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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:

  • Apple of Discord: Bart tears down Homer and Marge's marriage by pitting them against each other and hardly receives any comeuppance for this.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Homer claims that he wants Bart to get down and work hard on his schoolwork in every subject so that by the time Bart's finished, he'll be Korean.
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  • 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.
  • Bookends: The episode starts with "Springfield of Tomorrow" and ends with more of that story being shown.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The long-abandoned subway is mentioned in the "Springfield of Tomorrow" film.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Homer's strangling of Bart. He's gotten so good at it through "practice" that he can squeeze the train's emergency kill switch Bart is on to destroy his elementary school.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Idea Bulb: Itchy breaks one and stabs Scratchy with it.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Marge worries that Bart might hate school if he's forced to do too much homework. The truth is, he already hates school.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Homer has a point Bart needs to finish his schoolwork, even if he tried unnecessarily forcing Bart to do more homework than was mandated.
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  • 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.
  • Pushover Parents: Marge, big time. She spoils Bart thoroughly by letting him go play outside and thinks her main duty as his mother is to force Homer to back off.
  • 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".
  • 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:
    • While Bart does his big load of homework, he watches a parody of Pokémon on TV and comments how it hasn't run out of ideas yet, which is ironic. This is a nod to HeartGold and SoulSilver, which was released in the United States on the same day of the episode's airing.
    • The Itchy and Scratchy cartoon featured in this episode is a parody of House.
    • When Bart and Milhouse discover Springfield's subway, Bart says it's like a Thomas the Tank Engine you can go inside, with Milhouse says there's no Fat Controller to tell them what to do.
  • 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.
  • Victory Is Boring: Now that Bart was given maximum freedom by his parents, he exploits it for all it's worth... but quickly finds that, with no one to get mad at him, he's unsatisfied by the freedom.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At one point, Lisa calls Bart a sociopath for his actions.
  • You Are Grounded: Bart gets grounded by Homer and Marge at the end of the episode, and is banned from watching television. Unlike other times where grounding is referenced, this time Bart stays grounded for the rest of the episode.
  • Zeerust: "Springfield of Tomorrow" (Copyright MCMLVI) is chock-full of it.
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