Lifetime of Simpsons

S03 E23 – Bart’s Friend Falls in Love

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Well here’s a weird episode. We learn about Milhouse, one of the most beloved secondary characters there is, but it still focuses a lot on Bart. I guess at this point in the show it was still all about the family, and would be weird if we didn’t follow Bart’s experience in having his best friend fall in love, but it still seems a little weird to me that the story either wasn’t about Bart falling in love, or just about Milhouse.

The episode starts off with the amazing scene of Bart trying to steal a jar of pennies from Homer’s dresser that’s a pitch-perfect parody of the opening of Raider of the Lost Ark. Especially since I just saw Raiders recently, it really struck out to me how good of a job they did adapting the opening to the world of the Simpsons. I really learned so much about film from this show, to the point where it can be mind blowing watching classic cinema for the first time, and realize that I’ve already seen some of the shots from the Simpsons. But Bart escapes with Homer’s jar, and gets on the school bus, taking his seat next to Milhouse. Milhouse then excitedly shows off his new magic eight-ball, and the two begin playing around with it, trying to see if it works. And after the ball informs them that outlook of Bart passing his English test isn’t that good, they begin to put faith in the ball. That is until Bart asks it about Milhouse and his friendship, and the ball eventually tells them that they won’t be friends by the end of the day. We then cut right to Principal Skinner’s office and get our first look at Samantha Stanky, the newest student of Springfield Elementary, complete with a dramatic musical sting. We also get our first gag about Skinner getting an intense flashback from his days in ‘Nam, which are always some of my favorite jokes.

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Samantha then is forced to introduce herself to Mrs. Krabappel’s class, telling them all about how her friends were all back in her home town, and that Springfield has a weird smell that apparently takes six weeks to acclimate to. And Milhouse falls in love right away with Samantha. Then, right as Samantha and Milhouse start making eyes at each other, Mrs. Krabappel has the kids watch a sex-ed video, which is one of my favorite Troy McClure videos of all time. I think there’s no debate that “Lead Paint: Delicious but Deadly,” was the winner of the most ridiculous Troy McClure credit this time. Troy then explains love and sex to the kids with the help of Fuzzy Bunny, a funky 70’s cartoon rabbit, who meets Fluffy Bunny, start having romantic dates at the shooting gallery, and wait until their Jewish wedding to have sex. The video then becomes a porno, complete with funky bass, which horrifies the kids, and leads to Mrs. Krabappel’s wonderful line, “She’s faking it.” The movie then ends with Troy McClure basically summing up the ridiculousness of abstinence education with his line “Now that you know how it’s done…don’t do it.” God abstinence is the dumbest type of sex-ed.

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After class, Bart heads home, and is surprised the Milhouse doesn’t take the bus with him. But Milhouse does show up later when Bart is up in the treehouse reading comics, but he’s brought Samantha, much to Bart’s chagrin. Bart is initially pretty hostile towards Samantha, but finally relents, and heads off to Lisa’s room to find “girl comics” for her to enjoy. But when he comes back, he’s shocked to see Milhouse and Samantha kissing in the treehouse. But while Bart is dealing with Milhouse’s hormones, we pop over to the B plot, which starts when Homer, Marge, and Lisa watch an episode of Smartline about obesity. Lisa starts to get worried about Homer’s weight, especially when the show has a dramatization of Santa’s death from weight-related health problems. She even has a fantasy of Homer being so big that he’ll need to be buried in a piano box, that will then crush the family. And while Milhouse is trying to convince Bart to let him and Samantha use the treehouse as a make-out spot, since her father doesn’t approve, Lisa is trying to convince Homer to use subliminal tapes that will get him to eat less. Marge calls the subliminal tape people, and after briefly considering getting Homer a tape that teaches him how to handle hostage negotiations, she gets him the weight-loss one. But the warehouse is out of the weight-loss tapes, so they just send him a vocabulary booster one. And man would Dr. Marvin Monroe’s voice not be an easy thing to go to sleep in. But it works, and when Homer wakes up, he immediately has an amazing vocabulary.

But Bart is starting to get moody about Milhouse ditching him for his girlfriend. We all know people who do that, just kind of kick all their friends to the curb when they get in a relationship. I love that Marge finds it’s hilarious that Milhouse has a girlfriend, but gets momentarily concerned over the idea that they open their mouths when they kiss. Then Bart, desperate for a friend, starts hanging out with Martin, even though he proclaims to the whole bus that they’re friends now. But that friendship is pretty short lasted, since the first thing Martin wants to do is play his lute for Bart, who we then see running away through Martin’s window in a hilarious shot. And after that bust, Bart goes back to hang out with Milhouse, but finds himself as the awkward third wheel on a date. And the date ends with them asking Bart to leave, and then Milhouse has the gall to come talk to Bart, who is crying by himself in an alley, asking if they can still use the treehouse to make out in, because Samantha’s father would be pissed if he ever finds out that they’re dating. So of course Bart immediately calls Mr. Stanky, and gets him to show up at the treehouse, right in the middle of a make-out session, and he takes Samantha away, enrolling her in an all-girl school. Milhouse puts it pretty well with his line “We started out like Romeo and Juliet but it ended in tragedy.”

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But Bart starts to fell bad about screwing Milhouse over, and goes to ask Lisa for advice, since he asked Homer and couldn’t understand anything he said thanks to his new vocabulary. I love that Lisa is reading some sort of science magazine that talks about humans eventually evolving a fifth finger. But after talking with Bart, Lisa recommends telling Milhouse the truth, and apologizing, so he heads off to do that. He talks with a depressed and despondent Milhouse, and eventually admits what he did, causing Milhouse to freak out and attack Bart. But Milhouse’s parents come in and are thrilled that Milhouse is active again, not stopping the fight. The fight finally ends with Bart cracking Milhouse over the head with the magic eight-ball that started the whole thing, and the two go off to find Samantha. They end up at the St. Sebastian’s School for Wicked Girls, and they’re surprised to see that she’s happy in her new school, even though she misses Milhouse. And then they never see each other again. But Bart walks off with his buddy, suggesting that they go whip donuts at old people. The episode then ends with a funny card defining some of the words Homer used in the episode.

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This was a cute episode, but it still just seems kind of weird to me that it was so much about Bart. I guess it’s an interesting story to see Bart be selfish, and not want to share Milhouse, but you’d think it would be an episode about Milhouse, where we learn about him and his love. But I guess that’s why the episode is called “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love.” Not even Milhouse falls in love, just Bart’s friend. And that B plot was super needless but hilarious. I love Homer accidentally learning big words and becoming a human thesaurus, much to the annoyance of his family.

Take Away: Don’t try to sabotage your friend’s relationships out of greed. And on the flip side, don’t be like Milhouse and ditch your friends when you starts a relationship. It’s all about balance people.

“Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” was written by Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by Jim Reardon.

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