Episode 6 - Itchy and Scratchy - The Movie
17 June 2011
Synopsis: Homer and Marge attend a parent-teacher evening and Mrs Krabappel tells them to discipline Bart. Homer still won't do it despite Marge's prompting and his bad behaviour escalates. After failing to watch Maggie, Homer finally puts his foot down and bans Bart from seeing the Itchy and Scratchy Movie. Bart is devastated but Homer won't relent.
The Good: There is an interesting exploration of the Bart-Homer relationship here. Homer has never had any discipline over himself. He is fat and lazy and won't hold himself to account and so naturally Bart has turned out in a similar way. But Bart is a child and wants attention so he continually causes trouble. Homer doesn't want to punish Bart, perhaps because he sees so much of himself in the boy. It's also a function of his laziness and so poor Marge is left to pick up the pieces. The story of the episode should have been what would actually happen if Homer did lay down the law.
There were some good jokes as well like the banner reading "Let's Share the Blame" at the parent-teacher meeting. I also smiled at Abe trying to steal Jasper's dentures and being greeted with a gun and the comment "Well well if it isn't the tooth fairy."
The Bad: The story didn't really go anywhere. Bart attempted to overcome Homer's punishment but Homer refused to relent. Then we got this odd scene from the future where Bart actually became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (as Homer had hoped). But there was no real sense that was how the future would actually turn out. We saw no evidence that Bart was actually mending his ways. The punishment had stuck but Bart was still Bart. I understand that the writers didn't actually have any intention of showing Bart becoming a good boy but in that case they should have written a proper conclusion instead of some mock future copout.
Itchy and Scratchy were already a tiresome part of the show for me at this stage. As a parody of the violence inherent in cartoons like Tom and Jerry I understand the idea. However there's nothing much to enjoy about them beyond that initial gag. From now on it's just endless scenes of violence with no actual joke.
Best Joke: The opening parody of Star Trek was dead-on. The 1960s cast of the TV show were still appearing in the movies in the 1990s and so the idea of Star Trek XII: So Very Tired was so very apt. The aged crew complaining about hernia's was fun but I really laughed at Captain Kirk's frustrated exclamation "Again with the Klingons!"
The Bottom Line: The first misfire in an otherwise excellent start to season four. The writers didn't work out how to finish this story and so it fell flat.
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