Lifetime of Simpsons

S18 E18 – The Boys of Bummer

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So this week is filled with more or less good episodes. Which is a rarity in this era of the show. But it doesn’t seem like the Simpsons Gods are fully smiling on us this week, because there’s one weird blemish on an otherwise decent week. This one. So buckle up and get ready to learn about this awkward, mean-spirited episode.

Things start off with the family heading to a baseball stadium that Bart’s little league team is playing at. This is apparently a big game, and if Bart’s team wins they get to go to the state championships, which is something that Springfield has never accomplished. So there’s a lot of pressure, and the people of Springfield are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the game. And, wouldn’t you know, Springfield wins the game, and it’s all thanks to Bart catching a fly ball.

So Springfield is going to the state little league championships, and the town is stoked. Bart and his team get a special ceremony in the town hall where they’re being honored as Springfield’s greatest heroes. And the pressure begins to mount. The town is clearly becoming obsessed with this big game, and Bart and the team have become the saviors of Springfield, which surely isn’t going to backfire in any way.

Meanwhile, Marge and Homer are heading to Costington’s department store so that Marge can find a special dress for the big game. And while she’s shopping Homer becomes incredibly bored, and heads off in search of a husband chair. Unfortunately they are all occupied, so Homer is left with no choice but to climb into one of the demo beds that the store is selling. He takes off his pants and everything, and jumps on into the bed.

This proves awkward when a crowd of people gather around the bed, baffled at this man sleeping in a public place. Which is made more awkward when Mr. Costington arrives and yells at Homer for doing such an insane thing. Homer panics though, and starts to talk about how great the mattress was, and ends up doing such a great sales pitch that people demand to buy the mattress. Which means Homer has acquired a new job.

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But before we get to more hot mattress action, we need to check back in on Bart’s big game. The day has arrived, and everyone in town appears to be packed into this stadium to watch some ten-year olds play baseball. And it all comes down to one more play, and if Springfield catches the ball, they’ll win. So the ball gets hit, goes flying through the air straight towards Bart, and he misses. And not only does he miss, he begins doing some crazy Three Stooges shtick that results in the other team getting enough runs that they’ve won the game. Bart single-handedly lost this game for the town.

But it’s not a big deal right? He’s just a boy playing a silly game, right? Wrong. As well established, the people of Springfield are monsters, and they quickly turn on Bart, booing him and pummeling him with refuse. In one instant Bart has become the most hated person in Springfield. And people are not bashful about being horrible to Bart. Hell, KBBL even markets themselves as an anti-Bart news source. And, shockingly, Bart is not coping with this very well.

Bart has become incredibly depressed, and people just keep treating him like shit. Marge tries to help, but nothing she can do seems to work, so Lisa decides to give it a shot. She brings Bart to some baseball convention where a former professional player is signing autographs. Turns out this guy had blown a famous catch too, and became a laughingstock, and he tries to tell Bart that people will forget and his life will move on. Until he learns who Bart is, then he just starts booing him.

Let’s take a brief break from Bart’s plot though to check in on Homer’s mattress story. Because things have gotten real weird, real fast. It turns out Homer is a natural mattress salesman, and he’s been racking up sales. He even sells the Lovejoy’s a mattress specifically to spice up their sex lives. But that turns out to be a bad call, because one day the Lovejoy’s show up at Homer’s house and demand to return the mattress, because it didn’t work.

I have no idea why they came to Homer to do this transaction, or why Homer has to repay them their money from his own finances, but whatever, things are going to bet weirder before the end. He invites the Lovejoy’s up to his bedroom to write them a check for the refund, and while he’s doing it the Lovejoy’s start making out on Homer’s bed. Apparently his mattress is magic, so he agrees to a swap with the Lovejoy’s. You know, like normal people?

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However, this proves to be a bad call, because that night Homer and Marge are getting read to snuggle, and they both realize that something’s off. And when Homer finally admits that he traded their mattress away, they realize that it apparently had magical powers. So, obviously they need to go sneak into the Lovejoy’s house and steal back their mattress. However, when they do that they instead just have sex in the Lovejoy’s house, and get caught. At which point Lovejoy decides that they should just cut the mattress in half, so everyone is happy. And that’s what they go with.

So yeah, that was weird. Let’s get back to Bart. Because things are getting weird. Lisa wakes up one morning and find that the whole neighborhood has been plastered with graffiti saying “I HATE BART SIMPSON.” And it isn’t just their neighborhood, the whole town is covered in this graffiti, and everyone is wondering who could be responsible for it. Well, that’s not a mystery that lasts long, because the town quickly find the culprit adding a new message to a water tower. And it’s Bart.

Apparently Bart has completely snapped, and is trying to agree with everyone else that he’s terrible. And the town continues to be terrible, and keep on heckling him. Which is when Bart just drops off the water tower, hitting the ground hard and going into a coma. So he’s rushed to the hospital, and the people of Springfield obviously start heckling the hospital, booing Bart while he lies in a hospital bed. Which is when Marge snaps.

She screams at the crowds to people, and they finally realize that they’ve been monsters. They all decide to do whatever they can to help Bart, and there appears to be one idea. Redo the game. They all agree that they won’t actually let Springfield win the championship, but instead they’re going to wait for Bart to wake up and then stage an elaborate farce where everyone pretends that the game had to be redone.

Bart then wakes up from the coma, and is told what’s going on. He’s a little confused, but goes along with it anyway. So the whole town goes back to that stadium, and get the game going, until things reach the exact same point as they did in the last game. And Bart still misses the ball. But they decide that there was a problem with the play, and they just keep redoing it, over and over, until Bart finally catches the damn ball, and they can all move on with their lives.

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This episode is so bizarre. I don’t think I’ve eve seen an episode this mean-spirited. I know that people don’t like “Homer’s Enemy” because they think seeing Frank Grimes slowly be driven mad is too depressing to be a source of comedy, but I’ve never really felt this way. But this episode? Holy crap. Ignore all the weird sex mattress stuff, that plot is insane and makes no sense, and just focus on the main plot We get to see Bart Simpson, one of the central protagonists of this show, be berated and hated, despite the fact that he’s just a child who didn’t catch a ball. I know that people do this to athletes, poor bastards whose jobs are to catch or kick balls, and then get hated when they don’t do that well. But Bart is a child. And he’s treated so poorly that he snaps and almost kills himself. What the hell? And then the silly ending of the episode is the whole town tricking Bart into thinking that he’s better than he really is. This episode is just so weird. I had never seen it or heard of it, so I sat there watching this episode with my mouth agape most of the time, shocked that something so bitter and ugly could be from this show. It’s just shockingly mean, and was a very unpleasant experience.

Take Away: Don’t take sports too hard. It’s just a game, and nothing worth ruining a persons life over.

“The Boys of Bummer” was written by Michael Price and directed by Rob Oliver, 2007.

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2 replies »

  1. I really hate this episode! One of my least favourite ones because of the awkwardness and unnecessary mean-spirited plotline.
    It just makes me feel so … negative and weird. It’s not something you expect with The Simpsons.

    It’s also why I don’t like “Love is a Many Strangled Thing” because they took the “comedy” of the Bart strangling and made it unnecessarily serious, boring and weird. It’s exactly like when you explain a joke: it’s not funny 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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