Special thanks to Addicts reader Bugman for writing this one up! He reached out and asked if he could write up a WDTCF for Lucius and of course we love when you guys contribute so we said absolutely! Y’all may know Bugman from the comments, as he’s a regular in the Open Threads and just about every other post. Thanks again for the help Bugman!
In our silly lil game, we sometimes see things pop in that we have no clue as to their Origin. They seem familiar, but we just can’t pinpoint from where. So that is why we decided to make a fun lil reminder out of it. To let you know just Where Did THAT Come From?
(Note from Alissa: This is more along the lines of an episode recap…so you’ll get a full play by play on the episode Lucius appears in)
While Lucius Sweet did not work for or appear in Mr. Burns’ Casino, or any other casino featured in the show, his appropriateness for this event will be immediately apparent to anyone familiar with him. For the rest of us, well, that’s what WDTCF is all about!!
The Homer They Fall: Season 8, Episode 3
The episode starts at the Springfield Mall, with a sizable crowd gathered to watch “Memories of Bonanza: The Mall Show” (brought to you by Nostalgia Licensing Corporation!) complete with a recreation of the burning map from the TV show’s intro. After the flames are extinguished, the “stars” step out to address the audience: Two of the guys who played some of the Injun -I mean, Native American- antagonists on the program, and the only surviving cast members. They try a bit of comedy, pointing out how “Father Time” has managed to kill off all Cartwrights where their own efforts on the show had always failed. This bombs with the now-hostile audience, and they try to liven things up with a very awkward dance to the show’s theme song. It’s pretty embarrassing to watch, and is absolutely classic. As the disappointed Simpson family trudges off, Marge wonders aloud, “Weren’t there three Indians last year?”
Walking by stores such as “Simply Shoes (and Athletic Equipment and Active wear)” and “One Size Fits All Lingerie” (located conveniently next to a “Phineas Q. Butterfat’s”) Homer excitedly points out a new hi-tech gadget store, “Miscellaneous, Etc.” pulling Marge inside despite her protestations. Inside they find such useless, status-symbol paraphernalia as a bathroom scale from a Soviet submarine (submarines being famous for having limited room, particularly in “the head” for such needless frivolities,) an electric nostril groomer (which Bart mistakenly thinks is a toothbrush,) a suede briefcase case, and The World’s Best Jacket. Bear with me, we’re going places.
Cut to Comic Book Guy, trying to return the “quote-unquote ‘Ultimate Belt'” that he has brought in. We see that the counter is manned by none other than Sarcastic Salesman, so it’s time to break out your best “Dis gon b gud” .gif and enjoy what comes next! After CBG’s opening volley, SS returns with with a deft and devastating “Do you have a receipt, quote-unquote ‘sir?'” CBG replies that he received the belt as a door prize at a Star Trek convention, but bemoans the organizers’ choice of a medium-sized belt, which is of no use to the average Trekker (points to the writers for using the proper term here!) SS then proceeds to take CBG apart with a few masterfully-chosen and beautifully-delivered strokes, informing him in no uncertain terms that he cannot return any merchandise without a receipt. Bart offers to buy the belt for $4, to which CBG reluctantly agrees. Utterly defeated, he retreats to his store, “…where I dispense the insults, rather than absorb them.”
Bart shows off his fancy new Tactical Pants-Retaining System and its many gadgets and attachments to his friends at school, and is then approached by the bullies. Jimbo offers to trade belts with Bart, and is refused. After all, Jimbo’s is just a piece of extension cord. They take off after him, sharply chided by Janey for running in the hallway, and are outsmarted by Bart’s use of the turn signals (“Hey, he’s turning left!”) Sadly, he is undone by his own belt, whose calls for help give away his hiding place. He’s badly beaten, and his belt is stolen. Homer valiantly tries to get it back by appealing directly to the bullies’ fathers, and this is where the plot thickens.
We find them at Moe’s, where Homer is very calmly and rationally explaining the situation. The only problem is that between words, Homer is also receiving a savage beating, because strangely enough the bullies’ fathers are bullies themselves, and don’t appreciate being told how to raise their wayward children. While they’re at it, they take out their general frustrations in life on Homer’s head until Moe breaks up the fun with his trusty shotgun. Clearly, they’d rather leave than meet the 2-drink minimum necessary to beat up the proprietor’s friend in his own bar. Moe is amazed at Homer’s resilience, as he was barely fazed by the pounding he took, and hits (see what I did there?) upon the idea of Homer becoming an amateur boxer with himself as manager. It turns out that Moe has yet another chapter in his colorful past, where he was a boxer named Kid Gorgeous (later Kid Presentable, then Kid Gruesome, and then finally Kid Moe.) He promises Homer that boxers live “The Good Life,” with such luxuries as steak, lobster, salad bar, and their choice of dressing, all in a single meal. Homer is sold, and Moe gets a 60% cut.
In his office, which Moe had converted from the Ladies’ Room after realizing that no ladies had been in the bar since 1979 (I guess Ruth Powers didn’t count?) we see Moe’s memorabilia from his boxing days, including a picture of him with Lucius Sweet, his former manager. Homer is duly impressed and excited: “He’s one of the biggest names in boxing! He’s exactly as rich and as famous as Don King, and he looks just like him, too!”
…I *thought* he looked a little familiar!
Marge, predictably, isn’t happy about this new scheme, and insists on Homer at least getting a physical before embarking on something so dangerous. Dr. Hibbert reveals that he has something called “Homer Simpson’s Syndrome,” which is a layer of cerebrospinal fluid surrounding Homer’s brain 1/8″ thicker than usual, which he likens to having a football helmet inside his own head. “Why, I could wallop you with this surgical 2×4 all day without ever knocking you down!” Unfortunately, Dr. Hibbert doesn’t do so, and so he wastes a perfectly sterile board for no good reason.
After seeing how absolutely weak Homer’s punches are, and how thoroughly out-of-shape he is, Moe decides that their strategy will be for Homer to simply stand still and let his opponents exhaust themselves from over-punching him. When they’re tired enough, Homer will be able to simply push them over (and kick ’em a coupla times, if the ref’s not looking.) Homer’s debut fight at Moe’s is against Boxcar Bob, who sleeps at the train yard and is fighting for the grand total of one sandwich. The crowd is impressed by his vigor and stamina, as he unleashes an almost-never-ending series of sharp blows to Homer’s face and head, pausing only occasionally to check on his bindle, leaning up in the corner of the ring. After a while, though, he becomes exhausted and is unable to move any more. On Moe’s cue, Homer nudges him gently and he falls flat on the mat, leaving Homer victorious. Thus begins a lovely montage, set to a tune similar to the “Duet of the Flowers,” showing Homer’s rise to prominence in the Association of Springfield Semi-Pro Boxers (ASSBOX, for short,) as he enjoys ever-fancier car washes. Looks like he finally got that Hot Wax he dreamed about back in season 3!
Lucius then appears on the scene, to Moe’s amazement. We learn that Drederick Tatum, Sweet’s highest priority, has been serving time for pushing his mother down the stairs, and will soon be released. Sweet is strategizing for his glorious return to the shores of Fistiana, and has come to recruit Moe’s help. Such is Tatum’s prowess in the ring, that his fight tend to end before the fans have had a chance to even get drunk, and Sweet needs a body that can sustain verticality for at least 3 rounds to appease them. Enter Homer.
Moe is terrified at the prospect, exclaiming that Homer is just a freak, not a boxer, and would be soundly fustigated by Tatum. Offered the choice between one last shot at the Big Time, and sitting in the Ladies’ Room with his faded memories, Moe relents. He entices Homer to the roof of the bar on the pretense of showing him his new tar paper, then offers him the chance to become heavyweight champion of the world.
Homer is his usual trusting self, and chooses to believe that Tatum doesn’t stand a chance against him on Moe’s say-so. Cut to the Springfield Penitentiary, where a riot is in full swing. Tatum is sitting in his cell, trying to enjoy a bowl of Jell-O cubes. Frustrated, he exclaims “Hey guys, come on, shut up!” and everything screeches to a halt. The siren is silenced, the guards apologize, the inmates lock themselves back in their cells, and Drederick finishes his dessert in peace. In another classic scene, we go to a press conference, where Tatum fields questions from excited reporters regarding his crime (he would definitely reconsider it if he could just turn back the clock,) and his upcoming fight. His responses are memorable to say the least, and Lucius ends the proceedings by announcing that the Champ has no more time for further queries. If you haven’t seen this episode, I absolutely will not spoil this scene’s ending for you.
Marge goes ballistic when she hears that Homer is scheduled to fight Drederick Tatum of all people, and does her best to dissuade him. Lisa even tells us that Vegas is giving 1000:1 odds, but it’s all to no avail. On the eve of the fight, Marge confronts Moe, who is already wracked with guilt over what he has gotten Homer into. He tries to turn it on her, saying that her negative attitude will ruin everything, but she insists that he throw in the towel the moment Homer is in any real danger. (For anyone not familiar with the practice, a boxer’s manager literally throws his towel -used for drying off the fighter’s sweat between bouts, and anything else that needs it- into the ring to stop the fight. This immediately forfeits the match, so it is typically done to save the fighter from greater harm when they themselves don’t want to give up or are unable to.) He agrees, but as she walks away, he defiantly throws the towel away altogether, meaning that he will have no way of saving Homer’s life if and when things go badly.
Inside the Springfield Colosseum, the seats are packed with tastelessly-dressed fans. Announcer Michael Buffer introduces various ringside celebrities, including Kent Brockman, Fat Tony, and The Fan Man (based on real-life Fan Man James Miller, who achieved notoriety for disrupting events in his fan-driven paraglider,) who deftly lands into his seat, but cuts off half of Krusty’s hair in the process. Tatum is introduced, and enters to heavy rap music. Homer (The Immovable Object, The Brick Hit-House, AKA the Southern Dandy) is introduced, and enters to War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” Cracks me up every time. Lucius takes a moment to remind Moe of their agreement, and the consequences of failing to deliver. After foregoing the national anthem due to popular demand, the fight is on!
It goes just as well as expected. Homer, after a lengthy semi-pro career, experiences his first REAL punch, which nearly fells him, and changes everything. Raining blow after blow, it becomes obvious that Homer will not last long, and Tatum will not get tired. With everyone calling for Homer’s blood, and Moe having fled the ringside in horror, Marge makes her way up to tell Homer that, for the first time ever, he has to hit his opponent back. Gathering his faculties, he agrees with the blue cactus in the audience, and realizes that he has one shot at a miraculous knockout punch. In typically wonderful Simpsons fashion, he defies all expectations that movies and TV have built up for us over the years, and fails miserably in his attempt, only to get a counter-punch right on top of his head. At this point, Tatum starts showing off, and even pauses to talk with Charlie Sheen for a minute, telling about the stupendous blackened or sauteed sea bass served at an unnamed location (probably a restaurant, but I like to think he was talking about his time in prison!) before the conversation is broken up by the ref. He decides to end the fight with one massive punch that is sure to put Homer in a coma, but before it can land, Homer is swept out of the ring by Moe, who is wearing Fan Man’s flying gear in true Deus Ex Machina form! The fans are outraged!
In the parking lot, Drederick is impressed by Moe’s feat, congratulating Homer on having a manager who so obviously cares for him. Obviously he’s not at all sure his own manager cares as much.
Lucius berates Moe for being unable to provide even a single round for the fight, calling him a loser, and ordering him to “take your check for $100,000 and get out of my sight!” In a moment of rationality that is quite rare in the show, Moe angrily waves the check and declares “I don’t need your stinkin’ money!” before carefully folding it and placing it safely in his pocket. As we see later in the season, Lisa was not paying attention. With Fan Man running after him, demanding the return of his contraption, Moe flies away into the night, unsure of where he will go, but needing some time to think. During the credits, we see him traveling the world, bringing help and hope to people in need. We never hear if Homer gets his 40%.
So that’s where the character comes from! Folks may have differing opinions, but I love the episode. For me, it’s full of laughs (far too many to name!) that just don’t get old, and Lucius is IMO a classic bit character. He had another brief appearance in “The Trouble With Trillions,” and he’s a perfect fit for the event, given all the glamor, corruption, money, and of course gambling that goes on in professional boxing (well, professional sports in general, for the most part.) Bedecked with rings, chains, and of course his crown, he is free to strut around in your own Springfield, bringing richness, aggrandizement, and wealthification to himself at your expense.
Above all, I loved his performance: Lucius Sweet was voiced by veteran actor Paul Winfield, who should be recognizable to Star Trek fans for his roles in “The Wrath of Khan,” where he played Captain Terrell, and most especially Dathon, the Talarian Captain in the episode “Darmok.” It would have been wonderful for Lucius to be voiced in-game, but sadly Paul Winfield died in 2004 of heart failure, after a long battle with obesity and diabetes.
Shaka, when the walls fell.
Great job Bugman! Thanks again for tackling your first WDTCF…and helping us all relive Homer They Fall!
What are your thoughts on Lucius Sweet? Did you manage to unlock him during Act 1? Do you remember Homer They Fall? Enjoy that episode? Sound off in the comments below, you know we love hearing from you!