Recap: The Simpsons S 6 E 21 The PTA Disbands

After a disastrous field trip, Edna and the teachers agree to a strike as they have had it with Skinner cutting the school's budget to the point that he's selling the kids' futures short (never mind that the kids don't grow up or age in any way on the show and the only kids with a chance to make something of themselves are Lisa Simpson and Martin Prince). While Bart revels in the strike by making mischief, Lisa is suffering from not being in a classroom setting, Milhouse gets tutored, and the PTA decides to hire neighborhood people as scab teachers.


This episode contains examples of:

  • All Crimes Are Equal and Disproportionate Retribution: Doing anything and everything gets you paddled by Jasper.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Marge. Her being a teacher makes Bart a bully magnet.
  • Bait and Switch: While in bed, Marge announces her concerns about Bart and Lisa's behaviour, while Homer is distracted by Lisa's perpetual motion machine. Soon after, Homer calls Lisa in... to yell at her about the machine.
    Homer: In this house... WE OBEY THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS!
  • Both Sides Have a Point: When a PTA meeting is held regarding the teachers strike, Mrs. Krabappel argues that Skinner's budget cuts are harming the education the parents' children are receiving, and that they need the resources to do their job. The parents are inclined to agree with her until Skinner explains that the school's on a very tight budget as it is, and that for the administration to meet the teacher's demands, they'd have to raise the parents' taxes. That gets the parents complaining about taxes being high enough as it is, and the debate between Skinner's and Krabappel's positions ends up going back and forth.
    • The episode ends by Skinner and Krabappel deciding to Take a Third Option and rent out the school's cloakrooms to the prison system to raise extra money, although the writers don't provide an answer to the taxes vs. education quality debate.
  • Blame Game
  • Captain Obvious: The tour guide explains that cannon could go off if hit with the slightest touch. Considering that the cannon was pointing at a lookout tower, it wasn't loaded for safety reasons ("It's just common sense").
  • Comically Missing the Point: Homer thinking Canada is a southern country after Marge tells the family that the kids had trouble finding Canada on the map.
    • When Moe volunteers to teach Bart's class, Bart rigs the class attendance sheet with pun names like "Maya Buttreeks." Moe thinks the children are laughing at his big ears and runs out crying.
  • Creepy Child: Bart takes to flying a kite at night, and has very noticeable bags under his eyes as he does. This is addressed by Marge:
    Marge: There's something about flying a kite at night that's so unwholesome.
    Bart (looking up at Marge from outside): Hello, mother dear...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Try to learn for free at Diz-Nee historical park, and the soldiers will not hesitate to murder children!
    Actor: Hey, they're trying to learn for free!
    Narrator: (Beat) Get 'em!!
  • Diving Save: when Marge becomes 4th grade teacher, Bart does this to save her from a booby trap. Namely A SWINGING LOG.
    Marge: Kids have been doing that one since my day.
  • Driven to Madness: Lisa, from not being in school.
    • Bart, in a slightly different sense.
  • Education Mama: Marge, when she realizes that Bart's and Lisa's personalities have been affected by the strike.
    • To a lesser extent, Milhouse's mom, who hires a tutor for her son after hearing about the strike.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: Subverted, a tour guide in Fort Springfield is giving a lecture on a "fully restored and in ready to fire condition" Civil War cannon aimed directly at the base of a manned lookout tower. She mentions that these cannons are "very sensitive and that the "slightest jolt" can set them off as the Springfield Elementary bus starts swerving towards the cannon. The bus hits it and...one of the cannon's wheels falls off.
    Tour Guide: Of course for safety reasons, we don't keep the cannon loaded. That's just common sense.
  • Hidden Depths: Homer, of all people, complains about Lisa's so-called perpetual motion machine...because it "just keeps getting faster and faster".
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Milhouse gets a recess during his tutoring, but with the assignment of reading two chapters of a book about the Teapot Dome Scandal. He cheers anyway.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Bart manages to make the bad situation between Skinner and the teachers worse.
    • And again, at the bank.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Inverted. One of the teachers the PTA gets is Professor Frink, who tries to explain physics to kindergartners.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The episode is called "The PTA Disbands," yet it focuses on a teacher's strike. Lampshaded when a person horrifyingly yells "The PTA has disbanded!", and jumps out the nearby window, before Flanders explains that the PTA has not disbanded, prompting that man to jump back through the window, dusting himself off.
  • Noodle Incident: Before Moe, the other substitute teachers humiliated by Bart included Chief Wiggum, Barney, Lionel Hutz, and Gabe Kaplan.
  • Punny Name: Principal Valiant.
  • Sanity Slippage: Lisa steadily becomes unstable since she's unable to go to school. She begs Marge to grade her, runs out of the house screaming her head off when she can only list two synonyms for "Relax," and Marge mentions she found Lisa dissecting her raincoat.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Milhouse, after an extensive amount of tutoring.
  • Shout-Out: Jasper's "That's a paddlin'..." spiel spoofs the "Night in the box" monologue from Cool Hand Luke.
  • Sucky School: Springfield Elementary has gotten so bad that even the most disinterested teachers can't ignore it.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Bart, during the strike. There's a whole runner of him being unable to even say "what".
  • We Need a Distraction: A variant. While Bart is being pummeled, Kearney distracts Marge with a jig.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: This happens twice!
    • When ‹ter is attacked, the bus just leaves him and he isnít talked about (which sets up several jokes in later episodes about how ‹ter is missing).
    • What about Jasper after Abe was forced to abandon him?
  • Would Hurt a Child: The staff at the Diz-Nee historical park are willing to club children. As the commentary track points out, Uter is most likely killed (or at the very least, seriously injured) by the actors.