Episode - 7F03\\
First Aired - 10/11/1990
Airing on Thursday evenings at this point and successfully competing with the still-untouchable ''Series/TheCosbyShow'', "'''Bart Gets an 'F''''" would be a milestone in the history of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''. Not only was this new series entering its second season, but it was the start of a season that would solidify the success of what is now the longest-running animated prime-time series in television history.
And to think that one of the major reasons for the success of ''The Simpsons'' was the central character of this, the season premiere: Slacker, wisecracking bad-boy Bart, whose very personality traits result in this episode's crisis: Bart, unable to study, concentrate or perform well in the classroom on even routine assignments, falls into danger of being retained to the fourth grade.
The episode begins with Bart being asked to present his book report. He announces his subject as ''Literature/TreasureIsland'', but all his report is is ad-libbed bull, and when it becomes clear he did not read the book, his teacher, Edna Krabappel, confirms her suspicions by having him name the main pirate (Long John Silver), which Bart is unable to do. Mrs. Krabappel keeps Bart after school, and then tells him in no uncertain terms that if he does not improve his academic performance quickly, adding to his worries that there is a challenging test on Colonial America coming up, he will be in danger of flunking fourth grade; Bart is distracted and doesn't hear a word his teacher has said. Bart goes home and tries to study, but is continually distracted by such things as a mediocre video game (''Escape from Grandma's House'') and a mindless monster movie on TV (''Gorilla the Conquerer'', featuring a gorilla eating people and destroying buildings, all while growling). The next day at school, realizing he is unprepared for the test, fakes an illness to go home early. Bart later calls Millhouse to get the answers to the test, but the information proves useless, as Bart gets his "F" with an apparently worse score than Millhouse. Homer and Marge are called to school to meet with Dr. Pryor and Mrs. Krabappel, all whom are concerned about Bart's poor academic habits and performance, and everyone agrees that it may be in Bart's best interest to repeat the fourth grade.
Bart, who is asked to be at the conference, objects to Dr. Pryor's recommendation and vows to do whatever he can to do better. To accomplish this goal, Bart asks his sworn nemesis, the nerdy Martin Prince, to tutor him. Martin agrees to help out under the promise that Bart will help make him cool. After a while, Martin decides to back out on his end of the bargain when he becomes cool for the first time. Left with no other alternative, Bart tearfully and earnestly prays to God to give him one more day to study.
God listens, and the next morning, a massive blizzard results in school being cancelled.
Bart celebrates and begins to dress up to go outside and play and join in all the revelry of this snow day. Lisa sees him and reveals that she heard him praying the previous evening for "one more day," and that he (Bart) had now better hold up his end of the bargain. Bart agrees with her and decides to change his plans. So while everyone else is enjoying the snow day, Bart tries his hardest to focus on the expected material for the test, and not always succeeding. The next day, Bart takes the test. Anxious about the outcome, he has Mrs. Krabappel grade it right away. She does and lo and behold, he gets a 59, 1 point below the passing threshhold.
Bart immediately breaks down in tears, telling Mrs. Krabappel that he honestly tried to study and he still failed. In the process, he blurts out that his failure is similar to George Washington's surrender of Fort Necessity to the French (in 1754). Mrs. Krabappel is stunned and pleased that Bart was able to successfully recall a relatively obscure historic event and its impact on Washington's future. She is so pleased by this development that she gives him an extra point on his test, meaning that he (barely) passed. Bart is extremely grateful, so much so that he kisses Mrs. Krabappel on the cheek and happily runs through Springfield to proudly state that he passed (he only stops when he realized that he kissed Mrs. Krabappel). Homer congratulates Bart for showing improvement and tapes the test to the refrigerator; Bart proudly states that part of the D-minus "belongs to God."
!!!This episode provides examples of (YMMV tropes can be found [[YMMV/TheSimpsonsS2E1BartGetsAnF here]]):
* AttentionDeficitOohShiny: This was the first episode to depict one of the root causes of Bart's perennially poor scholastic habits – that being his inability to concentrate or prioritize his studies over his free time, which are wasted on video games, gorilla movies and just plain goofing off. Even when given an ultimatum to pass a final test or be retained to fourth grade, and given an extra day to study due to a sudden snowstorm, his attention span is shorter than that of a gnat.
* ArtEvolution: The artwork and animation quality is much better-looking here than in season one, but it would take at least another season before it really improves.
* BreakTheHaughty: Bart crying over his F.
* BrilliantButLazy: This usually applies to Bart, but it turns out that even though he worked harder than ever before, he still only barely got a high F (which got turned into a D- after Bart compared his failure to a failed battle George Washington led and Mrs. Krabappel saw this as a sign that Bart actually did learn something).
* DespairEventHorizon: Bart completely breaks down and believes himself to be a total failure when he gets an F on the test despite genuinely trying to study hard for it.
* DeusExMachina: Bart quoting the Battle of Fort Necessity and Mrs. Krabappel raising his grade slightly. It's not as much of a screw to the audience as other deus ex machinas in media, but the more cynical viewer will think that this was only shoe-horned because American audiences can't handle unhappy endings.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: This episode beat ''TheCosbyShow'' (which, at the time, was number one in the ratings on American TV) in viewers on its premiere airing.
* EvolvingCredits: The opening sequence was re-animated and rescored starting with this episode. This animation would be used all the way up until the show went HighDefinition in season 20, though the music would be redone again the next season.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Bart's agreement to make Martin cool makes him so happy that he's no longer interested in helping Bart prepare for his quiz, despite agreeing to it.
** The main part of the plot – Bart being told he is seriously being considered for retention due to his poor academic performance.
** An extreme example happens as an ImagineSpot, where Bart sees himself as being in the fourth grade 20 years later … and one of his classmates is his son, Bart Jr.
** Otto also mentions being held back - twice!
* MythologyGag: Dr. Pryor says that Bart's permanent record says he an "underachiever and proud of it", a reference to a popular slogan from Bart t-shirts.
* NotAllowedToGrowUp / StatusQuoIsGod: Even thought Bart was in danger of being left back, but manage to pass the fourth grade, the writers at the time had no idea that the series would last for 20 years, so they would constantly keep the children in the same grade, regardless of whether they pass or not.
* PrayerIsALastResort: Bart prays for just one more day to study, as he struggles to study for his test. Lisa observes this and later reminds Bart of it when he tries to go sledding.
-->'''Lisa:''' Prayer: the last refuge of a scoundrel.
* RidiculousProcrastinator: Bart's inability to concentrate or start on something that isn't necessarily enjoyable to do takes center stage here.
* SelfHarm: Bart continuously slaps himself so he can pay attention to studying, which continues into a MatchCut where he's still slapping himself in class.
* ShoutOut: Springfielders sing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" in the same way the people of Whoville sing in the animated ''WesternAnimation/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas''.
* SoProudOfYou: Homer says this to Bart at the end.
* ThatManIsDead: Cool Martin telling Bart the previous Martin no longer exists.
* TotallyRadical: "Cowabunga!"