Well, we’ve made it through our week of largely mediocre but passable episodes, folks. But, before we say goodbye for the weekend, we need to talk about one of the most frightening and ruining things in the world. Puberty!
The episode begins by checking in on the ruined hellscape that was once Mrs. Krabappel’s fourth grade class, which is now apparently being taught by Groundskeeper Willie. He’s trying to make the kids learn poetry when he snaps and begins torturing the children with loud bagpipe music. But, he’s given sweet relief when Superintendent Chalmers shows up with an actual teacher to become Mrs. Krabappel’s replacement.
Her name is Carol Berrerra and she’s a veteran who has come to Springfield to begin giving back to the community by teaching. And, almost immediately Bart starts to like her. Primarily because she’s a soldier and has some gory stories. But, regardless of the why, Bart starts to find himself acting strange. He’s actually being respectful and pleasant to her.
That night we see Homer returning home from work, where he of course stops by at Moe’s. But, after a few drinks, he actually heads home, and remembers that he was supposed to pick up some milk. Specifically, healthy milk without any hormones in it. So, Homer swings by the Kwik-E-Mart and looks for the organic milk, only to be horrified at how expensive it is. He causes a big fuss to Apu, who in reaction just shows Homer an alternative. Apparently Buzz Cola is now selling some sort of hormone and chemical infused milk-like substance, and it’s far cheaper. Homer then of course stocks up on the fake milk.
The next morning the family has breakfast together, and all start drinking this milk. And, while doing so, Bart starts to tell them all about Ms. Berrerra, and how he wants to try being a good kid to her. Which shocks the family. Until Lisa mentions that Berrerra is beautiful, which makes Homer and Marge assume that Bart may just have a crush on his teacher, and decide to roll with it since it’s giving them a more well-behaved son.
That day Bart gets talking with Ms. Berrerra during recess, and she decides to take a special interest in him, primarily because he’s such a mess. She decides that he needs special tutoring, and because no one else is interested, she’ll just have to do it on Tuesday afternoons. Which is exactly what Bart was hoping for, because his interest in Ms. Berrerra has now become a full-on crush, and he’s thrilled at the idea of spending time alone with her.
But the next morning things get rather complicated. Because the kids wake up with sudden-onset puberty. Bart has a wispy little mustache and Lisa has a whole face-full of acne. Homer and Marge are pretty shocked by this development, but Marge still hasn’t figured out that they’re drinking some horrible milk-abomination, so she has no idea what’s going on. Instead she just teaches Lisa how to put makeup on to disguise the acne and Homer has to teach Bart how to shave.
And those hormones are not going to help Bart that day, because it’s the first afternoon of his tutoring with Ms. Berrerra. While he’s sitting there though, disaster strikes. Because apparently Principal Skinner has a thing for fourth grade teachers. He comes sidling into the classroom, and starts awkwardly flirting with Ms. Berrerra, even trading war/PTSD stories with her. And, because he’s currently flooded with hormones, Bart takes this as an immediate threat that must be dealt with.
That evening though Marge finally takes a look at the bottle of Buzz Milk that they’ve been drinking, and realizes what’s been going on. She takes the milk away from the family, but that damage has been done. Lisa is now making friends with the popular girls because of her makeup, and Bart is filled with insane rage towards Skinner. And, to make matters worse, Bart sees Skinner and Berrerra kissing one day, pushing him over the edge. Oh, and Skinner also brags to Bart about his burgeoning relationship, which is insanely weird and creepy.
Several days pass without the milk in their system, and the kids continue on their new pubescent paths. Bart begins pranking Skinner non-stop, while Lisa goes to a fancy party. However, when she realizes that it’s about to start raining at the party, she becomes worried her makeup will wash away. So, she decides to take preemptive measures, and admits to the entire party that she has weird acne. And, when the rain does come, it turns out she doesn’t any more because of the lack of “milk,” and she just looks crazy, losing the respect of the popular kids. Easy come, easy go.
However, this incident has apparently taught Lisa an important lesson, and she goes to talk to Bart, who is also noticing his rage subsiding. She tells him that his anger is all based on hormones, and that he should just ignore them and be happy for Skinner. Bart ends up agreeing, and goes to visit a roller-rink where Skinner and Berrerra are on a date, and tells him he’s happy for him. However, as Bart leaves Agnes arrives and succeeds in scaring Berrerra away. In fact, she’s so scared that she decides to leave Springfield and rejoin the military, bringing everything back to normal.
Yeah, this was a pretty apropos way to end this week of bland and forgettable episodes. Just like the rest of the week, there really wasn’t anything wrong with this episode, there just wasn’t a lot that was right with it either. I get that they wanted to talk about what Bart and Lisa would be like when they went through puberty, which normally wouldn’t be feasible with the show, so the introduction of the hormone milk made sense. But, what they chose to do with the puberty was very weird. To have Skinner and Bart actively seeking out the same woman, and having Skinner be aware of that, was so strange, and really put me o from the whole story. Although seeing Bart with all his weird mustache styles was funny. And that Lisa stuff was really nothing more than a half-baked idea, not even really having a full B-Plot to it. It’s an episode that just felt like nothing much happened, with a whole bunch of wheel-spinning, which is sadly something we sure are seeing a lot lately.
Take Away: Puberty sucks!
“Teenage Mutant Milk-caused Hurdles” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Timothy Bailey, 2016.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons
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