August 16, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Brother’s Little Helper”

In which Bart's ADD medication causes unforeseen side effects.

No movement in education will go unnoticed as Bart is diagnosed with ADD and then medicated for it.

I suppose that still happens, but people were really fretting about overmedicating kids back in 1999.

Springfield Elementary is hosting a fire prevention fair of some sort, with plenty of fire engines, fire fighters, Smokey the Bear, and a play about the dangers of not having enough smoke detectors that goes wrong when Ned Flanders’ stunt pants won’t stop burning.  If only Bart wasn’t pumping all the water from a truck into the gym which apparently was a separate building all this time…

One tidal wave and warped basketball court later and Principal Skinner has Homer and Marge invited over to discuss Bart’s problems.  You know, again.  They sure are there a lot.  Skinner is concerned because, among other things, Bart’s presence causes a “cone of ignorance,” dragging down the grades of everyone around him.  He even has a 3-D model.  Skinner’s suggestion that it could be coming from someone at home prompts further embarrassment for Marge when Homer uses said 3-D model as a megaphone.

Skinner then recommends a new drug called “Focusyn”.  Say that one out loud to get the joke.  Marge is reluctant, a line that causes amusement at the pharmaceutical company because a lot of parents say that.  Homer is impressed by how the drug can make hamsters into slaves.  Anyway, Homer and Marge decide to try it out and then eventually Marge can guilt Bart into taking it.  Homer’s attempts to mix it with taffy and then trying it himself just meant Ned Flanders assumed Homer was possessed by the devil.

But hey:  focusing really works.  Bart starts paying attention at school and doing his homework.  He’s even tutoring a Navajo boy in his spare time.  Then something happens.  Bart is wrapping himself in aluminum foil and saying there’s a satellite spying on him.  As Homer and Marge confront the pharmacists about this, Bart manages to easily steal a tank and go for a joyride, saying he will stop when he destroys one thing.  Is it the school?  The church?  The discount frame store?

Nope.  It’s the satellite.  Turns out Bart wasn’t wrong about it.  Major League Baseball was spying on everybody for merchandising purposes.  And then, by sheer coincidence, Mark McGwire, then home-run champ, shows up to either answer questions or hit some home runs for everybody.  Naturally, the citizens chose the home runs and while they are distracted, McGwire stuffs the printouts under his hat.

So, yeah, Bart was right, but that Focusyn was too much.  Looks like it’s on to regular old Ritalin for him.  I’m sure that’s much more comforting for all involved.

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