|The Simpsons episode|
|Directed by||Wes Archer|
|Written by||Brent Forrester|
|Original air date||May 19, 1996|
|Couch gag||The family enters in a black-light haze, lighting returns to normal when Homer turns on the lights.|
"Homerpalooza" is the 24th episode of The Simpsons seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 19, 1996. The plot focuses on Homer joining the "Hullabalooza" music festival as a carnival freak. The episode title is a play on the Lollapalooza music festival. It was the last The Simpsons episode written by Brent Forrester and the last episode directed by Wes Archer. Peter Frampton and musical groups The Smashing Pumpkins, Cypress Hill, and Sonic Youth guest star as themselves.
After the school bus is destroyed, Homer is forced to drive several students to school. Along the way, he listens to a classic rock radio station and is shocked to discover that all of the kids hate it. After several more days of the kids hating his music, Homer visits a music store and realizes that what he likes is no longer considered cool. As a result, Homer decides to take Bart and Lisa to the Hullabalooza music festival. At the festival, Homer tries to act cool by wearing a Rastafarian hat, but all he does is humiliate himself and is confronted by an angry crowd of Generation Xers who mistake him for a narc. After being tossed out by the crowd, Homer angrily kicks a cannon, which shoots one of Peter Frampton's inflatable pigs at his stomach. The festival head is impressed and Homer is hired as a part of the festival's freak show played by The Jim Rose Circus.
As a result, Homer goes on tour with the festival and hangs out with The Smashing Pumpkins, Cypress Hill, and Sonic Youth. Homer suddenly finds himself living the high life: partying with big-name rock stars and becoming respected among American youth, including Bart. As the tour approaches a stop in Springfield, Homer's stomach begins to hurt and he is sent to a veterinarian. The veterinarian advises Homer that if he performs his act one more time, he will die. At first he decides to do his job, but at the last second he dodges the cannonball. Consequently, he is released from the festival and, despite a warm sendoff from the rock stars, goes back to not being respected by his children.
The entire story of this episode was developed by David Cohen, although it was written by Brent Forrester, who felt that Cohen at least deserved a "story by" credit. To do research for this episode, Forrester went to one of the Lollapalooza concerts, which he thought would be a fun little perk, but ended up being a horrible experience. Several of the jokes in this episode are based on his experiences: cameras were being seized and thrown in the garbage, there were numerous advertisements, several "sour faced teens", a real freak show (Jim Rose Circus), and at one point a stranger approached Forrester and asked "how's it going, narc?".
During Homer's confrontation with the Hullabalooza crowd, there is a brief shot of Homer with the members of the musical group No Doubt behind him. Gwen Stefani's brother Eric Stefani, who himself had been a member of the band, was working as an animator at The Simpsons at the time and added them in.
The writers were aiming to have artists that represented several genres: hip hop (Cypress Hill), alternative rock (Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins), and a classic rock singer. Originally, Bob Dylan was sought for this role, but he was replaced by Peter Frampton.Billy Corgan impressed the production staff by doing strong impersonations of Homer and Marge, though it was decided to not have him use them in the episode. Pearl Jam was asked to appear in the episode but declined.
Originally, Courtney Love and Hole were wanted for this episode, but they declined. According to the DVD commentary an unnamed group had said that if Courtney Love were in the episode, they would not be. An Entertainment Weekly article revealed that the group was Sonic Youth. It was thought that Love would appear in the episode because she had recently done a film with James L. Brooks, but she never responded to the request. Love was wanted specifically for one joke which would be in an exchange between her and Homer:
Courtney Love: Hi Homer! I'm a big fan, Courtney Love.
Homer: Homer Grateful!
However, she did not appear and the joke was reworded for Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins:
Billy Corgan: Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.
Homer: Homer Simpson, smiling politely.
The flashback where Homer meets the guys in the van is based on the film Dazed and Confused. Several of the scenes where Homer is hit with a cannonball are based on famous stock footage of Frank "Cannonball" Richards being hit with a cannonball, as is the entire concept of a "cannonball catcher". Otto's drug-induced hallucination of his "talking shoes" is based on the opening of the album version of the song "1999" by Prince. Homer's walk in one scene parodies the walk in the Keep on Truckin' comic that was drawn by Robert Crumb.
In its original broadcast, "Homerpalooza" finished 57th in ratings for the week of May 13-19, 1996, with a Nielsen rating of 7.8, equivalent to approximately 7.5 million viewing households. It was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files and Married... with Children.
In 1998, TV Guide listed it in its list of top twelve Simpsons episodes. The BBC website called the episode "One of the most memorable episodes, if not one of the greatest - the satire on youth counterculture is well handled, and Homer's flashback to his youth is fabulous." and IGN said the episode was one of the best of season seven. In a list of the 25 greatest guest voices on the show, released September 5, 2006, IGN ranked the Hullabalooza performers 23rd. The noise rock version of the end credits performed by Sonic Youth has been ranked among the best versions of the theme by Matt Groening and also by Chris Turner in his book Planet Simpson. Bill Oakley has said that Peter Frampton is one of his favorite guest stars and he wished he could have done a TV show with him. Alternatively, the Rover Hendrix act break joke has been called one of the worst jokes in The Simpsons history by the writers and producers. In 2007, Simon Crerar of The Times listed the Smashing Pumpkins' and Cypress Hill's performances among the 33 funniest cameos in the history of the show. Andrew Martin of Prefix Mag named Cypress Hill his sixth-favorite musical guests on The Simpsons out of a list of ten.