Couch gag: The family appear rotoscoped; Homer complains and the family turn normally-animated again.
Director: Rob Oliver
Synopsis: Inspired by the 2014 film Boyhood, Bart grows up during the episode.
Discussion: Sorry for the delay in writing, it’s a mad mad mad mad mad time of year!
Anyhoo, Barthood traces Bart from a young child to a teenager. I haven’t seen the source movie so I can’t comment on themes etc. All I can tell you is what is in the episode.
I liked what they were trying to do. The concept of Bart growing up is a good one but poorly thought out. As another reviewer put it, “It was the same jokes with a different hairstyle”. The ep didn’t go anywhere; Bart felt Lisa got all the attention so he acted out… over the course of several years before the final, predictable conclusion.
It’s always nice to see a future episode, where they end up etc. These future episodes are always contradicted which has become half the fun. I’ve said it before and will say it again: Perhaps a good way to freshen the series is to advance the kids’ ages to permanent teenage years. There’s only so many times the innocence of a first love/kiss/crush can be explored for an 8 and 10 year old. The possibilities when dealing with Bart and Lisa as teens are endless. As for Maggie… well, it can still be a running joke that Maggie doesn’t speak, or the audience catches her before or after she’s spoken.
It was a cute episode, but could have been done better.
Moms I’d Like to Forget
Billboard: Cletus and Brandine spruiking the Spuckler Day Care: “just chuck ’em in the pile”
January is not Bart history month
Couch gag: The couch prepares for “work”- letting the Simpsons sit on it.
Director: Chris Clements
Synopsis: Discovering a scar on his hand which matches scars on three other kids’ hands, Bart seeks the truth while Marge befriends her whole mothers’ group buddies.
Discussion: So, does anyone actually care how Bart got his scar? Nah, me neither. The viewer knows something will happen to encourage family bonding while losing new found friends, but I still felt ripped off by the story. There was nothing here to hold any sort of interest whatsoever, and Bart’s escapades seemed like filler for a story that was never going anywhere.
Sometimes I think episodes have a cute title and the writers throw together ideas relating to that title just to get an episode happening. This is one of those times. It seems like a cute play on MILF but turns into some weird sort-of friendship that fills the hours instead of filling a psychological need to be part of a group. Marge doesn’t have a lot of luck in having or holding friends, and this one is no different. She used to be friends with these people and suddenly remembers in the dying minutes of the ep why she stopped being friends with them. And apparently it has nothing to do with mommy-on-mommy action.
It is, quite simply, a lame episode which offers nothing but cheap stunts, controversial scenes and unsatisfactory conclusions. I really started to wonder why I continue with this project, but even during the craptacular episodes, I still hope that tomorrow’s one is worth the wait.
Double Double Boy In Trouble
There’s no such month as ‘Rocktober’
Couch gag: Couch and family get caught up in a tornado and land on a farm, in black & white.
Director: Michael Polcino
Joe Montana as himself
Synopsis: Lenny wins big on a scratchie ticket that Homer would have bought had Bart not been acting up. Disillusioned with his family, Bart agrees to swap places with a rich kid who looks exactly like him.
Discussion: What a thoroughly enjoyable episode! The plot is nothing new, in fact it’s very similar to Mark Twain’s novel The Prince and the Pauper, which has also lent itself to the name of an episode (the one where Skinner is Armin Tamzarian).
Everything about this ep is well done. There are some genuine, laugh-out-loud funny moments including a scene where Marge accidentally ingested a drop of alcohol whilst pregnant with Bart. Simon, Bart’s doppelganger, is a rich kid whose half brother and sister are trying to kill him in order to reap the inheritance for themselves. As Bart realises that he is the one in trouble, not Simon in Bart’s place, the action starts. Unfortunately it’s a bit short; dragging out attempted murder should be a requisite for all viewing.
It’s great to see some classic moment still kickin’ it even here in season 20.
The Telltale Head
I did not see Elvis
Couch gag: The family sit down, Bart is squeezed out and lands in front of the TV during the credits (see Bart the Genius).
Director: Rich Moore
First appearance of:
Krusty the Klown
Synopsis: Trying to impress the bad boys of the school, Bart cuts off the head of the town’s founder, Jebediah Springfield. Instead of impressing them, the boys (and the whole town) are outraged and saddened. Racked with guilt, Bart and Homer return the head only to be met with a lynch mob, who are sympathetic after hearing Bart’s story.
‘The Telltale Head‘ title is based on Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Telltale Heart’, which has similar themes of guilt and body parts “talking” to the characters as a manifestation of their guilt. Coincidentally, the day I watched this episode is the 204th anniversary of Poe’s birth.
This is the first episode where the name of the episode is shown; only a handful of episodes throughout the entire series have their names shown at the beginning. Several important narrative points are shown for the first time here:
- The Simpsons are a church-going family. Some family members take this ritual a bit more seriously than others, but normally, as a family unit, they attend church weekly.
- Bart is a good kid… deep down. OK, so Bart wants to listen to rock music during Sunday School and frustrate the teacher with questions about who gets into Heaven, but he will also pay to see a movie and holds respect for the man who founded his hometown (unless he’s trying to impress bad boys, in which case all that is thrown out the window). Bart has a conscience and this is reiterated in other episodes e.g. a Christmas special where he’s caught shoplifting and makes it up to a disappointed Marge by having his photo taken with Santa to add to the family Christmas photo.
- Homer just wants what’s best for his kids, even if his advice is somewhat askew. His decision to accompany Bart to return Jebediah’s head was born not only from guilt, but a sense of responsibility to teach Bart the right lessons in life. Let’s face it, Homer isn’t the best role model in Bart’s life and as the series progresses, Homer’s judgments aren’t all that great either. But here we have Homer doing the right thing (and did he ever buy his liquid centre bowling ball?)
- The town’s population is generally forgiving… until the events of The Simpsons Movie but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.