Flyby: Moe on skis – he bumps into the title and lets out a shout of dismay as he tumbles to the ground.Billboard: Blinky the Fish promotes Springfield Seafood, now with fifty percent more eyes!  Blackboard: Prince is Not The Son Of Martin Luther King.Couch Gag: A repeat of the Couch-runs-away-from-the-family-by-hiding-in-the-Springfield-Shopper gag.

Homer becomes obsessed with the 80’s Sitcom “Thicker than Waters”.Watching reruns on ‘Tube Town’, he uses the show’s philosophy as a cornerstone in a less half-assed parenting style.When Bart comes to Homer asking for a mini bike to replace his slowly falling-apart ten speed, Homer encourages Bart to earn what he wants.Bart studies hard for an A on his math test, assuming he’ll get the bike if he does well.Unfortunately, Homer uses the situation to try to impart another life lesson to Bart and, for revenge, Bart tries to sell his father’s nuclear secrets to the highest bidder, running afoul of the Chinese.

A rare episode without a B-plot, “Homer The Father” has some ingeniously old-school moments – the act structure and the general emotional tone of the episode reach for classic era plotting, with mid-show level jokes and pacing.

While the general tone of the episode should make me laugh, something feels somewhat stange about it, and I put that to the unnecessary inclusion of the espionage plot.Though it’s definitely something an embittered Bart would do, it feels somewhat excessive within the scheme of the story.A more direct resolution to Homer’s obsession with the sitcom would’ve been more interesting and made better sense (though it did give us Apu’s fabulous line about the terror threats facing America).

Speaking of Homer’s obsession with Thicker Than Water, The episode scores a B+ when it comes to reflecting 80’s pop culture nostalgia fever.The best part of the show-within-a-show format, besides the dead-on parodying of 80’s sitcoms such as ‘Growing Pains’, is the sordid behind-the-scenes information that tumbles out in documentaries and behind the scenesbits.The best of these belong to James Lipton’s nearly psychopathic take on his public persona.“Tubetown” is a reflection of TV Land as it used to be (the network was long-ago swamped by reality shows and original series), with also-rans and should-have-been hits on full display.

Overall, “Homer The Father” strives for greatness but falls short by several feet.Perhaps if the whole Benedict Arnold plot hadn’t taken up more airtime it would’ve crossed the goal line, but as is:

LETTER GRADE: B-

Next Episode: Won’t air for at least two weeks, as Fox is airing both the Pro Bowl and the Superbowl on successive upcoming Sundays.