|Episode no. 112|
Written by Greg Daniels
Production code 2F06
|Directed by Jeffrey Lynch|
Showrunner(s) David Mirkin
Original air date November 27, 1994
"Homer Badman" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 27, 1994. It was written by Greg Daniels and directed by Jeffrey Lynch. In the episode, Homer is falsely accused of sexual harassment and must clear his name. Dennis Franz guest stars as himself.
Homer and Marge attend a candy convention and hire Ashley Grant, a feminist graduate student, to babysit Bart, Maggie, and Lisa. At the convention, Homer outfits Marge with an oversized trenchcoat and is vigilant in smuggling out as much candy as possible in her pockets, including a rare gummy Venus de Milo.
That night, Homer searches for the gummy Venus amongst his smuggled goods, but is unable to find it. Marge reminds him to take Ashley home and Homer grudgingly obliges. As Ashley is exiting Homer's car, he sees the gummy Venus stuck to the backside of her jeans. Homer innocently grabs the candy, and Ashley turns around to see Homer drooling lustfully at the piece of candy. Misinterpreting his poor tact and drooling as a deliberate sexual advance, Ashley runs off screaming in terror while Homer gleefully eats the candy.
The next morning, an angry mob marches onto the Simpsons' lawn and claims that Homer sexually harassed Ashley. The crowd refuses to listen to Homer when he tries to tell his side of the story. After continuing to be the focus of media, Lisa and Marge suggest Homer videotape himself telling his side of the story to air on a Public-access television cable TV, but this fails.
However, Groundskeeper Willie saw Homer's speech, and arrives at the Simpson home with a video tape of what happened the night Homer took Ashley home. Ashley and the media apologize for labeling Homer a monster.
Greg Daniels, the writer of the episode, originally pitched this episode as being more centered on Lisa and Homer's opposing ideas on feminism. Eventually, the episode became more of a satire of the media and television shows like Hard Copy. David Mirkin, the show runner at the time, felt very strongly about the "tabloidization of the media" and has said that the episode is as current today as it was at the time and things have since gotten worse. Several gags in the episode are based on what real life shows like Hard Copy would do, such as making people look to be guilty without a trial as well as a complete invasion of privacy by setting up camp outside people's homes. The talk show "Ben", which is hosted by a bear named "Gentle Ben" wearing a microphone on its head, reflects the writers' feeling that anyone could host a talk show because all they need is a microphone and an audience.
Dennis Franz was the writers' second choice for the role of Homer when the first choice pulled out. According to the DVD commentary, the original actor was more "barrel chested".
In its original broadcast, "Homer Badman" finished 50th in ratings for the week of November 21–27, 1994, with a Nielsen rating of 9.5, equivalent to approximately 9.1 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating Married... with Children.
According to David Mirkin, this episode is very highly ranked among Simpsons fans. In Entertainment Weekly's top 25 The Simpsons episodes list compiled in 2003, "Homer Badman" was placed eighteenth. The Daily Telegraph characterized the episode as one of "The 10 Best Simpsons TV Episodes".