I coulda swore Ned Flanders was Bart’s regular teacher these days. I guess not. Then again, we’ve seen a lot less of the inside of Bart’s classroom since Marcia Wallace died, and I think that’s probably a smart move.
Point is, Bart has another new teacher.
Yeah, Bart has a new teacher. She’s Ms. Peyton (guest star Kerry Washington), and her husband is a substandard oboist who just got a job with the Springfield Orchestra. They’ll hire anyone I suppose. Skinner and Chalmers are delighted to have an actually qualified teacher on hand, especially since that oboe thing means she might be stuck there.
And yeah, her husband does not play the oboe well when the time comes.
Regardless, Ms. Peyton is now going to be teaching the fourth grade with Bart. And Bart…recognizes her. Then he starts acting weird. He’s still acting out, but there’s something off as it seems to be more destructive than distracting. Or even funny. Even Milhouse has some notes…
While all this is going on, Lisa is finishing up a nature documentary on a small octopus she befriended. She was horrified to see a small shark eat her friend, but a nature documentarian will never interfere. It’s on a tee-shirt and everything, one depicting a man with a camera standing by while a line of baby ducks walks into a hippo’s open mouth. It’s touching, so she wins (another) trophy, but she has a dark secret: Lisa did save the octopus and is keeping it in a jar in her room.
Most of the Lisa plot shows the octopus keeps escaping the jar and Lisa having to find it all over the place. And that’s mostly it for her.
As for Bart, it turns out that while Lisa was making that documentary, he managed to sneak into a high end resort and nearly drowned in a pool. He was saved by…Ms. Peyton. He didn’t want to look pathetic and yelled at her before running off. But now she sees him every day, and he’s terrified she’ll recognize him. He asks Homer for advice, sort of. Homer says he has great advice if Bart has a crush on his teacher, but here, he just advices telling the truth.
Wait, Homer gave good advice? Huh.
Oh, but then Bart sees Ms. Peyton with her husband, throws another fit, and realizes he does have a crush on his teacher. Cut to a big school-wide presentation, one Ms. Peyton set up where each grade put together a display for one of the seven wonders of the world. It was part of a project-based learning assignment, a concept only Groundskeeper Willie was familiar with, but Ms. Peyton had some step-by-step instructions already set up, so everyone was on board. Here Bart asks for that great advice, so Homer says since Bart is a kid and Ms. Peyton is an adult, Bart should just forget it and move on. That sounds like lousy advice, but then Homer adds that sometimes we have beautiful things in our lives that we want to hold onto when we shouldn’t, and that can be hard. Lisa overheard that part and realized that included her octopus.
Wait, Homer gave out more good advice? Huh.
However, Lisa’s octopus attaches itself to Bart’s face after a shouting incident into what he thought was an empty jar, the boy flounders around, accidentally destroys all the displays, and this is why Springfield Elementary can’t have nice things.
In the end, Bart tells Ms. Peyton everything, and she isn’t mad. She even says Bart’s crush could be more of a sign that he’s learning to love learning, something the episode hinted at earlier. She even says she’ll be sticking around for a while.
Does this mean Kerry Washington may be some sort of occasional guest star from now on? Somehow, I doubt it. I’ll ask Jimmy when he finally catches up to this point sometime in the next five years or so.
Oh, and Lisa took the octopus back to the beach. That’s probably a good thing too.
The X-Files “Talitha Cumi”
Yellowjackets “Two Truths And A Lie”
Going Through The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Part Twenty