In this episode written by Tim Long, Bart and Lisa end up in the same third-grade class after the latest standardized test shows that Lisa got the highest grade and gets to skip ahead while Bart got the lowest grade and has to repeat third grade.
"Bart vs Lisa vs The Third Grade" contains examples of:
- Big Brother Bully: Bart spends the episode as this towards Lisa. She calls him out on this, as he's suppose to protect her from horrible things, not bring them to her.
- Book Dumb: Double subverted with Bart. He had such a low score in his test that he was sent back in third grade, where he had better grades than Lisa. It's not that he is smarter, he just remembers the correction grid by heart (not even what they mean, he just knows question one's answer is A).
- Carload of Cool Kids: Bart and Lisa are forced to hold hands as field trip partners in Capital City. They are mocked by a random group of four young hipster-looking guys in a retro convertible.Cool guy: Hey, dude, who's your girlfriend? (all cool kids laugh) Did you see his face?
(They drive off, Bart and Lisa groan and let go of their hands; kids return.)
Cool guy: Well, what happened, dude? Did your girlfriend dump you? (cool kids laugh and drive off again)
- Fun with Acronyms: Bart devises abbreviations to help remember things on the test. Lisa doesn't find it very helpful.Bart: Quiet Nerds Burp Only Near School.
Lisa: Bart, I'm doing my geography homework.
Bart: I know. That's how you remember the four original provinces of Canada. Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia. "Quiet Nerds Burp Only Near School." Here's how you remember their principle exports: "Dogs eat barf solely on Wednesday, Mabel."
Bart: Canada's Governor's General: "Clowns love haircuts, so should Lee Marvin's valet."
Lisa: GET OUT!
- Horrible Judge of Character: The third grade teacher relies on a buddy system by pairing two students together. This backfires when she forces Bart and Lisa, who hate each other, into the buddy system in class and on the field trip, where a fight between them gets them lost, and all she was concerned about was whether the students all had their buddies, not who's actually missing.Mrs. McConnell: Ah, the buddy system: foolproof.
- Imagine Spot: Bart has one in class, due to TV withdrawal.Clown: It's finally happened, Bart: You've lost your mind!
- Mood Whiplash: Homer sees Bart and Lisa both being assigned to the third grade (through satellite TV, no less), and reacts with shock. He then changes the channel and immediately grows bored... which doesn't last long:
- Noodle Incident: Bart has a fascinating one involving Lisa's bike and an unattended steamroller.
- Prayer of Malice: When Bart and Lisa wake up to find themselves against shotgun-wielding hillbillies telling them to say their prayers, Bart goes into a praying position and says, "Oh, Lord, please strike these mountain folk dead."
- Status Quo Is God: It was even praised after Bart returned to fourth-grade and Lisa returned to second.
- Sadistic Teacher: Audrey McConnell (on Lisa's account).
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Bart once more turns up the dial just to make sure to give Lisa a nightmare in the grade he was degraded to. He apologizes at the end.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: The NBC news anchor randomly starts puking in a garbage can during a break. While we don't get to see the vomit, we see the action on screen and clearly hear realistic vomiting noises.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Springfield is in a Northern state — that somehow has a Confederate Stars and Bars on their flag.