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Cram it, ma’am

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Bart the Mother

Couch gag: Two firemen are holding the couch and as each Simpson falls, they land on the couch. Except Homer, who falls through the floor.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest voice:
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure

Synopsis: Bart accidentally kills a bird and, feeling guilty, becomes a mother to her eggs. 

Discussion: We already know Bart has a conscience, it’s been demonstrated many times before. In this episode, we find Bart playing at Nelson’s house and using a BB gun, peer pressured into killing a bird. He doesn’t want to, but the sight is off and Bart accidentally kills the bird, then finds her eggs so he takes them home and cares for them. 

It’s one of the sweetest episodes in the series. The laughs come at the expense of Homer, who falls down the basement stairs because Bart has taken the light globe to warm the eggs. Even after the “birds” are found to be vicious (and fictitious) Bolivian Tree Lizards, Bart is still protective of them. 

It’s a nice episode, but not a favourite. Bart is the perfect mother for the episode: Lisa is too predictable, Homer would accidentally kill the eggs and Marge is already a mother. 

This is also the very last voice appearance of Phil Hartman, who was killed by his wife a few months before this episode aired. Therefore, it’s also the last appearance by Troy McClure. Phil’s characters had much potential (as seen in A Fish Called Selma) and there are rumours that Hartman wanted to portray Troy in a live action film, which sadly, will never be made. 

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I got a hankering for some spankering

Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

The Good Humor man can only be pushed so far

Couch gag: The family chase a rapidly receding couch

Director: Bob Anderson

Synopsis: Santa’s Little Helper falls in love with a racing greyhound, producing 25 puppies. Mr Burns steals the puppies and plans to make a tuxedo from them. 

Discussion: Always a sucker for the musical episodes, I love this one also. We begin with Santa’s Little Helper feeling a bit frisky and overexcited. He leads the family to the race track where they got him way back in episode 1, and mates with a female greyhound while she’s racing. The rest is history- everyone who has seen this episode recalls Mr Burns’ evil plot and that very catchy song about his plans. Even Bart hums it afterwards, Lisa reminding him they need to steal the puppies back. 

Borrowing heavily from some classic Disney films (also a reason to love this ep), this shows Burns as a true villain- before now, he was just annoyingly schematic with not much punch. The closing scenes where Burns accepts a million dollar cheque for racing these purebred puppies is just the icing on the cake, leading Homer to bat the lightbulb in the basement to calm himself down. 

Overall, it’s a great episode. Santa’s Little Helper has been mostly absent from storylines since season 3 so it’s good to see him again in the forefront of the show. 

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