Tag Archives: Reverend Lovejoy

SSR #26: “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment”

Introduction:
We are halfway through the second season now, and one relationship we haven’t really touched on much is the relationship between father and daugher, in the form of Homer and Lisa. We’ve seen a couple of good moments from them in “Moaning Lisa,” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish,” and we’ll be getting a great big dose later in the season when we get to “Lisa’s Substitute,” but I think this is an episode that shows why the two don’t really mesh together that well. There is definitely a love there, and I don’t think anyone can deny that, but this episode really shows the core difference between the two characters’ specific values. Lisa is about doing the right thing and being a strong, moral compass, while Homer is a little bit more about bending the rules a little for his own entertainment and enjoyment. They may clash at times, but I think a mature level of respect for each other still exists, and we’ll be taking a look at that interaction with today’s episode.

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SSR #19: “Dead Putting Society”

Introduction:
There is one rivalry in the Simpsons world that we haven’t exactly explored quite yet, and it may seem a bit surprising that we haven’t after eighteen episodes. We’ve seen these two interact before, but now we are going to get an actual episode about their conflict. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for a battle between the Simpson family and the Flanders family; in perhaps one of my all-time favorite Season 2 episodes, Dead Putting Society.

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SSR #12: “Krusty Gets Busted”

Intro

Introduction:
The entire town of Springfield is about to be shook when a television celebrity and role model for the young is caught on tape committing a crime a the local convenience store. All eyes are looking to put the clown behind bars, with the exception of one little boy who is determined to prove the entertainer’s innocence. “Krusty gets Busted” debuted on April 22nd, 1990 and was the 12th episode aired and written for the Simpson’s first season. The chalkboard gag for this episode is “They are laughing at me, not with me,” and the couch gag features the entire family sitting on the couch, squishing and launching Maggie into the air with Marge catching her on descent (repeat).

Chips“You can emerge now from my chips. The opportunity to prove yourself a hero is long gone.”
~Apu

Plot:
Patty and Selma are coming over for dinner and plan to show the rest of the family pictures from their latest vacation, so Marge calls Homer at work to tell him to pick-up some ice cream on the way home. While at the cash register, a burglar, who looks remarkably like Krusty the Clown, holds up Apu, the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, and scares Homer into jumping into a nearby display of potato chips. The burglar escapes, but when the police comes by to follow a police report, Homer testifies that Krusty was the individual who robbed the Kwik-E-Mart. Krusty is promptly arrested and when Bart finds out that his hero was involved in a robbery, he is completely devastated and disappointed.

The day of Krusty’s court case comes and before he enters the building, Bart tries to ask Krusty if he actually did rob the convenience store. In a very sad and defeated tone of voice, Krusty says to Bart that he didn’t commit the crime while everyone else laughs it off. He pleads “not guilty” during the trial, but due to an overwhelming amount of evidence and Homer’s testimony, Krusty is found to be guilty. During the trial, we also learn a few key details about Krusty the Clown. For one, he has a pacemaker. Two, he is completely illiterate. Finally, he has really small feet despite wearing humongous clown shoes during his television shows. Although these facts may seem irrelevant and inconsequential, they will be important later on. The entire town is happy to have the criminal locked up and celebrates by burning all of Krusty’s merchandise.

During this time, Krusty’s sidekick, Sideshow Bob (played by the remarkable Kelsey Grammer), is put in charge of Krusty’s show and manages to get a lot of kids on board with the new format (including Lisa and Maggie). His show focuses less on the patronizing humor of Krusty the Clown and more on enriching the mind and lives of children. Bart is not on board with this change and feels like Krusty might be innocent, but is not sure how and where to start in proving it. He asks Lisa for some help and they go down to the Kwik-E-Mart, the scene of the crime.

While at the Kwik-E-Mart, Lisa discovers the microwave and its warning sign, which reads “People with pacemakers should not use the microwave.” However, the footage that captured the robbery showed Krusty using the microwave to heat up a burrito. Next, she remembers that the robber was also reading a magazine, which again, Krusty would not have been able to do considering he was illiterate. At this point, it starts to look like Krusty was actually framed by someone else, and Bart knows a good place to start in asking if Krusty had any enemies; his partner, Sideshow Bob. At this point, we the viewers discover that Sideshow Bob may in fact have had something to do with the crime, as he starts to laugh maniacally behind closed doors.

Bart and Lisa go to the television studio to talk to Sideshow Bob about what they found, but they come right before a show is scheduled to start and are pushed into the audience. Bob notices Bart looking troubled and brings him on stage for a segment. During the segment, Bart brings up Krusty’s crime at the Kwik-E-Mart and cites the evidence he and Lisa found in proving that Krusty was not responsible, but Bob dismisses the evidence, telling Bart that Krusty was prone to ignoring doctors’ orders and that Krusty was admiring the pictures in the magazine he was looking at, not reading it. He then speaks to Bart and the other children saying that he knows that this ugly incident has affected a lot of people, including himself, but now that it has happened, that they should all try to move on and remember the good times. At this point, he mentions that he has “big shoes to fill,” which clicks the final piece of evidence Bart needed to prove Krusty’s innocence.

Bart remembers that Homer accidentally stepped on Krusty’s feet during the security tape, which he wouldn’t have been able to do with Krusty since his feet are much smaller. Then, looking at Sideshow Bob’s huge feet, he figures out that the Krusty who robbed the Kwik-E-Mart was actually Sideshow Bob in disguise, and when Bart slams a mallet on Bob’s feet, Bob utters very similar words (in the same tone of voice) to what he yelled at Homer during the crime. The police just so happen to be watching the show at that point and they immediately go to arrest the true criminal. Bob framed Krusty because he was tired of being Krusty’s whipping boy and the target of all of his comedic abuse and wanted to be given the spotlight for once. Bob is taken away to prison and Krusty is pardoned and released, and the police and Homer apologize to him for the misunderstanding. Krusty then gives his heartfelt thanks to Bart as he shakes his hand. Bart is given an autographed photograph of the exchange and the episode closes on him going to sleep in a room filled with Krusty merchandise.

Clown Line-up“Well, if the crime is making me laugh, they’re ALL guilty!”
– Homer Simpson

My Personal History:
This was an episode I was very familiar with, but never actually got to see until I owned the first season on DVD. I was aware of it because I had seen and witnessed all of the other Sideshow Bob episodes (at the time) and thought they were some of the most hilarious and best episodes of the entire show. Because they allude to this episode in almost every Sideshow Bob episode, it was fairly easy to know and remember the plot. I just had no idea how it actually went down until I got to see it several years later.

Krusty TrialKrusty: “I plead guilty, your Honor!”
*everyone gasps in surprise*
Krusty: “Oh, I mean not guilty. *laughs* Opening night jitters, your Honor!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
I’d be an absolute fool if I overlooked the performance of Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob, so before I get into anything else, let’s go over that first. My god…Sideshow Bob (or at least early/golden year’s Sideshow Bob) may be one of the best characters in the entire show. I love how over the top he is, but also how cultured and sophisticated he is. And to top it all off, he also has a very good sense of humor too. A great combination like that makes for very great television, so kudos to Kelsey Grammer for the performance, but also to the writers for the casting decision and for just writing him the way he is as well. As I said, these episodes are and will always be some of my favorites, and even though this was the first and perhaps the least developed of all the Bob episodes, it’s still a treat to watch, even to this day.

I think another reason this episode is a stand-out is just because the writers got the perfect balance of humor and innovative story-telling. This episode was written as a mystery for viewers to try and solve throughout the episode’s duration. They set the mystery up, they highlighted important clues throughout the different scenes, and at the very end, or at least before Bart revealed the solution; you, the viewers, would have enough information to know, “yeah, there is something not quite right here.” And sure enough, during subsequent watches and re-watches, you’d be able to see all the clues in play and where exactly the writers intended for you to put stuff together. I will say right now, compared to other mystery episodes the Simpsons would tackle in future seasons, this is not the best use of this formula. In fact, there are times where I feel like the writers almost try to push certain clues a bit too much, but that also might be just because I’ve seen this episode so many times and pretty much had the intel before I even saw the episode from future Sideshow Bob episodes, so it’s hard to analyze this from a fresh perspective. However, after learning the main motivation of this episode and looking at how everything is woven together, you have to give credit to the writers for coming up with something unique, especially this early on in the series.

And as I mentioned, the jokes and the humor is very on point too. From the very beginning to the very end, there is just joke, after joke, after joke and it’s done in such a great way where the rest of the story doesn’t suffer from joke overload. You’re given time to breathe and think about what’s going on in the story and the jokes are there just to complement what’s going on. From Homer’s cowardly dive into the potato chips, to Krusty’s antics during court, to even Apu’s reactions when Bart and Lisa come to investigate the crime scene and he is still very much affected and traumatized by the robbery…the entire episode is just really, really funny. I think my favorite part/line from the episode is at the end when Sideshow Bob is screaming at the crowd while being taken away, “Treat children as equals! They are smarter than you think,” just making his exit as theatrical as possible and it’s just a great end to the character at this chapter of his story.

Bob Arrested“Treat kids as equals! They’re people too! They’re smarter than you think! They were smart enough to catch ME!”
~Sideshow Bob

My Review:
So I think it’s safe to say from the previous section that I really like this episode, and that is definitely true. Alongside Bart the General, Krusty Gets Busted is definitely at the top of Season 1, as far as individual episodes are concerned. It took a gamble in terms of its episode structure and put the focus on some secondary and guest characters, but integrated the main cast very well too. It was ambitious in theory, but it hit on all the right notes and did exactly what it needed to do. It had great writing, great casting, great jokes…it had everything you’d ever want from an episode of The Simpsons. In fact, the only negative I could even give this one is that it’s not as enjoyable as other Sideshow Bob episodes, but when you consider its competition…it’s really not even a fair fight to begin with.

I do wish I could have watched this episode without having prior knowledge of what Sideshow Bob will ultimately become though, because I do think having that knowledge could cheapen the overall experience of this particular episode. Granted, I still love it despite not being able to get that experience, but I’m also trying to look at these episodes from an unbiased perspective and there are individuals who don’t like having entire storylines spoiled for them. So if you are in the process of sharing The Simpsons with a friend or acquaintance of yours, make sure you at least show the Sideshow Bob saga in order if you want to go down that route. It’ll be worth every laugh as you experience some of the greatest episodes of the series (well…at least to a certain point anyway).

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Ok guys, we are almost done with Season 1. We just have one more episode to go and this particular episode is….kind of a special case. As I’ve mentioned before, the last episode of the season was actually created very early on in Season 1. It was initially planned as the beginning of The Simpsons television series but was held back for…reasons. I’ll get more into those specifics next time when we take a look at the Season 1 finale; “Some Enchanted Evening.” Until then, have a good day everybody!

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SSR #10: “Homer’s Night Out”

Intro

Introduction:
Last week we had a little trouble in paradise with Marge being tempted by the advances of another man. This week, Homer will have his own little adventures in the adult world, but not without getting sent to the doghouse after the fact. I really hope this is not the start of a pattern for future problems to come for this marriage, but we should probably get started anyway. Homer’s Night Out is the 10th episode of the Simpsons 1st season and was also the tenth episode written for the series, despite being written before Life in the Fast Lane and after a future episode in the season. The chalkboard gag is “I will not call my teacher ‘Hot Cakes,’” probably a wise lesson to learn for the future, and the couch gag is a repeat from earlier in the season when the entire family sits on the couch and it completely collapses under them.

HomerApuApu: “You look familiar sir, are you on the television or something?”
Homer: “Sorry buddy, you got me confused with Fred Flintstone!”

Plot:
This episode actually has a really interesting start, as the story takes place 6 months after the beginning scene. Homer is telling Marge about his new assistant who recently made a fool out of himself at a party in front of a girl he liked. Then, the scene switches to Bart who purchases a miniature spy camera from a mail order catalog. The story then jumps ahead six months to the present day. Homer is telling Marge about a bachelor party he’s going to for his ex-assistant (now supervisor) who is about to marry the same woman he made a fool out of himself in front of. Marge is concerned that the bachelor party is actually a stag party, but Homer assures his wife that it is nothing like that. Meanwhile, after six months of waiting and pestering the female mail carrier, Bart finally receives his spy camera.

Bart proceeds to use the camera in typical kid fashion, by taking pictures of humiliating things like Marge shaving her armpits, a piece of roadkill, and even attempts to snap a shot of his own rear end. Marge announces that they will be going out to eat that night, minus Homer (since he will be at the bachelor party) at the Rusty Barnacle seafood restaurant. Little do they know, the bachelor party Homer is attending is also taking place in one of the private party rooms in the same building. The party is very boring at first, but things start to go wild when a belly-dancer known as Princess Kashmir arrives on the scene and starts to dance on the tabletops. She invites Homer to dance with her and Homer agrees, at first nervous and not really knowing what to do, but then really gets into it and finishes the dance by putting some money in her g-string underwear. During this dance, Bart stumbles away from the family, sneaks into the party room, and takes a picture of his father in act of dancing with the woman.

Bart shows the picture to his friends at school and ends up giving a copy to his two best friends. However, his two friends end up making more copies for their friends, and soon enough, everyone around town has a copy of the picture, including the church reverend, Homer’s boss Mr. Burns, and it gets posted at the gym where Marge conveniently goes to work out. Homer is unaware of the photo’s existence until an angry Marge confronts him about the picture. Homer, at a loss of what to say, gets thrown out of the house by Marge, forcing him to stay at his friend Barney’s apartment. With the exception of Marge’s response though, most of the town is very complimentary towards Homer and his bravery for dancing with a beautiful woman. Even when Mr. Burns confronts Homer about the picture, after scolding him initially for his behavior, he asks Homer for advice on how to attract members of the opposite sex. Unfortunately though, the one and only person he wants to talk about this with is the same woman who threw him out; his wife.

Homer attempts to go home the next morning to talk to Marge. Marge is open with why she is angry and tells Homer that the reason she is mad is because Homer is teaching his son a very bad lesson when it comes to how men should treat women. She wants Homer to take Bart to meet this woman so he can show Bart that Princess Kashmir is more than just a belly dancer, but also a human being with real thoughts, feelings and emotions. They ultimately track her down at a club, but while Princess Kashmir is telling Bart her story, the performance starts and Homer falls on stage. The announcer, other dancers and the entire audience recognize Homer as the man from the photograph, and he is once again encouraged to dance on stage.

Homer starts dancing yet again, but when he sees Bart watching him and smiling, he realizes that he is not doing what he promised his wife he would do and immediately stops and grabs the mic to give a speech about women. While giving his speech, Marge enters the club and listens to Homer’s words. Homer tells the entire club that women are not only people too, but also a very big part of our lives; being not only wives, but also sisters, aunts, nieces, daughters and mothers, and that we should not treat them as objects. He finishes by saying that he would rather be at home in bed with his wife sleeping than shoving money in some dancer’s underwear. The entire club applauds Homer’s speech and Marge runs on stage to reconcile with Homer. The episode fades to credits on the two kissing.

Homer thrown outHomer: “But where will I sleep?”
Marge: “My suggestion is for you to sleep in the filth you created!”
Homer: “Would a motel be okay?”

My Personal History:
I don’t have much to say here. I didn’t get to watch this episode until it came out on DVD. I was interested in seeing the plot and premise as it seemed very different from what I was used to with Simpson’s episodes, but like Life on the Fast Lane, I couldn’t really form a major opinion on it until much later on in life, when it was more relatable to me as an episode plot. It’s still not really that relatable, but more so than it was as a 14-year-old.

Mr Burns“A plant employee carrying on like an oversexed orangutan in heat! This is a family nuclear power plant Simpson. Our research indicate that 50% of our power is used by women. I will not have you offending my customers with your bawdy shenanigans!”
~Mr. Burns

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
I think the beginning part of the episode is great. I love the joke of how Homer’s assistant started out as pathetic as Homer is, but then in six-month’s time, not only did he manage to court and get engaged with the woman he was after, but he also got promoted over Homer while Homer is still just in the same place that he’s always been in. It’s also humorous to see Homer freak out about his weight twice, in the same exact fashion, when over a six month’s time period, he didn’t gain a single pound. And for Homer Simpson, with how much a food glutton he is, it’s honestly not that bad of an accomplishment. The jokes at the restaurant and bachelor party are also pretty good (especially with Bart’s exchanges with the waiter), but after that scene and the first act ends, the episode just kind of takes a very hard left turn, and unfortunately not in a great direction.

I’ll touch on what I didn’t like in the next section, as I’m mainly focusing on the stuff I liked here, but from the end of the first act to the very end of the episode, the only other thing I liked was the ending speech of Homer’s. I liked it because it was a good speech that had a great message, and even featured a little humor in it as well. There’s just something about Homer mentioning “nephews” as a female family title and then immediately retracting it when he realizes what he has said that just cracks me up every single time. But yeah, like I said, it was a good ending with a good message, but I really don’t feel like the message complimented the episode that well. And because I’m kind of getting into it now, perhaps I should move on to the next section first…

Speech“It’s about women, and how they are not mere objects with curves that make us crazy. No, they are our wives, they are our daughters, our sisters, our grandmas, our aunts, our nieces and nephews…well, not our nephews.”
~Homer Simpson

My Review:
There has always been something that has really bothered me about this episode, and after watching it today, I think I finally have my answer for why I feel like this episode kind of misses its mark. First of all, I want to stress that when it comes to women, I am very much in favor of treating them as equals, and any man who goes out of his way to treat them as objects or possessions, is absolute trash. No woman, and for that right, any human being, should be treated in that fashion, and these days I feel like we should be through with that mindset already. We are all equals, and gender and race hierarchies just should not exist. Obviously there are still some individuals who disagree, and let’s be real, there will always be sexism and discrimination regardless of how the times have changed; however, sometimes I feel like there are times when someone tries to push a fight when a battle doesn’t need to be fought, and in this case, I feel like that “someone” is this episode.

What I’m getting at; I don’t really think Homer did anything that wrong here, especially in terms of what Marge is accusing him of. Throughout the entire episode, Homer is actually pretty considerate of how he treats women. He isn’t too forward with women when he’s around them, when he tries to give Mr. Burns advice, he gives very respectful, gentlemanly advice, and you can see and feel that his speech at the end of the episode is genuine and very consistent with how he is throughout the episode. And as far as dancing with all the erotic dancers…I mean, let’s be real here…those dancers are just doing their job and Homer is not going beyond any boundaries that exist in that type of interaction. He’s not grabbing the woman, touching the woman, making any obscene gestures towards the woman…in fact, the woman herself invited Homer on top of the table to dance in the first place, so clearly she didn’t have an issue with him. If anything, she probably picked him because he was the most respectful and least obnoxious at the party, but still someone she could have fun dancing with.

Now, was Bart witnessing the act a bad thing? Sure! And having that picture float around town was probably not the best way to make Homer look like a man of love and respect either, but I’d focus less on the whole “treating women like objects” argument, and focus more on the fact that Homer probably should have just been honest with Marge from the get-go. When he got home from the party, he should have confessed to Marge that there was a dancer that he was unaware of, and that he did dance with her, but it meant nothing to him and he treated her with kindness and respect because that is what Marge would wanted from him. And yeah, he probably shouldn’t have lied and said “the party will be classy,” at the beginning of the episode either, but to his credit, he wasn’t entirely sure at that point. For those actions in particular, yeah, I can understand why Marge would be pissed, but I think she jumped on the “objects” bandwagon a bit prematurely and without enough context. She should have at least listened to Homer’s side of the story first before making any snap judgments.

As far as exotic dancers are concerned, I think there’s a fine line between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior. For example (and this is stuff I have been told by women, so I’m not just making this stuff up), some women like being told and shown that they are attractive. Hell, sometimes it can be a bit of motivator and confidence-booster in knowing that they have a side that people find charming. So as long as people are respectful of that, and stick to their boundaries, I don’t really see much of an issue if women are fine with that line of work. However, the moment a man starts to overreach those boundaries, then yes, there is a big problem there, and then you do get into the issue of treating women like objects, which is not ok, or acceptable by any wavelength. I just don’t feel like Homer was anywhere near that point and he gets an incredibly raw deal because of some bad coincidences.

However, this does raise the question though; was that what the writers were going for? Was the point of this episode to show that while Homer isn’t like that, there are many people who are, and those very same people kind of look at Homer like he is some kind of player or superstar, when in reality, Homer doesn’t care about any of that stuff and just wants to be at home with his wife? And because of that, that does actually give Homer’s speech at the end a little more weight, because it’s not about him apologizing for his behavior, but more trying to teach some uninformed minds about how they might be treating women. If that was the angle, I wish they would have spent a heavier focus on that, just because it seems like the episode really tries to force the idea that Homer is a bad guy when he’s really not even close to one.

This is why I can’t say I hate the episode, because it seems like there is some kind of ulterior motive involved with the writing that just doesn’t come out the way I think it should. It really is like Life in the Fast Lane in a lot of respects, but the only difference is, I feel like the writing was a little better in that episode as opposed to this one. Life in the Fast Lane just made me a little uneasy. This episode makes me feel a little less uneasy, but a bit more
frustrated. Frustrated at Homer being misunderstood until the end and frustrated at the way Marge was acting towards her husband. Again, I’m not saying Marge was wrong by being angry, I just think she was wrong by being dismissive and not talking to her husband first, much like in the same way Homer was wrong by not talking honestly to his wife about the party in question.

I feel like I’m being incredibly redundant by this point, so I’ll try to wrap it up here. The episode does have some good jokes and some good merits. I just think the middle acts should have been differently focused and differently structured. It’s almost like it should have been two separate episodes; one episode focused on Marge finding out about the party Homer lied about and then them trying to reconcile, and an entirely, unrelated episode involving the topic of “treating women like objects,” where Homer is the voice of reason at the end. By having these two plots condensed into one, it kind of messes with what should be the main focus here and tries to resolve both conflicts at once, when Marge and Homer’s issue is a much different one entirely. It’s definitely not one of the worst episodes of all time, but it is probably in the bottom tier of episodes from Season 1, at least in my opinion.

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Do we really only have three episodes left of Season 1? I think we do! Thankfully this one didn’t take too long to write, even though I felt like I rambled on like mad at the end there. Sometimes it can be really difficult to talk about this kind of stuff, just because of the world we live in and with the many different viewpoints that can exist out there. Especially when it comes to topics about gender, race and all of those other things that could be seen as controversial viewpoints. I don’t “think” my viewpoints are controversial, as I am someone who tries to see things from all angles before I make my own opinion, but being a white male, I don’t exactly have the same experiences that others would have either. I personally see the world as a place where we all exist and we all deserve the same rights and freedoms (unless we lose those freedoms by doing something stupid like committing a felony or something), so there is no reason to discriminate or treat others that they are less than another. But I digress, I’m sure you don’t see me as a sexist or racist, so I’ll leave it at that and leave it alone until it’s relevant again (which knowing this series, will probably be sooner than you think). I’ll see you guys next week (hopefully) for another retrospective!

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SSR #8: “The Telltale Head”

Intro

Introduction:
If I had to pick the most iconic episodes of Season 1, or rather, the episodes I feel like are the most well-known of the season, I’d probably have to give my vote to the Christmas episode and the episode we will be looking at today; The Telltale Head. In this episode, we will live (or relive) through one of Bart’s most notorious pranks in the show’s history. How will it all go down? Let’s find out! The Telltale Head aired on February 25th, 1990 and was the seventh episode written for the show, and the eighth one to air in the Simpsons first season. It’s kind of odd when you look at that fact, considering this episode was written before the previous episode, but it aired afterwards. I guess something must have held up this episode up or something. The chalkboard gag for this episode is, “I did not see Elvis,” and the couch gag is actually a repeat of the couch gag that showed in “Bart the Genius,” where Bart is sent flying into the air, coming down in front of the television screen while it’s showing the producer credits.

Pulled a Few BonersHomer: “You know, Bart, when I was your age, I pulled a few boners. But I think you’ll find out that people are pretty decent if you give them half…”
Townspeople: “Look! There it is! The Head! KILL HIM!”

Plot:
This episode actually starts with what will ultimately be the conclusion of this story. Bart and Homer are walking down a sidewalk at night while Homer is trying to console Bart. Apparently Bart has done something very bad and it’s very apparent that they have the head of a stone statue in their possession. Before Homer gets very far with his talk, a mob shows up and starts to chase them through town. They ultimately get surrounded, but before the mob can rip them apart, Bart decides to explain why they have the head of the town’s founder, Jebediah Springfield, and starts telling his story of the events that led to this moment.

The story starts with The Simpson family attending church on a Sunday morning. The kids attend Sunday school and the adults listen to a sermon given by Reverend Lovejoy. Although the church scene doesn’t really have much to do with the rest of the episode, it’s good for a few laughs as the kids continually stress out the Sunday school instructor with way too many questions that she doesn’t know the answer to. And then Homer, who is listening to the football game broadcast on a radio, starts celebrating when his team makes a last-second push to win the game, not realizing that his shouts of jubilation are heard through the entire church and interrupt the reverend’s prayer; which incredibly humiliates Marge. On the way home, Bart sees that the new Space Mutants movie is playing at the movie theater and he asks to see it, but Marge refuses, saying the movie is too violent. Bart gets the money to see the movie anyway from Homer after lying to him and so he skateboards to the theater.

When he arrives, he runs into Jimbo Jones and his friends Dolph and Kearney; three older kids who are known for having a bad reputation at school for being troublemakers. They ask Bart if he wants to sneak into the movie without paying and Bart reluctantly accepts. The four kids eventually get thrown out of the movies and then they proceed to go around town causing mischief. They steal goods from the convenience store and then they start throwing rocks at a statue of the town founder; Jebediah Springfield. Bart knows that what the kids are doing is wrong, but he goes along with it anyway because they start to accept Bart and think he is cool for hanging with them. They then lay down in the middle of a field and start looking at the clouds, remarking how certain clouds look like different things. Bart notices a cloud that looks like the Jebediah Springfrield statue, but without the head, and when he tells the others about it, they start remarking that it would be cool if someone did cut the head off of the statue. Bart has enough and tells Jimbo and his friends to stop, but then they start making fun of Bart for defending the town founder, and telling him to leave in the process.

Bart decides that he wants to cut the head off the statue, but before he does, he asks his father how important it is to be popular. Homer, completely unaware of the reason Bart is asking the question for, tells Bart that being popular is the most important thing in the world and that he should do anything (shy of killing someone) to be popular. Because of this, Bart goes out during the night to cut off the statue’s head. However, once the deed has been done, Bart starts to realize that there is no going back and thinks that he may have made a mistake.

The next day, the entire town is in an outrage about the missing statue’s head, including the Simpson family, but they are completely unaware that Bart is vandal. Bart hides and takes the head to show to Jimbo and the other guys, but before he can show it, the bullies remark that if they find out who cut off the head, that they would beat the person up. When Bart brings up the discussion from the other day, they claim that it was only “cloud-talk” and that they would never actually disrespect the statue of the person who founded the town and killed a bear with their bare hands. Bart continues to feel the guilt throughout the rest of the episode and at his lowest point, he decides to finally come clean. He shows the head to his family and explains that the only reason why he did it was because he got the impression that being popular was the most important thing in the world. Homer realizes that he gave Bart that thought and decides that both he and Bart must come clean to the authorities.

The scene from the beginning of the episode continues and Bart apologizes for doing what he did and is willing to take responsibility for his actions. The entire town decides that Bart has suffered enough and that he truly feels badly for what he has done, so they accept his apology on the condition that he puts the head back on. Bart heroically takes the head and puts it back on the statue, absolving him of any guilt and bad feelings he had prior. The entire town celebrates the restoration of the town founder’s statue while Homer and Bart leave; Homer remarking that Bart did a good job, but that lynch mobs are never usually this nice and Bart should consider himself lucky.

Cloud TalkBart: “But guys, come on, don’t you remember history class? Jebediah once killed a bear with his bare hands.”
Dolph: “Oh, sorry…”
Kearney: “We forgot how much you loved Jebediah Springfield…”
Jimbo: “Yeah, he’s your boyfriend! Beat it Simpson! Man…I thought you were cool…”

My Personal History:
If there was ever an episode this season that I watched before the DVD boxset came out (at least that I know of), this would probably be the only episode that would meet that criteria. This is an episode I will always remember and never forget, just because of how familiar it is in the Simpsons mainstream. I’m not sure if I would call it one of my favorites because of that, but I do know that many people I’ve talked to about The Simpsons have seen it, or at the very least, know of its plot of how Bart decapitated the head of the town founder’s statue. I guess you could say it’s a “classic” episode.

TalkBart: “So like, sometimes you could do stuff that you think is pretty bad so other kids will like you?”
Homer: “You aren’t talking about killing anyone are you?”
Bart: “No…”
Homer: “ARE YOU?”
Bart: NO!”
Homer: “Then run along you little scamp!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
I have to say, this episode doesn’t really have a whole lot of jokes involved with it. Sure, there are some funny moments in the opening act with Homer acting up in church and the children in Sunday school incessantly asking the most out-there questions for the instructor, but this is definitely a plot that is driven by emotion more than humor for sure; especially in the second and third acts. If I had to pick my favorite joke, it would probably be the very last line in the episode where Homer tells Bart, “Good going son! But remember; most lynch mobs are not this nice!” Not only is it poking fun at how easily the conflict wrapped up, but it’s also a very nice warning to Bart as well, as Homer seems pretty confident that something like this could happen again, so Bart should watch what he does from now on.

This story is a very clear parody (especially when you consider the name of the episode) of “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Much like the character in the poem, Bart is living with the guilt of something bad he did, and he is constantly reminded of that guilt in the disappointment of all the townspeople and by the sound of the statue’s head talking to him; continuing to eat away at his conscious the longer and longer the prank goes on. Although The Simpsons will be known for making references and parodies throughout the entire span of the show’s history, I feel like this is the first big one, or at least the first one I recognize that focuses on an entire episode as opposed to a small scene. In fact, the episode also makes a reference (one of many over the show’s history) to The Godfather when Bart wakes up and finds the head of the statue in bed with him (a nod to “finding a horse head in your bed”). I’m sure I will definitely miss out on references as we move forward, so if there ever is a reference I don’t call attention to, and you feel like it’s noteworthy, feel free to do so by leaving a comment on this and all future posts. I don’t claim for this series to be an extensive encyclopedia to all things Simpsons; this is more so just my take and analyses of the episodes, so please keep that in mind.

Lynch Mobs“Good going son! But remember, most lynch mobs aren’t this nice…”
~Homer Simpson

My Review:
Much like “Bart the Genius,” this is a very a “lesson-learned” storyline, where we follow supposed bad-boy Bart Simpson, watch as he does something bad, and then starts to regret what he has done and seeing how the guilt affects him and how he decides to make amends for his actions. Unlike Bart the Genius though, I feel like this episode does a much better job of showing that Bart has learned his lesson; mainly because we didn’t really see the ramifications for Bart’s actions in the prior episode. In this episode, Bart is almost lynched by an angry mob, and the guilt he had for his prank was hitting him really hard as well. In fact, as soon as Bart cut off the head, he remarked, “What have I done?” so you can see Bart was already trying to fight against what he knew was wrong, which I do like to see in Bart’s character development. He’s not a bad kid by any means, he’s just impressionable and is trying to find his way, and sometimes during that journey, you will make mistakes. The key is learning from those mistakes.

So on the whole, I do think this is a very good episode and I can see why it is hailed as a classic Season 1 episode by many Simpsons’ fans. However, it’s hard for me to say that I like this episode better than other Season 1 episodes like Bart the General and another episode we will be seeing in a few weeks. I think it’s just because I’ve seen this episode so many times and have been familiar with the basic storyline for it, that maybe it has just lost its novelty for me. It would still probably rank as Top 5 for the season most certainly…just not in my highest tier. But yeah, that will do it for The Telltale Head, so thanks to everyone for reading, I’ll see you all next time, and remember…if someone talks about cutting off the head of your town founder’s statue, make sure it’s not just ‘cloud-talk’ before turning them into the authorities.

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All right, we are done with yet another episode, but before we move on to the next one, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you guys that I will be on vacation, so there will not be any posts of this series next week, and probably the following week either (and if it is the following week, it will be later in the week once I’m on schedule again). I’m honestly amazed I have made it to this point already, as I honestly figured I would be further behind, but I have to say that this series has struck a chord with me and I can see this continuing on for a really long time. We only have 5 episodes of the first season remaining and I’m itching to see how they will go. However, first thing is first…I need my annual vacation relaxation before I do anything else. Catch you guys later!

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