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:

  • Adaptational Villainy: In-Universe, Bart is portrayed as this in Blood On the Blackboard, where it depicts him as the one who actually killed Skinner. Not that the real Bart seemed to care, as he also seemed to be portrayed as an Adaptational Badass.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Fat Tony, as portrayed in Blood On the Blackboard, is a Nervous Wreck who gets slapped and bossed around by the film's version of Bart Simpson. And he's much slimmer too.
  • Affably Evil: Fat Tony and his gang.
  • Amoral Attorney: The prosecutor moves for Skinner's testimony about how he is not dead to be removed from record. The judge instantly rejects the motion with prejudice ("DENIED!").
  • 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].
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Bart first stumbles upon the hangout and Fat Tony asks him to pick a horse in the third race.
    Bart: Eat my shorts.
    Fat Tony: Eat My Shorts? Okay, let's see - wait a minute, you little punk!... Eat My Shorts is in the fifth race! I said the third race!
  • Book Dumb: Bart. After his dog eats his homework, it spits a part that has "9 X 9 = 100".
  • 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.
  • Class Trip: The school goes to a chocolate factory, a trip Bart misses because he forgot his permission slip.
  • 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The visiting Don gives Fat Tony the Kiss of Death because his Manhattan wasn't good.
  • A Dog Ate My Homework: Santa's Little Helper eats Bart's homework. Bart is surprised that dogs really do that kind of thing.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Sideshow Bob, with bulgy arms from weight-lifting, sharing a cell with Bart and NOT trying to kill him?!
    • Principal Skinner is shown living by himself, instead of with his Beloved Smother.
  • 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 Ahold Of Yourself Man: Willie slaps Ms. Krabappel when she breaks down over the inauguration of a fire hose dedicated to Skinner's memory.
  • Gut Feeling: Marge suspects correctly that Bart is hanging out with criminals, and also suspicious with the pizza truck that's been parked across the street for two weeks. Homer mostly ignores her concerns ("a job is a job"). Angry at his indifference, Marge demands that Homer check to see if she's right.
  • Humiliation Conga: Bart throughout the entire first act.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Fat Tony "explains" to Bart how hijacking a truckload of cigarettes isn't wrong.
    Bart: Uh, say, are you guys crooks?
    Fat Tony: Bart, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?
    Bart: No.
    Fat Tony: Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?
    Bart: Uh uh.
    Fat Tony: And, what if your family don't like bread? They like... cigarettes?
    Bart: I guess that's okay.
    Fat Tony: Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime, Bart?
    Bart: Hell, no.
  • Jerkass Ball: Lisa in the first act.
  • 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.
  • Kiss of Death: One is given to Fat Tony when he serves the Mafia boss a "flat, flavorless Manhattan" (due to Legs making it instead of the usual bartender, Bart).
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: This episode marks the first appearance of the Trope Namer.
  • MacGyvering: Skinner escaped from his garage trap by building a rocket with baking soda and lemon juice.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bart when Santa's Little Helper eats his homework. He then remarks that he didn't know dogs really did that.
    • Bart lets out a horrified scream when he realises he left his permission slip for the chocolate factory field trip at home.
    • Bart again when he finds himself with several gun barrels in his face held by the Mafia when he first encounters them. "Uh-oh", indeed.
  • The Oldest Profession: Supposedly, one of the rackets Bart was involved in as head of the Mafia.
  • Police Are Useless: They searched Skinner's home, but all they did was dig around his bedroom. They never checked the basement where Skinner was trapped and somehow never heard his loud cries for help.
  • 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."
    • After Homer finds hundreds of cigarette cartons in Bart's room, he orders Bart to smoke them all all to teach him a lesson. However, once Fat Tony's delivery guy comes to pick them up, Homer apologizes for doubting Bart's explanation.
  • Spy Ship: A pizza truck's been parked outside of the Simpson house for two weeks. When Marge asks, "How long does it take to deliver a pizza?", the agents inside remark that their cover's blown and pull away, only to be immediately replaced by a "Flowers By Irene" truck.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs:
    Fat Tony: You Skinner?
    Skinner: (angrily) I'm Principal Skinner, yes!
  • Took a Level in 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.
    • Same goes for Homer while in court, in the third act. He was about to accuse his son of being the Springfield Mafia's leader. Also counts as a Took a Level in Dumbass moment (even for Homer).
  • Van in Black: Marge notices a pizza van that had been parked outside the Simpsons's house for days, which a government agency surveillance team was hiding out in. After Marge asks 'How long does it take to deliver a Pizza?' it zooms off to be replaced immediately with a "florist" van. The florist's name: Flowers By Irene.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: In-universe example. Blood On The Blackboard: The Bart Simpson 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.