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The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an animated comedy about a family in the fictional town of Springfield. The family is made up of selfish father Homer, fretting mother Marge, precocious daughter Lisa, rebellious son Bart and silent daughter Maggie. FOX 1989-???


Episode 4 - Bart the Murderer

23 February 2012

Synopsis: Bart stumbled into Fat Tony's club and is employed as the local mafia's new bartender. Marge becomes concerned by the morality of what he is doing as Bart begins to enjoy the benefits of his job. One day Bart is held in detention by Principal Skinner and is late for work. Fat Tony decides to have a word with Skinner and soon he goes missing, presumed dead. The guilt haunts Bart who is put on trial for Skinner's murder.

The Good: This is a well told story with both the moral and the satire firmly in place.

Bart's terrible day is comically covered well as his dog eats his home work, the weather spontaneously changes and his shorts split. It all builds nicely to lead him to the "Legitimate Businessman's Social Club" where he becomes Fat Tony's bartender. The mafia are characterised in simple but amusing fashion. They deny knowledge of everything including what a truck is when the police question them and convince Bart of their morality with a hilariously bad explanation of why stealing produce to sell it is the equivalent of feeding their starving families. Homer even bumbles into the web when he finds hundreds of boxes of cigarettes in Bart's room. Missing the point entirely he concludes that Bart has taken up smoking and insists he smoke them all to teach him a lesson.

Bart's disturbing dream about Skinner's death shows us his conscience kicking in. Interestingly Sideshow Bob (112) pops up as his cell mate, though never speaks. Skinner plays his no frills part in the story just fine, showing Bart the duller, more honourable way to achieve things.

The story concludes well with Fat Tony and company all testifying against Bart so that he will be blamed for Skinner's murder. When Skinner returns its clear police incompetence was the real culprit. Bart is cleared and sums up the lesson he has learnt as "Crime doesn't pay." Fat Tony agrees with him before his crew all depart in their own limousines. The whole story neatly captured the idea of organised crime's continued existence and made its point without changing anything about life in Springfield.

The writers even manage to get a dig in at Hollywood and the media when the lies told about Bart's are turned into a TV movie rather than the less interesting true story.  

The Bad: There was nothing particularly wrong with this. It wasn't a particularly funny episode.

Best Joke: Marge's concerns are exacerbated by a Pizza Delivery truck which has been conspicuously parked opposite the house for two weeks. We cut to the FBI agents inside the van who realising their cover has been blown drive away. By the end of Homer and Marge's conversation a new van has parked in the same spot that is helpfully labelled Flowers By Irene.  

The Bottom Line: An entertaining take on organised crime in Spingfield.



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