Well, I found an episode that certainly aged better than I remember it. When I was growing up this was definitely an episode like “Whacking Day,” that I would just kind of skip over, but this go-around I was surprised to see that it was actually really fun.
It starts right off with Bart making faces at Lisa because they’re the most realistic siblings of all time, and when Marge tries to get Homer to scold Bart she sees he’s too busy making faces at Santa’s Little Helper and Snowball II. Now, I have to say, making faces at your pets or calling them goofy insulting names is a lot of fun, because more often than not they just look at you like you’re an idiot, which you are. Anyway, once Homer’s done mocking his pets he starts looking through the newspaper in some weird classified section that only has free stuff. And after briefly getting excited about soiled mattresses, he sees an ad for a free trampoline and loses his goddamn mind. He races off to get it, and it turns out it’s at Krusty’s house, which has a doorbell that squirts water at you. Krusty is giving up the trampoline because he’s adding more dirty limericks to his act, “there once was a man named Ennis.” Krusty acts kind of suspicious about the trampoline, like it might be haunted, and just sends Homer off with it. And everybody but Marge loves it! Homer, Bart, and Lisa bounce on the trampoline with glee while Homer gets a plan to start charging neighborhood kids to bounce on it, with the ultimate goal of creating a horrible amusement park in the backyard, featuring the trampoline, a mud pit, and a fort made of soiled mattresses. And man do I love the interaction in his mind when Milhouse comes out of the fort as says “it smells funny in there,” to which Homer just quickly responds with “no it doesn’t.”
Business is booming at Homer’s weird trampoline scam with pretty much every kid, and Otto, in town showing up to play on it. But things start to turn pretty quickly when everyone starts injuring themselves, to the point that they give a crazy Gone With the Wind moment where they pan over a whole battlefield full of injured children. This convinces Homer that the whole trampoline thing isn’t a good idea, so he tries to get rid of it by giving it back to Krusty, but Krusty is apparently aware of its injury causing curse, and he threatens Homer with a shotgun to keep it. So Homer decides to throw the trampoline off a cliff, since this is a cartoon after all. Unfortunately the trampoline ends up bouncing back up from the bottom of the cliff, and smashes into Homer, pushing him through a rock like Wille E. Coyote. And after being stuck in the cliff all night before finally falling down it, Homer goes a little crazy and tries attacking it was a power saw. This doesn’t work either, and Bart finally helps out by showing him that if he locks the trampoline up with a bike-lock, Snake will show up and steal it. Problem solved.
But the real plot of the episode gets going later that night when Marge is mad at Homer for always making horrible decisions. They argue, and Marge realizes that the family doesn’t think she’s fun. So, mad, Marge leaves the house and goes to spend time with Patty and Selma, who tell Marge about this motivational speaker they’re obsessed with, Brad Goodman. They show her his infomercial, where he talks about all the emotional problems that can affect people on the Feel-Bad Rainbow, including the amazing Geriatric Profanity Disorder. So Marge decides this guy has some answers and ends up ordering his video to watch with Homer. He’s initially resistant, but they end up watching the video and both getting into it. And man is the video great. Troy McClure hosts it, of course, and lets us know that he previously hosted a self-help video called “Get Confident Stupid.” Then there’s Brad Goodman, a crazy Albert Brooks character who actually has no answers, or credentials, who just tells people platitudes and what they want to hear. But Marge and Homer are suckers for it, and start speaking in his stupid buzzwords. But it does seem to help, so I guess that’s okay. They then find out that Brad Goodman is coming to town for a lecture, and decide to get tickets to see if he can fix Bart.
They get to the lecture, and his whole deal is telling people to listen to their inner child, which leads to some great gags. We see Ned, Homer, and Moe talk to their inner children, who live in their stomachs and it’s wonderful. Little Ned says everything is going swell, Little Homer just tells him that food goes in his stomach, and Little Moe says the hilarious line of “Hey Moe whatsamatta, you no talka with yo accent no mo’.” Wonderful. After that we see a wonderful scene where Goodman calls Principal Skinner up to unleash his true feelings on a dummy of his mother, which ends with him verbally and physically assaulting the dummy before having to awkwardly go sit back with Agnes. But then Bart starts to make a scene in the lecture, and Goodman calls him up to the stage. Turns out Bart is the perfect manifestation of Goodman’s whole Inner Child thing, and he encourages everyone to act more like Bart. He gets Marge and Homer to come up and tells the town that they should be more like little Rutiger (what a weird fake name Bart made) and tells everyone to just do what they want, and also to buy all his crap, which they do.
The town then starts to devolve into madness as they all start doing what they feel like. We see Reverend Lovejoy try to play “the Entertainer” from the Sting on the organ, but that was really the only thing before we check in on Bart. Turns out all the other kids in class, even Martin, have started to blurt out jokes and heckle Mrs. Krabappel, because they all want to do what they feel like. Bart starts to feel weird, since everyone is acting like him. He starts to get depressed, since people have stolen his identity, and he’s no longer a rebel, to which Lisa tells him to make a new identity for himself. Which doesn’t happen, but whatever. What does end up happening is that the town decides to have a “Do What You Feel Like” festival, and the plot ends up heading there.
We see the town preparing for the festival, including Willie loudly proclaiming how he’d kill everyone if he was elected mayor. And right from the beginning this festival is a shit-show. We see Smithers think about proclaiming his love to Mr. Burns before deciding that he should have done it at the “boat house.” They then get some entertainment when James Brown shows up to sing to the crowd, but while he’s performing the bandstand behind him collapses, because some dude didn’t bolt it together right. We then see that Willie didn’t oil the Ferris Wheel right either, which causes it to go rolling around town before smashing into the zoo, which releases all the animals into the angry and confused town. And then, since this is Springfield, a riot starts and everyone starts beating each other up. But then logic take over and they realize they shouldn’t beat each other up, they should beat Bart up, since he caused this whole fiasco. Bart runs off, and ends up trying to get away with Homer in a float, which doesn’t really work since it goes 5 miles an hour and blows all the flowers off, revealing them. But the town stops caring and heads off to get cider, keeping Bart alive. The family then heads home, content that Bart won’t be murdered and that the town will stop doing what they want while they argue about what the moral will be, even though this gag has already been made a couple episodes this season. They then decide they don’t care about the moral and decide to watch a show about a cop who solves crimes in his spare time, which is an incredibly solid joke.
This episode was a lot more fun than I remember. Seeing Bart’ identity crisis was a lot of fun, and seeing what the town wants to do with no constraints is wonderful. There are some solid gags with what the town wants to do, and it’s just a super fun episode. And I’ve got to say, even though they’ve already used it a couple times, I love the joke of the family struggling to come up with a moral for the episode, like they know they’re in a TV show. So great.
Take Away: Listen to your inner child, and do things that you want…within reason.
“Bart’s Inner Child” was written by George Meyer and directed by Bob Anderson, 1993.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons