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Dr. Kimberly's Comedy School: Pairing the absurd with the mundane

If you have access to it, watch The Simpsons, Season 1, episode 3, “Homer’s Odyssey.” This bit happens at around 12:50: Depressed due to losing his job, Homer decides to throw himself off a bridge. He ties a rope around a huge boulder, then ties the other end of the rope to his waist. When he goes to open the gate in the fence around the yard, struggling to carry the boulder, he finds the hinges squeak. He then interrupts his suicide attempt to get a can of oil and oil the gate’s hinges. This cracks me up because in the middle of a devastating act that he is carrying out in a ridiculous way, he stops to take care of this mundane problem.

Is he doing it because he doesn’t want to wake his family with the squeaking? Could be. The rationale is irrelevant. It’s the juxtaposition of the extreme and absurd with the quotidian that makes this moment work for me.

Kimberly Hirsh, PhD @kimberlyhirsh