Homer's Triple Bypass

"Homer's Triple Bypass" is the eleventh episode in the fourth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 17, 1992.[1] In this episode, Homer gets a heart attack due to his very poor health. Dr. Hibbert tells Homer that he needs a triple bypass, but the Simpson family resorts to a discount surgeon after learning how expensive the operation would be in a regular hospital. The episode was written by Gary Apple and Michael Carrington and directed by David Silverman.[2]

"Homer's Triple Bypass"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 11
Directed byDavid Silverman
Written byGary Apple
Michael Carrington
Production code9F09
Original air dateDecember 17, 1992
Episode features
Chalkboard gag"Coffee is not for kids" (as he writes, each line becomes more and more scrawled).
Couch gagA very small Simpson family sits on a giant couch.
CommentaryMatt Groening
Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Michael Carrington
David Silverman


After Marge warns him about eating too much fatty foods, Homer starts to feel chest pains in the next morning. He chooses breakfast from bacon and eggs, instead of oatmeal for breakfast. During his travel to work, he feels his heart thumping, but he believes that is a malfunction in the gearbox. He stops at a gas station, where the mechanic tells him that is probably his heart. At work, Mr. Burns yells at Homer for poor performance and threatens him with dismissal. Homer has a heart attack, but regains consciousness after Burns tells Smithers to send the ham to the widow. Upon learning that he is alive, Burns cancels the package, to the chagrin of Homer.

Homer is sent to the hospital, Dr. Hibbert informs him and Marge that he needs a coronary artery bypass surgery, which will cost him $30,000. Hearing this, Homer has a heart attack, increasing the price to $40,000. Without any health insurance from work, Homer figures out a way to pay for the operation. Homer goes to The Merry Widow Insurance Company, but is denied when he has another heart attack before signing the policy. Marge and Homer then see a commercial for Dr. Nick Riviera, an incompetent surgeon who will perform any operation for $129.95. With no other options, Homer goes for the cheaper service.

Dr. Nick, unfamiliar with the procedure, rents an instructional video, but the important steps of the procedure have been taped over. During Homer's operation, he realizes he does not know what to do. Lisa, watching the operation in the amphitheatre, uses her knowledge of cardiology to guide Dr. Nick. The surgery is successful and Homer makes a full recovery.


James L. Brooks had the initial idea for the episode, but the subject matter made some writers uncomfortable.

"Homer's Triple Bypass" was not written by a member of the show's regular staff, but instead Gary Apple and Michael Carrington. They were brought in as freelance writers because the show was suffering from a depleted writing team after the third season ended and the remaining members did not bother to do the episode.

Carrington would provide voice work for later episodes, such as "I Love Lisa" (as Sideshow Raheem), "Homer and Apu" (as a comedian), and "Simpson Tide" (as Homer's drill instructor).[3] The idea for the episode came from James L. Brooks, who pitched the idea of Homer having a heart attack. However, the writers disagreed with such a heavy topic as this.[4]

They decided to have a scene where Lisa and Bart visit Homer before his surgery and were unsure of how to do it, so they approached Brooks. Brooks made up the entire scene on the spot.[5] Originally, the surgery was supposed to be performed by Dr. Hibbert, but it was later changed to Dr. Nick.[3] In the original airing of the episode, Dr. Nick's phone number was the number of a real legal clinic, whose lawyers made them change it to 1-600-DOCTORB.[3]

The episode's production staff decided that David Silverman would be able to make the episode funny, so he was selected to direct it.[4] He went "all out" and did his best to make Homer's grimaces as humorous as possible, to keep the episode at least somewhat lighter in tone. Silverman added some special touches: for example, when Homer has an out of body experience, his foot was still touching his body to signify that he was not dead. A doctor acted as a medical consultant for the episode.[6]

The episode was to have concluded with Homer eating a pizza in his hospital bed following the operation, and with Marge asking a nurse where the pizza had come from. This reflects the earlier flashback scene where Grampa Simpson watches Homer as an infant, chewing on a slice of pizza in the hospital. The scene was replaced with the family cheering Homer on while he is in intensive care.[5]

Cultural references

The opening sequence of the episode is a parody of American television show COPS; it was not in the original animatic and added later because the episode was too short to fit in its required 22-minute length.[6] When Homer is performing a sock-puppet show to Lisa and Bart, he uses Akbar and Jeff, both of whom are characters from Matt Groening's weekly comic strip Life in Hell.[2][4] Homer follows behind the house that was the birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe, which was placed in the episode by David Silverman. During this scene Homer starts to hear a heartbeat, a reference to Poe's "The Telltale Heart".[6] The scene where Homer sings in a church as a boy is based on the film Empire of the Sun.[5] When Homer tries to allay his children's concern over his forthcoming heart operation by telling them only bad people die, Bart then asks about Abraham Lincoln, to which Homer incorrectly tells him that he sold poisoned milk to schoolchildren, which is a reference to Abraham Lincoln's mother Nancy who died of milk sickness, an illness that is caused by drinking the milk of cows that have eaten the poisonous herb white snakeroot.


In its original broadcast, "Homer's Triple Bypass" finished 16th in ratings for the week of December 14–20, 1992, with a Nielsen rating of 14.3, equivalent to approximately 13.2 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating Married... with Children.[7]

Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, authors of I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, called it "a cautionary tale that gives Dr Nick his biggest chance to shine." They also praised the "cloud goes up, cloud goes down" line.[2] IGN noted that the episode "introduced fans to one of the show's more endearing background players, Dr. Nick."[8] Krusty's line "this ain't make-up" is one of Matt Groening's favorite lines from the show.[9]


  1. ^ "Homer's Triple Bypass". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  2. ^ a b c "Homer's Triple Bypass". BBC. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
  3. ^ a b c Carrington, Michael (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  4. ^ a b c Jean, Al (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ a b c Reiss, Mike (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ a b c Silverman, David (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ The Associated Press (December 24, 1992). "ABC's Arnolds rate high, but CBS is still no. 1". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
  8. ^ Pirrello, Phil (November 30, 2007). "OCD: The Simpsons' Mr. McGreg". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
  9. ^ Groening, Matt (2004). The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Commentary for the Episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.

External links

David Silverman (animator)

David Silverman (born March 15, 1957) is an American animator best known for directing numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons Movie. Silverman was involved with the series from the very beginning, animating all of the original short Simpsons cartoons that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show. He went on to serve as director of animation for several years. He also did the animation for the 2016 film, The Edge of Seventeen, which was produced by Gracie Films.

Dr. Hibbert

Dr. Julius M. Hibbert, usually referred to as Dr. Hibbert, is a recurring character on the animated series The Simpsons. His speaking voice is provided by Harry Shearer and his singing voice was by Thurl Ravenscroft, and he first appeared in the episode "Bart the Daredevil". Dr. Hibbert is Springfield's most prominent and competent doctor, though he sometimes makes no effort to hide or makes light of his high prices. Dr. Hibbert is very good-natured, and is known for finding a reason to laugh at nearly every situation.

Dr. Nick

Dr. Nicholas Riviera (usually referred to as simply Dr. Nick) is a recurring fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He is voiced by Hank Azaria and first appeared in the episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". Dr. Nick is an inept quack physician, and a satire of incompetent medical professionals. Upon entering a scene, Dr. Nick's catchphrase is "Hi, everybody!", with the characters present immediately responding (often in chorus) "Hi, Dr. Nick!".

Gary Apple

Gary Apple (August 21, 1955, Brooklyn, NY) is an American comedy writer; he wrote for prime time network sitcoms and animation, including The Simpsons, and co-produced The Sinbad Show and the remake of Get Smart in the 90s. Apple also writes for the theater.

Gábor Csupó

Gábor Csupó ( GAH-bor CHOO-poh, Hungarian: [ˈɡaːbor ˈtʃupoː]; born September 29, 1952) is a Hungarian–American animator, writer, director, producer and graphic designer. He is co-founder of the animation studio Klasky Csupo, which has produced shows like Rugrats, Duckman, and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.

How the Test Was Won

"How the Test Was Won" is the eleventh episode of the twentieth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 1, 2009. It was written by Michael Price and directed by Lance Kramer. The episode features cultural references to the television shows The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, and Cheers, and the film Footloose.

Since airing, the episode received mostly mixed reviews from television critics.

Jon Lovitz

Jonathan Michael Lovitz (; born July 21, 1957) is an American comedian, actor, voice actor, and singer. He is best known as a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1985 to 1990. He starred as Jay Sherman in The Critic and has appeared in numerous other television series and films.

His film credits include roles in The Brave Little Toaster, Rat Race, Big, A League of Their Own, The Wedding Singer, High School High, and The Benchwarmers.

Krusty the Clown

Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky, better known as Krusty the Clown (sometimes spelled as Krusty the Klown), is a cartoon character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta. He is the long-time clown host of Bart and Lisa's favorite TV show, a combination of kiddie variety television hijinks and cartoons including The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Krusty is often portrayed as a cynical, burnt-out, addiction-riddled smoker who is made miserable by show business but continues on anyway. He has become one of the most common characters outside the main Simpson family and has been the focus of several episodes, most of which also spotlight Bart.

Krusty was created by cartoonist Matt Groening and partially inspired by Rusty Nails, a television clown from Groening's hometown of Portland, Oregon. He was designed to look like Homer Simpson with clown makeup, with the original idea being that Bart worships a television clown who was actually his own father in disguise. His voice is based on Bob Bell, who portrayed WGN-TV's Bozo the Clown. Krusty made his television debut on January 15, 1989 in the Tracey Ullman Show short "The Krusty the Clown Show".

Life in Hell

Life in Hell is a comic strip by Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, Futurama, and Disenchantment, which was published weekly from 1977 to 2012. The strip features anthropomorphic rabbits and a gay couple. The comic covers a wide range of subjects, such as love, sex, work, and death, and explores themes of angst, social alienation, self-loathing, and fear of inevitable doom.

Lisa's First Word

"Lisa's First Word" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It was first broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on December 3, 1992. In the episode, as the Simpson family gathers around Maggie and tries to encourage her to say her first word, Marge reminisces and tells the story of Lisa's first word. Elizabeth Taylor appeared for the voicing of Maggie's first word.

The episode was directed by Mark Kirkland and written by Jeff Martin. After its initial airing on Fox, the episode was later released as part of a 1999 video collection: The Simpsons: Greatest Hits, and released again on the 2003 DVD edition of the same collection. The episode features cultural references to two chains of fast food restaurants, Wendy's and McDonald's, as well as a reference to the 1981 arcade video game Ms. Pac-Man.

"Lisa's First Word" received positive reception from television critics, and acquired a Nielsen rating of 16.6.

Marge vs. the Monorail

"Marge vs. the Monorail" is the twelfth episode in the fourth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 14, 1993. The plot revolves around Springfield's impulse purchase of a faulty monorail from a conman, and how it subsequently falls to Marge to stop the train from destroying the town. The episode was written by Conan O'Brien and was directed by Rich Moore. Recurring guest star Phil Hartman provided the voice of Lyle Lanley, while Leonard Nimoy made a guest appearance in this episode.

"Marge vs. the Monorail" has been widely praised by fans and critics and is generally considered one of the best episodes of the entire series. Writer Conan O'Brien has said that, of the Simpsons episodes that he wrote, this was his favorite. Leonard Nimoy's unexpected guest appearance was also widely praised. Despite this, the episode attracted some criticism when it was first aired due to the somewhat abstract and less situational nature of the plot, particularly from voice actor Yeardley Smith who in 1995 described the episode as "truly one of our worst".

Michael Carrington (voice actor)

Michael Carrington is an American comic writer and voice actor best known for his work on the animated series The Simpsons. He co-wrote the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" with Gary Apple and has provided occasional voicework, most notably as Sideshow Raheem (Krusty's militant black sideshow partner in the 1970s) in "I Love Lisa", the black comedian who does the joke about black drivers versus white drivers in "Homer and Apu", the drill sergeant in "Simpson Tide," and a sportscaster in "Million Dollar Abie".

Carrington has also written for The Jamie Foxx Show, The Proud Family, and The Gregory Hines Show and did some voice work for The Critic and appeared in the television series Martin and made appearances as the host of the first season of the children's game show Think Fast! and appears as one of the journalists in the film screened in the queue area of the theme park ride Space Mountain. He has been a writer and producer of That's So Raven.

Ned Flanders

Nedward Flanders Jr. is a recurring fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the extremely religious, good-natured, cheery next-door neighbor to the Simpson family and is generally envied and loathed by Homer Simpson. A scrupulous and devout Evangelical Christian, he is among the friendliest and most compassionate of Springfield's residents and is generally considered a pillar of the Springfield community.

He was one of the first characters outside the immediate Simpson family to appear on the show, and has since been central to several episodes, the first being season two's "Dead Putting Society". His last name comes from Flanders St. in Portland, Oregon, the hometown of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. When he was created, he was intended to just be a neighbor who was very nice, but whom Homer abhorred.

Operating theater

An operating theater (also known as an operating room (OR), operating suite, or operation suite) is a facility within a hospital where surgical operations are carried out in an aseptic environment.

Historically, the term "operating theatre" referred to a non-sterile, tiered theater or amphitheater in which students and other spectators could watch surgeons perform surgery. Contemporary operating rooms are devoid of a theatre setting, making the term "operating theater" a misnomer. There are only two old-style operating theaters left, both of which are preserved as part of museums.

Patty and Selma

Patty and Selma Bouvier () are fictional characters in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. They are identical twins (but with different hairstyles) and are both voiced by Julie Kavner. They are Marge Bouvier's older twin sisters, who both work at the Springfield Department of Motor Vehicles, and possess a strong dislike for their brother-in-law, Homer Simpson. Homer dislikes them at least as much. Selma is the elder by two minutes, and longs for male companionship while her sister, Patty, is a lesbian. Kavner voices them as characters who "suck the life out of everything". Patty and Selma first appeared on the first ever aired Simpsons episode "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire", which aired on December 17, 1989.

Simpson Tide

"Simpson Tide" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 29, 1998. After being fired from the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, Homer decides to join the United States Navy Reserve. The episode was the second and last to be written by Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia and was the final episode directed by Milton Gray.

It guest starred Rod Steiger as Captain Tenille and Bob Denver as himself, with one-time The Simpsons writer Michael Carrington making an appearance as the Drill Sergeant. This was the last episode Al Jean and Mike Reiss executive produced together, although Jean became show runner again in season 13.

The Simpsons (season 4)

The Simpsons' fourth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 24, 1992 and May 13, 1993, beginning with "Kamp Krusty". The showrunners for the fourth production season were Al Jean and Mike Reiss. The aired season contained two episodes which were hold-over episodes from season three, which Jean and Reiss also ran. Following the end of the production of the season, Jean, Reiss and most of the original writing staff left the show. The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and Dan Castellaneta would win one for his performance as Homer in "Mr. Plow". The fourth season was released on DVD in Region 1 on June 15, 2004, Region 2 on August 2, 2004 and in Region 4 on August 25, 2004.

The Simpsons house

742 Evergreen Terrace is the most commonly used fictional street address in Springfield of the Simpson family home in the animated sitcom, The Simpsons and in the feature film The Simpsons Movie. In the series, the house is owned by Homer and Marge Simpson, who live with their three children Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The street name is a reference to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, creator Matt Groening's alma mater.

To the left of the Simpsons' house (as seen from the street) is Ned Flanders' house, at 744 Evergreen Terrace. The house on the right has been occupied by numerous owners, including Ruth and Laura Powers, Sideshow Bob, and the extended Flanders family (Ted Flanders and his daughters Connie and Bonnie).

In 1997, a real-life replica of the house was constructed at 712 Red Bark Lane in Henderson, Nevada, and given away as the grand prize in a contest.

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille (born Teressa Claire Payne; June 20, 1951) is an American voice actress and singer, who has voiced various characters in shows such as The Simpsons, Futurama, Hey Arnold!, Tiny Toon Adventures, Rugrats, Animaniacs and Disney's House of Mouse.

Season 4
Themed episodes
See also


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