OSW Review | Bart The General

Bart The General


Season 1, Episode 5
Original Air Date: February 4, 1990
Curtailed intro: No chalkboard or couch gag

Plot: After sticking up for his sister, Bart has a new bully – Nelson. Bart enlists Grandpa and Herman to defeat him.

• Even though they’re a typical fighting brother and sister, it’s nice to see Bart stick up for Lisa without hesitation.
• A good portion of the show is dedicated to Bart fearing the fight. This includes daydreaming Nelson being unstoppable and envisioning his funeral, where Nelson eats his cupcake and punches his corpse. To me, it’s the most unsettlingly grim moment in Simpsons history. Similar time is spent with Bart rallying & training the schoolkids.
• Nelson is unlikeable (and that’s the point) – he feels like a real bully. A loud, lumbering brute that even threatens his friends.
• The topic of bullying is generally treated quite seriously (except for the water balloon warfare, of course). They make a joke out of the Principal knowing and not doing anything – Nelson is free to beat him up as long as Bart isn’t tardy for class itself.
• On the lighter side, Grampa’s introductory monologue reading as he types a letter to TV advertisers is hilarious. It was actually a direct reference to FOX attempting to censor the Simpsons use the phrase “family jewels”. FOX relented when they counter-threatened to make this asinine demand public!
• Jokes mostly come from Homer (getting the day off work and demanding the kids keep it down).
• It finishes on schmutlzy scene tying into the start of the episode (everyone having cupcakes) but it felt quite rushed – Nelson is still a bully and I don’t buy that he’s changed one bit. It’s Bart/Herman/Grampa who are seemingly desperate for a truce, and Nelson gets bored enough to say he agrees.

Notable quotables:
• Homer (with a hair dryer) “Here, let me dry those tears”.
• Grampa (typing and reading aloud) “Dear Advertisers, I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive. The following is a list of words I never want to hear on television again. Number one: Bra. Number two: Horny. Number three: Family Jewels.”
• Homer (to Grampa up in the treehouse) “You! Up in the tree! The tall, grey-haired kid. Get your butt down here right now!”

Overall: It’s a well-made story about a much more serious, less entertaining topic, so I’d never be itching to watch it.



Release Date
August 28, 2014