Bart the Lover

Bart the Lover

My Recollection.

Come back, zinc! Ow, my eyeball! I am gay.

The morality that structures/suffocates my behaviour today wasn’t always the loudest voice in my head. It’s difficult to get a word in edgewise when the executive functions are piss-blind cretins, so I’d do things that amused me I’d today consider wildly immoral. One of the ones I found the most fun, and still do (even though I don’t do it), is tampering with people’s communications. Like posting on their Facebook, for instance. There’s an art to it, a line that’s beyond the pale for the individual but not so far as to set off any alarms takes some skill to intuit, and the shock from both them and their friends list was always a delight.

But, like all delights, I spent my 20s unable to keep from taking them too far.

I have a friend who’s Australian, but we call him French because his dad is. So is his brother, but he’s got so much of the swarthy French in him that he looks Aboriginal and is just racist enough to be really annoyed when we pointed that out. Like many brothers, the amazing sameness of their similarities is only matched by the astonishing divergence of their differences. I found out how far apart this divergence was the hard way, when I got onto his MSN messenger one night while we were all drunk and he’d passed out.

It was like giving Salvador Dali a bizarre animal on a leash and telling him not to walk it in public, I couldn’t help myself. I hopped into the last active conversation and got to typing on a classic narrative: confessed love.

The trick to things like this is groundwork. You don’t just jump into someone’s chat window and shout, “IM GAY FOR UR ASSHOLE LOL”. You have to think of the result you want as being predicated on a bunch of other boxes you need to tick. First you have to establish that you are who you’re pretending to be, roll out a little small talk. Then you have to come up with something that will dispel the natural suspicions people have when presented with something very unexpected. Booze is a classic for a reason, human minds are awash with various personal and media generated ideas of liquor driving all sorts of odd behaviours and wild revelations. So you say you’re wasted and have something to tell him.

I was being sloppy. Normally, part of the fun is to see if you can match someone else’s lexical voice enough to convince people who may know them intimately that it’s really them. But I was hammered so I was writing how I write, with basic regard to grammar. This is not to say I was busting out accurate semicolon usage, just using more full stops and capitalisation than was ever really common on MSN. It didn’t matter to my subject, who didn’t suspect a thing, and so I took that as invitation to cross more lines.

After he’d accepted this reality, I started getting poetic. This is the sort of thing you do to quell your conscience. You amp it up to such an absurd degree that you can blame them for believing it. I started calling him “My love” and saying I wanted to floss my teeth with his neck hair. I don’t know if he had long neck hair, but it was specific enough a comment to send him mental and end the conversation.

What I didn’t realise at the time, was that I was convincing a paranoid and quite homophobic speed dealer that my friend’s brother was gayballs in love with him. This was one of those differences. My friend? Never friends with any speed dealers. His brother? Apparently friends with speed dealers.

It apparently took a bunch of work to calm him down. The rabidly homophobic are either gay themselves or have a predatory attitude toward women and are deathly afraid someone will treat them they way they treat girls. Once he was convinced that nobody was going to rape him, he settled in to merely saying he was going to hit me, before finally relaxing enough to pretend he was able to laugh at the joke.

This was in 2001. It was another 11 years until I sobered up.

The Episode

It’s an odd thing, to be able to look back on an artist’s career and be able to point to a distinct, “pulling stupid faces” period, but that’s exactly what you can do with Adam Sandler. Sandler made a movie career out of pulling stupid faces and doing that voice he does. You know the one, the one that’s not any specific voice but it’s different to his real voice so it’s supposed to be funny. Most of his movies are stupid face and stupid voice movies, and those are the good ones. The bad Adam Sandler movies are the kinds of cinematic tax rorts that make Uwe Boll wince. What makes Sandler’s stupid face period stand out isn’t that it’s bookended with better or worse comedy, that’s not uncommon, but that it’s occasionally punctuated by remarkable acting.

This is less of a hard sell these days, thanks to Uncut Gems, but there was a time around Punch Drunk Love where trying to explain to people that the guy who’d spend Weekend Updates sticking stuff on his head and doing that voice he does was actually a talented dramatic actor made you look like a flat-earther. Adam Sandler can be very funny, is mostly astonishingly lazy, and is capable of amazing depth. That depth, though, can only come when he’s playing against type.

There are a few Simpsons image accounts, frustratingly bound to Instagram which I refuse to join, that post stills of the series. A lot of these accounts exist, but these few stand out because the stills aren’t chosen for comedy or familiar references, but because the shots themselves are hauntingly beautiful. They’re typified by a lack of characters, to allow the shots to stand on their own, but another common element among them is the lighting, or, more specifically, the darkness.

Sitcoms exist in scorchingly bright realities scoured by light sources so strong the sun has to squint at them. Sets become unreal stills where the cast stands out like the animated layer of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. This is the sitcom reality. A place where the characters move about like glorified puppets in a frozen universe. The flatness that results from a total lack of shading leaves family shots from The Simpsons and Everybody Loves Raymond looking as two dimensional as each other. This clean, bright superficiality fits the tone of the genre. Nothing is ever out of place or dark.

The awkwardly titled Bart the Lover is a story about loneliness. Not the loneliness of childhood, the type where one can cast the sufferer as exiled due to their own moral superiority, or as the temporary prelude to a happier future. This is the loneliness of an adult growing into middle age. A place where the excuses of youth shrivel with everything else, and the false pride of bombastic bravado give way to desperate, animal fear.

This is a tough story to manage. It’s the equivalent of trying to do something very serious with something very silly. It’s the sitcom shadows we never see. But the episode actually does it quite well, considering more realistic sad endings or serialised happy changes were out of its reach.

Lonely primary school teacher in a beleaguered US public school is one of those comic archetypes that, like perpetually suffering lower middle-class father, isn’t particularly funny when looked at for any length of time, and the episode makes no attempt to hide this. Krabappel starts the episode pleading for company from within a darkened classroom, and her sigh, when she realises the dual indignities of begging ten-year-olds for company and being rejected, is a bleak one. Her drive home, accompanied by a maudlin saxophone and dramatically convenient rain, is interrupted by car problems, courtesy of her ex-husband. The closest thing to a pleasant interaction she’s had so far is the bleak small talk with Apu over yet another failed hope in the form of a losing scratch-and-win. It’s mostly bereft of comedy, even black comedy, and that leaves the audience focusing on Edna as a person.

The character focus and pervasive sadness of the story are supported beautifully by the episode’s cinematography. Darkness in The Simpsons forces the animators to consider the lighting, and subsequently, to consider the scenes as real physical spaces. Normally cartoony 2D scenes extend into the background when contrasted with characters partially lit from behind, and characters take on a rounded quality that gives a sense of realistic volume without anything as gauche as faux 3D. There’s a depth to these shots the series can go whole episodes without, and Bart the Lover goes out of its way to use them to great effect. Bart has no real reason to be in his treehouse by candlelight except that it mirrors a later shot with Krabappel, whose opposing negative space fits Bart’s. It’s a sophisticated way to force a sense of reality, depth of character, and connection between these moments to time with the emotional gut-punch of the episode and stands out as some of the show’s best work.

There are three core factors at play in this story: Krabappel, Bart, and the Simpson family. Krabappel and Bart are the story’s focus, with the Simpson family working as a narrative crashpad. Bart’s detention could have come from anywhere, there’s enough character and narrative backlog to have him just do something and be punished for it, but the yo-yo thing keeps scenes logically located at the school. This gives us more reason to focus on some of the minutia of school life, spend a few spare moments with Krabappel outside of the context of Bart, and provides the deeper internal logic for the event that the label maker did in Radio Bart.

The family and the B story don’t show up until 8 minutes in. It’s the kind of largely trivial little comedic subplot that would have been a detraction from a lot of other character episodes, but fits better here both because the story dances close to something deeply unpleasant and because it keeps the family active in the episode so their final act appearance doesn’t skew deus ex machina. Involving them in Bart’s prank too early would have forced ugly realities, like Bart getting a boudoir photo from his teacher, to the foreground. Having them step in late, in the last three minutes of the story, lets the episode gloss over things the show can’t really deal with.

Series three has seen Lisa develop from what was a very smart but still very 8-year-old child into the very mature 8 she’s known as. This is about the closest Bart comes to an episode that marks some point of maturation. He’s more sophisticated here, and that sophistication is from a maturity beyond an idiot 10-year-old, but his inability to grow makes his moments of maturity more an expression of his rubber band reality than an expression of experiences we’ve seen lived. But this is still a useful episode for the audience’s perception of him. Like his father in When Flanders Failed, Bart’s hates are petty, animal things that he never thinks about, and that wash away when exposed to genuine human pain. Bart mightn’t grow, exactly, but this episode establishes some idea of the sandpit he can play in, and some subsequent character as a result.

Loneliness is not a problem with an easy solution. Do you wanna go out and be some weirdo’s friend? Do you want to find some miserable, loveless, desperate person and love them? No. Nobody does, and the sugar of sitcom solutions to these stories—usually getting the girl/boy—are bitter goddamn lies. There’s no fixing the problem of Krabappel’s loneliness, so the episode does all it can really do: give her a moment where she feels wanted.

It’s a motif repeated throughout the story. The single shaft of light from the projector through the dark class. The single shaft of light from the spotlight in the school auditorium. The yo-yo being a temporarily fun thing attached to you by a single thread. Homer’s beer. The episode glossing over things it can’t really deal with. The entire episode is replete with the tiny things we use to bring us joy or at least hide us from the sadness. This permeation of theme into the pores of the story help carry it through narrative weaknesses. Bart is great at the yo-yo, and he’s great at being Krabappel’s yo-yo, a single bit of fun that is forgotten almost immediately.

Bart the Lover is a terrible, terrible title and a bizarre idea for a story. If you can’t fix your character’s sad problem your comedy is just sad, so you’ve written yourself into a dead end. Edna is a sad character, Bart’s prank is staggeringly cruel, and engaging the family in the final moments is a cheap way of rubbing the palliative properties of a family sitcom wrap up over a wound they can’t possibly heal. But it works. It works because Edna is so damn sad that of course it works, she needs it to more than anyone, so this ridiculous little glimmer of light is enough for her. It works because the story bothered to keep the family active in the narrative, even if just in the background, so their appearance isn’t the spontaneous manifestation of a writer-god. It works because the episode expresses itself in a manner of sophistication unseen in most stories. It works because it never actually lies about the nature of loneliness and never really pretends to fix it. It works for exactly the same reason Adam Sandler is great in Punch Drunk Love. It’s an odd duck, possibly the most season three episode there is, that fits a niche very well.

Yours in requiring a tetanus shot, Gabriel.

Jokes, lines, and stray thoughts.

As much as this is a character episode, enough groundwork has been done to let them transition a bit quicker between absurd humour and sad character moments. We are then blessed with the educational film on zinc, which is chock full of great moments and lines made ridiculous through the repetition of the already unusual word zinc. A bit of semantic saturation serves to warp an already odd sequence.

One little detail that really gets me here is the pan-dimensional zinc demon with the pipe’s expression never changes. He loves that Jimmy is suffering without zinc, and his smile is the strongest bar in this prison.

Oh, Billy, there’s no escaping from my maze.

I love the handgun firing.

Things like the presence of single streams of light in darkness correlating with the dynamics of a yo-yo, Bart’s role in Edna’s life for this episode, and the greater themes of sitcoms were unlikely to be deliberate, but they don’t need to be. Whether or not they are isn’t exactly relevant to an assessment of the work, it’s relevant to an assessment of an artist via their work, or when looking for subtexts within a body of work, which are discrete things. It’s worth mentioning, though, as things like this do get done deliberately and do contribute to the overall quality of a piece. Imagine them as like little Easter eggs that actually do a job by helping tell the story more effectively. Things like this allow for subtexts, which can be wrapped around the primary text, allowing for reflexive commentary and self-awareness without anything overt.

Chef Lonely Heart’s Soup for One is the kind absurd enough to be funny lonely, which follows the general rule of equivalent exchange between your sads and your funnies.

We never see Ken Krabappel, though not for lack of trying. He was meant to pop up in War of the Simpsons as Dean Martin with a hick accent, but it got cut. I think it’s for the better. I’m a fan of the odd tradition of shows having characters that are frequently mentioned but never seen. That said, it creates a kind of oddity with Edna, in that we never find out her actual name.

I don’t bring the lighting up much, typically because it’s seldom worth mentioning, but there is a great run of it in this episode. The rainy atmosphere gives Edna’s flat a kind of noirwave look.

Edna’s fat, purple cat that we don’t really see much. There’s weird thing in cartoons regarding cat colours, this one’s the same colour as Edna’s phone.

Lonely characters are great cause you can just have them talk to themselves about how they feel.

Some great work in the scene in the auditorium, a lot of detail in the kids. Including one going to fucking TOWN on the braids of some poor girl. The detail in this shot is done deliberately but it’s still nice.

Ralph sitting beside Lisa.

Here’s an odd one, Rod and Todd at Springfield Elementary. They are apparently students, but I can only remember them in this shot, and not having them appear more often, even just for joke fodder, seems an odd thing to skip. I always figured they went to some weird fundie school or something. Perhaps they were moved there after Todd’s eyeball got 9/11-ed.

Fuck I love this shot. I love those moments of anticipation before the event, so much energy in this image.

Rodd’s meant to be 12, though there’s a few discrepancies with their ages. If Rodd’s younger, then he probably has William’s Syndrome, which would explain a bit, actually.

Rod

Todd

EyeBALL is what makes this funny. It’s so specific, why not just say “eye”? And this is what I mean, that’s fucking hilarious, as is the shot of the resulting (and incredibly true to life) uproarious laughter. If they’re Springfield students, why not have them pop up more?

Again, shadow adds so much depth to characters. The shading on Skinner’s brow when he finally snaps at the kids really adds to it.

These goddamn Yo-yo things actually happened. I don’t even know how they were legal, given that they were brand promotion at a captive audience of school children. When I was a teen, it was the diablo, that thing that looks like an hourglass you whirl on a string between two sticks. It’s fucking stupid, like yoyos, but there was always someone that took it up and stuck with it long after the buzz had worn off.

Imagine having to peddle yo-yos to kids like this. Imagine finally getting to use your theatre degree.

That said, I would actually like to see someone do The Cobra.

Sabre Dance is a beautiful work and always enlivens moments of mischief, I recommend giving it a listen if you’ve never actually heard the whole thing. It’s by an Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian for his ballet Gayane and became a kind of early meme hit in the late 40s. The pumping drums that are going before song kicks off create a wild anticipatory energy matched only by Grieg.

I love the disorganisation of the Twirl King van, just among the boxes with little thought of fitting them properly.

 Yo-yos go in phases, they’ll be back.

Having been hit by a whirled yo-yo, I can tell you that they really fucking hurt. Having seen someone get hit by a whirled yo-yo, I appreciate the Weasels Two smiling at Chuck copping it.

Nelson’s rage stems from the fact that he can’t do anything and his life sucks.

I love that Bart’s actually good at it. Genuinely talented at something so goddamn pointless that he’d never be able to make a living from it. I mean, MAYbe a very late Cirque du Solei tour runs out of ideas and busts out the yo-yos.

Homer delightedly prepared to just mooch of his kid is a classic. If he weren’t fucking stupid, he’d be piling that energy into Lisa.

Homer’s list of rich yo-yo trickers is a funny one.

The trick to any of these fad things, including phones, in the modern classroom is to come down hard early. They’ll whine, but you get the fight out of the way first and create a new normal. Their tiny child brains will acclimatize to the new order and you won’t have to publicly flog any of them.

I like this reason for Bart’s detention as it comes from him doing something he’s good at and not just being a dick for attention. It helps validate his sense of the injustice of it. I don’t take that as a factor in softening what he does to Krabappel, that’s just the result of a child’s perspective.

This is a great shot of a moment like this, the excitement at the event manifesting as wild smiles.

The string leading from the broken aquarium, through the dying fish, and to Bart’s finger is a lovely little joke, capped nicely by his perfunctory defence.

The fish being flushed sound starts before Willy’s leg has even finished leaving the classroom. Guessing he just carries a toilet around.

The fish being called “Stinky” and “Wrinkles” fucking cracks me up.

I love this imagination sequence because Bart’s no bigger and Krabappel is tiny but still proportional. It’s not like he’s an adult and she’s a child. It adds an extra notch of surrealism to the joke.

Ooh, John Updike talking about the martini.

“What’s eating you, woman?” is the absolute perfect line to come in on a comically bad date with.

Love Jasper in the zoot suit.

Speaking of which, like ironic racism slowly metastasizing into your worldview, zoot suits were a real thing that started as a joke. They were adopted by the negro jazz scene as an ostentatious display of flair and wealth, inspired the British Teddy Boys, another bizarre little subculture, and wound up a focal element in wartime race riots in the US.

I like Bart showing an aptitude for the various tasks he’s given. The series can’t make him actually good at anything useful or socially valued, or they’d have to nerf some of his fuckery to balance him. It diminishes him as a character, so it’s fun seeing him actually learn from time to time.

The yo-yo nicely validates Bart looking in Krabappel’s drawer and maintains that nice internal logic.

I never took Bart’s prank to be knowingly cruel and his immediate change of heart when he sees how it has hurt Edna is proof that it isn’t.

Edna keeping the Krabappel name makes a bit of sense here given that she says she’s recently divorced.

That said, why would Edna have her own ad circled in the magazine?

The top letter being from Springfield Retirement Castle, where Jasper lives, is a great piece of continuity.

Woodrow Wilson was pretty racist, even for his time.

It’s nice to see an episode of The Simpsons that acknowledges winter without it being about winter in some way. There’s no sense of seasons to the series.

Santa’s Little Helper, shuddering in the cold, is another one of those things that’s funny because you’re kicking something so obviously pitiable when it’s already down that it veers into absurdity.

Homer just chuggin’ marshmallows.

“Marge, you’re a tool of the doghouse makers”

Homer’s “blueprint” always cracks me up. His pointing out the sun shifts it from a result of his childlike stupidity to an intelligent, and vicious, condescending stab at his wife.

The Simpson address here is 94 Evergreen terrace, before it was shifted to 742.

Edna so thirsty she sends a 90s sitcom nude in her first reply.

The image weirdly resembles one sent by Pamela Smart to her 15-year-old boyfriend. She’s serving life in prison for having her husband killed. This is unlikely to be deliberate.

“You’ve got a date with the xerox machine” is a nice callback to Homer’s Night Out.

Ah, a meme classic, Todd not wanting any damn vegetables. There’s the implication that he doesn’t know what he’s saying, but the squint suggests otherwise.

“If this is about that stupid quarter again” is a great line. It creates a whole story out of two simple points that’s both funny and deepens character.

I mean, if Todd’s picking up swears from Homer, he’s going to be getting much worse from any collapsing public school.

Lisa’s immediate needling of Bart over a potential crush is great.

Bullying friends for having genuine feelings never gets old.

The clarity of the thud of Lisa hitting the ground is funny.

Homer’s single love letter is great. Castellaneta’s delivery is terrific, it’s not easy to do a convincing drunken slur when you’re sober.

“All of us pull a few boners every now and then, go off half-cocked, make asses of ourselves”, is a great little run. How many swears they can get Flanders to say with contextual cover.

This episode kind of demonstrates that Bart’s problem is a matter of motivation and focus. When driven, he’s able to research, take notes, and convert that data into writing that appeals to an adult. A kind of plot hole is his handwriting, but it can be overlooked.

I love that one of the class books is “NHL Stars of 1969”.

Bart just cutting the picture from the goddamn book. Speaking of which, the man himself.

Homer’s reactions to Marge backing up anyone else in a conflict is always a great combination of the genuinely hurt and the unbelievably obnoxious.

Marge’s dad swearing as a baby photographer is a good line. I kind of wish classic Simpsons went to a bit more effort with Marge’s family.

Marge isn’t wildly consistent with her rules. Homer should be able to swear if he sees something really weird in the sky. Her thinking for a moment before ruling on snuggle swears is funny.

Fun Fact: The way I sign off on these articles comes from the line, “Hungrily yours, Edna”

Bart staring from behind the photo is a nice piece of shot construction.

Poor Mrs K.

The weird thing about Ernest for an Australian is that there was no context for him. In the states, the character was a weird creation of an ad executive and friend of Jim Varney’s. This character would just do ads for various products, like, he wasn’t a thing outside the ads, which is really damn weird. After he hit some predetermined level of popularity, it was decided to take his odd little universe and make a basic children’s comedy out of it. There are nine canonical movies in the Earnest series, and 3 that never got made: Earnest Spaced Out, Earnest and the Voodoo Curse, and Earnest the Pirate. There is also the weirder Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, which precedes them all and is very fucking weird.

Bart’s 180 here is pretty much Homer’s from When Flanders Failed.

“I can’t help but feel partly responsible” is a necessary mood breaker considering we just watched a jilted lady crying.

It was also a good idea to come back on a montage of Homer swearing because it’s funny and gives Krabappel room to emotionally recover without us having to be bothered by it.

This sequence of bad things happening to Homer is a goodun because there’s such variety. It’s a bit like how Fail Army are the better injury compilation groups because they balance seeing a dog fall over with seeing someone nearly die. Homer finally snapping at Flanders getting ad cheques and realising there’s no door on his doghouse are great leads to the beehive bit. It’s a great shift from the active elements, a calm made threatening because the audience knows something has to be about to happen. The sudden entry of the beehive, and the knowledge of the chaos it will cause, gets folded back into a denial joke as it cuts straight to a stung hand dumping change into the jar. I love it.

That said, we’re back to inconsistent weather.

GLOBE WAX

Krabappel’s rundown of the men of Springfield Elementary is funny and actually fits with later canon, which is nice.

The late Marcia Wallace won an Emmy for Edna K in 94 and it is deserved. Edna works as a promotion from one-off to deeper character off the back of Wallace’s voicework, as she can infuse even the smallest moments with acerbic energy or wilting pathos. Her realisation that Bart is the closest thing to a man she has in her life is both funny and tragic, a difficult blend Wallace nails.

Homer suffering politely is fucking hilarious. The stilted delivery of the lines as he’s forced to use so much of his brain just not swearing, and the shuddering of his leg after the nail are great highlights.

“Fiddle-dee-dee, that will require a tetanus shot” the sonorous quality of his voice indicating a barely controlled madness behind the façade is just great.

The synchronised concerned grunts from Marge and Lisa are great, really hammers the tone of the reaction home. This isn’t a “ha-ha” problem. That said, you wouldn’t be doing this show today without having to lean in to the molesto-teachers a bit.

The crazy thing is, in Queensland, you can totally bone a 16-year-old student provided you declare the relationship, which is fucking insane.

Krabappel’s eyes are closed in the picture now.

A lot of what carries this is Bart’s actual looks of guilt and regret. He wasn’t yelled at or threatened to get him here, he actually feels bad.

The truth really would fucking break her.

“Welcome to dumpsville. Population: You”

“I may hold you to that, Marge” is a good line about crocodile face biting.

“Three simple words: I am gay” great line and Marge’s “for the last time” indicating it’s not his first pitch really adds to it.

“With a love that will echo through the ages” clashes a bit with the already wordy line about the wind.

This is getting a tad over the top for what is the, what, third letter? But I’ll let it slide as it’s drama needs to be big enough to fill the cavernous fractures in Edna’s self-esteem.

The pleasant wrap-up music is cheating a little.

Nice shot where you can see Krabappel actually at the window she was at as Bart walks up, good sense of consistent space after the shot from within the flat.

This reminds me of a time I was working door, and a guy wandered outside, loudly announced to nobody in particular “Right! I’m a bit high, a bit drunk, time to go down to Birdees and root some self-esteem into a fat chick”.

More great use of actual lighting in the classroom here at the end. Daylight too, meaning they could have easily gone for the cartoon bright without disrupting anything.

The tag of Gordie Howe’s stats is funny, but a bit out of touch with the episode.

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10 Replies to “Bart the Lover”

  1. This is actually my favorite episode of this season, it has a well told story and some of the best jokes of the season in my opinion. The B story is one of the top ten of the series.

    I actually didn’t notice the motif, thanks for pointing it out.

    When I was in school, the big fad was “Mechanical” yo-yos, basically ones with ball bearings in them that spun very fast. I didn’t really have the eye-hand coordination to play with yo-yos that well when I was young, so it seemed like magic when people around me were very good with them.

        1. It’s probably not him. There’s a second Ralph that we see a few times in the first series that never actually gets evolved into Ralph Wiggum, he just sorta vanished once the familiar Ralph took over. There are a lot of early character designs like that.

  2. That interaction with Flanders and Lovejoy is great. I love Lovejoy’s lack of fully grasping what Flanders is saying when he said “he didn’t want to eat his damn vegetables”. It’s a nice way to further hammer in the already established bit that at best Lovejoy’s tired of hearing from Flanders and is only half listening.

  3. I always assumed Rodd and Todd were home-schooled. I don’t know why, there is no real evidence of this. Maybe it’s because weird kid + weird parents = home-school. Or that Maude seems the sort of person who doesn’t want her kids exposed to new things.

    1. It’s a natural thing to assume because you never see them at Springfield Elementary. It’s fine they’re not in the same classes as Bart or Lisa, but you’d think that, after ALL this time, they’d have been used as comedy fodder more than just once or twice. The gag we got was classic and it’s literally Todd saying “eyeball”. It’s a weirdly ignored thing.

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