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Recap / The Simpsons S 16 E 5 Fat Man And Little Boy

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Just another day when your son meets an eccentric man in strange clothing who offers to sell his novelty t-shirts across the country.
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When the last of his baby teeth fall out, Bart is hit with a sobering realization: he's getting older. After giving a Viking funeral to his toys, Bart becomes depressed about growing up, but combats it by writing sarcastic slogans on -shirts and selling them, prompting a Willy Wonka-esque salesman to buy them off him.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Goose Gladwell.
  • And Some Other Stuff: Homer looks up directions online for how to build a home nuclear reactor. The descriptions of the "other stuff" are obviously based on Rule of Funny, while the single named ingredient is both the most dangerous and nigh-impossible to get hold of anyway.
    [The text on Homer's computer screen is too small for the viewer to read.]
    Homer: Let's see... [pointing to different parts of the text] I can make that...you can get that by smashing open a golf ball...that you can find in any player piano...all I need is some plutonium!
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  • Artistic License – Geography: Goose Gladwell claims to own 20 stores in 30 states. This means his math is wrong too. However, it is possible that several of the stores are located on borders between two or more states.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Homer's beard mouth detaches from his face for a few minutes after he states that it should be easy to make a nuclear weapon since Korea did it, despite their reputation for crappy overseas animation.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Gladwell's lawyers wear stuff that seem as silly as the bunny ears but it's thanks to them he doesn't need to give Bart a share of the money he obtained from selling the novelty t-shirts' rights to Disney.
  • Call-Back: The T-shirt reading "Pobody's Sherfect, Nithead" is similar to the cap reading "Pobody's Nerfect" from season six's "Bart vs. Australia."
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  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Deconstructed with Gladwell. After a whole episode of him being just weird, he reveals in the final act that his eccentricities are the result of PTSD.
  • Cope by Creating: Bart makes his T-Shirts to cope with his "midlife crisis".
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Goose Gladwell takes all of Bart's work and sells it, plus the rights to produce any off-spring media out of it, and gives Bart nothing in return. The fact he speaks about how Vietnam drove him crazy when Homer comes to demand the money implies that he was expecting to get violent with his rebuffing.
  • Dirty Cop: Wiggum shuts down Bart's attempt at selling the shirts on his own because he lacks a license, and immediately demonstrates that he did it just to steal the shirts.
  • Expy: Goose Gladwell is an expy of Willy Wonka with a big Corrupt Corporate Executive angle and a more awful Freudian Excuse to act so goofy.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama/Help, I'm Stuck!: After boasting that Bart will never get any money from the Disney movie versions of his t-shirts, Goose Gladwell attempts a flashy exit, only to get caught by a nail in the trap door vital for his exit. Things get more humiliating for him once he falls down upon being freed from the nail.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Bart experiences this first hand when it seems like all of his childhood wonder has vanished, leading him to become cynical enough to make parody T-shirts. By the end of the episode though, he's back to being a kid.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Homer pulls a hell of a Papa Wolf act at the climax by threatening to set off the miniature nuclear reactor he built right inside Gladwell's store unless he gives Bart the money he earned by making the shirts Gladwell sold. Gladwell wisely concedes to Homer's demands.
  • Irony: After some failed attempts to make his last baby tooth fall, Marge accidentally made it happen.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Parodied. Bart says farewell to his childhood possessions by imitating a Viking funeral, pushing the box out into the lake and burning it.
  • Oh, Crap!: Lisa's reaction to finding out Homer has built a working nuclear reactor.
    Lisa: Mom, Dad created a device that could be deadly in the wrong hands. And HE'S holding it!
  • Older Than They Look: Gladwell looks to be in his late 30s, but since he served in the Vietnam War, he would have been in his 50s at the time the episode aired.
  • Papa Wolf: A particularly impressive example for this series. As mentioned above, Homer is furious at hearing Gladwell conned Bart and is willing to risk nuclear devastation to help his son.
  • Perma-Stubble: Homer indicates how in the right light, Bart is starting to get one as a sign of adulthood. Bart remarks that he thought it was chocolate milk.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Apparently, Gladwell was driven nuts in Vietnam.
  • Shout-Out: "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" are the nicknames of the atomic bombs created by the Manhattan Project and dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Quite meaningful considering Homer builds a nuclear device.
  • Spoonerism: One of Bart's T-shirts read "Pobody's Sherfect, Nithead".
  • The Vietnam Vet: Gladwell mentions that he's one in the third act... and that he's crazy because of what he saw.
  • Your Mom: As the credits roll, we learn that one of Bart's failed attempts to get his last baby tooth to fall consisted on insulting Nelson's mother so he'd punch Bart. It failed because Nelson decided to think about the things Bart said.
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