O Brother, Where Bart Thou?
Couch gag: The Simpsons walk in to find the living room furniture dancing.
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Huell Howser as himself
Peyton Manning as himself
Eli Manning as himself
Cooper Manning as himself
The Smothers Brothers as themselves
Kim Cattrall as the imaginary third Simpsons sister
Jordan Nagai as Charlie
Synopsis: After seeing the sisterly bond between Lisa and Maggie, Bart wishes for a brother. An escapee from the orphanage becomes Bart’s brother for the day.
Discussion: It’s only taken 8 episodes, but finally we have a good episode from season 21! Hooray!
Everything about this episode works. There’s great lines, a good solid plot, some fantastic guest stars, hilarious cultural references and some old-fashioned father-son bonding over a scary movie.
When a blackout hits the Simpsons household on a snowy day, Lisa and Maggie hold a fashion show and Bart is envious that he doesn’t have a brother to do cool things with. So, he does what any normal Bart Simpson would do and tries to force his parents into making a baby brother, even going as far as switching Marge’s Pill with candy (the Pills, in the candy container, are found and eaten by Nelson haw haw!) When that doesn’t work, he goes to an orphanage and wakes up to find an escapee wants to be his new brother. Aww!
It’s a really great episode which examines the bonds between same sex siblings. Bart knows a lot about reproduction (and seduction) for a 10 year old, but I suppose he’s had to learn something in those 20-odd years (remember when he thought parents were reverse vampires in connection with the saucer people?) There’s a load of great lines, which shows that the writers still have tricks up their sleeves. Bart’s dream about having a brother is reminiscent of when he sold his soul but instead of Springfield characters with brothers, he’s dreaming of famous brothers (although Sideshow Bob and his brother Cecil appear in the dream). The Smothers Brothers didn’t air in Australia; the first I knew about them was when I was writing an essay about television’s response to youth culture. In that essay, which inspired me to watch The Simpsons every day, compared The Monkees to The Simpsons as TV tried to keep up with youth of the day. The Smothers Brothers were also part of that youth revolution.
But I digress. This ep references South Park, Barney as the Plow King and famous brothers from all walks of culture from the Wright Brothers to Mario & Luigi. Charlie is an adorable character and the perfect fit with Bart- he’s not too naughty, yet loves games but not scary movies.
Highly recommended viewing. Aren’t you glad I do the hard work for you so you don’t have to sit through all the shitty ones to find the gems?