February 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”

In which Bart can hear the thoughts of members of a jury.

This particular episode of The Simpsons is set around a trial for a lesser member of the Quimby family, eighteen year old Freddy Quimby.  In a very non-funny real life event, it reminds me a lot of a rape case on the Kennedy compound from about that time, and the trial that followed.  That really isn’t funny.

Bart Simpson hates school.  Comparisons to prison seem only more apt when Otto picks up the kids in a borrowed prison bus, new posture correcting chairs are causing more problems than they’re solving, and Bart’s own clock tampering now forces everyone to stay an extra two hours to make up for all the lost time.  It’s a beautiful day, and Bart would rather fantasize about going down a river on a handmade raft with Huck Finn and Abe Lincoln.

Bonus points for Bart for knowing who Huck Finn is, but deduct a couple for his inability to spell “Lincoln” correctly.

Anyhoo, Bart has had enough, so he makes up a bad excuse note, and Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner really don’t need Springfield Elementary’s crime lab to see that much.  But they have a crime lab, so they might as well use it once in a while.

Hot on Bart’s tail, Skinner first checks places he would go that are devoid of children.  Obviously it is the children who are wrong, not that Skinner is out of touch.  And while Bart is apparently seeing R-rated movies and screwing up art auctions, it doesn’t take long for Skinner to get on his trail and go right into Westworld mode.  As a non-giving up school guy, he can cross raging rivers, scale mountains, and follow Bart anywhere…until Bart manages to get into the back of a speeding car.

The car belongs to awful nephew to the mayor, Freddy Quimby.  Bart’s experience at the party allows him to tell McBain how bad his last movie was.  Magic ticket Wiggum’s ass, McBain.  And then Bart sees what appears to be a crime.

Yes, after a dispute over the correct pronunciation of the word “chowder,” a French waiter is apparently brutally beaten.  Bart is the only witness, but no one knows that.  Did Freddy do it?  Bart says he didn’t, but Freddy is so awful, and with both Skinner and Homer on the jury, Bart’s options are limited if he wants to stay out of trouble himself for cutting class.

Especially since both Skinner and Homer are aware that Bart can read their thoughts.  Skinner thinks words he would never say.  As for Homer…

Well, Bart is at a loss.  Even Marge’s advice seems aimed more towards not being like some uncle of hers that followed the voices in his head instead of his heart.  Seeing he has no other options, Bart comes forward.  Skinner claims a victory for a confession he had nothing to do with.  Freddy is innocent because as obnoxious as he is, the real problem was the waiter was clumsy.  The trial may have ended sooner had Homer not forced a deadlock to stay in a free hotel.

Yes, it was another John Swartzwelder script and another great episode.  And I think I want a pair of those glasses Homer has for when he doesn’t want to listen to a trial or to Marge.