Oh man, this episode is so great. Such a classic one. And way funnier than I remembered it being. Let’s not waste time. The episode starts right up with Lisa dancing to some sort of Soul Train show, and dancing. Homer at first thinks it’s adorable, until the dancing gets a little suggestive, and he doesn’t really want to see his eight year old daughter doing that, but he quickly stops caring when he sees the scantily clad ladies dancing on the TV. Because apparently he’s not cool with seeing his daughter dance like that, but he’s fine with her seeing him ogling women on TV. Lisa seems to get a little creeped out, and heads out, asking Homer for money to buy Bart a birthday present first. Homer continues to watch the dancing until a commercial comes on for a microphone that transmits the output to a radio. And there’s limited quantities! So Homer calls the number desperately, and manages to get one of the last million microphones for Bart’s birthday.
And then Bart’s birthday comes around. I love that he sits there and watches his name zip by along with hundreds of other ones on Krusty’s show during a segment about fan club member’s birthdays. Best eight bucks he ever spent. Bart then hits the town to get all sorts of free birthday crap, like a shave, a free sundae, and tango lessons. They then head over to Wall E. Weasel’s, a hilarious parody of Chuck E. Cheese’s for his party. Man Chuck E. Cheese is a weird place. I haven’t been in years, since my youngest cousin got too old, but it was still a strange place back then. Terrible food, terrible prizes, okay games, and the creepy mascots walking around. Although I don’t think that the weird animatronic band was there anymore, although I feel like I remember them being a thing when I was a kid. And the Weasel band was hilarious, especially when the beaver composer lights on fire. But things start to fall apart when Bart starts opening his presents, and they’re generally terrible. He gets a label maker, a cactus, a guide to etiquette, socks, Homer’s microphone, and Martin get’s him a matching outfit to the one he’s wearing. Not a good haul.
The only gift Bart starts using at first is the label maker, and he starts slapping “Property of Bart Simpson” labels on everything in the house, even Santa’s Little Helper and Homer’s beer. But he definitely isn’t using the microphone, other than to hold his bedroom window up, and Homer get’s upset. He make Bart use it, much to the annoyance over everyone in the house, and Homer finally gives up on the microphone. But Marge shows Bart how to properly use it, and suddenly Bart gets super into it. And he pretty much uses it exclusively for pranking people. He starts off by making Homer think that an alien invasion is happening, and when Homer finds out it’s a prank, he is initially pissed, but then happy that Bart is using his gift. Bart responds to that gratitude by slapping a “Property of Bart Simpson” label on Homer’s ass. We then see Bart make Marge think Maggie is speaking, listens to Lisa and her friends gossip, makes it sound like Mrs. Krabappel is farting, and gets Rodd and Todd to walk into walls. But then the real plot of the episode kicks in when Bart drops a radio down a well, and gets Willie to think that a boy named Timmy O’Toole is stuck in the well. But things escalate pretty quickly, and suddenly the whole town is fixated on saving the little orphan boy stuck in the well, and Bart starts reveling in it.
Bart gives the excuse that Timmy’s leg is trapped under a rock, so they can’t just lower a rope and get him out, and because the police force are all too fat to fit down the well, they start looking into some insane potions. A guy offers to have a hawk fly down and get him, some Quint-looking guy wants to catching him with a lure, and Professor Frink suggests cryogenically freezing Bart for future generations to save. Krusty decides to help in his own way, by arranging a celebrity charity song, “We’re Sending Our Love Down a Well.” And it’s an amazing song. Sting even shows up, since he apparently used to open for Krusty. We also get to see the first example of Sideshow Mel’s refined British accent. And man is the cast of the song amazing, we have Sting, Sideshow Mel, Wolfcastle, Dr. Monroe, Jack Murdoch, the Capital City Goofball, Troy McClure, Scott Christen, the Weather girl, Bleeding Gums Murphy, Quimby, and Princess Kashmir. And the well is becoming a crazy festival, complete with rides, a guy selling authentic Timmy O’Toole baby teeth by the bag, and Comic Book Guy shilling t-shirts.
But things start to unravel when Santa’s Little Helper grabs the mic from Bart, and starts growling into it, making everybody think that Timmy has gone rabid. And Lisa just happens to be watching the news as they discuss Timmy becoming some sort of wolf boy, and she puts one and one together, and realizes that Bart has made the whole thing up. She confronts him about it, and he readily admits the scheme, but when she points out that he was probably dumb enough to leave a “Property of Bart Simpson” label on it, he freaks out, knowing they’ll catch him. So Bart sneaks out in the middle of the night and sneaks down the well while the Beverly Hill Cop theme plays for some reason, but as he’s rappelling down, Eddie and Lou undo his tether, and he falls, getting stuck himself. He calls for help, and admits to Eddie and Lou what he’s done, and they promptly stop caring about him. The whole town stops caring about Bart, pissed that he made it all up, they even tell Homer and Marge that the town won’t spend the money to save him, they would have for Timmy, but not for Bart. People even stop buying the song, and it gets replaced on the chart’s with the amazingly named “I Do Believe We’re Naked,” by Funky See Funky Do. Things even reach their absolute worst when even Dave Shutton leaves for a better story, a story about a squirrel that looks like Abraham Lincoln.
We then get a really sad scene where Homer and Marge drop down some stuff for Bart, like his Krusty doll and a sweater that’s too big (“Don’t worry, you’ll grow into it,” Jesus Homer) and he starts weeping, scared that he’ll really be trapped down there forever, and never get to all sorts of important parts of growing up. Like smoking a cigarette or shaving a swear word into his hair. And Homer gets so distraught that he just grabs a shovel and starts digging his way into the well. Willie sees it, and decides that he’ll help out too. We also learn that Willie is ripped, one of my favorite sight gags of the whole series. We also learn the devastating new that the Lincoln Squirrel has been assassinated! And then just as quickly as they stopped caring, the whole town shows up and starts helping out. I love that as the town digs down they narrowly miss a dinosaur fossil, a treasure chest, and a Rigelian spaceship. Turns out Sting is a good digger, and he finally gets them down to the bottom, and into the well. Bart is reunited with Homer and Marge, and they hug. It’s sweet. Then we see that Willie just puts up a “Caution: Well” sign, ensuring future people won’t fall down the well.
This episode is amazing. I don’t even know what else to say about it. It’s just wall to wall hilarious. Yeah, there wasn’t really that much heart in it until the end with Bart crying in the well, but it was nice to see a great wacky episode. This is probably the most malicious Bart has ever been though. He seriously duped the whole town into thinking there was a loveable orphan slowly dying in a well. But it’s also pretty messed up that when he actually falls down the well, they don’t give a shit. Oh well, Springfield isn’t always the nicest place on Earth.
Take Away: Don’t be the boy who cried wolf. Or well. Whatever.
“Radio Bart” was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Carlos Baeza.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons