Homer must face one of his most hated foes: New York City. He takes the rest of his family on a trip to the Big Apple to retrieve his car after Barney borrows it and leaves it parked at the World Trade Center.
The big surprise at the party honoring Seymour Skinner's 20 years as principal is that the real Seymour Skinner shows up. He has just returned to the US after being held as a POW for 26 years. Our Skinner's real name is Armin Tanzarian, who used to be a real hell raiser in his youth. He met Seymour while serving under him in Vietnam. Feeling rejected, Armand resigns as principal and hits the road. The town tries to get used to the real Seymour Skinner, but can they? The real Seymour is a weenie. Edna and Agnes begin to miss their old Skinner; meanwhile, the impostor Skinner is in a nearby town, advertising a for a strip club. Marge, Edna, and Agnes get together and form a plan to bring him back. They travel to meet him and he claims to be a changed man. He has a seedy apartment and a subscription to "Swank." They convince him to return and then the town gets rid of the real Skinner and Judge Snyder orders that they never to discuss him again and everything is back to normal.
After Lisa saxophone is accidentally destroyed, Homer tells her the story of how she received her fabled instrument in the first place.
The Homega Man:
Quimby insults the French government who launch a neutron bomb in retaliation at Springfield. Homer escapes the blast and begins enjoying himself in seemingly deserted town.
Fly vs. Fly:
The family visits Prof. Frink's yard sale. Homer purchases a matter transporter. Bart uses it in an attempt to become "Superfly", with comic and near disastrous results.
In 1649, Marge is accused of being a witch. It turns out she and her sisters actually are witches who learn that it's easy to scare people into giving them treats.
Homer becomes obsessed with owning a gun and once he purchases one and demonstrates poor gun safety habits, Marge and the kids move out forcing Homer to choose between his new gun or his family.
Springfield's youth join a pee-wee football team. With Ned Flanders at the helm and Nelson at quarterback the team is undefeated until Homer strong arms himself into Ned's job and puts all his faith in under qualified Bart as his quarterback.
Springfield has a bachelor auction, but none of Springfield's bachelors are the least bit attractive. Five women pool their money together and bid on Apu. They share him and he becomes quite the ladies' man. He is discussing his new life with Homer when his mother's letter arrives, reminding him that he has to have an arranged marriage. He tells his mother that he is already married, so she comes to meet his wife. Homer lets him pretend that Marge is his wife and Apu and his mother stay with the Simpsons. While Homer is pretending to not be married to Marge, he discovers the joys of living in a retirement home. Apu's mother hates Marge and she eventually figures it out the deception, so she goes on with plans for Apu's arranged marriage. Everyone shows up for Apu's marriage and Homer tries unsuccessfully to stop the ceremony. Apu finds to his surprise that his wife is a wonderful woman, and decides to marry her as planned.
Lisa protests the building of a shopping mall on sacred ground. Her protest gets the school the ability to conduct an archaeological dig. Lisa's digging reveals a human skeleton that has wings. All Springfield is convinced it is an angel and Homer cashes in; however, Lisa is skeptical. The skeleton disappears and when it reappears it carries a foreboding message about the end of the world. As sundown approaches, the townspeople grow concerned and frightened, but nothing catastrophic happens. The skeleton floats down below the valley to a new discount shopping mall ("the end is near ... for high prices!"). Lisa figures out the whole "end is near" saga was a publicity stunt staged by the developers, not so much to not tip off would-be competitors but, as she angrily states, a way to prey on the beliefs and fears of the guillible. She calls for a boycott of the mall, but the bargain-hunting public immediately go shopping instead.
Marge is bored and Homer is just laying around one Saturday afternoon, when they decide to go to the police auction. Homer buys a muscle car that had previously belonged to Snake. He takes Marge for a wild ride and she demands to get out. She meets Lionel Hutz, who is now working as a realtor. He invites Marge to work there. So Marge (with help from Lisa and Bart) studies and passes the exam for a real estate license. Once on the job, she has trouble lying to customers (a prerequisite in real estate). She has to sell a house fast to keep her job, so she lies to the Flanders and sells them a house where murders took place. They move into the house, and the guilt sets in on Marge, who goes to tell them the truth. Meanwhile, Homer is joyriding and prison escapee Snake tries to hijack his car. A fight ensues and they crash into the hug house. Marge lets Flanders rip up the deposit. Soon afterwards, a jobless Marge goes on unemployment.
We open with Homer and Marge doing the last-minute Christmas shopping. Back at home Marge tells the family that she has all the alarm clocks, so no one can wake up early and open the presents. Bart drinks a bunch of water so he can wake up and do just that. He plays with his new fire truck and accidentally burns down and melts their plastic Christmas tree and all of the presents.
He buries the evidence in the yard and tells the family that he saw a burglar stealing the presents and tree. They get on the news in one of Kent Brockman's human interest stories. When the town sees them on television, they all come by to give them money. Homer buys a car with the money and wrecks it. The next morning Bart reveals the truth to the family. When Kent Brockman comes by for a follow-up report his crew discovers the torched remains of the presents.
When the town sees the news report, they treat the Simpson family as pariahs. The townspeople decide to make it even by picking their house bare and stealing everything they own.
Homer rents "Paint Your Wagon" and is put off by all the singing and dancing, especially by tough guys Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. The rest of the family reminds him via clips about the many times he and other members of the family and town have broken into song and dance.
Bart and Lisa are trying to get out of yard work. When Colonel Tex's carnival comes to town, Homer takes the family. He keeps talking about how much he admires carnies even though they are sleazy and rat-like. He meets a father (Cooder) and son working the ring toss game. Cooder tricks him, as Homer is really, really stupid in this episode. Tex is displaying Hitler's Mercedes, and Bart cannot resist getting behind the wheel. When Bart wrecks it, Homer and Bart agree to work until they repay the debt. They have to do a bunch of unpleasant work. When Cooder has to go to an AA meeting with his son, Homer and Bart take their place at the ring toss game. Wiggum drops by for a bribe, and Homer is too stupid to negotiate with him so Wiggum shuts down the game. When Cooder returns, he learns that he is out of a job. Conforming to the carny code, they allow Cooder and son to stay at their house. Cooder is so appreciative to Marge and Homer that he gives them tickets for a boat ride. When they return from their trip, they find the windows boarded up and Cooder and his son squatting in their house. The family has to stay in the tree house, since Chief Wiggum is holding a grudge and refusing to help them. They devise a plan to trick Cooder and get the house back (one that DOESN'T involve setting the house on fire). When they succeed life will return to normal, well as normal as it can be for this family.
Homer gets a brochure from a religious group at the airport and being highly gullible, he goes to their retreat. Because of Homer's intelligence quotient they have more trouble brainwashing him than the rest of Springfield most of who are all sucked into joining this cult. When they finally succeed with Homer, he signs over the family house to the Leader. The Leader begins taking over various media outlets, making Mr. Burns envy him. Seeing an opportunity to pay even less in taxes, Mr. Burns tries to form his own cult, although he is unsuccessful. Homer and the family move to an agricultural compound and begin picking beans. When the children become just as brainwashed as Homer, Marge escapes and enlists the help of Lovejoy, Flanders, and Willie to kidnap her family. They are able to deprogram them and then Homer tries to show the cult that the Leader is a fraud. When he does, and life returns to normal.
On their way to a Model UN conference a Springfield Elementary school bus filled with Model UN members crashes onto an uncivilized island and with the children struggling to coexist and find common ground, a Lord of the Flies parody ensues.
After Krusty bombs at a stand-up comedy charity event, he decides to revamp his tired old routine.
Homer aids Moe in his search for a woman and by chance Moe meets Renee, an outdoor flower vendor, and the two hit it off. In Moe's constant effort to wine and dine Renee, he quickly goes broke and enlists in Homer's help to steal his car and scam the insurance company for some money.
Lisa struggles with solving a simple brain teaser and fears that she has succumbed the dreaded "Simpson" gene that renders members of the Simpson clan a little less than intelligent.
The Simpsons go to a wonderful new museum. While there, Marge notices what a nice boy Ralph Wiggum is. Marge forces Bart to have a play date with Ralph. Ralph is so stupid and annoying that Bart wants to strangle him. Marge makes him go outside with Ralph. Ralph seems to be a pyromaniac. They go to the Wiggum's residence and Bart finds out that Ralph's father (Chief Wiggum) has a lot of neat stuff, including a master key that will unlock every door in Springfield. Bart goes over for a sleepover and swipes it. He and Ralph wander the town, running into the bullies. Nelson, Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney take them to the abandoned prison. Bart and Ralph play around with the electric chair, leaving it on when they leave. Quimby wants to show the town the electric chair on the news. He wants to pretend to be electrocuted, thinking that the chair is off. Bart and Ralph see what is about to happen on the news and they have to prevent it. Bart goes to Lisa for a quick solution and she shoots a rocket at the prison which contains an explanation. Instead it goes into Burns' office, and he turns off the power after Quimby has almost been killed. Ralph's conscience tells him to burn down the house.
Homer gets fired from the nuclear plant and decides to join the Naval Reserve. Other reservists include Moe, Barney, and Apu. Meanwhile, Bart gets an earring to look cool, but Homer makes him quit wearing it and ends up taking it with him to sea. Because of Homer's nuclear experience, he is assigned to a nuclear submarine. The Captain likes Homer because of his witty and wise remarks and he promotes him. During a war game exercise, the Captain leaves Homer in charge; things get bad, when the Captain becomes incapacitated. Homer makes some bad decisions and nearly starts a war. Bart's earring comes in handy when the ship springs a leak.
Homer realizes too late that taxes are due, so he cheats on his taxes and files them just in the nick of time. When the IRS subjects Homer to an audit, they agree to let Homer off if he will agree to help the FBI and become a tool of government oppression. He tries to rat on his friends about their illegal conquests and the government enjoys his work so much that they have him attempt a very special assignment. Mr. Burns has a trillion dollar bill that he stole from the government long ago. Homer tries to find it in his mansion, under the guise of writing a magazine article on Burns. When he finds it, the feds bust in and arrest Mr. Burns, but Homer foils their attempt and runs away with Burns and Smithers. They decide to leave the country with the bill and they wind up in Cuba, where they try to buy the country from Fidel Castro. Castro steals the bill and they have to return in disgrace. Mr. Burns vows to bribe the jury and get them all off scot-free.
Bart becomes a star on the new kids' news segment on Krusty's show by modeling himself after Kent Brockman and sticking to human interest stories. However, Lisa sees through Bart's phoniness and sets out to expose him.
After a confrontation with the Sanitation Commissioner, Homer decides to run against him in the next election. Homer's campaign, based on outlandish promises and elaborate services that the garbage men will perform, wins him the election. But being in charge of Springfield's sanitation turns out to be a bit more challenging than Homer anticipates.
The Simpsons watch a Rainier Wolfcastle movie and later at the church picnic, the kids play "capture the flag." Homer joins Bart's team to compete with Flanders, but Homer fails miserably, because he is horribly out of shape. When this really starts bothering him, he starts jogging. He finds a gym while jogging, and Rainier Wolfcastle is there. Rainier helps him get into tremendous shape and after a few months, Homer reveals this to the family and Bart is very impressed. When the Powersauce energy bar company comes to offer Rainier a gig to climb the "Murderhorn," the tallest mountain in Springfield, he refuses, so Bart volunteers Homer for the job. Not wanting to disappoint Bart again, Homer goes for it. Homer is given Sherpas to help him, but he fires them so that he can do it alone. Even when Powersauce stops sponsoring him, Homer continues in his quest to make Bart proud of him and he reaches the top and succeeds.
With the day off from school, Bart uses some industrial adhesive to glue novelty items to his face. As a result Marge must take him to the doctor to have the items removed, preventing Lisa from attending an exhibit at the museum. Lisa asks her if she can take the bus downtown. Marge tells her no, so Lisa uses her brain to outwit her father into letting her take her first solo bus trip. Despite her brain, Lisa gets on the #22A bus instead of the #22. Lenny and Carl make Homer realize that he should not have allowed her to go by herself, so he leaves work in search of her. Meanwhile Lisa has ended up somewhere outside of town. Homer gets into a cherry-picker to survey the town and he sees her, just before he almost gets killed. He tells her about the wonders of taking stupid risks and to demonstrate his point, they break into the museum after it closes. While there, they make an anthropological discovery.
When their anniversary dinner is a flop and their love life seems to lack luster, Homer and Marge try to spice it up, first by traveling to a bed & breakfast. Meanwhile, Lisa and Bart use Grampa's mine detector to find treasure and they find an alternate ending to "Casablanca." Homer and Marge discover that the fear of getting caught is the spice they need until they are caught bearing it all.