Bart the General
Couch gag: none
Director: David Silverman
Synopsis: Bart is being bullied at school and decides to fight back with the help of some friends and an ex-military man named Herman.
First appearance of:
(Mrs Hoover is mentioned but not seen)
Bart may be cool at school, but he’s still bullied. Enter Nelson Muntz, Goliath to Bart’s David. This is a common theme throughout the series although the audience does eventually seen softer sides to Nelson. Today’s episode shows Nelson to be one chunkified mother of a bully. Bullying itself is a common theme of The Simpsons; later we’ll meet Jimbo & co as well as Lisa’s experiments with Francine and nerd sweat. At the end of this episode is Bart with a disclaimer that wars are not cool (with a few exceptions). This is interesting because, generally speaking, the only episodes with disclaimers are the Treehouses of Horror.
Throughout the episode, I wondered how it might play differently had the episode come later in the series and came to the conclusion that it probably wouldn’t be too much different. Lisa might defend Nelson, considering her brief relationship with him. Marge might talk of Nelson’s sensitivities. No doubt Homer would still advise violence. Grandpa would probably be less useful; in this episode he advises Bart as to revenge but if this was later in the series, no doubt Grandpa would go off on a tangent about walking-birds when Lincoln was president. Having said that, this is probably the first episode which could slip into later episodes and keep the same dynamics that have been built up over 23+ years.