Hey, Hey, everyone! Like a slasher movie villain that just keeps coming back no matter how many times you kill it, it’s time to talk about the Simpsons again. I made the promise that I would continue to do this segment as long as the show goes on, and here we are, starting off the thirtieth season of this damn television show. Three decades worth of Simpsons by the end. There have been high and lows, and this episode even begins with a fun little segment that counts backwards through the seasons, showing off some classic bit, and reminding us how great the show has been. And then this episode begins, and washes all that good will away.
The story begins at Springfield Elementary, during some sort of talent show. It’s very strange though, because it appears that only the children are there, no parents, which obviously leads to a whole lot of harassment. People boo Martin’s cello recital, and really start to heckle Lisa and Milhouse’s weird slam poetry/saxophone solo.
And, while Lisa plays her depressing music, the bullies arrive to harass Bart. They want him to pull the fire alarm, ending the recital. And, surprisingly, he’s not down with it. He doesn’t want to do that to Lisa, causing the bullies to amp things up. They dare Bart, enacting the holy compact that all stupid young boys must fulfill.
But, Bart sticks to his guns, and refuses to go through with the dare, earning him the ire of the bullies. They swear vengeance upon him, and the rumor quickly swirls around the school, until everyone starts awkwardly looking at Bart, assuming he’s about to be beaten to a pulp. However, before Bart can be beaten by a bunch of bullies, he gets some perplexing help.
Homer and Marge arrive at the school, in Principal Skinner’s office, having been told that Bart didn’t pull a prank. For some reason they then get to take him home for the day, I guess to protect him from a beating? I’m not sure, this episode makes very little sense. So, they bring him home, and Marge starts showering Bart with praise and love, so proud that he didn’t do something awful to his sister. He didn’t do anything good, he just didn’t do something shitty. Low bars, I guess.
Homer however, has a much different reaction. He’s deeply ashamed that Bart was welshed on a dare, and both Homer and Grandpa end up telling Bart that men are supposed to accept dares, and the only thing he can do to set things right is to accept any insane dares the bullies give him. Bart’s pretty resistant to this idea, until he has a vision of his life as a mamma’s boy, and decides he’d rather be a shitty dude.
So, Bart heads into school the next day and tells the bullies that he’ll do whatever insane dare they can think of, with no condition. Which was a bad call! Because the bullies now dare him to leap off of a dam and into a reservoir, which just so happens to be full of toxic waste from the Nuclear Plant. Bart accepts the dare, and leaps off of the reservoir, smashing straight into the ground, missing the water completely.
And, despite falling directly onto some concrete from a sever story drop, Bart apparently is completely fine. He’s rushed to the hospital, but wakes up immediately and suffers no issues whatsoever. Well, physical issues, he does have to deal with some questions from Homer and Marge. Marge obviously wants to know why he would do such a stupid thing, and Homer realizes that if Bart says he did it as a dare, he could then get in trouble too, since he told Bart to do it.
Homer then encourages Bart to make up a lie, and Bart really swings for the fences. He doesn’t explain why he jumped, but he does say that while he was unconscious he visited heaven. This obviously doesn’t explain anything, but Marge does get distracted, and Bart decides to push things even further, telling Marge that he specifically met her father, and even was told by Jesus that the world will get better. And, for some reason, Marge completely believes him.
Bart takes the success of this lie, and decides to start running with it. he tells Ned all about heaven, making all of it up, and Ned loves every little bit. Things get more and more elaborate, and the story starts getting too big for him to handle. Which is when Lisa decides to call him on his bullshit, telling Bart that he obviously didn’t go to heaven, and that he should cut it out. But, Bart promises that he can handle things, and says that he’s sure things won’t get untenable.
Which is when the creepy Christian movie producers arrive. They show up at the house, having heard Bart’s story, and say that they want to option it and turn it into a movie. They make terrible religious schlock movies, and think that his story will make a perfect musical, for some reason. And, seeing an opportunity to make some money, Homer decides to go with it, somehow convincing them that he should write and direct the movie himself.
Bart and Homer have to continue the lie, otherwise Marge will be mad at them, and they start creating a movie based on their lies. Ned ends up getting involved, and he and Homer get to work writing the script. This goes by pretty quickly, and they immediately start casting the movie, and actually end up getting actors of quality like Emily Deschanel and Gal Gadot instead of the usual caliber of actor in these movies, like Kevin Sorbo.
And, with the roles of Marge and Lisa filled, they start filming the movie! Since Homer is apparently the director too. And, we then skip ahead to the end of the filming process, where Bart has started to get stressed out about everything. He’s worried that his lie has gotten too big, and now that it’s been made into a movie people will realize it’s a lie. Because apparently movies are always 100% true, and never feature any lies.
Bart tries to tell Homer that he wants to end the charade, even though they’ve long since passed the point where such a decision could work, and they agree to just keep it a secret, since the movie is about to premiere. And, when the film finally is released, people love it. It’s absolutely terrible, as you’d assume, but it’s a massive hit with the Springfield audience.
That night though, as Homer is happily dreaming about winning a Christian Oscar, Bart walks into Homer and Marge’s room to tell them the truth. Bart gets ready to tell Marge the truth, and Homer does his best to keep the lie going, but it’s no use. The truth has been revealed, and Marge isn’t pleased.
But, Lisa then comes into the room and says that the movie has somehow made a hundred million dollars, causing them all to agree to keep the truth secret. Which doesn’t work somehow. The truth gets out, and becomes a huge scandal, causing the family to donate all the profits they got from the movie. And, almost immediately, everyone forgets what’s going on, and everything goes back to normal.
Holy hell! Did that recap make even the slightest bit of sense? Because this episode reads as pure gibberish. I have literally no idea what’s going on with this episode. It’s like it’s missing scenes or something. Nothing of it makes any sense, and I kept waiting for the reveal that it was all a dream or something, because as soon as Bart slams into the concrete of the reservoir all logic just flies out the window. I don’t know why Bart made this lie, I don’t know why they kept the lie going, I don’t know why Homer was allowed to be the writer, casting director, and director of the movie, I don’t know why the movie made a hundred million dollars, I don’t know how the secret got out, and I don’t know why people cared about it. The episode was just tedious. There weren’t really many jokes, it’s making fun of a story from 2010, it makes absolutely no sense, and basically none of the characters are acting like they should. And this was the season opener. This is the episode that they chose to begin the thirtieth season of the Simpsons. I’m worried.
Hey, this is probably as good a place as any to bring this up too. If you’re a regular reader of this site you may have noticed that back when I wrapped up the 29th Season of the Simpsons I implied I’d be starting up a Futurama series on the site. And, that never happened! I had some plans to do it, but things have been incredibly hectic and stressful in my life lately, and I just haven’t had the time to get that ball rolling. I still plan on starting it, hopefully in the coming months, but for now it’s going to have to wait a bit.
“Bart’s Not Dead” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Bob Anderson, 2018.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons