After Homer buys a trampoline for the backyard (and nearly every kid in town ends up injured from it), Marge realizes that she's a bossy nag who doesn't know how to have any fun, so she listens to a supposed self-help guru named Brad Goodman, who begins using Bart as a role model on how people should act.
Tropes of this episode:
- Aborted Declaration of Love:Smithers: Sir, in the spirit of the festival and everything I- I'd just like to say that... I love you.
Mr. Burns: Hmm?
Smithers: ...Uh, in those colors!
- Aesop Amnesia: As a result of the town's free thinking going haywire, Marge returns to killjoy demeanour by the end of the episode:Marge: I knew if only I had nagged more.
- A God I Am: Bart feels like this...until Lisa points out that he's sitting on an ice cream sandwich and later, when he becomes sick of everyone acting like him.
- As Himself: James Brown.
- As You Know:Homer: Well, here we are at the Brad Goodman lecture.
Lisa: We know, dad.
Homer: I just thought I'd remind everybody. After all, we did agree to attend this self-help seminar.
Bart: What an odd thing to say.
- Big Damn Heroes: Homer tries to do this by helping Bart escape inside a parade float. The disguise is quickly blown, though they make it anyway, as the townspeople got bored and decided to go to the old mill to get cider.
- Blatant Lies: After Marge admits that she never realized people saw her as a nag, Lisa timidly asks if Marge is mad—Marge claims that she's not and that she's perfectly fine, but you can tell that she's obviously very angry and offended to learn that people see her that way.
- The Bore: Marge is called out on this—while Homer admits that Marge was right in that getting the trampoline was ultimately a mistake, he also points out that he's at least willing to go out and try new things and claims to his wife, "If it were up to you, all we'd ever do is work and go to church." Marge, of course, denies this claim, but when her husband asks to name one thing she's done in the past month that was even remotely fun, all Marge can think of is a time when she made sloppy joes (which Homer scoffs isn't fun).
- Both Sides Have a Point (combined with Dumbass Has a Point): This is what sets off the episode's main plot—though Homer acknowledges that his scheme with the trampoline was ultimately a bad idea, he also points out that being like Marge (a constant boring ng who never tries anything new) isn't exactly a better way of life. Homer raises a good point in that it's important to go out and try new things instead of staying in your comfort zone all the time.
- Captain Obvious:Homer: Marge, I'm feeling a lot of shame right now.
Marge: I'm hearing that you feel a lot of shame.
Homer: And I feel that you hear my shame.
- The Chosen One: Bart Simpson.
- Control Freak: Homer accuses Marge of being this, complete with a nagging montage.
- Cowboy Cop: McGarnagle.Da Chief: You busted up that crack house pretty bad, McGarnagle. Did you really have to break so much furniture?McGarnagle: You tell me, Chief. You had a pretty good view from behind your desk.Chief: You're off the case McGarnagle!McGarnagle: You're off your case chief!Chief: What does that mean exactly?
- Fan Disservice: Patty and Selma ride horseback naked, but the townspeople are all disgusted by it (except the Sea Captain).
- Faux to Guide: Troy McClure introduces himself on Adjusting Your Self-O-Stat with "You might remember me from such self-help videos as Smoke Yourself Thin and Get Confident, Stupid."
- Flashback... Back... Back...: Played straight when Marge watches the video of Brad Goodman ending on the symptom "Chronic Nagging...nagging...nagging," then it's parodied when Selma says that her TV is on the fritz.
- Flat "What.": Lisa. See You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!
- Fully Automatic Clip Show: When Marge asks Bart and Lisa whether they agree with what Homer said about her being a boring nag, they're a little hesitant, but ultimately agree with their father's assessment—the show even cuts to clips from previous episodes (such as "Homer the Heretic", "Dog of Death," and "Colonel Homer") which prove that all Marge really does is ruin everyone's fun by nagging at them.
- Gone Horribly Right: Goodman's teaching was, in a nutshell, being more like Bart in the sense of "don't worry too much about life." Not only does all of Springfield takes it Up to Eleven (more like "don't give a shit about anything, even the stuff that can endanger people if you don't give a shit"), but start to imitate Bart's mannerisms (which gives him a short identity crisis) and decides to blame Goodman (to the point he appears to be worshipped like a false God in a quick gag) and Bart when everything goes pear-shaped because of said irresponsibility.
- The Hedonist: What the people of Springfield become in lines with Bart's saying of "I do what I feel like."
- Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Bart soon believes this.Skinner: *after hitting Bart with a slingshot* Eat my shorts, young man.
- I Warned You:
- The trampoline investment goes horribly wrong as Marge predicted, prompting this trope. Homer eventually acknowledges that Marge was right about the trampoline thing being a mistake, but also points out that her way of life isn't a exactly a good alternative.
- Lisa was the only one not impressed by Goodman's theories. When things start to go wrong for Bart, she looks very smug.
- Long List: Brad Goodman's "feel bad rainbow":Brad Goodman: Depression, insomnia, motor mouth, darting eyes, indecisiveness, decisiveness, uncontrollable falling down, geriatric profanity disorder (or GPD), and chronic nagging.
- Low-Speed Chase: Homer and Bart escaping in the parade float. It devolves to the point the angry mob just gets bored and leaves.Skinner: Damn! They're very slowly getting away!
- Never My Fault: The townsfolk blame Bart and chase him around town when the "Do What You Feel Like" policy ends up causing chaos, even though Brad Goodman was the one who encouraged them to act like Bart in the first place (with Reverend Lovejoy himself pointing it out).
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Brad Goodman's a parody of motivational guru John Bradshaw.
- Noodle Incident: After Smithers's Aborted Declaration of Love, he says to himself, "Oh, who am I kidding? The boathouse was the time!" What Burns and Smithers were doing on a boathouse, and why that would've been the perfect time to tell him he loves him, is anyone's guess.
- The "Do As We Say" festival(s), from which the "Do What You Like" festival is supposed to be a major departure.
- Oh, Crap!: Bart let's out a flat "Eep" before getting chased by everyone.
- Only Sane Man:
- Lisa, as usual.
- Bart becomes one after he grows bored of others emulating him.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Pretty much a lot of people in Springfield, thanks to Bart.
- Precision F-Strike:Kent Brockman: Folks are finally accepting their feelings and really communicating, with no holding back, and this reporter thinks it's about [bleep]ing time!
- Homer dropping the trampoline from a canyon is a homage to Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
- McGaranagle is a loose cannon Cowboy Cop in the style of Dirty Harry. He even looks and sounds like Clint Eastwood.
- The quick gag with the Brad Goodman bronze statue surrounded by female worshippers when Reverend Lovejoy calls him a "false god" resembles The Ten Commandments.
- Likewise, the shot when Marge looks out over all the children who have been injured by the trampoline is an homage to Gone with the Wind.
- Totally Radical: Bart's image in early 90s pop culture can be seen as this, even though this was never really part of his persona in the actual show (his skateboarding in the opening sequence perhaps being the closest he ever came). The episode parodied this phenomenon, right down to the quoting of "Cowabunga". When popular perception of the show began to focus more on Homer's antics, this aspect subsided.
- With Friends Like These...: Apu is the one who spearheads the town into turning on Bart when things go berserk.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Lisa has this reaction.
- You Might Remember Me from...: In-Universe. Troy McClure's other self-help videos include Smoke Yourself Thin and Get Confidence, Stupid!