Perhaps my favorite episode of The Simpsons is the season eight juggernaut of dark humor, “Homer’s Enemy.” Here, the unreasonably lucky Homer, who somehow happens to succeed in life despite being a lazy moron, meets the new guy at work, Frank Grimes, a realistic person who scrapes by in life by working hard and being responsible. Needless to say, Homer soon gets on Frank’s nerves.
The whole point of the episode is to juxtapose the cartoony Homer with a normal, average person. By the end, Homer and the world that allows him to exist drive Grimes crazy. A great B-story here reinforces the point about society’s lowered standards, with Bart walking by an auction and getting the deed to an old factory for a dollar, so that his “years of hard work finally pay off.”
The best part is in the middle, where Homer tries to make friends with Frank by having him over for dinner. Despite all of his mature dignity thus far, this is where Frank starts breaking down and ranting. His speech is below; any time I’ve watched this episode with others, I pause it here and say, “This is how the world makes me feel. Every. Single. Day.”
I’ve had to work hard every day of my life, and what do I have to show for it? This briefcase and this haircut. And what do you have to show for your lifetime of sloth and ignorance? Everything! A dream house, two cars, a beautiful wife, a son who owns a factory, fancy clothes, and lobsters for dinner! And do you deserve any of it? No!
I’m saying, you’re what’s wrong with America, Simpson. You coast through life, you do as little as possible, and you leech off decent, hard working people like me. If you lived in any other country in the world, you’d have starved to death long ago. You’re a fraud, a total fraud. [to the rest of the family] Nice meeting you.
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