June 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “New Kid On The Block”


It wasn’t that long ago that Bart was down on Milhouse for discovering girls and having a girlfriend.

Man, it sure is a shame Milhouse is nowhere in this episode, because he could have gotten in some much-deserved gloating at Bart’s expense.

Yes, the elderly neighbors on the other side of the Simpson house are going to, as Homer so elegantly put it, run out the clock in Florida.  And despite Homer’s best efforts to do absolutely nothing to help them sell, someone does buy the house.

And man, was this episode dated during the first few minutes.  Homer was watching an obvious knock-off to then obnoxious dating show Studs and than chasing the Northern Exposure moose away from his garbage.

Unless that was Jimmy’s moose…

Well, the house is bought up by divorced mom Ruth Powers, who has a teenage tomboy daughter Laura.  Laura is voiced by another product of this episode’s time, namely Sara Gilbert, who was at the time on Roseanne, as opposed to today when she co-hosts a blatant knock-off of The View.

You know, for a neighbor to the Simpsons, you sure don’t see much of the Powers family.  Laura more or less disappears after this one appearance.

Whatever.  Bart sees her, says something inelegant, and falls for the older girl.  He asks for advice from every male Simpson he can find, doesn’t wash a hand Laura spit in until he gets stuck to the dog, and just generally hangs out with the new neighbor who knows all the same tricks he does plus a few more.  Laura’s so awesome, she can scare off both Kearney and Dolph with a few well-timed words.

Then she starts dating Jimbo Jones, and Bart learns where he really stands in her view. Despite all the teasing from Lisa, Bart still wants to get somewhere with Laura…or at least get Laura away from Jimbo.  What chance does Bart have?  Jimbo is just a good-looking rebel that follows his own rules.


Bart can show Jimbo’s true colors if he can just find a knife-welding maniac.  Hey, what’s Moe up to these days?  And how mad can you get him with a crank phone call?

Meanwhile, Homer sues the Sea Captain for not providing all he can eat seafood.  This is a case even Lionel Hutz can’t lose.  Poor Marge is allergic to seafood, and the out-of-court settlement means she’s equally allergic to public embarrassment as Homer’s inability to get full makes him an ideal mascot for the Sea Captain’s restaurant.

This episode was actually written by Conan O’Brien, probably the most famous fellow to come out of the Simpsons writing room.

Which means he may be the guy who decided that, yes, Barney is pathetic enough to drink spilt beer out of an ashtray.  Ew.