|Episode no. 366|
Written by Joel H. Cohen
Production code HABF03
|Directed by Mike B. Anderson|
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Original air date January 8, 2006
"Homer's Paternity Coot" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' seventeenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 8, 2006. Mail from forty years earlier is discovered, and a letter from Homer Simpson's mother's old boyfriend states that he is Homer's true father. Homer sets out to find his new father, leaving Abe Simpson behind. It was written by Joel H. Cohen and directed by Mike B. Anderson. The episode guest stars William H. Macy and Joe Frazier as themselves, and Michael York as Homer's new father, Mason Fairbanks.
As Marge goes shopping, a toll booth appears, but Marge and other Springfield residents take "The Ol' Cheapskate Trail". Mayor Quimby enforces tire spikes and blocks off the escape route because he desperately needs the money in order to “de-python” the town fountain. The next time Marge comes up to the booth, she backs up, causing many cars' tires to become severely damaged. The tires are thrown in the tire fire, melting ice on Mount Springfield and revealing a mailman, which has been frozen for 40 years. One of the forty-year-old letters is delivered to Homer's mother, Mona Simpson. It is from her old lifeguard boyfriend, whose name begins with an M, who writes that if Mona replies to the letter, she has chosen him, and if she does not, she is choosing to stick with her husband, Abe. He also writes that either way, in his heart he knows that the baby she is carrying is his.
Homer goes to the library to find his supposed father by looking in "Lifeguards of Springfield in the Twentieth Century." The only person in there whose name begins with M is Mason Fairbanks. Homer goes to his relatively large house pretending to be a reporter. He tells him that he is interviewing people who wear sweaters, and he is let inside. Mason shows him around his home, and shows him his ship, The Son I Never Knew. Homer eventually tells him that he thinks that he is his father, and Mason is delighted. He takes Homer and the rest of the family, excluding Abe, on a ride on his ship and tells them the story of a lost emerald treasure, which impresses the family. However, when they come home, Grampa angrily accuses Mason of having tried to steal his wife and now trying to steal his family, and is deeply saddened that Homer would even think that Mason could be his real father. They decide to have a DNA test, and after a suspenseful wait, Homer is thrilled to learn that his real father is Mason Fairbanks.
While Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are having an awkward, uneventful visit with Grampa, Mason and Homer are underwater (which is terribly polluted by nuclear waste) in their own individual submarines looking for the lost treasure. Homer gets separated from Mason, and he follows a small light that he thinks is him. It is actually a glowing fish, and Homer gets stuck in some coral. As his oxygen begins to run out and he starts to lose consciousness, he sees poignant flashbacks including him and Abe. They show Abe entertaining a child Homer, praising teenage Homer's (poorly drawn) picture of Abe, and supplying for Homer's marriage some money (which a bird subsequently steals, leading Abe to sadly say, "I gave you all I had, and it still wasn't enough.") When his last bit of oxygen runs out, the last thing he sees is Mason heading towards him. When he wakes up, he is in the hospital, and Bart tells him that he has been in a coma for three days. Abe starts to leave, but Homer grabs his arm and asks Mason, Marge, and the kids to leave. He tells Abe of his memories and says he has been just like a father. Abe then tells Homer that he is actually his father; he switched the labels on the DNA samples after seeing how happy Homer was with Mason.
Ryan J. Budke of TV Squad gives the episode a strong positive rating, quoting its ingenuity and charm. He calls it a funny episode with a lot of heart, and quotes that it was a great episode by comparing it alongside his other favorite, "The Girl Who Slept Too Little".