Recap / The Simpsons S 6 E 1 Bart Of Darkness

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Episode - 1F22
First Aired - 9/4/1994

A summer heat wave hits Springfield, the Simpsons build a pool to beat the heat. But when a high-dive goes wrong and Bart breaks his leg, he ends up confined to his room, which only gets worse when he believes Ned Flanders has murdered his wife, Maude.

Of note, this is the first episode since season 1 to debut on Sunday night, in a new timeslot (8 PM/7 central), a slot the show has occupied ever since.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Bad Humor Truck: Downplayed with the ice cream truck that looks normal, but really has no more ice cream; parodied with a rebuilt ice cream truck that only sells Texas-style chili and boiling hot ginger ale.
    Chili! Red-hot Texas-style chili! And we got ginger ale; boiling hot Texas-style ginger ale!
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Bart sees Flanders walking into his house with an axe while Lisa is exploring it for him, he immediately tries to save her. First, he tries calling the police since he can't walk on his leg, he then drags his way there.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: After Homer says "She's such a fox" in reference to Maude, he changes the line to "What's on FOX tonight? Something ribald, no doubt." At the time the episode first aired, the live-action sitcom Martin had moved to 8:30 pm (eastern standard), and, as elaborated on further in "Bart's Girlfriend," the show was ribaldnote  — though not as much as any other show on the line-up at the time, and that included Married... with Children.
  • Brick Joke: While Bart spies on people from his window, a Jimmy Stewart-esque character spies on him. Later, as Bart hobbles to the Flanders house, the Stewart character reappears and thinks Bart's coming after him.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: The Esther Williams variant is parodied as the kids make Lisa the star of the pool.
  • The Cameo: Kang and Kodos's spaceship briefly flies by right before Bart decides the universe is boring to look at.
  • Captain Obvious: When Homer and Bart are underneath the tent that's connected to the fridge, Homer tells Bart, "It's cool in here, boy."
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Martin wears 17 bathing suits at the pool mobile, knowing that bullies will take his. When he brags about it, the bullies take them all instantly. "I brought this on myself."
    • Apparently, the Springfield police have a code for regicide (the murder of a member of royalty, usually a king or a queen).
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Martin's pool gets so filled with swimming kids that just one more jumping in makes it explode.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Nelson pulls the "your epidermis is showing!" joke on Bart, and not only feels the need to explain it to Kearny, he explains it wrong. (He claims "epidermis" means "hair"; it actually means "skin".)
  • Early Installment Weirdness/Old Shame: In-universe: the Classic Krusty reruns (which Krusty doesn't like, judging by his disgusted tone in introducing the episodes) reveal that The Krusty the Klown show was originally a socio-political talk show.
    • Even more some of the guests include public figures the intended audience of the show would not be familiar with such as Ravi Shankar.
  • Epic Fail: The whole family's first attempt to assemble a pool in their backyard results in them building a steel barn instead.
  • False Friend: The neighborhood kids only befriend Bart, and then Lisa for the pool. When Martin gets a bigger one, everybody abandons Lisa.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Bart's attempt to call the police only gets the Police Rescuephone. He gives up after he accidentally presses the code for regicide and a recorded message tells him which code to push if he knows the victim's name.
    Phoneline: If you are being murdered, or are calling from a rotary phone, please stay on the line.
  • Freudian Slip: While overseeing the construction of his own pool.
    Martin: Soon, I'll be queen of summertime! Oh, king. King!
  • The Fundamentalist: Maude spends the episode at a bible camp learning to be more judgmental.
  • Hope Spot: "Ice cream! Ice cream! I'm all outta ice cream! It's true, y'know."
  • Implausible Deniability: Milhouse tries to get out of keeping Bart company by claiming he's left his glasses in the pool. The glasses he's wearing at that moment. Which Milhouse refuses to admit he's wearing.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Bart tries to dive into his pool, but thanks to Nelson teasing him, he ends up injuring his leg.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: When Bart and Lisa believe Ned Flanders has killed Maude, we see him heading up to the attic, where Lisa's hiding, carrying an axe and singing "Mary had a little lamb". Even though the audience knows it must be a Mistaken for Murderer plot (even if they've seen it before, and know exactly what's going on), it's still very creepy.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Hans Moleman steps outside on a hot summer's day, and his coke-bottle glasses accidentally set his shirt on fire. His reaction? "Oh, rats..."
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Bart getting Grampa tarred and feathered 20 minutes before telling the rest of the family about Flanders' possibly murdering Maude. We don't know what Bart did to Grampa to make that happen.
    • We also don't get to see how Lisa gets out of the pool after being stranded when it empties (though it can be assumed that Marge got her out or she struggled to pull herself out).
  • "Rear Window" Homage: Bart breaks his leg, holes up in his room, and, after spying on his neighbors with a telescope, becomes convinced that Ned Flanders has murdered his wife. One of the things Bart sees through his rear window is Jimmy Stewart with a broken leg, looking out of his rear window.
  • Retraux: Bart watches a black and white 1961 episode of The Krusty the Klown Show. Krusty interviews George Meany on America's labor crisis.
  • Sanity Slippage: Bart when he confines himself to his room after breaking his leg.
  • Scenery Porn: Bart first uses the telescope to gaze upon the wonderous visuals of the universe... before calling them boring.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Ned.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Rear Window. Lampshaded when Bart starts spying on the town and finds Jimmy Stewart, also with his leg in a cast, doing the same thing.
    • The Itchy & Scratchy episode has one to the pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series.
    • To Witness, when the Simpsons accidentally make a barn instead of a pool, it references the barn raising scene. It's even Lampshaded when a random Amish guy shows up to point out Homer's blunder.
      Homer: All right, everybody in the pool!!
      Amish Man: 'Tis a fine barn, but sure 'tis no pool English.
      Homer: DOH'ITH!!!!
  • Sincerity Mode: Homer sounds sarcastic near the end of the episode but he's being serious.
    Bart: Oh. Well, I guess that explains everything.
    Homer: Not everything! There's still the little matter of the whereabouts of your wife!
    Maude: Um, I'm right here.
    Homer: (in a sarcastic-sounding tone) Oh, I see. Then everything is wrapped up in a neat little PACKAGE! (everyone looks at him) Really, I mean that. Sorry if it sounded sarcastic.
  • Something Only They Would Say:
    Ned: I can't believe I'm saying this, but there's no other way to say it: I'm a murderer.
    Bart: That's not Flanders. It can't be Flanders.
    Ned: I'm a mur-diddly-urderer.
    Bart: If that's not Flanders, he's done his homework.
  • Stab the Salad: Flanders chase Lisa up to the attic with an axe, muttering "time to put you away for good"... only for it to turn out that he was actually talking to the axe itself.
  • Talk to the Fist: Parodied during the heat wave.
    Street corner musician: [singing] Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy!
    [Passerby punches him in the face]
  • Tempting Fate: Bart assumes he can just spend the whole summer watching Krusty. At which point Krusty announces he's going on vacation and showing boring re-runs.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: When Lisa becomes popular, she decides she doesn't need her brain anymore. It returns when everyone leaves for Martin's pool, mostly to gloat.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Homer and Marge have one late at night, but are interrupted by the police, who tried surveillance.
    Chief Wiggum: Do not be alarmed! Continue swimming naked! Aw c'mon, continue! C'mon!...Open fire, Lou.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Otto says the pool-mobile is only budgeted for one day, which he then realizes is a major tease.


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