[7.2/10] I’ll admit, I don’t laugh as much at these early season episodes as I do at the ones that come later, but what really impresses me is how good they are at just telling stories. It’s impressive how well “Dancin’ Homer” turns a well-observed look at both baseball and company outings in the opening act into a fairly engaging rise-and-fall narrative for Homer as a high-stepping mascot.
There’s still plenty of laughs to be had here. Homer as a narrator is a surprisingly good source of comedy, whether he’s talking about Bart’s sense of respect for him and adding “it wouldn’t last” or (in an amusingly cynical line for the show) having Homer note that his wife and kids stood by him and realize “how little that helped.”) There’s a lot of good homages, from Pride of the Yankees to The Natural. And man, Tony Bennett lending his velvet voice to a great “New York, New York” parody is a treat.
There’s other great guest performers, like Tom Poston bringing an oddly funny dignity to the Capital City Goofball as the elder statesmen of mascot, to Ken Levine reliving his former career as a minor league baseball announcer as the Isotopes’ broadcaster.
Homer’s antics as a mascot are funny, and the Burns/heckling material is very solid as well. Like most of the show’s early outings, the laugh are more wry than guffah-worthy, but still great all the way through. Overall, lots of well-observed shtick and funny parody material baked into a stellar story.
Mister Tony Bennett, oh God!