Lifetime of Simpsons

S21 E02 – Bart Gets a “Z”

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Well folks, we’ve made it through another week. It hasn’t been a particularly fun week, but it also wasn’t too terrible. Just rather mediocre. The real bane of this week was that we just got a slew of episodes that felt like poor knock-offs of better episodes. And what better way to end the week then by giving us another episodes exactly like that. Because today we have a Mrs. Krabappel episode, and like almost every Mrs. Krabappel episode that means it’s time for Bart to do something horrible, then try to make up for it!

The episode begins with Edna waking up in her depressing apartment, covered in a pile of half-graded papers. She tries to convince herself that this is going to be a good day, and starts getting ready for work. And in doing so begins to prove to herself that this isn’t going to be a good day. Basically everything that could go wrong does, and she ends up getting to class late, already in a pretty foul mood.

And that isn’t helped by the fact that all of the kids are busy playing around on their phones, giving absolutely no attention to her. Edna starts to get really frustrated, and decides that the phones are the root of the problem. And, like anyone would, she kind of snaps. Edna demands that all of the kids giver her their phones, forcing them to pay attention. That does require the kids to call her bluff, and have Edna teach, but she does okay with that.

However, she’s earned the ire of the children. That afternoon the fourth graders call a little meeting in Bart’s backyard, and start to plot ways to deal with Mrs. Krabappel. They decide that she’s too uptight and not fun enough. So they begin brainstorming ways to make adults more fun when Homer comes running through the backyard, drunk off his ass and having a blast with Santa’s Little Helper. And just like that, they have an idea. They need to get Mrs. Krabappel drunk.

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So the kids all go back to their houses and begin smuggling as much booze as they can. They ransack their parent’s liquor cabinets and end up brining all sorts of random bits of alcohol to school. Bart mixes it all up in a thermos, and they manage to spike Mrs. Krabappel’s coffee, hiding any evidence behind some hazelnut creamer. And, shockingly, this works. Mrs. Krabappel doesn’t notice the booze, and begins pounding down her coffees, getting drunker and drunker.

And the kids love it! They’re psyched to see Mrs. Krabappel so goofy and fun, and end up having a great day with her. However, disaster strikes when she has to lead the kids to some sort of assembly, and quickly begins heckling the choir. The other teachers try to calm Edna down, but she’s way too drunk for that, and starts making a complete ass of herself, drawing the attention of the entire school, until Principal Skinner drags her off.

Once Edna sobers up, she’s obviously pretty mortified. She has no idea how she possibly could have gotten drunk, and she’s utterly ashamed. Which doesn’t fix the fact that she showed up drunk to school, and Principal Skinner has to do something about that. And that something is to fire her. So, Edna has no lost her job, and has to pack up her belongings and leave. Which really bums the kids out. They were just trying to play a prank, not get their teacher fired.

But that guilt kind of leaves when they meet their new teacher. He’s a young guy named Zach who just got his Masters in teaching, and has all sorts of new ideas. He’s obsessed with social media, technology, and trying to teach as differently as possible. He gives the kids back all of their phones, and basically just tries to become their best friends. He texts them notes, he convinces them that memorization is pointless because you can just Google things, and he especially hates things like smiley-face stickers, which Edna had in bulk.

Bart is still feeling a lot of guilt though, mainly because it was all his idea. So he decides to grab the roll of smiley-face stickers, and bring them to Edna’s apartment. After school that day Bart heads over to the apartment, and is pretty shocked at how utterly depressing it all is. Edna has basically given up on life, and Bart realizes that since this is all his fault, he needs to do something to brighten Edna’s mood. He tries to convince her to start leaving the apartment, but it’s clear that that isn’t going to happen on its own.

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However, Bart discovers he has a bit of a conundrum. He feels terribly that Edna has lost his job, but he also really enjoys how little he has to do now that Zach is his teacher. So Bart decides that he needs to find Edna a new purpose so he can keep Zach. And it just so happens that he comes across a book called the Answer, that claims it can help stupid people how to succeed in life. And, because Bart’s a child, he decides that this is probably exactly what Edna needs.

Bart buys the book and heads on over to Edna’s apartment, brimming with confidence that this dumb book is going to solve all of her problems. Edna tries to get Bart to understand that the book is bullshit, but he sticks to his guns and convinces her to at least give it a shot. They begin working up dream jobs that Edna could have, and the only one she thinks up is to own her own muffin store. So, with Bart’s help, they get to work making that dream a reality.

We then skip right ahead to Edna owning her own muffin store. That went quickly! And it seems to be doing fine. Bart works there with her sometimes, and the two really seem to be getting close. Which is when Bart decides to tell Edna the truth, and admit that it was he who got her fired. And guess what? She’s pissed. Like, really pissed. Edna starts yelling at Bart, telling him that he ruined her life, and that she had always thought that there was a core of decency to Bart, but now she’s convinced that he’s bad on the inside too.
And this really hurts Bart. He starts to be racked with self-doubt, wondering if he actually is a bad person. He decides that he needs to do something to really help Mrs. Krabappel, and decides that the only thing he can do is to get Zach fired. Which seems like a weird conclusion to make if he’s trying to prove that he isn’t a terrible person, but whatever, the episode needs to end. And because Bart hasn’t learned anything other than how to get a teacher fired, he decides that he needs to do the exact thing he did to Zach as he did to Krabappel.

So Bart creates another thermos of alcohol, and sneaks into the classroom before class begins. Bart finds a can of the energy drink that Zach is obsessed with. However, right before he pours the booze in he realizes what he’s doing, and goes to tell Skinner the truth. Bart spills the beans, and admits that he was the one who put the booze in Edna’s coffee. Skinner decides that Edna could have another shot, but also knows he can’t fire Zach for no reason. Which is right when Zach shows up, drunk, on his own accord. He’s just apparently lost his idealism and has become a jaded teacher. So Skinner fires Zach, and rehires Edna, which for some reason fixes her and Bart’s relationship.

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This is a really weird episode. I haven’t been a big fan of episodes that revolve around Bart being an asshole, and this may be the worst thing he’s done yet. He literally gets Edna fired by getting her drunk without her knowledge. All because she wouldn’t let him play on his goddamn cell phone during class. That’s demented. And, to make matters worse, Bart then decides to make things better, but not too better, because he likes that his new teacher doesn’t make him learn. And then, he fully plans on getting rid of Zach by doing the exact same thing he did to Edna. He didn’t really learn anything in this episode. Yeah, at the very last second he does the right thing, but we’re supposed to applaud Bart for not being a monster, instead of just doing the right thing? It’s ridiculous. And then the episode just ends. It’s all fine I guess. Bart literally did the most despicable thing he’s ever done and got Edna fired, probably irreparably damaging her public persona, but because he got her job back it’s all good. I don’t know folks; episodes like this piss me off, and this one in particular left a bad taste in my mouth.

Take Away: Don’t get people drunk in public as revenge.

 

“Bart Gets a “Z”” was written by Matt Selman and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2009.

 

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