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Homer's Enemy is the twenty-third episode in the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the FOX network in the United States on May 4, 1997.

Plot

Industrious Frank Grimes starts working at the plant and becomes irritated by Homer's laziness; meanwhile, Bart buys a run-down factory for one dollar.

Why It Rocks

  1. The animation is high quality, as usual.
  2. Frank Grimes is a very likable and sympathetic character. He is one of the very few characters to be shocked by Homer's staggering incompetence, almost making him resemble a real-life person.
  3. Amazing writing, especially Frank finally snapping and trying to convince everyone to realize how incompetent Homer is by acting dumb himself.
  4. It tackles the topic of a lazy person who gets everything handed to him being more successful than a person who has had to struggle all his life for his success.
  5. Funny and unique couch gag.
  6. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder, one of the most talented writers of The Simpsons.
  7. Hilarious and dark humor, such as Frank accidentally killing himself while imitating Homer Simpson.
  8. The sideplot of Bart buying a warehouse for a dollar is endearing and entertaining.
  9. The moment when Homer gets sad over the fact that he now has an enemy is a little bit emotional.
  10. Funny gags throughout the episode, such as Chief Wiggum saying "Ralph, get off the stage, sweetheart!" in the contest.

Bad Qualities

  1. Not for people who take life more seriously than most others.
  2. The part where Frank electrocutes himself to death may be too dark for some people.
  3. Josh Weinstein disliked the episode because he felt it was too dark, lacked humor and that Homer was portrayed as overly bad-mannered.

Trivia

  • The character of Frank Grimes was a synthesis of actors William H. Macy and Michael Douglas.
  • Matt Groening commented that the story also has a Zen quality to it. Homer is just himself and gets along fine. Frank Grimes is an Type-A personality who wants everything to be perfect, and subsequently falls apart. Thus, Homer is the stronger person, despite his obvious faults.
  • Lisa only says 11 words in this episode.
  • The fact that Frank Grimes comes across as very normal in his behavior and especially his increasingly angry and unhinged reactions to Homer's actions is not an accident. The show always intended Grimes to a "one-shot" character who would show what would happen if a regular human from the real world found himself in The Simpsons universe, with the idea of showing that such a person would not be able to handle it (which is why Frank ultimately goes insane and accidentally kills himself).
  • Frank Grimes's appearance (particularly his short-sleeve shirt with tie and his glasses) was modeled after the character William 'D-Fens' Foster, played by Michael Douglas in Falling Down (1993), which also starred Robert Duvall, who played Lieutenant Frank Grimes of the Chicago Police Department in John Q (2002)
  • Steve Martin was originally asked to voice Frank Grimes, but he declined to do so. William H. Macy was also considered for the voice, as the design of the character was strongly influenced by him. Eventually, the producers gave the role to series regular Hank Azaria who gave a screen test that convinced them enough to allow him to voice the character

Reception

The episode was genuinely well-received by critics and audiences alike. It was one of the highest-rated episodes of the entire series, and some Simpsons fans referred to it as the best episode of the season, if not the entire show.