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Bart Gets a ‘Z’

Billboard: The Kwik-E-Mart now has porn on a lower shelf

Chalkboarding is not torture

Couch gag: The Simpsons have a gunfight around the couch

Director: Mark Kirkland

Synopsis: Bart accidentally gets Mrs Krapappel fired, and tries to make it up to her by encouraging her to live the life she’s always dreamed. Failing that, he tries to get the substitute teacher fired.

Discussion: It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen Mrs K, and I was hoping her pathetic existence was being challenged in some way that makes her a better person. This episode is a half-arsed attempt at that, and fails.

Mrs Krabappel is a great character when she’s being pushed out of her comfort zone e.g. secretly meeting Skinner for sexy rendezvous, going on strike (“Honk if you love cookies!”) or engaging with a secret lover via love letters. When she’s indulging in her pathetic life, she’s not very interesting, even if Bart is the cause of it (and let’s face it, it’s always going to be Bart who causes her misfortune).

This time, Bart tries to be helpful. Seeing Homer is easy-going once he’s had a few beers, Bart tries to relax Edna by spiking her coffee. The plan goes awry and Edna ends up being fired, replaced with a hip young teacher who survives on energy drinks and texts homework to his students. Feeling bad for ruining Edna’s life, Bart buys her a self-help book (a parody of The Secret) and Edna starts her own muffin store.

Now, all this is well and good… but the episode rapidly declines after this. Edna’s self-help book could have been stretched out longer and given more satirical views such as coincidences which help her along in opening her muffin store (it’s all part of law of attraction, you know…)

Anyhoo, the episode has potential but never quite gets there. It’s rushed, forced and doesn’t really develop any relationship or story. Edna’s decision to open a muffin store even though her dream has always been to be a teacher doesn’t make any sense; maybe it would have played better if she’d helped Bart get Zack fired, or combined dreams and had a muffin store where she could teach kids (if they can have coffee places in bookstores, I don’t see why you can’t have a classroom in a muffin store). I liked the parody of The Secret, but to me the ep fell flat although it’s good to see Mrs K again. She won’t be around forever 😦

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