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Recap / The Simpsons S21 E14: "Postcards From The Wedge"

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Bart manipulates Homer's and Marge's different ways of disciplining him — and ends up nearly driving them to divorce.

Tropes:

  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Homer checks out of the empty women’s restroom at the subway for a moment to find a sofa… after getting a nickel.
  • Bait-and-Switch: What seems to be a thought baloon with Nelson is actually Nelson burning some books.
  • Book-Ends: The episode starts with "Springfield of Tomorrow" and ends with more of that story being shown.
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  • Chekhov's Gun: The long-abandoned subway is mentioned in the "Springfield of Tomorrow" film.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After squeezing his way in an abandoned subway station, Homer finds a nickel and squeezes himself out. He then pays the fare and enters again.
  • Double Meaning: Moe's Express, a miniature tavern that Moe set up in the Springfield Mall. While the viewer would interpret the express in the title as meaning fast and speedy, Moe states otherwise.
    Moe: (to his employees) By express, I mean that you express your anger and hatred!
  • Hands-Off Parenting: When Homer and Marge grew tired of Bart manipulating them, they opted for this until they learned of his plan to destroy Springfield with the abandoned subway.
  • Harmless Freezing: Happens to a boy in "Springfield of Tomorrow" when his parents want privacy.
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  • Idea Bulb: Itchy breaks one and stabs Scratchy with it.
  • Jerkass Realization: Marge realizes that if she continues fighting Homer, she might end up like her poor, rude, obese and grotesque sisters. Funny enough, she wouldn't have known about it if Patty and Selma didn't inspire her to be like them.
  • Kid Has a Point: Nelson explains to Bart why he isn’t getting his fix and Lisa at the end.
  • Noodle Incident: Bart was able to cheat on a rectal thermometer. If he doesn’t want to talk about it, then one rather not asks.
  • Out of Character: Homer is unusually strict in this episode towards Bart. He almost sadistically wants Bart to do more homework than is required of him, and refuses to let him take even a short break despite him actually doing it.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Lisa figures out it was Bart who wrote the letter their parents think she wrote because only Bart would misspell "Elementary".
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  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer had a dream where his own ego cost Marge her life. This causes to head back to Marge and apologize to her.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: Homer simply skims through overdue bills, but then seeing a letter from Krabappel about Bart being 1 month behind on homework, he flips out.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bart’s plan on destroying the school with the abandoned subway.
    • Homer wanting Bart to do more work than he is supposed to.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At one point, Lisa calls him a sociopath for his actions.
  • You are Grounded: This episode marks a major turning point in the franchise's history as for the first time in the series' history, we actually see a character get grounded. In this case, Bart Simpson. Now while Bart had been grounded in the comic book series, (read "When Bongo's Collide" to see one of the earliest groundings in the franchise's history), and while there have been references towards the grounding itself (especially between Seasons 20 and 21 in episodes like "The Good, the Sad, and the Drugly"), this marks the first time a grounding featured in the series became canon, and was not largely ignored, ("Marge Be Not Proud") or used as part of a joke ("Fraudcast News"). In fact this episode not just marks a first for having an actual grounding be used as a serious part of the story, but features many of the tropes and cliches that most "Token Grounding Episodes" have, including having a sibling (mainly female) relish with delight over their relation's grounding, (Lisa), a "No TV!" reference (said by Homer), a character making a pointing down gesture as they tell their child that they are grounded, (performed by Marge), and the mother being the one who tells the child he or she is grounded, (Marge again). This marks one of the most pivotal moments in the show's history because they have never had an actual grounding occur in the entire series, not even during the original shorts from the late 80's. Usually a child character would be sent to their rooms or punished in other ways. ("Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie" and "Double, Double, Boy in Trouble" are notable examples of this trope, with the latter being a final bow for the old non-grounding system of discipline)
  • Zeerust: "Springfield of Tomorrow" (Copyright MCMLVI) is chock-full of it.
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