“I guess I’ve always used violence as a way of getting attention.” – Jimbo Jones
“Yes, yes! Me too!” – Nelson Muntz
Bart gets bullied, so Marge gets the town council to pass an anti-bullying law, which allows Wiggum to lock up a bunch of random people, which puts Homer into group therapy for bullying Flanders, which causes Homer to become a hero, which causes Flanders to resent him and make him beg for forgiveness. That terrible sentence took you much less time to read than this episode would to watch.
– Weird couch gag with all the soccer balls, but at least it was brief.
– And we are off to a bad start. Willie explains to Skinner that he’s going back to Scotland and that he got Johnny Mathis as his replacement, which leads to a shot of Mathis cutting hedges while singing. Expository celebrity crap started early this week.
– Hey, something not entirely terrible! While reading the morning announcements, Skinner announces a school dance as a, “treat for the popular children and a chance for the rest of you to look within yourselves and ask what’s wrong.” Of course, it’s barely part of a larger sentence and is immediately followed by Agnes materializing out of nowhere to yell at Skinner, but that was at least an attempt at cynical satire.
– Because nothing gets explained on this show only once, now we’re at the Simpson house with Marge pulling a flyer out of Bart’s backpack and reminding everyone that there’s a dance coming up.
– Homer is spinning his fence with the Flanders like a propeller to decide which one of them gets the part Ned just painted.
– Montage with a Soul Train opening called “School Train”.
– Okay, the fake Thomas the Tank Engine saying, “I’m going to die, children, and so will you someday” was good. It, of course, was immediately taken too far by hauling him off to be crushed in a press, but I’ll take what I can get.
– Ugh. The “Puberty Demon” just showed up and told us who he was after Bart asked him directly.
– Bart is now dancing with some new girl. Didn’t get get a new girlfriend last week?
– Hey, if you’re gonna pay for a Daft Punk song, you gotta let your second montage of the episode really go on to get your money’s worth.
– Bart won a dancing trophy and is now outside getting beaten up by the bullies.
– After an anti-bullying speech at the dinner table, Marge is now at a town council meeting to, presumably, repeat what she just said.
– They passed a bullying law, so now Wiggum just arrested the bullies while restating what we saw in the previous scene.
– Wiggum is now explaining to Brockman what he’s going to do next, start arresting adults.
– I guess we’re on an arrest sequence, so far it’s Krusty, Apu, and Bumblebee Man before Lisa starts restating what we were just told would happen and then saw happen.
– There goes Chalmers.
– It took a while to get there, but Rod and Todd had a fantasy about Jesus being bullied before God complained that he raised a wuss. Not bad.
– And now the jail is almost full and it’s Homer’s turn.
– This episode really needs a B-plot.
– Oof, they just cuffed Homer, but then he walked out of the house with his hands uncuffed and slipped on a slip-n-slide. This show has an attention span of approximately four seconds.
– And Homer has been sentenced to a bully rehabilitation program being run by Albert Brooks. Hi, Albert!
– Ugh, Brooks is mostly monologing here. It’s not great.
– Now Agnes is crying.
– Now Chalmers is yelling.
– Now Homer’s yelling about Flanders. This scene is interminable.
– Brooks told Homer to go “deeper” and Homer lowered his voice. Rimshot.
– Brooks is still yelling at Homer.
– After a short PSA style ex-bully commercial, we are back in the therapy room. Ugh.
– And now Homer is some kind of celebrity, throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game.
– Homer is still a hero, now riding in a parade float. Meanwhile, the Flanders boys are on their second go-round of pointing out how unfair that is. Expositastic!
– Flanders is now directly telling Homer how he feels before ending with, “Now do you feel remorse?”. I do so enjoy it when characters tell us exactly how they’re feeling then ask other characters to do the same.
– Homer’s now on his knees begging Flanders for forgiveness. This could take a while.
– And the story ends with Flanders forgiving Homer.
– But since that didn’t fill up the allotted time, we’re back to the School Train, with Otto on LSD and Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus yelling at him. They’ve really taken a shine to these post-story sketches. By Season 35, this will just be a sketch comedy show.
Anyway, the numbers are in and they are right where you’d expect. Last night, just 2.78 million people decided that bullying might not be so bad after all. That’s good for #3 on the all time least watched list and has pushed Season 26’s average viewership down to 4.90 million, breaking Season 25’s record of 4.99. There’s one more to go, and the lower it gets, the tinier the audience for Season 27 will need to be to break this record again next year.