“And, so, as Abraham Lincoln sat in Ford’s Theater that night, John Wilkes Booth entered, drew his gun, and- . . . well, that’s it. Have a nice summer everyone.” – Miss Hoover
“But what happened in Ford’s Theater?” – Kid
“Was President Lincoln okay?” – Ralph Wiggum
“He was fine . . . go home, Ralph.” – Miss Hoover
This episode is a Fourth of July favorite for a lot of reasons, but there is a certain bittersweet feeling to it. This is the show near it’s end; so while it’s great, you know it doesn’t have much time left. Take, for example, Skinner wanting Bart to sign his yearbook. The whole joke here is that Bart is popular and Lisa isn’t.
However, I can’t help but see this scene as a precursor to Homer’s “Would you like to see my Grammy award?” scene with Grimes in “Homer’s Enemy”. Bart being popular, Skinner being in awe of him, these are serious character developments. They work here as one-time-use developments because the only full-on Skinner episode left before the smoking rubble that is “The Principal and the Pauper” is “Grade School Confidential”, where Skinner falls in love for the second time. At this point, through one hundred and fifty-three (153!) episodes, Skinner has been completely used as a plausible human being, so why not have him do something out of character like beg Bart for a personalized greeting?
This is the show still on that amazing plateau of quality that starts with “Bart Gets and F”. Who else could have come up with a “porno magazine” called American Breast Enthusiast? But the terrible plummet is right around the corner, and you can’t help but see that in scenes like Skinner lying to Bart over something as trivial as a yearbook signature. This story doesn’t have a happy ending.
[Note: This would’ve been up in the actual morning, but Comcast is as technically incompetent as they are ethically repugnant. All together now: Fuck Comcast.]