NASA scientists train Homer to become the first average American in space—with near disastrous results.
Homer believes that he will be the recipient of the Worker of the Week award. He bases his assumption on the fact that he is the only employee left at the power plant who has not had the honor bestowed upon him. His hopes are dashed, however, when Mr. Burns gives the award to an inanimate carbon rod. Meanwhile, scientists at NASA voice their concern that the agency has lost the American public’s interest. Realizing that most popular sitcoms on television feature blue collar workers, the scientists embark on a search to find the just the right “blue collar slob.” Their prayers are answered when Homer places a crank call to the Space Administration.
NASA offers both Homer and Barney a chance to participate in the next space mission. But when the men realize that only one of them will be chosen, a competition develops between them. Homer feels confident the job is his—until the agency forces Barney to give up drinking beer. Suddenly, Barney’s intellect returns, he loses weight and his overall appearance improves dramatically. Homer soon realizes he faces a formidable opponent—one he is unable to beat. When Barney celebrates his victory by drinking champagne, however, he suddenly reverts to his former self. Homer is chosen as the new astronaut by default.
Homer and his fellow astronauts, Buzz Aldrin and Race Banyon, blast off into space. Unaccustomed to weightlessness, Homer accidentally spills potato chips into the ship, then smashes a glass tank, releasing an ant colony. The combination of ants and potato chips begins clogging instrument panels, creating a potential for disaster. Musician James Taylor sings a song for the crew, then suggests that the astronauts blow the debris into the vacuum of space. The plan works until Homer almost gets sucked out the airlock, breaking a critical door handle in the process. He pins the door shut using an inanimate carbon rod, allowing the ship to return safely to Earth. The rod is given a hero’s welcome.
Source: 20th Century Fox