Episode 13 - Radio Bart
2 January 2011
Synopsis: Homer gives a Bart a radio microphone for his birthday and he soon puts it to use. He plays pranks on those around him and hits on the idea of pretending a little boy has fallen down a well. The whole of Springfield rallies around Timmy O'Toole and Bart realises the trouble he will be in when the truth comes out.
The Good: Bart's pranks were quite fun as he used the microphone on predictable targets. I particularly enjoyed him simulating Maggie's first words.
Once the world finds out about Timmy O'Toole the writers unleash their satire on everyone involved. The public idolise the unknown child, the media look for someone to blame, commercial interests step in to make money and even celebrities use the opportunity to increase their profile. Once Bart is trapped in the well even the children in the playground become desensitised as they sing songs about when he will die.
There were more predictable jokes too such as the police of Springfield all being too fat to fit down the well. Chief Wiggum chews his men out and one of them asks why he doesn't go down the well: "I'm too f...important."
When Bart does fall down the well he asks "What did I do to deserve this?" which was richly ironic.
The Bad: However that irony didn't seem to actually teach Bart anything. As with several Bart stories he doesn't seem to realise why what he did was wrong in the first place. While that may be realistic, I don't think it's what the writers were going for. In general the well plot is thin because so little is done to actually save little Timmy. Then the world is too callous once Bart is revealed as actually being trapped.
Best Joke: The whole world loses interest in the story of Bart being trapped down a well. The last person to leave is a reporter who gets a call about a squirrel who looks like Abraham Lincoln. The satire of the press' attention span and priorities is clear. But it gets better. Homer begins digging to save his son and the town's conscience is revived again. Soon other citizens are rushing to the scene to help out. We cut back to the ubiquitous Kent Brockman and a special news bulletin which we assume will announce the news. Instead he says "The Lincoln squirrel has been assassinated! We'll stay with this story all night if we have to." So funny on so many levels.
The Bottom Line: There were lots of fun moments in this but overall the story wasn't great.
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