Recap / The Simpsons S 7 E 13 Two Bad Neighbors

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Episode - 3F09
First Aired - 1/14/1996

During a neighborhood rummage sale, Homer sees a moving van at a vacant house across the street from his home and learns that the new neighbors are former President George H.W. Bush and ex-First Lady Barbara Bush, whom everyone (except Bart and Homer) welcomes with open arms.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Syntax: When Bush retaliates by putting up a poster that says "Two bad neighbors" with drawings of Homer and Bart:
    Dr. Hibbert: I don't understand. Are you saying you and Barbara are bad neighbors?
    Bush: No! That's not Bar and me. It's them.
    Ned: Who? Maude and me?
    Bush: No! The man and his boy.
  • Berserk Button: Homer's rights being violated by Bush after learning what happened to Bart...
    Homer: First Bush invades my home turf, then he takes my pals, then he makes fun of the way I talk... probably. Now he steals my right to raise a disobedient, smart-alecky son! Well, that's it!
  • Blatant Lies:
    Homer: He spanked you? You, Bart Simpson?
    Bart: I begged him to stop, but he said it was for the good of the nation! Note 
  • Cool Old Lady: Barbara Bush is portrayed is being very tolerant, even amused at Bart Simpson's antics, unlike her husband, and forces Bush to apologize.
  • Disco Dan: Disco Stu makes his first appearance as the punchline to the fact that Homer's jacket said "Disco Stu" when it was supposed to say "Disco Stud".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The cycle of revenge between Homer and Mr. Bush, all over Bush "stealing" Homer's rights.
  • Double Standard: Violence, Child on Adult: Explored throughout the episode, first with the contrast between how Bart treats Bush and how Bush retaliates, then with the hypocrisy of Homer's anger over the spanking when he throttles Bart on a regular basis.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Right after Bart accidentally shreds Bush's memoirs, a sliver of paper briefly flies in front of the screen with the words "V.P. Quayle...embarrassment."
  • Grumpy Old Man: George Bush, especially with Bart around.
  • Hands Go Down: When Bush gives a speech at the Elk Club with a rainbow wig glued to his head.
    Bush: Any questions?
    (all reporters put their hands up)
    Bush: Keeping in mind that I already explained about my hair.
    (reporters put their hands down)
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Apu sings an off-key version of Cheap Trick's "Dream Police".
  • It's the Principle of the Thing: Even after finding out why George was mad at Bart, Homer still wanted to beat him up.
    Homer: For the last time, Bush, apologize for spanking my boy!
    Bush: Never! You make him apologize for destroying my memoirs!
    Homer: (to Bart) You didn't tell me you destroyed his memoirs. (to Bush) NEVER!
  • The Klutz: Both Homer and Gerald Ford discover this as a point they have in common when they both trip simultaneously.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    Marge: Grampa, I know in your day, spanking was common. But Homer and I don't agree on that kind of punishment.
    Grampa: And that's why your no-good kids are runnin' wild!
    (Lisa, quietly reading a book, looks up and smiles)
  • Not So Different: Between Homer and Bush (negatively). And also between Homer and Gerald Ford (positively).
  • Papa Wolf: Homer decides to go on a revenge prank campaign with Bart because Bush gave Bart one slap on the tush in retaliation for Bart acting like Dennis The Menace. Also overlaps with Disproportionate Retribution (Bush explaining why it happened doesn't makes Homer even so much as tell Bart to say he's sorry).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: This episode was based on one of the writers actually playing pranks on George H.W. Bush as a kid and wasn't meant to be a political attack on him. However, since George H.W. Bush and Barbara criticized The Simpsons during its early years for contributing to the alleged downfall of society, a lot of viewers have stated that this episode had political undertones.
  • Series Continuity Error: Admittedly the series was never big on continuity, but the house and walled gate across the street is mostly relegated to this episode only.
  • Serious Business: Homer actually goes through his word in this one.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "It's all in the Bible, son. It's the prankster's bible."
  • Shout-Out: The episode itself is one to the American version of Dennis the Menace.
  • Smarter Than They Look: Homer and Bart coming up with ways to get at George Bush that must have taken a lot of skill and planning.
  • Song Parody: "Table Five".
  • Title Drop: The text on Bush's poster reads "Two bad neighbors".

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