Bye Bye Nerdie
I will not scare the vice president
Couch gag: The family zoom around the living room in dodgem cars, cornering Homer.
Director: Lauren MacMullen
Kathy Griffin as Francine
Jan Hooks as Manjula
Synopsis: Lisa discovers poindexttrose, a substance in nerd sweat that attracts bullies. Meanwhile, Homer has a baby-proofing business to protect the babies of Springfield.
Discussion: Although this episode received positive reviews, I’ve never loved it. To be more precise, I’ve never loved the Francine storyline; Homer’s baby-proofing business is much better.
There’s a new kid in school and she’s a bully. She targets only the nerds and leaves the cool kids alone. This leads Lisa to scientifically examine the sweat of nerds and isolate poindextrose, which sends Francine (and other bullies, as demonstrated by Nelson on heavyweight champion Drederick Tatum) into a bullying frenzy.
I think my main problem with this is that it’s making light of bullying, giving the bullies an excuse to be jerks: “Oh well, they can’t help it”. Bullying is a serious problem and it’s been made light of here. There are many reasons a kid is bullied. At school, I was teased because of my name, my weight (I was a skinny kid and, in the midst of AIDS fears, there was a rumour that I had AIDS), my marks and my hair (it was always oily). To suggest I was giving off pheromones attracting bullies doesn’t address these issues.
Besides, Bart isn’t smart and he’s often been bullied by Nelson and Jimbo, two professional bullies. I know, I know, it’s a TV show and continuity isn’t a strong point. I’m just sayin’.
Homer’s babyproofing business is much more fun, and lightens the ep considerably. A saleswoman comes into the Simpsons home and tries to sell Homer a system to baby-proof their house. It’s too expensive so Homer branches out and forms his own business. One of the funniest scenes is when Homer pours Jell-O into a swimming pool to prevent drowning. Hey, you can’t argue with logic like that!