May 31, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “A Test Before Trying”

In which the fate of Springfield Elementary rests in results of a standardized test taken by one of the Simpson children, and it isn't Lisa.

There’s a subplot to this episode where Homer finds an abandoned parking meter and uses it to scam people out of money.

That’s about all that happens there.  I will not be mentioning it again.

Our story here begins when Mr. Burns decides to raise his rates by an arbitrary 17%.  This means a lot of folks have to give up various electrically powered things, and that means Springfield Elementary is, well, broke.  So is the whole school district.  As a result, Superintendent Chalmers announces that a new standardized test will determine which of the various schools in the area will stay open by closing the school with the lowest test score.  That means bringing in a special proctor named Proctor Perkins voiced by guest star Valerie Harper.

Bad news:  Springfield Elementary scored at the bottom.  The school will be closed, and the children will be bused to other, random schools in the area where if they school fits their personal skills and abilities, that’s just dumb luck.  That means separating Sheri and Teri and sending Nelson to Arkham Asylum Elementary for the Criminally Insane (that bus explodes almost as soon as it appears).

But wait!  There’s hope!  One child didn’t take the test!  If this student can get a passing grade, Springfield Elementary can stay open!  Who is this child?  Is it Martin Prince?  Lisa Simpson?

Nope.  It’s Bart.  He was out all day corralling a beetle and missed the test.

The school may be well and truly doomed, and that means we get desperation, like when Principal Skinner promises to provide Bart with the eggs to hit Skinner and his home with.  A fire drill puts things off for a day when Bart doesn’t study the first time, but when he doesn’t study the second, he actually asks Lisa for help.

See, Bart actually doesn’t want to close the school.  He has nightmares about classmates too dumb to fairly divide a pizza, or where Mrs. Krabappel becomes a Teacher of the Night, and Springfield Elementary becomes a spinach farm manned by a dozen Popeyes.

With a few pointers from Lisa, Bart may pass the test.  He does by one question, marked correct when that beetle crawls out of Bart’s pocket and sits atop the final question’s correct answer.

Too bad that wrecking ball was already in motion…

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