Bart the Lover
Couch gag: There’s an alien on the couch who escapes through a trapdoor before the family come in.
Director: Carlos Baeza
Synopsis: Bart’s teacher places a personal ad, so Bart decides to answer it using a pseudonym. Meanwhile, Homer’s swearing is offending Ned Flanders, so Marge begins a swear jar.
Discussion: Who knew Bart was such a romantic? Well, OK, he only did it to humiliate his teacher but he did write some very nice things. There’s some very good bits here which deserve their own space.
Let’s start with the first act of the episode. We start with an ode to zinc in one of those educational videos from when Jesus was a boy. (“Come back, zinc! Come back!”) In a special assembly with questionable educational value, the Twirl Kings dazzle the kids with their yo-yo tricks. Who remembers phases of games that swept through the school regularly? For my school, we played elastics, skipping and handball til we got bored, but they always became popular again. Don’t ever recall yo-yos though, except those Coca-Cola ones that every kid in the 80s and never quite got the hang of… Anyhoo, I digress. Bart breaks the class fish bowl and earns himself detention, whereby discovering Mrs Krabappel’s personal ad.
Lisa’s smooching noises in Bart’s direction is classic sibling teasing when the opposite sex is involved. Oooooooooh you have a girlfriend! *smoochy noises* Bart gets inspiration for his letters to Edna from various sources such as watching old movies and Homer’s one love postcard to Marge (“Five dollars? Get outta here!”) Homer’s swear montage is brilliant and much funnier than if they’d left the swearing in. Ned is very annoying in this episode but for good reason; he’s the antagonist to Homer’s swearing plus it’s another fun poke at his seriousness over religion when he phones Rev Lovejoy yet again (“Is this about the stupid quarter again?”).
Finally, we see Woodrow breaking up with Edna after standing her up at the fanciest restaurant in town. Bart feels at least partly responsible… It’s a great way to end the ep, having the whole family contribute to the letter. Even Homer pulls out a good parting line after suggesting they simply write, “P.S. I am gay”.