Lifetime of Simpsons

S26 E11 – Bart’s New Friend

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Hey, does everyone remember that episode from Season 13 called “the Blunder Years?” You know, it’s that episode where Homer goes out to a hypnotist, and he gets turned into a ten-year old boy, only to be faced with dealing with some horrible repressed fears? Well, what if they did that episode again, but removed the interesting part with the fears, and just made Homer a ten-ear old for most of the episode? I think it would look a little something, like this.

The episode begins with Homer happily walking around the Nuclear Plant, singing to himself, when he happens upon a party in one of the breakrooms. He’s unfamiliar with what this could be, but goes inside to get some cake. And it turns out he should probably be here, because this is a retirement party for a man named Don. And what position did Don do? Why, he’s the safety inspector for Sector 7-G!

Now, in case you’ve noticed that that sounds familiar, you are correct. That is also what Homer’s job is. Turns out this guy Don has been Homer’s partner for years, and Homer never knew. Don has actually been doing the job, and now that he’s retiring Homer’s going to have to do it all on his own, because there’s actually a whole lot more to his job than he ever actually knew. And now it’s time to sink or swim, because Don won’t be here to pick up the massive amount of slack.

And Homer is terrified. He realizes that he’s absolutely doomed, and becomes incredibly stressed when he finds how much work he now has to do. Homer has so much work now, and he’s completely unable to goof off with Lenny and Carl, having to actually stay at his desk and do things. Hell, he even has to start doing research and compiling reports! And, just like that, Homer starts to hate his job, which starts to have serious repercussions.

Marge notices that Homer is now super stressed out, and always kind of irritable. So, she decides to help out Homer, and do something to ease his stress. Which for some reason means she buys them all tickets to the circus? Sure. Let’s go with it. And it doesn’t go well! Homer keeps trying to work during the show, and of course gets in a fight with a clown, causing them to leave early and head home to more work and stress.

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However, as they’re leaving Marge realizes she needs to use the port-a-potty, which she’s worried is going to take a while. So, while Homer and the kids are standing around, waiting for Marge, they notice that there’s a hypnotism show going on. So, the kids convince Homer to come with them, and they go into the tent to check out some hypnotism. Homer’s pretty uninterested in hypnotism, until Lisa mentions that hypnotism can sometimes make people more efficient.

Desperate to find any way to make his new work-load easier Homer decides to volunteer himself up for hypnotism. The hypnotist then uses his abilities to make Homer think that he’s ten-years old. Again! However, as the hypnotist is showing off his gift the police come bursting into the tent, and arrest him. He’s apparently a wanted criminal, and when he sees the police he flees from the tent, escaping their clutches, and leaving Homer thinking that he’s still ten-years old.

The Simpsons aren’t quite sure what to do with Homer now that he’s a child, and they decide to bring him to Dr. Hibbert in the hope that he can help him. He can’t. Although he does confirm that things seem dire, because Homer won’t snap out of it, and so totally believes that he’s a child that he thinks beer is gross, raising a serious red-flag for the family. Hibbert says that they’re going to need to find that fugitive hypnotist to save Homer, and they’ll just have to wait until they find him.

Which means that the family are going to have to deal with a childlike Homer until they can find the hypnotist. Which is stressing everyone out. Bart thinks that Homer is hilarious, and Marge and Lisa think that he’s annoying as hell. So, because it would be creepy otherwise, Marge decides to have Homer sleep in Bart’s room as a weird sleepover until they can get everything sorted out. Which Homer and Bart are down with.

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They actually really like hanging out together now, even when Homer decides that he should be going to school with Bart. Homer begins going to class, and absolutely dominates in all playground activities. And they start to become best friends. In fact, one night Homer and Bart get talking, and Homer explains that he loves being a free-spirit, and if he ever grew up and had a boring job and a bunch of kids he would secretly hate his life and become a fat drunk. Which starts to get Bart worried.

Bart is now convinced that Homer is actually secretly depressed, and decides that he should do something to brighten Homer’s life. But, until they turn him back into an adult Bart has no ability to do this, and just keeps hanging out with his new buddy. Homer and Bart keep hanging out, and even Lisa starts to take advantage of how nice and interested he is in her, putting on a crazy saxophone concert for some stuffed animals and a happy Homer.

However, their good time is ruined when Chief Wiggum calls the family with some good news. They’ve captured the hypnotist, and they’ll be coming over shortly to get Homer all fixed. Which terrifies Bart. He doesn’t want Homer to go back to normal, so he needs to come up with a plan to keep Homer a child. He runs the idea by Lisa, but even though she thinks that Homer is fun now she also knows that it’s insane to keep him a child.

So, Bart has to do this on his own. And, luckily, he has a plan. Bart manages to flee from the house, with Homer, and they end up at Itchy and Scratchy Land so that Homer can have one final amazing day as a child. They have a pretty good time, but eventually Marge, the police, and the hypnotist arrive, and tell Bart it has to end. So, sadly, Bart allows Homer to be brought back to normal, but not before Homer says goodbye, calling Bart his best friend. Things then go more or less back to normal, but Homer realizes that he seems to remember some kid now that he used to be friends with, which makes him closer to Bart.

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Okay. This episode is kind of stupid. I was initially really irritated at the idea that they were just going to do a second episode that revolved around a hypnotist making Homer think that he’s ten-years old. That’s just such a bizarre thing to have done twice. But, shockingly, things actually ended up pretty interesting by the end. Yeah, they just drop the whole idea that Homer’s job is now insane, and I’m sure it’ll go back to normal immediately, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is the idea of Homer and Bart bonding while Homer kind of becomes his own inner child. It was a pretty dumb episode, but they actually elicited some serious emotion at the end. Having Bart worry that Homer is sad, and having him find a way to cheer Homer up is really sweet, and seeing Homer actually change a little and slightly remember his time with Bart was very nice. So, even though it started off a little ridiculous, it ended up reaching an interesting place.

Take Away: Hypnotism solves everything.

 

“Bart’s New Friend” was written by Judd Apatow and directed by Bob Anderson, 2015.

 

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