Lifetime of Simpsons

S14 E11 – Barting Over

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Hey everybody! Guess what we have here. The 300th episode. I guess. It seems like there’s discrepancy between this episode or “Strong Arms of the Ma” being the actual 300th, but this was the 300th that aired, which makes this the 300th installment of this project. Holy crap. I’ve written 300 of these damn articles! That’s absurd and awesome. So sit back, relax, and get ready to hear about a really weird and mediocre episode!

The episode oddly starts off with Lisa getting recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors awards, but that’s obviously a dream, so she’s woken up by Marge just straight up vacuuming her room while she sleeps. Lisa wakes up, irritated, and Marge explains that it’s time for Spring Cleaning, and that everyone has to pitch in. As demonstrated by Homer and Santa’s Little Helper cleaning the floors by scooting their asses.

After that they all head to the garage and begin cleaning out that rat’s nest. They find a pack of feral Furby’s, a Necronomicon, and a box of VHS tapes. Bart goes through the tapes and finds one labeled “Homer and Marge get dirty,” and against all common sense he and Lisa go inside to watch it. Luckily it’s just tape of Homer and Marge carving pumpkins, so he’s not scarred for the rest of his life. But they do find another tape in the box. One that says “Bart Sad.”

So the siblings pop in the tape to see footage of Bart being sad, but are shocked to find that after a bit of a Perfect Strangers episode, it’s just a commercial. A commercial featuring Bart. Turns out when Bart was a baby he was the spokesman for some horrible product that made baby’s breath smell better. So it wasn’t “Bart Sad,” it was “Bart’s Ad.” And he’s not pleased about this. It never has come up in his life, and he had no idea that he’s been in these ridiculous ads.

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So Bart goes and confronts Homer and Marge about the commercial, and learns that he actually had fun making them, and made a whole lot of money. Which Homer then squandered buying back blackmail photos. Yeah, Homer has basically stolen a fortune from his son. And Bart is not pleased. He starts yelling at Homer, and even tries to strangle him with his belt. And things escalate so much that after a suggestion from Milhouse, Bart goes to a lawyer to get a “divorce” from his parents.

Marge is obviously not thrilled with Bart trying to get emancipated but he makes it clear that it’s not her fault, it’s all Homer’s. So after tricking Homer into accepting a subpoena after an incredibly awkward dinner, they head to court. And since they got Judge Harm to look at their case, things aren’t going well for Homer. He clearly has anger issues and just reads as a terrible father. So even though it’s insane, Judge Harm finds in Bart’s favor and grants him emancipation, proclaiming that Homer’s wages will be garnished until he pays back the money he stole from Bart.

So Bart’s on his own now, and has a lot of money from the settlement, so he decides to move out of the house and get a loft downtown. He moves down to a sad little studio apartment and set up a little home, while Homer actually starts to miss Bart and begins playing with a creepy dummy of Bart. But things aren’t going great for Bart. The loft is sad, scary, and lonely, and after a rat scares him in the middle of the night he runs to the elevator and tries to escape the building.

Unfortunately the faulty wiring makes the elevator go up instead of down, and brings Bart to his upstairs neighbor. Who turns out to be topical guest celebrity, Tony Hawk! Turns out Tony is living in this loft, and has transformed it into some sort of skateboard party, with some terrible punk band playing. I guess it’s Blink 182, so my assessment stands. Tony offers to let Bart hang out with him, and just like that, Bart no longer has a problem with living by himself.

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And while Bart is acclimating to his surroundings, the family is getting depressed. They really miss Bart, and decide that an upcoming visit with him will be their opportunity to convince him to return. So they put on their nice clothes and walk to the shady apartment and head into Bart’s loft, which is now furnished pretty neatly. It at least looks like an ideal college-student’s apartment. And after a day together the family broaches the idea of Bart coming home, but he still refuses. Especially because he’s getting ready to go on a tour with Tony Hawk for a festival called Skewed.

The family obviously don’t want to miss Bart for six months while he’s on tour, so Homer goes to the Skewed show in Springfield to change his mind. Which he decides to accomplish by convincing Tony Hawk to take a dive in a skateboard contest. Tony Hawk is pretty cool with this idea, and gives Homer some robotic skateboard that does all the work for him. So the show begins, and Home throws down the gauntlet to challenge Tony Hawk.

Tony agrees and the two men start competing, with Homer easily outpacing the professional thanks to the robotic skateboard’s abilities. Which starts to piss off Tony Hawk as the crowd begins to turn on him. So Tony Hawk and Homer start having weird wire-fu skateboard fights, until Homer is triumphant. He then returns to Bart, who now doesn’t seem to be mad at Homer. And after agreeing to also start in an embarrassing ad, Homer has fixed their relationship, and everything goes back to normal.

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So yeah, that’s what we got. Doesn’t really seem like it was “Episode 300” material to me. It’s just a little weird. I would have imagined they would have done a really great and huge episode for such a milestone, not this weird little episode about Homer and Bart fighting with some of the most incredibly 90’s celebrities they could muster. Were Tony Hawk and Blink 182 still relevant at all around this time? I’m not quite sure. And it’s just not a story that I liked all that much. The idea of Bart getting emancipated and moving to a loft downtown is so ridiculous and unrealistic that it kind of bugs me. Yeah, I know, this is a cartoon, and it’s moving increasingly away from reality, but it’s just such a dumb and weird idea for an episode. To me at least. Especially for an episode 300. But that’s just me I suppose. Here’s to another 300!

Take Away: Don’t treat your kids like crap, they can easily emancipate themselves and go live with skateboard celebrities.

 

“Barting Over” was written by Andrew Kreisberg and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2003.

 

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