Brother from the Same Planet
- "I know you're mad at me right now, and I'm kinda mad too... I mean, we could sit here and try to figure out "who forgot to pick up who" till the cows come home. But let's just say we're both wrong and that'll be that."
| "Brother from the Same Planet"
| Episode Information
"Brother from the Same Planet" is the fourteenth episode of Season 4 of The Simpsons and the seventy-third episode overall. It originally aired on February 4, 1993. The episode was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Jeffrey Lynch. It guest stars Phil Hartman as Eddie Muntz and Tom.
- "Bart, fed up with Homer's neglect, joins the Big Brother program posing as an abandoned child so he can hang out with a better father figure. Homer finds out about Bart's cool, new friend, Tom, and exacts his revenge by donating his time as a big brother to a real orphan named Pepi."
After soccer practice, Bart refuses to go to the theater with his friends because Homer is picking him up. However, at home, Homer forgets about picking Bart up as he is distracted by Wheel of Fortune. As Bart waits, he ends up covered in mud during a storm. As Homer is at home, multiple things attempt to remind him to pick up Bart. However, he doesn't get any of the hints. Homer then goes to take a bath, where he falls asleep and dreams about finding Bart dead at the soccer field. Homer wakes up and finally rushes out the house to pick Bart up. When Homer gets to Bart, Bart is angry at Homer for forgetting about him.
That night, Bart is watching Tuesday Night Live. During the ad break, a commercial for the Bigger Brothers Agency plays. Bart then realizes that he could use this as a way to get back at Homer. Bart goes to the agency and tells them a sob story about how his father abandoned him six years ago. Bart is then assigned a "Bigger Brother", Tom. After school, Tom picks up Bart on his motorcycle. Meanwhile, at home, Marge finds a large phone bill to something called the Corey Hotline. After questioning Homer about it, the two of them realize that it was Lisa calling the number. Marge makes Lisa promise to stop making the phone calls and Lisa tells her that they won't be billed for another call.
The next day, Tom takes Bart to a baseball game where Bart tells Tom that his father is a drunken gambler. Tom then threatens to hit Homer if he ever meets him. Meanwhile, Lisa goes to the hospital where she has eardrops applied to her. Whilst waiting for the eardrops to settle, Lisa uses the hospital phone to call the Corey Hotline. Back at Tom's house, Bart and Tom work out together before watching an episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show. At school the next day, Bart shows off an experimental weapon, the "Neural Disrupter", which Tom gave him, which he uses to shoot Martin with. Meanwhile, Lisa continues with her addiction to the Corey Hotline, calling it from Grampa's room in the Springfield Retirement Castle and from the school. When Lisa was making the calls from the school, she got caught by Principal Skinner.
As Bart and Tom are paragliding over Springfield, Bart starts to feel guilty about spending time with Tom, thinking that he is pulling Tom away from other kids who need him more. Homer notices Tom and Bart in the sky whilst looking through some binoculars and then confronts Bart about it when he gets home. Homer decides to get even with Bart by going to the Bigger Brothers Agency and taking a kid himself. When Homer starts to have doubts about doing this, Pepi walks into the building and Homer decides to take him. Back at school, Marge and Lisa meet with Principal Skinner to talk about Lisa's phone calls. Marge tells Lisa that she has to stop them and if she can make it to midnight without making another call, she'll be over making them.
Homer and Pepi start to spend time together, with the two of them watching TV and stargazing together. That same night, Lisa is trying to resist making a call to the Corey Hotline. She almost gives in and calls the number, but instead listens to the phone telling her what time it is. Marge finds Lisa like this and is proud of her for getting over her addiction. The next morning, Bart asks Homer where his skateboard is, and Homer reveals that he gave it to Pepi, revealing to Bart that he has joined the Bigger Brothers program.
The next day, the Bigger Brothers Agency holds an event at Marine World. Homer and Pepi attend the event, not knowing that Bart and Tom were already there. When Bart and Homer meet up, Homer tells Tom that he's Bart's father. This causes Tom to punch Homer and the two of them start to fight. This fight goes all over Springfield until Homer ends up bent backwards over a fire hydrant. As Homer goes to hospital, he and Bart make up. Bart then sets Tom and Pepi up together, realizing that they need each other. After Homer gets out of the hospital, he teaches Bart some of the moves he made during the fight with Tom.
According to showrunner Al Jean, the episode never had a good reading or screening. However, when the show aired, people thought the episode was great. Writer Jon Vitti was disappointed with the initial reaction to the episode, and credited it partially due to the amount of stage direction in the script. The episode was also being held back because they wanted to get Tom Cruise to guest star. The episode was written for Tom Cruise, because the writers had been told by James L. Brooks that Tom Cruise wanted to guest star on the show. The role of Tom was written full of references to Tom Cruise and his movies, however, he refused to guest star. Phil Hartman then took over the role of Tom.
The episode had multiple scenes in the episode that were added to pad for time. This includes a reused scene from "Three Men and a Comic Book" of Homer in the rumpus room, and a scene that was frozen as Homer ran out the house naked, where Ned Flanders speaks. The Saturday Night Live parody originally had the band playing for longer, but the scene was cut down because Jon Vitti didn't want to come across as bitter due to having a bad year whilst writing for them. Pepi's design was based on Dondi from the comic strip Dondi.
For the Ren & Stimpy parody, the producers actually got authorization from Nickelodeon to do the parody. However, they added a lot of stipulations, which ended up with the parody just feeling like Ren & Stimpy. A layout artist from Ren & Stimpy went to the studio and did all the layouts for the parody.
The scene where Homer taunts the dolphin is a callback to the short "Zoo Story". Homer's facial expressions are pulled from the sheets of the original short as the animators didn't know how to get those expressions. The fight between Tom and Homer was inspired by The Quiet Man after the ending of the episode needed a rewrite.
Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club says that "Brother from the Same Planet" "deals hilariously and poignantly with [...] Homer trying to prove himself as a father and a man in the face of his family's perpetual disappointment." He also says that the episode ends "on a note both dark and tender".
- Jean, Al (2004). Commentary for "Brother from the Same Planet", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season.
- Vitti, Jon (2004). Commentary for "Brother from the Same Planet", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season.
- Lynch, Jeffrey (2004). Commentary for "Brother from the Same Planet", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season.
- The A.V. Club - "The Simpsons (Classic): "Brother From The Same Planet""
- IMDb - "Brother from the Same Planet"