Recap / The Simpsons S 2 E 10 Bart Gets Hit By A Car

Episode - 7F10
First Aired - 1/10/1991

In Bart Gets Hit By A Car Bart is hit by Mr. Burns' car and falls into a coma. When he wakes up his family tries to create a lawsuit against Mr. Burns. Both Burns and the Simpsons exaggarate Bart's injuries, wich leads to yet another strain on Marge and Homer's marriage.

The episode marks the First Appearance of incompetent lawyer Lionel Hutz, incompetent physician Dr. Nick Riviera and the Blue-Haired Lawyer.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Satan in this episode is quite pleasant and polite to Bart.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Lionel Hutz. It's even mentioned the Simpsons first saw him when he was chasing Bart's ambulance.
    • When Homer came to see him, Hutz hears an ambulance and decides not to go after it this time since he's already got a case.
  • And You Were There: After talking to Satan, Bart looks up at Hell's ceiling and sees the family, with Marge calling out to him. When Bart awakes after being hit by a car to find Homer, Marge and Lisa surrounding him, along with bottom-feeding attorney Lionel Hutz grinning cheesily at him:
    Bart: I did go away, Mom! I was miles and miles and miles away, writhing in agony in the pits of Hell. And you were there, and you, and you, and you... [to Hutz] You I've never seen before.
  • Backhanded Apology: Zigzagged. Though Marge genuinely feels bad about ruining Homer's lawsuit, she words it as wanting Homer to "forgive [her] for doing the right thing." She never directly apologizes for it.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Homer could've taken the offer and walked away but let his ego get the better of him. Mr. Burns manages to find out about the phony doctors after overhearing Marge. Then he has her come to the stand in court the next day. Not surprisingly, she winds up blowing it for Homer and winning the case for Mr. Burns. Downplayed in that, as evil as Burns is, Homer's lawsuit against him is by no means moral and is driven by pure greed.
  • Big "WHY?!": Mr. Burns does this after Bart's been hit, according to his personal testimony.
  • Blatant Lies: Both Bart and Mr. Burns's testimony at trial is pretty much this, though the jury seems more inclined to believe Bart's.
    Mr. Burns: [after giving his testimony and seeing everyone in the courtroom glaring at him] What are you looking at me like that for?! You believed his cock-and-bull story!
  • Blunt "Yes"
    Homer: Mr. Burns, are you trying to get me drunk?
    Mr. Burns: Yes.
  • Characterization Marches On: Hutz is portrayed as more competent than he would be in later episodes, coming very close to winning the court case against Mr. Burns, and losing only due to the actions of the Simpsons. Later episodes would go on to show how he's not only a comically inept lawyer, but that he may not be qualified to even be one. In season 9, he is reduced to being a realtor while he goes even lower in season 5 as he is Bart and Lisa's babysitter.
    • Lionel Hutz does win a couple of cases for the Simpsons including an "all you can eat" case against the Sea Captain.
  • Court Room Episode: The majority of the episode is set in court, where the Simpsons try to sue Mr. Burns.
  • Cultural Translation: In Brazil, the line about Bart not being due in Hell until the Yankees win the World Series is changed to say Bart isn't due until Brazil wins the FIFA World Cup.
    • Given the air date of this episode, it would only be 2.5 years to go until Brazil does win the 1994 World Cup which happens on US soil. We are just under five years away from the Yankees being World Champions. Regardless, Bart is overdue to arrive in hell.
    • At the time of the episode's airing, the New York Yankees were in the middle of a long failure to even contend for a postseason berth as their last World Series victory was in 1978 while their last postseason appearance was in 1981.
    • Meanwhile, Brazil had it worse as the soccer/football national team had not won the World Cup since their third title in 1970.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Bart is the title character whose accident sets the plot in motion. But not long after being hit, he get pushed to the side as the episode moves into the court proceedings.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is one of the few Simpsons episodes, save for the "Treehouse of Horror" ones, where the title appears on the screen at the start of the episode.
    • Vocal example: Lionel Hutz sounded more like Troy McClure in this episode, no doubt because Phil Hartman was still finding his character.
  • Episode Title Card: Parodied. Just as the title dissolves during the opening credits, Bart is hit.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Smithers was the only one who was actually concerned about Bart's safety during the initial hit. When Burns tells his side of the story, he switches and exaggerates this scene. Even Smithers looks unimpressed by this testimony.
    Smithers: Uh-oh, I think the boy's hurt.
    Burns: Oh, for crying out loud, just give him a nickel and let's get going.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Burns tears into his lawyers after the trial's initial stage for failing to get the jury on his side.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Bart is indeed hit by a car.
  • Flaw Exploitation: After observing Marge's unwillingness over the lawsuit's sneaky tactics and exaggerations, Burn's lawyer has Marge take a statement the following day, knowing she would expose everything.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: On both sides, the truth is exaggarated and twisted to make their side win.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Mr. Burns is just as wretched as ever and was completely unconcerned when he hit Bart. However, Bart's jaywalking on his skateboard was as much to blame, and Homer's lawsuit against him is completely frivolous as Bart's injuries weren't particularly grievous or expensive which is why Burns' win doesn't make him a Karma Houdini. Everyone's in the wrong here.
  • I Warned You: Bart is told not to spit over the side of the escalator that brings him to Heaven. He does it anyway and is promptly thrown in Hell.
  • Kick the Dog: Mr. Burns scathingly tells Smithers to "just give [Bart] a nickel and let's get going", showing his obvious lack of concern for Bart's safety.
    • Marge comparing the "hardships" of Bart's injuries to the $5 she pays him to take out the trash every week. While Dr. Nick did exaggerate Bart's injuries and Homer's lawsuit was frivolous, Marge seems remarkably unconcerned about the fact that Bart was injured at all after the hub-bub died down.
  • Moral Guardians: Satan tells Bart to "lie, cheat and listen to Heavy Metal music", in reference to the claim of many ultraconservative Christian fundamentalist preachers in the US who claimed metal music has Satanic messages.
  • My Card: Lionel Hutz gives the Simpsons a card that "turns into a sponge when you put it in water".
  • Never My Fault: Homer refused to take Mr. Burns' offer, and Marge tells him that she doesn't like the situation they're in, including Homer's greed and "phony doctors". Burns overhears this, and has Marge up to the stands to confess everything. Homer confessed that he isn't sure if he loves Marge anymore for blowing their chance at $1 million.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It was a pretty open and shut case (particularly given how Burns incriminates himself during the trial), but Homer blew it by rejecting the initial offer, listening to Hutz, and ignoring Marge, who throws the Hero Ball and confesses everything in court.
  • Off-Model: During the cross-examination of Marge, when the Blue Haired Lawyer asks her for her opinion on Dr. Nick Riviera, a shot of him mistakenly has him appear in both the foreground and background, while previous iterations of the same shot, such as this one, correctly has him only appear in the foreground.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Satan apparently owns a computer to store the files of whom should be in Hell and who doesn't. Also In-Universe: later designs of Satan in the show would look different.
    • In the non-canon Treehouse of Horror episodes, Satan looks like Ned Flanders.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Mr. Burns doesn't fire Homer because of the media backlash he would likely suffer as a result. He has to be convinced by Smithers first, though, as he initially imagines that he'll be regarded as a hero.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Both Bart and Mr. Burns deliver different retellings of the accident to the court, exaggerating things to make themselves look more sympathetic in order to win the case. Bart claims that Mr. Burns intentionally tried to run him down, while Mr. Burns says that the boy moved wildly all over the road as he desperately tried to avoid hitting Bart (and let out an emotional Big "NO!" and Take Me Instead when he did). Neither were remotely true, but the court clearly sides with Bart and doesn't buy Mr. Burns' story for a second.
  • Satan: Bart meets him briefly.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Marge telling the truth and ruining the lawsuit.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Mr. Burns claimed at the beginning of the trial he should be allowed to run over anyone he wanted.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: As Bart ascends back to life, one can spot the fossilized skeleton of a Torosaurus as a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Bart could have avoided going to Hell if he hadn't spit over the side of the escalator that brought him to Heaven.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bart arrives in Hell where he sees a scene from Hieronymus Bosch's triptych of the "Garden Of Earthly Delights".
    • Satan says: "Please allow me to introduce myself", which is a reference to the first line in The Rolling Stones ' song "Sympathy For The Devil" from Beggars Banquet.
    • Bart lying in bed and saying "And you were there, and you..." is a reference to the ending of The Wizard of Oz.
  • Smug Smiler: Burns and his lawyers leer imperiously at Homer and Hutz after winning the case.
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz and the PA announcer on the way to Heaven.
  • Take Me Instead: Mr. Burns' cry when Bart is hit by a car, according to his testimony.
  • Take That!: Satan telling Bart to "lie, cheat and listen to Heavy Metal music".
  • Time Marches On: Satan says Bart isn't supposed to arrive in Hell, until "the Yankees wins the pennant. That's nearly a century from now." In Real Life the Yankees have won the A.L. pennant 7 times and the World Series 5 times since the episode aired, the first time for each in 1996.note 
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Bart actually goes to Heaven first, but he blows it by disobeying the rules immediately after hearing them. After which he plummets to Hell.
    • Mr. Burns offers to settle out of court for $500,000, and Homer turns it down....except that he's suing Mr. Burns for a million dollars and Hutz gets fifty percent (50%), so that's the same thing he'd get if he won the suit. Unless Hutz got half of the settlement.
    • Mr. Burns thought the media would praise him for firing Homer until Smithers advised him otherwise.