Season two has started in the rewatch. See an uptick in the animation if not necessarily an uptick in the quality of the stories.
Not that they’re bad. Just that they will get much, much better.
You know what I noticed first in this episode? The opening credits. Duh.
Actually, they were a bit different, mostly at Lisa’s expense. A short bit of her riding her bike home was cut out. Aside from that, the removal of Bart stealing the bus stop sign, more recognizable characters in the street (including Jacques…were they planning on making that guy a reoccurring character?), Mr. Burns and Smithers taking the place of a guy eating a sandwich with a pair of tongs in the nuclear plant, and an actual couch gag, the credits are more or less the same.
Before The Simpsons got themselves a wide-screen type opening credit sequence, there were a few things that changed from episode to episode. What, if anything, Bart is writing on the chalk board, the exact tune Lisa is playing on her saxophone, and the couch gag. But season one’s couch gags were either the couch collapsing under the family’s weight, one member of the family popping off the couch due to a lack of room, or nothing at all. Now we’re finally getting couch gags. That’s progress! It’s also the only part of the opening credits the show keeps if the episode is running long.
What was this episode about again? Oh yeah. Bart’s possibly going to have to repeat the fourth grade. Since this episode seems to take place in the winter, why that decision would be made that quickly, I have no idea.
Then again, why were there what seemed to be two major history exams within a couple days of each other?
This episode seemed to be asking the question of why Bart may be such a proud underachiever. Yes, he does distract himself, but much like Wile E. Coyote, the universe itself seems to be working against him. Homer grabs him before he can start homework for a giant ape movie. Milhouse is absolutely useless as a source of answers. Sheri and Teri give him wrong answers on purpose. Martin drops his end of the deal once he becomes one of the guys (one of the better sequences in the episode). Mrs. Krabappel doesn’t seem to care and is outright shocked Bart isn’t used to failure by now. God may help out with a timely blizzard that apparently shuts down utility companies (yeah, who needs power after a snowstorm?), but even Bart’s shaky memory and short attention span means he can only do so much before Benjamin Franklin invents the sled (which reads “Don’t sled on me”).
Look, we know Bart won’t be left back, no matter how bad his daydreams are. And he won’t be. Of course, the show’s been running for over 20 seasons and Bart hasn’t gone on to the fifth grade yet either, so there’s that too.
And apparently, a snowstorm can make for the most fun day in the history of Springfield. But the animators must have had problems filling in the crowd, so they just stuck every character to appear on the show to date having fun. That included the aforementioned Jacques and even Sideshow Bob.
Bob had a better day in the snow than Bart!
Though I will say this: Bart never sounded less like a little boy and more like an adult woman than when he has to cry. Sorry to Nancy Cartwright, but those sobs sounded terrible.
I’m sure he’ll be glad he doesn’t have to share a classroom with Bart Junior now, though.