February 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “22 For 30”

In which a documentary tells the story of how Bart shaved points in elementary school basketball for the mob.

So, this episode was a parody of the ESPN documentary series 30 for 30.  I suspect I would have gotten more of the humor if I’d ever seen a single, solitary episode of that series.  For example, is Earl Mann the narrator for those episodes?  He’s the narrator here, and he certainly sounds like a sports documentary guy.  Also, Stephen Curry has two lines at the end of the episode saying he didn’t really appear in the thing.

But, you know, let’s get into it.  After a incident involving angry bees and Principal Skinner wearing a floral shirt, Bart is given a lot of detention.  During this period, he takes to tossing crumpled up balls of paper into the garbage can and he’s actually good at it, such that he’s put on the basketball team for Springfield Elementary, quickly rising to the ranks of a superstar with the possibility of a championship of some kind.

This is Springfield.  That’s a big deal because no team has ever won a championship for that town.  The school still uses the banner that came with the place from the contractors in their gym.

As it is, fame and success go to Bart’s head, first driving away original coach Groundskeeper Willie and then new coach Homer who doesn’t initially know what the hoop is.

All this story is told through the documentary series 22 for 30 (twenty-two minutes, 30 commercials).  Those guys interview everybody, even if it means catching Chief Wiggum slurping down milkshakes and hearing Grampa ramble about everything except sports.  Oh, and Lisa is an aspiring journalist this week!

Things come to a head when Homer benches Bart for never sharing the ball.  Yes, the team is still winning, but Homer doesn’t want to hear the other parents complain.  Even when Homer does his customary strangulation on the basketball court, it…wait, he did that in public?  Man…

As it is, that action catches the eye of Fat Tony (still Joe Mantegna).  He suggests Bart maybe not win games by quite so much to get back at Homer.  Bart agrees without realizing he’s doing the mob a favor until he’s given a stack of cash.  By then, he’s the town pariah where even Maggie smacks him around.

But when Fat Tony tells Bart to lose the championship or else…he really shouldn’t add “or else” to sentences according to his lawyer.

Does Bart throw the big game?  Even if Milhouse is also in the mob’s pocket because he’s afraid of them?  Nah.  He doesn’t, and then Lisa steps in to save the day by mentioning she has stuff on Fat Tony, namely embarrassing information she will keep secret on how he was the worst player on his all-girl elementary school basketball team.  Should he worry that its all in a documentary?  Nah.  The only ones of those people actually watch are when rich people confess to murder (cue Mr. Burns).

So, that’s that.  Bart quit the team when he came up against a tall kid that showed Bart wasn’t as good as he thought he was.  The school got a championship banner.  And the documentary narrator was revealed to be Nelson’s father who came back to his family…long enough to take one photo.

Well, that’s a dark joke to go out on.