Ah, the stupidity of men. This is a really fun episode, that hopefully isn’t too relatable to people, but unfortunately may be. Poor Bart.
The episode starts off with some of the kids playing a game that I assume kids today don’t play anymore for fear of being un-PC, Cowboys and Indians. Bart and Lisa are both Indians, with the names “Dances in Underwear” and “Thinks Too Much,” which are great. They’re sneaking over to attack Milhouse and Ralph, who are Cowboys, and handily beat them, until they get attacked by futuristic warlord Nelson. But as the kids are about to mock Milhouse for wanting to play jacks, they hear churchbells, and their parents calling their names to go to church, and for someone named Shlomo to go to his violin lesson. The kids then run off in terror, and the parents show up to catch them like animals in a parody of that scene from Planet of the Apes when the Apes abduct the humans. So the kids are forced to go to church against their will, and Bart is not in the mood. He tries playing with a Troll doll to entertain himself, but Marge doesn’t let him, since it has awful, awful hair. But Bart does start to get interested when he sees Reverend Lovejoy’s daughter Jessica, who is back from boarding school, and he instantly falls in love, especially because she gets a blast of light from a lighthouse Captain McCallister is controlling. “I hate the sea and everything in it.”
Once the service is over, Bart heads over to introduce himself to Jessica and try to flirt. Unfortunately it becomes quickly apparent that she has no interest in him, so he has to leave shot down. He goes to Lisa for girl-advice, which is always adorable, and she tells him that they’re just too different. So Bart takes that to mean he should pretend to be a better Christian. So the next Sunday Bart shows up to Sunday School, which he’s apparently been banned from, and he asks to rejoin the class. By the way, “Ralph, Jesus did not have wheels,” is one of the best Simpsons lines of all time. Anyway, Bart sits through Sunday School, trying his best to be good, even passing up a chance to shoot the teacher with a sling shot. But Jessica still doesn’t seem to think much about Bart, so he heads out after church, anxious and all pent up. Luckily, he sees Willie explaining Scottish military strategy while wearing a kilt, so Bart sneaks over and attaches a bunch of balloons to his kilt, causing Willie to flash the crowd. Bart, happy with the results of his prank, goes to relax in a park, and it turns out that this was all an elaborate sting from Principal Skinner, and Bart gets a bunch of detention, which seems weird since this wasn’t in school, but whatever. Luckily for Bart though, Jessica was watching, and comes to tell Bart that what Skinner did was unfair, and invites him over to dinner. Score!
So Bart heads over to his first “date” which is dinner with the Lovejoy family, and he quickly sees that it’s pretty hard to try to date the reverend’s daughter. Lovejoy clearly doesn’t like Bart, and keeps quizzing him to try and see if he’s worthy of his daughter. And the whole night quickly falls apart, and ends with Bart getting kicked out of the house for repeated uses of the word “butt.” Bart starts to trudge home, depressed that he ruined his chance with Jessica, and is shocked when she shows up, and informs him that she loves badboys. The two then hit the town, doing all sorts of bad things. They loiter, they taunt fat people at a gym with ice cream, and the TP Jebediah Springfield. So Bart had a great time, and assumes that this little evening of chaos means that they’re dating now, but Jessica pretends she doesn’t even know who he is at school, and she ends up telling him in private that she wants to keep their relationship a secret, which is always a terrible sign. And he really starts to get worried about the relationship when Jessica convinces him to skip school and go skateboard down a massive hill. Bart ends up rocketing down the hill, while hitting patches of oil and ball bearing, trying to maintain integrity, and wishing that a crashed glue truck didn’t start leaking to slow him down. Unfortunately he ends up hitting an ant with a pebble, and crashes down the rest of the hill, collapsing into a heap, and then getting covered with all that damned glue.
By the time he gets home, Bart is pretty depressed and has started to realize that maybe Jessica isn’t the right girl for him. And man do I love the interaction between Homer and Marge when they notice Bart seems sad:
Marge: Have you noticed any change in Bart?
Homer: New glasses?
Marge: No…he looks like something might be disturbing him.
Homer: Probably misses his old glasses.
Marge: I guess we could get more involved in Bart’s activities, but then I’d be afraid of smothering him.
Homer: Yeah, and then we’d get the chair.
Marge: That’s not what I meant.
Homer: It was, Marge, admit it.
Man that’s great. But anyway, Bart ends up talking with Lisa again, trying to get more relationship advice, and he ends up deciding that he should go cold turkey on her. But this ends up not being feasible, since he has to go to church and see her. The family heads to church, and Bart starts to get attracted to her beautiful singing, while Lisa tries to convince him to stay strong. But he rushes into the church, and finds that it wasn’t Jessica singing, it was Flanders, which is incredible and disturbing. Jessica is there though, and makes him sit with her, while he tries to explain that she should stop being terrible. She claims she will try to be good, but ends up stealing all the money from the collection plate, and blaming it on Bart. The congregation completely believes her, and they all quickly turn on Bart.
So Bart becomes a pariah in the town, with everybody but Marge believing the idea that he stole all the money. And because Bart is crazy, he won’t tell anyone that it was actually Jessica. He tries to talk with Jessica and get her to come forward, but she won’t and he finally realizes that she’s basically evil. Bart ends up hiding in his treehouse to hide from the town, even though Jasper shows up to call him a thief, and plans on just staying there. But Lisa comes to the rescue, and tells Bart that she’ll help him take her down. It ends up happening the next Sunday, when Bart is all restrained like Hannibal Lector, and Lisa gets up to speak in front of the congregation, talking about admitting secrets. This ends up backfiring when other people end up telling their secrets, like Grandpa canceling Star Trek and Dr. Hibbert admitting he left his car keys inside Mrs. Glick. But Jessica stays quiet, so Lisa just straight up outs her, and tells the whole group that it was Jessica. And in true Springfield fashion, an angry mob forms and they march off to the Lovejoy’s house, where they find the money under Jessica’s mattress. And almost immediately Reverend Lovejoy gets all delusional as Jessica explains that this was a cry for attention. The episode then ends by showing Jessica getting punished by cleaning the sidewalk of the church, as she exploits Bart’s stupidity by tricking him into cleaning them for him, while he thinks he’s pulling one over on her with the great line “wait til she sees the second rate job I do on these stairs!”
This episode was a lot of fun. Bart is such a typical male in this episode, barely capable of though when he’s presented with a pretty face. Jessica Lovejoy is a really funny character, and just totally exploits Bart and his adolescent stupidity. Crushes make people dumb, and if you’re unlucky enough to fall for someone shitty like Jessica Lovejoy, things can be pretty rough. And it was really great, as always, to see Bart and Lisa talk to each other and get advice.
Take Away: Don’t let yourself fall for a manipulative person.
“Bart’s Girlfriend,” was written by Jonathan Collier and directed by Susie Dietter, 1994.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons