El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer
- "Find your soulmate, Homer."
| "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer"
| Episode Information
"El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer", translated to "The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer", is the ninth episode of season 8 of The Simpsons and the one-hundred and sixty-second episode overall. It originally aired on January 5, 1997. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Jim Reardon. It guest stars Johnny Cash as the Space Coyote.
It's time for the annual Springfield Chili Cook-Off, and Marge tries everything to keep Homer from finding out about it, including cutting the ad out of the newspaper, disconnecting a phone call between Homer and Lenny, and even smoking a cigaratte to cover up the smell of the cookoff wafting over the city. Homer is surprised by her smoking and opens the front door for some fresh air, then realizes the cookoff is happening when he smells the spices from the house. He begs Marge to go, but she at first says no, reminding Homer of his drunken behavior at last year's Cook-Off. However, Marge changes her mind and makes him promise not to drink any beer, and the family quickly races to the Cook-Off.
After they arrive, Homer is revealed to be a revered chilli critic whose opinion is highly important to all the cooks. He demonstrates an extraordinary ability to withstand hot foods, until he falls victim to Chief Wiggum's chili spiked with "The Merciless Peppers of Quetzlzacatenango", humiliating himself in front of the whole town. Feeling the effects of the extremely hot peppers, Homer races desperately around in search for anything to drink, grabs a tray full of beers, and nearly drinks them when Marge catches him. Homer doesn't actually drink the beers (instead simply dousing his tongue with them), but Marge is still furious and storms off. Homer resorts to drinking water and discovers that candle wax can protect his mouth from the pepper's spiciness. Homer then returns to Chief Wiggum's stand and amazes the whole town by eating several peppers in quick succession. However, the peppers roil in his stomach, causing him to hallucinate and run off.
In his hallucination, Homer ends up in a desert, a bizarre world where the laws of physics don't apply, wherein he breaks the sun and encounters strange creatures such as a puddle that transforms into a snake. Homer is then instructed to follow a tortoise and climb a pyramid which grows to an enormous height, where he meets his spirit guide, a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash. The coyote advises Homer to find his soulmate, and questions Homer's assumption that he has already found her in Marge.
When Homer regains his senses, he rationalizes his dream. For example, he compares the desert he wandered in to the real-life location where he woke up (a golf course's sand trap) and the pyramid to the course's pro shop, and the talking coyote to a talking dog. After returning home, he finds Marge (who thinks that he got drunk, thus breaking his promise) angry with him for his odd behaviour at the cook-off. Feeling that Marge doesn't understand him at all, and remembering the coyote's words, Homer sets off on his own quest to find his soulmate. After looking among the patrons in Moe's Tavern and responding to a Personals ad placed by "GBM", Homer happens to see the lighthouse and concludes that the lighthouse operator must be the loneliest guy in town.
Homer goes to the lighthouse and is elated to see a sign reading "This lighthouse operated by EARL". Shouting "No more loneliness for Homer and Earl", Homer goes inside to meet his new friend. He is frustrated, however, to discover that the lighthouse is operated by a machine: E.A.R.L., short for Electronic Automatic Robotic Lighthouse. Homer destroys the lighthouse's giant bulb in a bout of recklessness, but Marge arrives and they fix it, warning a ship that's just about to run aground. They decide they really are soulmates, and Homer mocks what he calls the "space coyote". Unfortunately, the ship runs aground anyway, spilling its precious cargo of hot pants. The townspeople then turn up and help themselves to free hot pants.
"El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer" was viewed by approximately 8.7 million households and garnered a 9.0 Nielsen rating. It was the highest-rated show on Fox the week it aired.
The episode received general acclaim from television critics. In 2013, Crave Online, naming it the best episode of the entire series, praised the show's "classic one-liners" and concluded, "They'll never have an episode like "El Viaje Mysterioso de Nuestro Homer" again." L.A Weekly and Ask both included it in their "Top 10: Simpsons Episodes" lists. Johnny Cash's guest appearance was ranked at #14 on IGN's list of "Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances" in the show's history.
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- Crave Online: "Best Episode Ever # 1: ‘The Simpsons', A new column at CraveOnline TV begins by declaring the very best out of over 500 episodes of "The Simpsons."" - Fred Topel - June 12th, 2013
- LA Weekly: "Top 10 Simpsons Food Episodes: Tomacco Ribwich with a Side of Guatemalan Insanity Peppers + Skittlebrau" - By Keith Plocek - Fri, Nov 11, 2011
- AskMen.com: "Top 10: Simpsons Episodes"
- IGN.com: "Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances" - Eric Goldman, Dan Iverson & Brian Zoromski - 4 Jan 2010