Lifetime of Simpsons

S04 E01 – Kamp Krusty

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This episode is amazing. I could really end the article there, because c’mon, this episode is so famous. It was going to be the first movie if I remember my commentary anecdotes well enough. And man is it really just wall to wall quotable lines. Well, let’s dive in!

We start off with one of the many “last days of school” the Simpsons will have over the years. We see Bart getting his report card from Mrs. Krabappel, and it’s all F minuses. But we quickly realize that this is a dream when he asks Krabappel about getting C’s, and she complies and gives him a good GPA. The students then get an announcement from Principal Skinner about destroying the school, and everyone takes out their implements of destruction, and tear the school to the ground while Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” plays. It’s a pretty great scene, and really brought back memories of elementary school where the last day of school was usually spent with all the kids in the classroom taking apart the room, taking all the posters and stuff down to make it an empty room for the summer. But Bart wakes up from this dream with Homer just sitting on his bed, and when Bart asks if he’s still dreaming Homer just straight up smacks him with a rolled up newspaper, because Homer is the father all others should aspire to be.

Turns out it actually is the last day of school, and Bart is starting to get nervous because apparently Homer and Marge made a deal with the kids where if they get a C average for their school year, they can go to Kamp Krusty. And while Lisa is all set, Bart’s pretty worried. So they head to school, and Bart starts cleaning his locker, which is disgusting, and then goes to class to face the music. Lisa gets her report card, and it’s all A pluses, except for a B plus in Conduct, which makes her wig out, but that doesn’t come up again. It’s Bart we care about, and even though he does his best to schmooze Krabappel, he still gets all D minuses. So the kids head out, and while on the bus Bart takes out a jewelers glass and starts trying to doctor his grades by making the D’s A’s. Once they get home we get to see the commercial for Kamp Krusty, which is super silly and features Krusty riding a horse, talking about how it’s built on an Indian Burial Ground, the fat camp, and all the fun activities that you can do while there. Bart then goes to talk to Homer, who is mowing the lawn, and runs over a pair of roller skates, jamming the mower. Bart hands him the doctored card, and Homer quickly sees through the rouse, but still lets Bart go to the Kamp, since he doesn’t want him around all summer. He then asks Bart to put his hand in the mower to get the skate out, but it fixes itself and Bart narrowly escapes losing his hand.

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The kids then get ready for Kamp, in their own ways. Bart starts packing, and completely plans on bringing no clothes and swimming naked, and Lisa is out trying to get every vaccination she possibly could. The family then goes to where the bus is picking them up, and we learn Martin is being sent off to fat camp and is surly about it. I love that Lisa says “If the pets die, don’t replace them, I’ll know.” The kids then head out and all the parents start celebrating. And things start getting shitty for the kids pretty quickly when Krusty doesn’t even show up for opening day, instead having a pre-recorded tape welcoming the kids to the Kamp with Mr. Black’s voice dubbed in occasionally. Then Mr. Black, the real person running the camp introduces himself and his counselors, Dolf, Jimbo, and Kearney. The rest of the episode is then just jumping between Homer and Marge enjoying time without Bart and Lisa, and Bart and Lisa having the worst time possible as the Kamp starts to become a straight up horror movie. Yet Bart stays optimistic, because he knows Krusty will show up eventually, and he feels safe that the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval is on everything. We then cut immediately to Krusty approving all sorts of dangerous crap and putting the seal on it.

And the Kamp just starts getting darker and darker. They’re forced to roast pinecones, sew counterfeit wallets to sell in Hong Kong, eat imitation gruel, and are tortured by the bully counselors. We also get to see the kids sing the amazing “Hail to Thee Kamp Krusty.” And man do I laugh every time I see the gag of the kids starving, and then immediately cut to Mr. Black and the bullies eating a lavish dinner with a roaring fire-place with Mr. Black’s amazing line “Gentelmen. To evil!” Back in Springfield, Homer and Marge’s marriage has never been better, and Homer starts growing more hair and losing weight without the stress of the other kids being there. And now I don’t want to spend too much of this article just writing down quotes I love, but the interactions between Bart and Lisa that goes like this is amazing:

Lisa: “We’re going to die here Bart.”

Bart: “We’re all going to die Lise.”

Lisa: “I meant soon.”

Bart: “So did I.”

Oh man. So good.

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We then find out the weird fact that Krusty isn’t at the Kamp because he’s busy tooling around England, and going to Wimbledon for some reason. Marge writes a sweet letter to Lisa, telling her about Homer’s self-improvement, but Kearney reads the letter and eats the cookies, and then throws the letter out. Lisa then writes a letter back to Marge, exposing the horrors of the Kamp, and gives it to a weird horseman to ensure the delivery of the letter. Unfortunately Homer and Marge just assume Lisa is being melodramatic and decide to ignore her. But then the shit really hits the fan when Mr. Black announces Krusty is finally going to be here, and it turns out to just be Barney dressed up in a terrible Krusty costume. Bart has officially had enough, and leads revolt against Mr. Black’s tyranny. They free the fat kids, hand out the confiscated packages (“My Insulin!”) and rename it Camp Bart. Krusty is then called in the middle of being knighted, and races off to Kamp Krusty to avert the disaster. Back in Springfield, Homer and Marge are watching a yoga show and it’s interrupted by a special bulletin from Kent Brockman about Krisis at Kamp Krusty. And as soon as Homer sees that Bart is the leader, he gains his weight back and loses all his newfound hair. But while the Kamp is going to hell, Krusty finally shows up and is brought before Bart. And Bart’s fears that Krusty is another imposter is taken away when it turns out Krusty is an incredibly hard person to body-double, since he has a pacemaker scar, a third nipple, and a birth-mark shaped like a cow skull. Bart shames Krusty for endorsing this nightmare of a camp, leading to one of my favorite excuses for why famous people do shitty projects, “They drove a dumptruck full of money up to my house, I’m not made of stone!” Krusty then decides to make it up to the kids, and takes them all to Tijuana for some fun!

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Man this episode rocks. It’s so funny to see just how horrible Kamp Krusty is. It must have been so fun to sit in the writer’s room for this episode, just spitting out either the worst things that ever happened to you when you were in camp, or just making up the worst possible thing that could ever happen in camp. And man is it hilarious. I usually try not to just spam these articles with quotes, and it was so hard not to do that this time, because seriously 90% of the lines from this episode are spectacular and infinitely quotable. Its fun to see Homer and Marge’s relationship rekindle while the kids are gone, but man is the Kamp stuff just perfect. I seriously would love it if this episode was a movie, and was just an hour and a half of terrible Kamp experiences. It’s one of those episodes that could really go on forever, it’s just that amazing.

Take Away: Don’t go to camp. Don’t camp at all. It’s the worst! Tijuana is the best, and don’t take phone-calls if you’re being knighted.

“Kamp Krusty” was written by David M Stern and directed by Mark Kirkland, 1992

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