Deep Space Homer

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EPISODE SUMMARY

Deep Space Homer (S05E15)

At the Power Plant, it is the ceremony for the "Worker of the Week" award and Homer, is confident he will win. His boss Mr. Burns, instead gives the award to an "inanimate carbon rod". Homer, feeling that no one respects him, turns to TV and comes across a live space shuttle launch, which he finds dull, prompting Homer to make an angry call to NASA. Meanwhile, NASA, frustrated over its drop in the Nielsen ratings, decides to send an "average shmoe" into space as the solution. Due to the call, NASA chiefs realize they have found their man. When they arrive at Moe's in search of Homer, he believes he is in trouble for making the call and blames Barney for the incident. The NASA employees ask Barney to be an astronaut, and when Homer realizes what the proposal entails, he steps in and takes credit.

NASA takes both Homer and Barney to Cape Canaveral for training. Since only one can go into space, they soon find themselves in competition. Under NASA's alcohol ban, the sober Barney develops superior skills and is selected to fly with astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Race Banyon. However, when Barney toasts his victory, he inexplicably reverts to his normal alcoholic self and escapes. Homer wins by default and is selected for space flight, but he becomes nervous about going. Just as they prepare to take off, Homer runs away. He talks with his wife Marge on the phone, and she says that he ought to take advantage of the opportunity. He agrees, and the launch, which is also a Nielsen ratings smash, proceeds.

In space, Homer reveals he has smuggled potato chips on board. He opens the bag, but due to the effects of weightlessness, they will spread around and clog the instruments. Homer eats all the chips, but he manages to fly into the ant farm, letting the ants loose in the shuttle. James Taylor comes in over the radio to sing, but the disaster continues on board as the ants destroy the navigation system. James Taylor suggests that they blow the bugs out the front hatch, which the astronauts do, but Homer fails to put on his harness and is nearly blown out of the open hatch before grabbing its handle. Buzz pulls him inside, but due to the force, Homer bends the hatch handle, preventing the door from closing, which would result in the shuttle's destruction on re-entry. When Race declares he will attack Homer in frustration, Homer pulls a carbon rod out of the wall to defend himself, and he inadvertently uses it to seal the door shut. With the problems solved, the shuttle successfully returns to Earth.

Although Homer is a hero, the press only has eyes for the carbon rod Homer used. The rod is featured on magazine covers and is given its own ticker-tape parade. At home, Homer is disappointed that he did not get as much respect he hoped, but the family still honors him.

Source: Wikipedia