(originally aired April 29, 2007)
Whelp, after two surprisingly good shows, we’re back to basics, here in the most abjectly cruel episode ever. The Springfield Little League team the Isotots are heading for their championship game, after a game-winning catch from Bart. The town is totally psyched about this potential grasp at piddling fame, which I guess is the joke, but the severity on what’s riding on the game is undercut by its utter insignificance. Shelbyville is down by three near the end, but a major fumble in left field by Bart ends up losing the entire game. And the crowd boos. Oh, how they boo, and throw things at this poor, defenseless child. This abuse continues throughout the next few days, grown adults deriding and degrading this ten-year-old to the point where he starts crying. I know the townspeople are quick to turn on people, and the gag involves how serious people take sports, but this is just going way too far over. They were out for blood when Bart cut off the head of Jebediah Springfield, that I can buy giving its symbolism, but here, the kid just lost a fucking Little League game, who the fuck cares?
Eventually, Bart snaps and vandalizes the entire town writing “I HATE BART SIMPSON,” ending with him hanging off a water tower. And then he lets himself fall. After Chief Wiggum tells him to jump. Let me repeat that. Chief Wiggum goaded a ten-year-old boy into killing himself. Earlier right after the game, he lets Bart in his squad car, only to drive him back in the stadium, put the top down (somehow) so spectators could throw shit at him. What a fucking asshole. But back to brass tacks, Bart has just had a emotional breakdown and attempted suicide. Act three begins with him in the hospital… and the townspeople are outside as a mob still screaming and yelling at Bart. What in the mother of fuck is wrong with these people? It’s absolute insanity that they’re acting like this, and worse off, when Marge finally chews them out, Moe steps forward, speaking for the crowd, to give the most begrudging of apologies (“Okay, Midge, you made us feel bad about what we done to your boy.”) Oh, you mean drive him to kill himself? The ending involves them going through great, moronic lengths to recreate the big game, but at this point I’m already too incensed to get any angrier. The people of Springfield are impulsively, easily-swayed morons, but this episode just made them monsters.
Tidbits and Quotes
– There’s a B-story here too, involving Homer being a mattress salesman (another occupation checked off). He helps the Lovejoys find a bed to help improve their love life, only to end up selling his own “miracle” mattress. But when that impedes he and Marge’s snuggling, they break into the Lovejoys to get it back. This premise doesn’t tie into the main story at all, so while Bart is busy being tormented, and attempting to take his own life, we cut back to this plot with a completely different tone. In act three, we go from Bart in the hospital to Homer and Bart in burglar outfits sneaking about Lovejoy’s house. Their son almost killed himself and they still give a shit about that fucking mattress? The plot ends with them getting half a mattress, and they proceed to make love outdoors while a disgusting homeless man watches and proceeds to fondle Homer’s love handles. What. The. Fuck.
– I liked Homer’s search for the “husband chair” at Costington’s. He tries to snatch one until Wiggum gets there first and trains a gun at him (“My wife’s looking for a bathing suit that doesn’t make her look horsey, so I’m gonna be here a while.”) He aims and cocks his gun at an innocent man, and that’s not the worst thing he does in this episode.
– After being so pleased with Homer and Lisa’s behavior the last two shows, they’re back to “normal” now (“All this fuss for a baseball game? Why don’t thousands come to watch a teacher inspire a child?” “Why, it did happen! Just yesterday, in Crazy Town!“) Homer then later sells out Bart right after the game, while everyone else does nothing. The vitriol from the entire town against Bart is so strong, why did it take so long for Marge to get on the defensive?
– The ending makes absolutely no sense to me, and really serves to demean Bart more. They stage an elaborate rematch of the game, then convince Bart he’s allotted over seventy “re-dos” when he can’t catch the ball. Is he that stupid that he doesn’t question what’s going on? And that the whole town would go along with this nonsense when days before, they were out to watch this kid die? The very end with the cut to the future makes it even worse, where Bart recalls that game as the greatest moment of his life, having never been exposed to the lie. It makes him seem absolutely pathetic, whereas before I had the utmost sympathy toward him. Then the spirits of Homer and Marge show up and talk about ghost sex. Okay. One of the worst episodes ever.