Hey everybody! Welcome back to yet another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And folks, we’re in for an interesting Monday. Because in case you didn’t know, this is the 350th episode of the Simpsons. Which therefore means I’ve written 350 articles about this goddamn show. Which is pretty absurd. But you know what’s more absurd? The fact that they decided to make the 350th episode a really weird and lackluster flash-forward episode about Bart and Lisa’s prom. That’s a bold choice. Although better than their choice to make episode 300 all about Tony Hawk. I guess you take what you can get.
The episode begins with Bart and Lisa wandering around the town, mocking each other. They’re basically just pointing out random people and saying that that person is their boyfriend/girlfriend. So Bart claims Comic Book Guy is Lisa’s boyfriend and Lisa says Crazy Cat Lady is Bart’s girlfriend. But neither will claim to be gay for Moleman, which leads to a full-on fist fight where they start rolling down a hill and right into the basement of a house.
That should lead to a serial killer story, but instead they end up in the house of Professor Frink, who it turns out has been expecting them. He’s apparently mastered the science of astrology, and using the power of the stars can now tell the future. And he’s used that technology to create some weird television that has recorded certain moments in the future, and for some reason he specifically sought out the future of Bart and Lisa, and wants to show it to them.
So the kids settle back and look at what their lives are going to be like in eight years. Which means it’s prom time! Yep, for both of them, because Lisa has apparently skipped two grades and is now also a senior like Bart. And they’re both awaiting their dates. Bart is dating some girl named Jenda who seems like just as much of a slacker as he is, and Lisa has resigned herself to dating Milhouse, who is now super jacked. Oh, and Homer and Marge are separated now, and don’t live together. They just kind of toss that out there.
The kids then head out to the prom, and while they seem to have a good time, it’s just kind of super depressing. Everyone is aging terribly. Nelson has apparently knocked up both Sherri and Terri, Martin had to bring a Robot as a date, and Ralph is there talking about going to the bathroom by himself. Just kind of depressing all around. But they’re happy and we get exposition like the fact Lisa is going to Yale thanks to a scholarship from Mr. Burns.
And after the prom itself the kids all head to the woods around Springfield to do what kids do after prom. Get laid. Except it kind of falls apart for everyone. Bart and Jenda go up to some hill and start making out, but when Jenda assumes they’re going to have sex Bart throws her a curveball and proposes. And she flat out rejects him, wanting no part of a depressing future with Bart. Oh, and Lisa just straight-up dumps Milhouse as she prepares to head off to Yale and never look back. Lots of heartbreak for everyone!
So yeah, everyone’s bummed the hell out. Especially Bart, who is hanging out with Homer in his insane underwater house. Yeah, Homer lives underwater now, and apparently buying that house was what broke him and Marge up. Bart bares his soul to his dad, and Homer decides to fix things by taking Bart to Moe’s to pick up some chicks. Unfortunately the only women at Moe’s are Mrs. Krabappel and Ms. Hoover. And no one in this situation is depraved enough to go down with that scenario.
Bart is still depressed at this point, and decides to do what he always does, ask Lisa for advice. And she actually has some solid advice. She tells him that Jenda didn’t want to spend her life with him because he has no direction, and he should maybe get a career to show her that he actually does. So, after a brief scene to randomly establish that Marge is dating Krusty now, we see Bart get a job at the Kwik-E-Mart, working for Apu’s terrible children.
But they do give Bart a special mission, telling him to go deliver a special item to an old shut-in. Which turns out to be Mr. Burns. So Bart makes his way to Burns’ mansion, and is shocked to find the old man being robbed by an aging Snake. But when Snake takes a call on his gun Bart springs on him, and smashes Snake over the head with a giant diamond. And Mr. Burns is so grateful for saving his life; he decides to give Bart that scholarship to Yale instead of Lisa. Whoops!
Yep, even though it’s completely screwing over his sister’s life-goals, Bart decides to go with it. Which makes for an awkward graduation, especially when they have to announce that Lisa is no longer going to Yale. But hey, Jenda is impressed enough to take Bart back, so it’s all worth it! And since everyone is so happy, they decide to go party in Homer’s underwater house, trying to ignore the fact that Bart screwed over his sister.
But Bart can’t shake the feeling of guilt that he has, so after the party while he and Jenda are wandering around the town he’s just kind of a drag. That is until he stumbles upon Professor Frink’s old house, and decides to show Jenda the future-telling TV. They head down to look at it, while Jenda is super bored, and Bart checks out Lisa’s new future. Which is bleak. She’s poor, sad, and married to Milhouse. And Bart can’t abide that. So he ditches Jenda and saves Lisa from her horrible life, giving her back her scholarship and setting everything right. Oh, and Homer and Marge patch things up for some reason. So that’s the future!
In general I’ve found the flash-forward episodes to be pretty lack luster. Lisa’s wedding is a very solid episode, but more every other one just rubs me the wrong way. And this one is no different. I can’t even really think of that many solid gags in it. It’s just kind of unpleasant. Mainly because it revolves around one of my least favorite tropes, Bart being an unrepentant asshole until the last possible second. He was seriously going to screw over the dream that his sister has had since she was a little girl just to impress some girl? Yikes. Plus we get to see that Homer and Marge continue to have stupid fights that cause them to basically break up before reconciling for little to no reason. Awesome! It’s just a weak episode that really becomes weaker when you think that they made this the 350th episode. You would think that would be saved for something special. But I guess not.
Take Away: Maybe don’t ruin your future, and the future of your sibling, by trying to marry a girl you dated in high school.
“Future-Drama” was written by Matt Selman and directed by Mike B Anderson, 2005.