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Recap / The Simpsons S 18 E 8 The Haw Hawed Couple

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Bart's newfound friendship with Nelson turns into a possessive relationship. Meanwhile, Homer becomes engrossed in Lisa's Angelica Button fantasy books, and worries that Lisa will be upset when he discovers that one of the characters will die.

"The Haw-Hawed Couple" contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Angelica Button is pretty much a gender-flipped version of Harry Potter, right down to parodying the "Snape killing Dumbledore" moment in the series.
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  • An Aesop: Fiction exists to entertain the reader, and if the reader finds the most enjoyment by ignoring the ending and writing their own fanfiction, that's a valid choice too.
  • Badass Mustache: Homer's revised ending to the Angelica Button book, where Greystash activates his "mustache powers," causing his mustache to enlarge and flex like muscular arms that punch Malicious Krubb into submission.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Skinner informs Bart that Nelson never woke up... because he never passed out.
    • Earlier, it looks like Nelson only dragged Bart into the cave to pummel him. Instead, he took him there to chew him out.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: A dark variation, Nelson becomes obsessed with Bart after he's the only one who shows up for his birthday.
  • Better Than Canon: Lisa's In-Universe reaction to Homer's revised ending for Angelica Button.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: After Nelson forces Bart to sit next to him on the bus, Lisa uses Nelson's "Haw haw!" laugh.
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  • Crossover: In-universe, Homer's revised ending to Angelica Button and The Dragon King's Trundle Bed involves a trip to "Star Wars Land".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bart and Nelson's friendship is treated like a romantic relationship — to the point that the music from Brokeback Mountain is used for a scene near the end.
  • Fix Fic: After Homer reads ahead in Angelica Button and The Dragon King's Trundle Bed (and learns that Greystash is killed by Malicious Krubb after saving Angelica), when he finds himself reading that very same chapter to Lisa, he decides to reinvent the ending: Greystash uses his "mustache power" to defeat Malicious Krubb, Angelica escapes from the trap "somehow", and the two ride off in his sports car. After Homer leaves, Lisa decides to look at the chapter herself.
    Lisa: Eh... dad's version is better.
    • Hand Wave: "I somehow escaped from the hourglass!"
  • Hard Truth Aesop: "It's okay to lie to your kids sometimes" is one that many parents would agree with, but an unusual moral for a show. Notably, it is coupled with the Aesop that "they will understand someday, when/because they're old enough to think for themselves".
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Martin says that the class banding together will make them form a "mighty faggot", then a dictionary definition appears at the bottom of the screen to show that it's not the anti-gay slur.
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  • Kiss of Life: Skinner gives Bart CPR after almost drowning; Bart opens his eyes at the moment their lips touch. The students laugh, which prompts this reply from Skinner:
    Skinner: Shut up! I'm just giving him CPR. The kiss of life.
  • N-Word Privileges: Parodied with the word "Bully".
  • Primal Scene: Bart walks in on his parents having sex and is traumatized about it in school.
    Milhouse: Trust me Bart, it's better to walk in on both your parents than on just one of them.
  • Shoddy Shindig: Although Nelson's birthday party featured boxes of pizzas, a jumping castle and Spider-Man, only Bart Simpson showed up to the party because Bart's parents demanded him to go. Nelson's personality and Bart's Rousing Speech to his fellow classmates not to go certainly didn't help in that matter. It does get zigzagged, however, when Nelson has fun with Bart in taking down Doctor Octopus.
  • Shout-Out: The scene where Nelson leads Bart on a tour through the school's basement is a reference to a similar scene from Goodfellas.
  • Trial Balloon Question: Homer asks Lisa how she would react if Wizard Greystash died, she says that would be the day her childhood ends. This prompts Homer to revise the book's ending.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While on the field trip, Nelson calls out Bart for being a bad friend.
  • Yandere: Nelson, a non-romantic example.

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