In Season 2, Episode 11 of The Simpsons, "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", Homer accidentally eats the poison in a blowfish at a sushi restaurant, and as a result he's told he has only a day left to live. But for some reason, he survives with no ill effects from the poison and just falls asleep in his formerly final moments instead of dying.

I know The Simpsons is a comedy and eventually became so goofy that trying to explain plot holes is borderline pointless. But in Season 2 the show was a relatively grounded family comedy, and S2E11 in particular is almost more of a drama.

Was there any reason given in commentaries or interviews as to why Homer didn't die like his doctors and the chef expected?

  • Aside, from memory it was a fish called "fugu" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugu
    – Criggie
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 13:37
  • 4
    @Criggie "fugu" and "blowfish" can refer to the same kind of fish.
    – G_B
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


Homer wasn't actually poisoned. He only believed he was poisoned.

At the sushi restaurant, the master chef tells Homer (emphasis mine):

I shall be blunt. We have reason to believe you've eaten poison.

When he then goes to the hospital, Dr. Hibbert tells him (again, emphasis mine):

If you have consumed blowfish venom, and the chef said it's probable... you have 24 hours to live.

At no point is it stated that Homer actually has ingested blowfish toxin, only that he probably had. Homer therefore believed that he had, but his survival at the end of the episode indicates that he hadn't, and was actually fine the whole time.

The Season 2 DVD box set contains audio commentary on the episode from Matt Groening, but I haven't been able to track down a copy of it in order to confirm whether he explicitly states that Homer was never poisoned. It's the most logical explanation, however, and both The Simpsons Wiki and TV Tropes (obligatory warning: massive time-sink) mention it in their descriptions of the episode.

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    Realistically, there should have been no tension whatsoever at the end. It's not like he'd be fine one instant and dead the next; symptoms would ramp up over time.
    – Ryan_L
    Commented Apr 16, 2022 at 17:13
  • 15
    That's not how movie/TV poisons work. In movieland poison is a time bomb. It will kill you at a predicted time, but if you get the antidote even a few seconds prior to the deadline the poison will be cured and you will recover instantly.
    – Pete
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 0:24
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    @Ryan_L - wut? Inconceivable! Vizzini would like a word with you!
    – davidbak
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 15:50
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    @Ryan_L tetrodotoxin poisoning has a fairly rapid onset of symptoms, 10-45 minutes, with a gradual paralysis of extremities. If Homer had been poisoned from eating fugu in the real world, it would be very noticeable within an hour or so as he'd likely be unable to move or breathe properly, and would be in the ICU on artificial respiration while doctors work to flush as much of the poison out as possible. Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 18:58

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