Sunday Preview: Bart’s New Friend


Homer is hypnotized at a circus into believing he is ten years old. Bart has fun with him at first, making him his new best friend and accomplice. However, it becomes a pain when the hypnotist dies and the family is unable to turn Homer into his old self again

So I guess this was originally written by Judd Apatow more than 2 decades ago.  On just that fact alone I would be intrigued, but now that Al Jean has had his greasy mitts on it, I believe I won’t be all that inclined to switch on FOX tonight.

43 Responses to “Sunday Preview: Bart’s New Friend”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    11 January 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Does the shape of Homer’s head look “off” tro anyone else?

    • 2 D.N.
      11 January 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Yeah, if you look at the curvature on the top of his head, one side is very rounded, and the other side less so – it’s a bit straighter-edged.

      Anyway, I don’t really understand how the premise of Homer acting like a ten-year-old is different from any other episode. Nor the idea of Homer and Bart hanging out like friends – don’t Homer and Bart routinely act like a pair of kids (under a disapproving Marge) anyway? (I suppose it would have been a more distinctive way to treat the characters when the episode was written two decades ago, not so much now.)

      • 3 Joe H
        11 January 2015 at 6:47 pm

        Exactly. If they really wanted to go the hypnosis route, there’s so many more interesting ways to have Homer changed.

      • 4 Sarah J
        11 January 2015 at 8:06 pm

        Good point. Usually when shows do hypnosis episodes, they make the character act like the opposite of how they normally would. Like, that’s where the humor comes from. Maybe that’s why this is a rejected script.

    • 5 torbiecat
      11 January 2015 at 8:18 pm

      I also find it weird that the outlines in the background had been rendered to sort of have that hand-drawn look found in the earlier episodes, but the outlines of Homer and hypnotist look clean and clearly computer-rendered.

    • 6 torbiecat
      11 January 2015 at 8:23 pm

      And besides, we’ve already had an episode where Homer was hypnotized. Though, it happened to be a crappy episode, too, so we can take solace in the fact that this Sunday’s episode isn’t crapping over the plot of a good episode.

  2. 7 Disenchanted Viewer
    11 January 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I’m definitely not watching this episode. Beside the cartoonish premise, I’m sure the writers will take the unfunny adult perspective on it, reaching the conclusion that being a child sucks because they can’t enjoy sex, alcohol, drugs, etc.
    On the plus side, the Nielsen rating will be low tonight.

  3. 8 Stan
    11 January 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The Zombie Simpsons scale for measuring the fucklessness of story writing:

    5 Fucks: dumb A-plot + B-plot involving some shitty movie retelling
    4 Fucks: dumb A-plot + B-plot recycled from a joke of some 1990s episode
    3 Fucks: dumb A-plot
    2 Fucks: dumb crossover ‘plot’ involving characters from a more audience-acknowledged show dumping shit on ZS characters
    1 Fuck: dumb plot coming from a really shitty idea some guy once had before he got famous, told over an alcohol-indulging drug-inducing experience
    0 Fucks: LEGO EPISODE!!!

  4. 22 Joe H
    11 January 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Definitely a very old plot premise. Honestly, I can’t remember any recent examples beyond The Three Stooges, The Bowery Boys and the Cosby/Pointier “Let’s Do it Again”(and countless cartoons), but at least it’s a fun one. Of course, I’m pretty sure ZS will ruin it. I can think of many more routes this episode could have taken a hypnosis premise than simply turning Homer into an even bigger imbecile? Isn’t he already essentially a manchild?

    • 23 Vera
      12 January 2015 at 8:51 pm

      “Isn’t [Homer] already essentially a manchild” — not in the really early episodes (seasons one to three), but definitely between seasons four to around eight (pre-Mike Scully Jerkass Homer, unless you see Jerkass Homer as a manchild), when he was pretty much the dictionary definition of the bumbling sitcom dad.

  5. 11 January 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I 2nd that Charlie.

  6. 11 January 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Not offensively terrible so for ZS I would call this a success. The AV Club reviewer will definitely give it a full letter score higher than what they gave the hilarious season premiere of Comedy Bang Bang.

  7. 31 Zutroy
    12 January 2015 at 8:16 am

    Well they got me to tune in again, The Simpsons newest trend of specifically advertising that it has notable people writing/directing an episode piques my interest enough to retrieve the show from my DVR. I’m largely indifferent to this episode though while last week’s had me in a fit of rage. The ambition of that one, having Kang and Kodos abduct The Simpsons just deserved better writing, more jokes and clever plotting. This episode was a tame subject and so I’m just more bored by it.

    The Simpsons making a boring episode makes me more sad than anything because it’s really easy to fix such a thing as opposed to just being total garbage writing like the Lady Gaga episode. What I noticed was that this episode lacked a sense of urgency. When Homer is reverted to having a child like mind the only one who is negatively effected is Marge and she’s not a focal point in the episode. The catalyst to the events (Homer has to work hard since he no longer has anyone taking care of his job) gets thrown out and they even lampshade this as a throwaway joke.

    There was also no single character to really relate to, the closest one being Bart but the script doesn’t focus on him until later on. Judd apparently was inspired by the first 5 episodes of The Simpsons and if that’s true its biggest inspiration is without a doubt “There’s No Disgrace Like Home.” In that episode Homer is the single protagonist and there’s a sense of urgency in that Homer really hopes to fix his dysfunctional family.

    This episode should have been to the point that it’s about Bart and Homer. In this episode we never really see why Bart would want Homer to act like a mentally stunted adult.

    The end scene has the resolution that Homer is going to stop being a horrible parent who chokes his son, it tries to pull at your heartstrings a bit and it’s not horrible but it’s not very effective. If the episode had demonstrated more of how strained Bart and Homer’s relationship is it would have been more effective emotionally. Overall it’s more dull than anything else.

    Also Kudos to Mad Jon to mock Al Jean within this post. I worried a bit that since Al is casually communicating with Dead Homer Society this place would start to pull back the punches. I’m glad that that doesn’t seem to be happening. And I’m sure Al is glad too since he definitely has a soft spot for harsh critics, after all he made Jay Sherman.

  8. 12 January 2015 at 10:19 am

    On a side note, IGN reviewed this episode, it’s ok. That was their rating. People in the comments still defend it.


  9. 42 Frank
    12 January 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Just thought of something. You know what would have been cool? If Homer becomes a kid, but then becomes Milhouse’s best friend, and then Bart becomes jealous. Or maybe he becomes closer to Selma and Patty and Marge gets jealous because he’s spending more time with them and it triggers some repressed memory about how they stole her first best friend or something.

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