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Recap / The Simpsons S16E17: "The Heartbroke Kid"

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Springfield Elementary signs a deal with a snack company to install vending machines in the schools—with Bart taking advantage of the situation to the point that he becomes obese and suffers a heart attack.


  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The robot Marge in Homer's Imagine Spot has a gun, shooting him repeatedly until he's dead. The lamenting out loud about why he gave it a gun.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Towards the end:
    Bart: I've learned that even made-up corporate mascots can lie to you.
    Homer: (holding up stuffed animal) Did you hear that, Foxie, the Fox Network fox?
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  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tab Spangler is extremely mentally unstable, but is an effective weight loss coach anyway.
  • Call-Back: Homer tries to weasel out of fat camp by suggesting other family members, including "My seldom-seen half-brother Herb [Powell]", who was last seen in season 3's "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?".
  • Continuity Nod: In-universe in the episode's Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, where Scratchy checks off every box depicting the many ways Itchy has killed or maimed him.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Tab. One fat camp exercise is making the patients pull him on a chariot while he whips them.
    Bart: This can't be legal!
    Tab: It's legal enough! (cracks whip)
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Tab Spangler tells Bart about a family that started a laundry to be able to afford his services and filed a lawsuit claiming the chemicals killed their dog. Tab doesn't believe the claim since it's unusual to see a dog living past the age of 14.
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  • Gratuitous German: Zig-Zagged. One German backpacker calls Bart a "strudel-sucking globenheimer", which isn't a real German word. Later, Homer sings "99 Lüftballons" by Nena in the original German lyrics.
  • Jerkass: In order to pay for Bart's fat camp, the family becomes a youth hostel for European teens, who spend all day being insulting and superior towards them because they're American.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: Marge does not take well to the fact her cooking duties for Bart were replaced by a snack machine at school.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: When the family stages an intervention for Bart, Bart says "What the f-amily!"
  • The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: Scammer and Z-Dawg, the hip-hop themed snack mascots. Lindsey Naegle describes them as "Spokesrebels".
    Scammer: Yo, don't flava hate, participate!
    Ralph Wiggum: It's fun to obey the machine!
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  • Mythology Gag: When Bart is having a heart attack, Homer tells him to "Do the Bartman".
  • Opening Shout-Out: In one scene, a variation of the opening sequence is played, only it lasts much longer now that Bart had become slower because of his extra weight.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: After Bart gives the family the vending machine money, Homer declares "It's time to take out the Eurotrash!" before chasing off the Europeans who had been staying in the house.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Parodied when Rainier Wolfcastle throws some ice cream away as an exercise at the fat camp.
    Rainier: Here's the scoop: Your Haagen days are over! (throws scoop into trash) I'm Baskin' in your pain as I'm Robbin' you of life!
  • Pushover Parents: Marge absolutely spoils Bart by being too lenient with his eating habits, turning him into essentially Eric Cartman.
  • Rule of Drama: Lampshaded and Played for Laughs as Tab Spangler takes Bart home to show the sacrifices his family is making.
    Tab: Young man, there's something I have to show you. In one hour. We have to drive there. No talking along the way, it'll hurt the drama.
    (later, while driving)
    Bart: Can I just...
    Tab: Shh, drama!
  • Secret Snack Stash: Bart keeps one hidden in his room.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Tab takes Bart home to show the youth hostel it became, Bart asks if the guests can see them and the coach says that they obviously can since he's not the Ghost of Christmas Past.
    • One excuse Bart gives about his obesity is being "Big boned." Unsurprisingly, Tab refuses to accept that.
    • Bart hides candy in his room in a hole covered by a poster, showering himself with some of it, parodying The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Lisa tries to go on a crusade against the vending machines, but the vending machines manipulate the kids to keep using them and ignore her preaching.
  • Staging an Intervention: The Simpsons do this to convince Bart to lose some weight. When he tries to make a break for it, he is taken by "professional child snatchers" to the fat camp.
  • Take That!: The European students who stay in the Simpson house are all rude, condescending jerks who constantly insult Americans. After Homer chases them off, they decide to go to Disneyland, "Where we will heap the scorn on Goofy!"
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Bart becomes obese after eating too many snacks.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Bart attacks the school vending machines and they retaliate by firing their contents at him.
    Scammer: Yo, I'm gonna cap a pop in yo ass!
    (vending machine shoots soda cans with Bart blocking them.)
    Bart: (smashes the machine, taking its money) I'm ending your vending, dawg.


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