Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 4 Bart The Murderer
Episode - 8F03
First Aired - 10/10/1991

Bart's bad day at school turns good when he gets a job as a gofer for local mob boss, Fat Tony, but spending time with mafioso may be turning Bart into one of them especially when news hits that Principal Skinner has gone missing.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Fat Tony and his gang.
  • Artistic License: In universe example. Blood On The Blackboard: The Bart Simpsons Story portrays Bart as a hardened mobster who genuinely attempts to murder Skinner, despite the movie being made after he was proven innocent. According to Marge, the changes were actually still subtle enough they didn't have to pay them royalties.
  • As Himself: Neil Patrick Harris (playing Bart); Joe Mantegna (playing Fat Tony) [both on the show and in the made-for-TV movie within a sitcom Blood on the Blackboard: The Bart Simpson Story].
  • Bribe Backfire: Bart's attempt to bribe Principal Skinner resulted in a mid-episode chalkboard gag ("I will not bribe Principal Skinner").
  • Butt Monkey: Bart. Plain and simple.
  • The Cameo: Sideshow Bob appears in the same jail cell as Bart, lifting weights.
  • Dirty Coward: The mob find it more efficient to frame Bart for Skinner's murder than simply deny a crime they didn't commit.
    • It helps that through this they can set him up for every other crime they're responsible for.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Sideshow Bob, with bulgy arms from weight-lifting, sharing a cell with Bart and NOT trying to kill him?!
  • Easily Condemned: Bart is very quickly set up for murdering Skinner with next to no evidence. There wasn't even evidence to prove that Skinner was dead in the first place. The judge justifies this with the track record given by everyone whose put up with him, including his father.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Bart and Sideshow Bob are stuck in the same jail cell together, the latter appears to give a Disapproving Look to the former.
  • The Family for the Whole Family
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: Lisa is quite smug towards the horrible turn of events Bart suffers.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Willie slaps Ms. Krabappel when she breaks down over the inauguration of a fire hose dedicated to Skinner's memory.
  • Humiliation Conga: Bart throughout the entire first act.
  • Jerkass: Lisa has a moment of this. Bart can be a pain sometimes, but he hadn't done anything to deserve missing the field trip of his dreams.
  • Karma Houdini: The mobsters setting up Bart as a fall guy weren't punished for what they've done to him. They agree with Bart's theory that crime doesn't pay... before each driving off in their large limos.
  • Never Found the Body: And yet, everyone was willing to believe a ten-year-old would kill Principal Skinner. And as it turns out, the police didn't even look too hard.
    Skinner: (in the basement) I'M IN HEREEEEEE!
    Wiggum: Well, let's go.
    Eddie: Okay, Chief.
  • Not My Lucky Day: Bart suffers a hefty Humiliation Conga before coming face to face with the mafia.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Skinner wouldn't accept bribes.
  • Smoking Gun: Skinner suddenly enters the courtroom when the judge is about to declare Bart guilty of his murder.
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure; Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony
  • Spoof Aesop:
    • After almost being convicted for a crime that didn't even happen, Bart said he learned crime didn't pay. Fat Tony says he agrees... only to leave the courthouse in a limousine, which is followed by limousines belonging to Legs and Louie.
    • Skinner was trapped in his basement because a large pile of newspapers fell on top of him and kept him trapped. He later says, "Let this be a lesson to recycle frequently."
  • Spy Ship: The episode featured one with the letters F-B-I painted prominently on the side. (The letters stood for "Flowers By Irene".) Cue the line, "I wonder why that [moving van / florist's van / pizza delivery van / whatever] has been parked there for two weeks," or similar, whereupon the van instantly screeched away and was replaced by another (that was just as suspicious).
  • What the Hell, Townspeople?: The townsfolk took idiocy to a new level by believing a ten-year-old would head the local Mafia. Then again, given that this is Bart we're talking about, it might not be that hard to believe for them.
    Lionel Hutz: Mr. Simpson, you've been the boy's father for ten years. Do you really think he could be the leader of a murderous criminal syndicate?
    Homer: Well, not the leader, I mean... [looks over at Bart, then cries] Oh, it's true, it's true! All the pieces fit! [bawls]