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Recap / The Simpsons S 20 E 11 How The Test Was Won

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Springfield Elementary ships out all the poor-testing students (and Principal Skinner) on the day of a major standardized test. Meanwhile, Homer has to be extra careful now that his insurance has lapsed and has to wait until 3:00pm to get it reinstated.


  • Booby Prize: Bart is told that his practice test got a perfect score and is rewarded with a helicopter ride to a genius convention. Only when he boards and sees that the other "geniuses" are Ralph and the bullies does he realize that they're taking all the bad students away so they don't skew the aptitude test scores. Also, the helicopter is just the school bus in disguise.
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  • But Thou Must!: Lisa discovers that the answers for each question have the same meaning. As such, she is unable to decide which one to pick.
  • Dance Party Ending
  • Daydream Surprise: We see a Disaster Dominoes reaction that kills most of Marge's friends, causing her to freak out because they're uninsured...right before she makes out with the remaining woman, which Homer drools at while watching before it's revealed it was only in his head.
  • Exact Words: Principal Skinner tells some students that he's the Principal and they must refer to him as such. Bart then calls him "such".
  • Fully Automatic Clip Show: When Homer talks about how insurance pays him everytime he gets hurt, it leads to clips of Homer's Amusing Injuries through the show's run...including a clip of the Homer clones falling into the gorge from "Treehouse of Horror XIII".
    Homer: Heh-heh. What a week.
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  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: When Homer has an Imagine Spot about disasters that could happen while not insured, it quickly turns to Marge making out with one of her friends, making him drool.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Lisa completely chokes on a standardized test with no explanation why while everyone else seems to be able to do it fine including Milhouse. Since the test is thrown out anyway at the end, there's no real telling if the problem was with Lisa or the test itself with Lisa being the only one visibly distraught.
  • Potty Dance: Ralph does it while on the bus. Skinner asks Otto to stop the bus so Ralph can go to a rest stop, but Otto is mesmerized by the "little girl's dance".
  • Reading Foreign Signs Out Loud: In the Russian airing, the actor voicing Skinner somewhat firmly translates the title of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar when Lisa is reading it during the final scene.
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  • Religious Russian Roulette: When it's clear that none of the students are prepared for the test, and all other methods (like guessing) are strictly prohibited, superintendent Chalmers advises the students to try this approach:
    Chalmers: Alright NOBODY GUESS! Just be right! Get down on your knees, pray to your God, and ask him, no, DEMAND he tell you the answer and if he won't, he is no God of yours!
  • Scantron Picture: Bart fills out the answer sheet of his practice test to read "SLURP MY SNOT".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The final scene of this is a direct parody of the final scene of Footloose.
    • "This is no genius copter, this is Con Air!"
  • Snipe Hunt: Chalmers tells Skinner that he accidentally left his shades on the bus. As Skinner goes inside, Chalmers takes his shades out of his pocket and signals Otto to close the door and drive, leaving Skinner inside.
  • Toilet Humor: Students make a joke when Principal Skinner instructs them to use a number two pencil.

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