Bart Gets an Elephant
Organ transplants are best left to the professionals
Couch gag: The family’s eyes are unattached and the family pop them back in.
Director: Jim Reardon
First appearance of:
Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel
Synopsis: The family are cleaning the house when Bart answers a call from the local radio station and wins an elephant. The elephant, Stampy, proves to be far too expensive to keep so has to be sold.
Discussion: Between real life and what happens in TV shows lies the humour: the unrealistic reaction from a character is what makes something funny. Take this episode as an example. You’ve got Bart winning a radio contest and choosing the elephant over the $10,000 prize. Then you’ve got the radio station coming through with said elephant, and in between, you’ve got the Simpson family saying nothing about the practicalities of keeping a wild animal in their backyard. Lisa mentions the cruelty of doing so, but only after the elephant has come to stay.
So, the realism isn’t all there, but as we’ve seen, it doesn’t have to be. This is animation, which traditionally holds that the impossible can and does happen. It’s also a TV show, which doesn’t adhere to reality in any form.
Anyhoo… Bart has an elephant and Marge still has a messy house, messy backyard and messy suburb because Stampy likes to wander and destroy. Eventually the bills start piling up (similar to Lisa’s Pony) and the elephant has to be sold. It comes down to a wildlife refuge or a suspected ivory dealer (“Dad! I’m pretty sure he’s an ivory dealer. His boots are ivory, his hat is ivory and even that check is ivory!” To which Homer replies, “Honey, someone with a lot of ivory is less likely to hurt Stampy than someone with no ivory!” You can’t argue with logic like that…!) Eventually, in traditional narrative closure, Stampy is sent to the wildlife refuge where he immediately starts head-butting the other elephants because some animals, like humans, are just jerks.