which contains bear urine (and then say it actually contains Fresca, at which point Homer and Bart spit it out). Meanwhile, Lisa thinks that Luke is off-limits, because she overhears him on the phone promising a last dance to a girl named Clara and telling her that he loves her; causing Lisa to think Clara is Luke's girlfriend and she goes to her bed crying and jealous. When Lisa encounters her, she tricks her into going the wrong way. At the dance, Lisa finds out that Clara is Luke's sister and runs to the beaver dam with Bart. The beavers chew through a tree which Bart climbs up; causing it to fall, making a bridge that drowning Clara can go across. Lisa is disappointed in Bart for destroying the beaver dam. However, when Lisa comes clean about what happened to Clara, Luke is offended and dumps her. As the Simpsons return to Springfield, they hear a self-deprecating cover version of the Andrea True Connection song "More, More, More", (entitled "Moe, Moe, Moe"), on the radio, sung by Moe and produced by David Byrne (who Moe kidnaps earlier in the episode), and turn around to spend another week at the ranch.
- This episode's title is a reference to the movie Dude, Where's My Car? and the term dude ranch.
- One of the places the family may visit is the Denzel Washington monument.
- The character of Cleanie was styled after the The Lord of the Rings character Gollum, from his appearance to the way he said "My preciousss.... Gollum!". Andy Serkis, who provided the voice of Cleanie, played the character of Gollum in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- When the blue-haired lawyer says that "Good King Wencelas" is free, Homer says it "sucks" then leaves humming it.
- The main theme music from the 60's western film The Magnificent Seven is prominently used as background music in this episode.
- Maggie dances to "Oops, I did it Again" and parodies Britney Spears' Pepsi commercial with Buzz Cola. This is the second time in four episodes Maggie dances.
- When asked to have a drink by the Indian chief, Homer & Bart do not react upon hearing that the drink is bear urine. However, they freak out when the chief says the drink is actually Fresca.
- Homer and David Byrne dance while sharing the same outsize suit that David used in the concert film Stop Making Sense.
- When Moe takes David Byrne, it is a reference to Misery. At the end of the episode, Moe had David Byrne write a song for him, similar to how the character Annie gets Paul to write a novel for her.
- William Shatner's cover of "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders" is an obvious parody of his infamous musical career, including his performance of Elton John's "Rocket Man" at a 1978 science-fiction film awards ceremony.
- During their "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders" ballad, the Bill and Marty press a button that causes a fake scream. The same thing happens in the middle of the Ohio Players song "Love Rollercoaster".
- The "Lazy I Ranch" is a reference to David Byrne's musical concert tour that he was on that year, the Lazy Eye Tour.
- Luke Stetson may be a reference to Rex Stetson, the cowboy hand alias of Rock Hudson's Brad Allen character in Pillow Talk. Stetson also refers to Stetson cowboy hats.
- The Indians have a magazine called "Peace Pipe Aficionado", a parody of Cigar Aficionado.
- Homer being pulled by Bart on a horse is a parody of how Billy Crystal is pulled in City Slickers. The music played during the gag is also similar to the music from the movie.
- The character Cookie could be based on Candy, a character from John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, which is also set on a ranch. Cookie dances just like the exuberant gold prospector played by Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
- While Lisa is reading a magazine titled Let's Go Home, Bart calls her "Crabby Hayes", a reference to Western movie actor George 'Gabby' Hayes.
- The episode is included on the Simpsons Christmas 2 DVD, even though it has nothing to do with Christmas, apart from the opening.
Homer/Usher song resemblance
A video was posted on YouTube by the Y101 Morning Showgram radio show in Jackson, Mississippi demonstrating the similarities between Homer's Christmas carol song, and a verse from "OMG" by Usher (written by Will.i.am). The video questions whether the verse in Usher's song is a case of plagiarism, or an uncanny resemblance.
On November 2, 2004, the episode was released in the United States on a DVD collection titled The Simpsons Christmas 2, along with the season twelve episodes "Homer vs. Dignity" and "Skinner's Sense of Snow" and the season fifteen episode "'Tis the Fifteenth Season". While reviewing the DVD, Brian James of PopMatters wrote that "Dude, Where's My Ranch?" displays "the series’ nefarious habit of using the first third of the episode as a clearinghouse for disconnected jokes before actually beginning the plot, a blight made that much more glaring here since the only connection to Christmas comes early with the rest not even taking place in winter."
- ^ http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/2010/12/usher_vs_homer_simpson_is_noth.php
- ^ http://www.mediaite.com/online/did-usher-really-rip-off-homer-simpson-it-appears-so/
- ^ a b James, Brian (2004-12-28). "The Simpsons Christmas 2". PopMatters. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/simpsons-christmas-2-dvd. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
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