Matt Groening (1997)
El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer is the ninth episode in the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 5, 1997. In the episode, Homer eats several hot chili peppers and hallucinates, causing him to go on a mysterious voyage. Following this, he questions his relationship with Marge and goes on a journey to find his soulmate.
The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Jim Reardon. The episode explores themes of marriage, community, and alcohol use. Homer’s voyage features surreal animation to depict the elaborate hallucination. The episode guest stars Johnny Cash as the “Space Coyote”.
The episode was pitched as early as the third season by George Meyer, who was interested in an episode based on the books of Carlos Castaneda. Meyer had wanted to have an episode featuring a mystical voyage that was not induced by drugs, and so he decided to use “really hot” chili peppers instead. The staff, except for Matt Groening, felt it was too odd for the show at that point. Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein resurrected the story, and decided to use it for season eight.
Most of the hallucination sequence was animated completely by David Silverman. Silverman did not want the risk of sending it to South Korea, as he wanted it to look exactly as he had imagined it, including rendered backgrounds to give a soft mystical feel to the scene. The coyote was intentionally drawn in a boxier way so that it looked “other-worldly” and unlike the other characters. During Homer’s voyage, the clouds in one shot are live-action footage, and 3D computer animation was used for the giant butterfly. During the same hallucination, Ned Flanders’ line was treated on a Mac computer so that it increased and decreased pitch.