May 26, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “A Father’s Watch”

In which parenting and fatherhood becomes a thing. Again.

Bart Simpson is a handful.  Is there something that someone could do that would tame that wild kid?

I dunno.  Maybe?

Yes, Bart is having problems due to, well, screwing around in school during…animal dissection of frogs?  In the fourth grade?  And there’s a frog heaven?  Sheesh.

At any rate, Marge is at her rope’s end and goes looking for answers online since nothing else seems to be working.  That leads her to a book with a proposed easy answer, and Marge wonders if the author would be willing to speak to the parents of Springfield for a fee.  Oh, she is.  Dr. Clarity Hoffman-Roth (guest star Vanessa Bayer) has a simple solution to parenting problems:  positive reinforcement.  Give your kid a trophy for, oh, anything.  Marge is sold.  Homer?  Not so much, but he does swallow uncooked packages of cookie dough while saying he turned out fine without trophies for anything.

As it is, all the parents of Springfield are out buying trophies for their kids for every little thing, and that means Homer can make money selling cheap trophies.  But does this plan work for their kids?

Nah.  Bart is immune to trophies.  Lisa has some, but feels they only work if you, like she did, actually earn them (except maybe that one for soccer).  As Bart overhears Homer saying how worthless his own son is, he gets mopey and heads off, eventually finding his way to Grampa.

Fun fact:  Homer is a bad father because he learned it from Grampa.  Grampa learned it from his own father back in the old days because he was an expert on child abuse (gave lectures and everything!) but that was because he was never able to appease his father.  Man, there is a lot of strangulation going on among male Simpsons.

Point is, Grampa sees Bart is miserable and low on self-esteem, so he gives the boy his pocketwatch, a Simpson family heirloom since someone picked if off a dead body at Gettysburg.  And that…actually works.  Bart becomes a good student and everything.

Lisa, meanwhile, is so disgruntled over the trophy culture that she, using a rather Homer-esque brain pattern, brings a different child psychology expert to Springfield.  This one, voiced by Rob Riggle, also has an acronym like the first one, but he advocates for tough love.  That means getting rid of all the trophies, something Lisa doesn’t mind until she sees Marge tossing the ones Lisa had actually legitimately earned into a garbage bag (plus that one for soccer).

Is everything going fine for Bart?  It is until he accidentally drops Grampa’s watch off a cliff, the same watch Homer really wanted for himself, and getting Milhouse to look for the watch by tossing rocks over the ledge to somehow find the watch doesn’t work when Milhouse keeps getting rocks to the eye.

Is there a way out?  Especially when the once-again miserable Bart learns Grampa wants the two of them to pose for photos for Remember That magazine with the watch?

Actually, yes, and it comes from good parenting.  Homer takes the rest of his unsold trophies down to the local pawn shop where the guy working there, Dumlee (guest star Brian Posehn) will charge Homer ten dollars to toss them all in the dumpster.  Then Homer spots the watch.  What happened?  Milhouse did find the watch, but he was angry about getting hit by every rock Bart tossed off the cliff and pawned the thing.  Homer buys the watch back and eventually decides to give it to Bart, meaning Bart and Grampa can pose for the magazine cover in harmony and happiness.

Where did Homer get that idea from?  Another child psychologist’s book, where this acronym said you should just give up.

Then Bart loses the watch in the background and Grampa starts to strangle him.

Plus, NBA commissioner and final guest star Adam Silver announced Ralph got drafted by the 76ers due to his huge amount of trophies.

That’s not going to end well for somebody.