Recap / The Simpsons S 7 E 4 Bart Sells His Soul

Episode - 3F02
First Aired - 10/8/1995

To prove to Milhouse that the soul isn't real, Bart writes his on church stationery and sells it to Milhouse for $5.00, but Bart regrets it when he feels he's turning into an empty shell. Meanwhile, Moe decides to renovate his dank bar into a cheery family restaurant.


  • Animals Hate Him: After Bart sells his soul, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II growl and hiss at him.
    Bart: (To Snowball II) Geez! You're pretty uppity for someone who eats bugs all day!
  • Answer Cut: See the first example in Corrupt Church.
  • Anyone Remember Pogs?: The Trope Namer, thought the exact phrase isn't used.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Moe screams at Homer for saying "Hey, Moe!" a lot.
    • Bart gives Milhouse one when Milhouse offers Bart's soul back to him... for 50 dollars.
  • Catapult Nightmare: "Bart, it's time to end this dream / And don't forget the standard scream!"
  • Clueless Aesop: This is an incredibly ambiguous episode due to the fact that it refuses to make its point known. Sometimes itís a religious episode, while other times it’s not. Sometimes the characters are depicted as The Woobie while other times they are jerkasses. It doesnít even say definitively whether or not the soul exists.
  • Corrupt Church:
    Milhouse: But every religion says there's a soul, Bart. Why would they lie? What would they have to gain?
    (Cut to Lovejoy, in his office, working a change sorting machine.)
    • Reverend Lovejoy thanks Milhouse for confessing that Bart changed the church hymns with rock 'n' roll lyrics, yet punishes him too for "snitching".
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Maude Flanders covers her son Todd's ears after Moe loses his temper and repeatedly uses the word "freaking".
  • Creepy Children Singing: Sherri and Terri in Bart's nightmare.
  • Deal with the Devil: Bart selling his soul.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: The biggest selling point to "Uncle Moe's" is the massive deep fryer that deep fries everything, including champagne bottles.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Reverend Lovejoy has the frightened children make an oath under threats of hellfire if they withhold the truth on who started the mess in church. While Ralph Wiggum and Milhouse are scared and nervous, Bart, however, remains calm and recites the oath nonchalantly and without a care in the world.
  • Dream Sequence: Bart dreams he has no soul to row along with him to a magic castle on an island in a lake. Near the end of the episode he has the same dream again now with his soul along his side.
  • Dress Code: The policy "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Salvation" is written at a sign in front of the First Church of Springfield.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Lisa discusses such a concept at the end when she notes that some people believe a soul is earned through things like thought and prayer. These things are, as she notes, what Bart did throughout the episode, perhaps truly earning his soul back, and thus gaining a happy ending, after all (Bart isn't listening).
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Bart puts Michael Jackson on a list of fictional things adults make up to scare children.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: After Bart sells his soul to Milhouse, the dog and cat both growl at him.
  • Evil Laugh: Milhouse has one when begged by Bart to give him his soul back, but with a price: Fifty bucks.
    • The street sweeper that wrecked Bart's bike has one too. Right before he crashed.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Bart sells his soul.
  • Eye Scream: After Itchy saws off the top of the Space Needle, it falls onto Scratchy's eye.
  • Funny Background Event: Lisa tries to cheer Bart up to no avail since Bart loses his soul. This takes place in the foreground, while in the background (and what Lisa sets up to cheer Bart up), Homer gets stuck on the stairs railing and calls for help. Santa's Little Helper bites his butt.
  • Glamour Failure: Automatic doors don't open for soulless Bart, he can't fog up glass with his breath, he can't laugh, his eyes briefly turn cat-like as he performs a Hiss Before Fleeing, etc.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: A stressed-out Moe finds himself unable to keep his temper and language in check at his new family restaurant.
    Moe: (to a little girl complaining her soda's too cold) Your teeth hurt? Your teeth hurt?! Well, that's too freakin' bad. You hear me? I'll tell you where you can put your freaking "sodie" too!
    (All the customers gasp)
    (Maude Flanders covers Todd's ears)
    Todd: Ow, my freakin' ears!
    Ned: Well! I expect that type of language at Denny's, but not here!
  • Headdesk: Bart on the Comic Book Guy's display case.
    Comic Book Guy: Um, excuse me: no banging your head on the display case, please. It contains a very rare Mary Worth in which she has advised a friend to commit suicide. Thank you.
  • Hiss Before Fleeing: Bart does this when he is caught trying to buy Ralph Wiggum's soul. For bonus points, he disappears into smoke like a supernatural being and his eyes are briefly slitted.
  • Hypocrite: Milhouse. He snitches on Bart out of fear of going to Hell, but still gladly buys Bart's soul, plays with it like a toy, and refuses to give it back, all of which make him very comparable to Satan.
  • Imagine Spot: Bart uses the five dollars from Milhouse to buy dinosaur shaped sponges which the page advertises as growing gigantic when made wet. Bart imagines them growing into large dinosaur sized sponges which then frighten Lisa. What he gets is a pair of sponges that get slightly bigger and then get washed by the hose down the sewer drain.
  • Instant Mass, Just Add Water: Subverted and mocked with the dinosaur sponge scene.
  • Jerkass: Milhouse in this episode, a change from his usual Butt Monkey status. See Kick the Dog below.
  • Kick the Dog: Milhouse is quite a jerk to Bart in this episode. He rats out Bart to Lovejoy, buys Bart's soul off him and orders Bart to give him 50 dollars if he wants it back (knowing full well Bart doesn't have anything like that kind of money), and then trades it to Comic Book Guy for pogs. Worst of all, he goes no comeuppance whatsoever for most of this, except for being forced to clean the organ pipes with Bart.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The street sweeper who seemingly wrecks Bart's bike on purpose. Instant karma strikes as he turns around to give an Evil Laugh after the bike falls to bits. Not looking where he's going, he crashes down the steps of a subway station and the sweeper blows up.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Things start becoming a bit odd for soulless Bart, such as not being able to open automatic doors, his pets hissing wildly at him and...not being able to breathe on glass...but it's never firmly established if he really did lose his soul.
  • Noodle Incident: Moe even wants to get rid of the fire extinguisher, because it has "too many bad memories" (unless he means "bad memories of running Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag" instead of "bad memories of using fire extinguishers").
  • Off Model: Jasper's briefly seen without his beard as the church sings "In the Garden of Eden". It's... unsettling.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: In his desperation, Bart says a prayer asking for his soul back, and he does, learning that Lisa got his soul back from Milhouse.
  • Primal Fear: Milhouse is scared of going to Hell, while Bart's imagination also starts running so wild that he actually believes he lost his soul by selling it to Milhouse.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After having to do the Birthday Fries gig for both Sherry and Terry, being mocked by a kid with a drawing of him as "Mr. Stinky", and getting ripped off by Snake, Moe finally reaches his when a little girl complains that her drink is too cold.
    Moe: [losing his cool] Oh, your "teef" hurt, huh? Your "teef" hurt? Well that's too freaking bad! You hear me? I'll tell you where you can put your freaking sodie too!
  • Raised Lighter Tribute: The churchgoers hold up candles as the organist finishes playing "In the Garden of Eden".
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The stress of running a family restaurant is too much for the irascible Moe. He loses it after a little girl complains that her soda was too cold.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: After Milhouse reveals that Bart was the one behind the In the Garden of Eden prank, Rev. Lovejoy takes him along for punishment for ratting on his friend.
    Milhouse: [Scared by a crow] Bart did it! That Bart right there!
    Bart: [Angry] Milhouse!
    Rev. Lovejoy: Milhouse, you did the right thing. Bart, come with me for punishment [drags Bart away]. You too, snitchy [takes Milhouse with him].
  • Say My Name: As seen above, Bart yells "Milhouse!" in fury when Milhouse rats him out for his prank at the start of the episode.
  • Seven Deadly Sins:
    • Lust: Everyone looking disheveled and Sex Dressed during "In The Garden of Eden," Marge and Homer giggling over memories of making out to the "hymn", and Snake's sexy girlfriend Soshanna.
    • Gluttony: Homer grousing over having to wait 45 seconds for a flash-fried buffalo; Homer's brain telling Homer not to call Bart back because he can have Bart's meal.
    • Greed: Reverend Lovejoy counting his collection plate money, Milhouse gloating over having Bart's soul, Homer taking Bart's meal (see also Gluttony), and Moe starting Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag because restaurants make more money than bars.
    • Sloth: Bart and Milhouse slacking off at their organ-cleaning duties and Milhouse's dad telling Bart to go away because he needs to sleep.
    • Wrath: Moe snaps at a little girl for complaining about her drink, Reverend Lovejoy getting mad at Bart and Milhouse over the prank, and Bart yelling at Lisa when Lisa keeps mocking him over the loss of his soul during grace.
    • Envy: Lisa wants five bucks after Bart spent it on dinosaur sponges, Bart envying the souls of the kids in his dreams, and Moe envying restaurants for bringing in more money than bars.
    • Pride: Bart prides himself for making an easy five bucks and is too proud to admit that the soul exists (until bad things begin happening to him).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silence, You Fool!: Homer's brain tells Homer to be silent so he could steal Bart's spaghetti and Moe balls.
  • The Soulless: Played for Drama — Bart is scared over losing his soul to Milhouse and prays to God for it back.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Bart sold his soul, and that's just swell / Now he's going straight to ó / Hello operator, give me number nine..."
  • Take That:
    • Reverend Lovejoy is working a change sorting machine, when Milhouse wonders why the Church would make up lies like the existence of a soul?
    • When Moe insult the little girl everyone leaves, with Ned saying: "I expect that type of language at Denny's, but not here!" In non-English international translations, "Denny's" is changed to "McDonald's." The Take That still works, as both are low-rent fast-food restaurants with mediocre food — Denny's is just more suited to sit-down meals.
    • When Reverend Lovejoy rounds up the kids he suspects might be responsible for the musical prank, he puts single mothers on the same level as murderers.
  • Third Time's the Charm: In "Skinless in Seattle", Itchy's first two attempts to hit Scratchy are total misses. The third one hits Scratchy right in the eye.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Milhouse agrees to sell Bart's soul back to him for ten times the price Milhouse paid to buy it in the first place.
    Milhouse: Who's stupid now, huh? (laughs maniacally)