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Recap / The Simpsons S4 E6 "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie"

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Episode - 9F03
First Aired - 11/3/1992
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During Parent/Teacher conference night at Springfield Elementary, Mrs. Krabappel lets Homer and Marge in on the destructive and dangerous pranks Bart has been playing (synthesizing a laxative from peas and carrots, replacing the teacher's birth control pills with Tic-Tacs, bringing in a Krusty doll with a switchblade head, and sticking lit fireworks down a nameless boy's pants) and recommends that Homer and Marge be stricter in their parentingnote , but it proves too much with Bart manipulating Homer...until Homer decides to take the one thing away from Bart that he loves most: seeing the upcoming movie version of The Itchy and Scratchy Show.

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  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Where the epilogue takes place. Besides a futuristic Springfield, we see that Bart has become Chief Justice of Supreme Court and finally gets to see the movie with an older Homer, as the Itchy and Scratchy film has become an icon of animated film history. Also in the future: movie ticket prices are ridiculously high ($650 for a senior citizen and Chief Justice admission) and Soylent Green is a popular movie theater concession snack.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Lisa is disgusted by Bart putting Grampa's dentures into his own mouth, but laughed when Bart makes a face with it.
    • In the future, Bart openly chuckles at Homer calling Itchy a jerk.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: A cartoon from the 1940s is shown where Itchy and Scratchy beat, kick and decapitate Hitler. Then Itchy chops off Scratchy's head and Franklin D. Roosevelt appears, kicking both Hitler and Scratchy in the butt.
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  • Analogy Backfire: While trying to convince Homer to allow Bart to watch the movie, Lisa asks how he'd feel if he wasn't allowed to watch the first flight to the moon. A flashback reveals he didn't care about the event.
  • Animation Bump: The WWII-era Itchy and Scratchy short is appropriately fluid and cartoony, to match the style of animation from that time period.
  • Ass Shove: Implied when Mrs Krabappel asks a boy where Bart stuck fireworks on him.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: When Homer sees Bart smashing mustard packages with a hammer on the carpet while singing Jingle Bells, he tries to assert punishment when the ice cream truck appeared. Later, as they're enjoying their ice cream, Homer asked Bart what he was talking about. Bart lied that Homer was talking about the time he avoided jury duty. Being dumb, he tells Bart how he beat jury duty ("The trick is to say you're prejudiced against all races.")
  • Bad Future: Homer is convinced that not letting Bart see the movie as punishment is the only way to prevent this trope from happening (which, according to Marge's vision, would have Bart as a fat, sleazy male stripper whose "adoring" female fans boo him and chuck trash at him every night). He's right.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Marge wants Homer to be more severe with Bart. When Homer does punish him, Marge eventually thinks he's going too far.
  • Berserk Button: Homer visibly hides his fury when Bart declares "TV sucks".
    Homer: I know you're upset right now, so I'll pretend you didn't say that!
  • Big "OMG!": Marge when she sees Maggie driving Homer's car.
  • Bloody Hilarious: A billboard for the Itchy and Scratchy Movie is designed to shoot blood over anyone passing by. A newly-wed couple are soaked in blood by it, and are horrified... until they see the billboard, and laugh.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    Marge: We'll bring back dinner.
    Lisa: What are we gonna have?
    Homer: Well, that depends on what the teachers say, if you've been good, pizza. If you've been bad... uh, let's see... poison.
    Lisa: What if one of us has been good and one of us has been bad?
    Bart: Poison pizza.
    Homer: Oh no, I'm not making two stops!
  • Breath-Holding Brat: Homer mentions to Bart he once, unsuccesfully, tried this technique to get a catcher's mitt.
    Homer: You know, when I was a boy, I really wanted a catcher's mitt, but my dad wouldn't get it for me. So I held my breath until I passed out and banged my head on the coffee table. The doctor thought I might have brain damage.
    Bart: Dad, what's the point of this story?
    Homer: I like stories.
  • Brick Joke: A billboard for the Itchy and Scratchy Movie is designed to shoot blood over anyone passing by. After the last time the movie is shown at theaters, the billboard is changed into one for a barber college. It still shoots blood.
  • Broken Aesop: The message of this episode is that parents need to discipline their children for them to behave. This is presented with Homer being too lenient with Bart, resulting in him getting into trouble until he stops him from watching the Itchy and Scratchy movie. However, this makes no sense considering that Homer strangles Bart in many episodes; if anything, it seems like Homer needs to be more lenient for Bart to behave.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: When Maggie smashes the prison wall, Snake is one of the escapees, and he happily declares "All right! Time for a crime spree!"
  • Celebrity Cameo: The Itchy & Scratchy Movie also featured several celebrities (who don't use their real names), but viewers can tell.
  • Characterization Marches On: Ned and his kids are the first ones in line for the movie!
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    Homer: Bart, since you break Grampa's teeth, he gets to break yours!
    Grampa: Oh, this is gonna be sweet!
    Marge: No, no, no!
    Grampa: Aww!
  • Cutaway Gag: "But first, let's take a look back at the year 1928, the year when you might've seen Al Capone dancing the Charleston on top of a flagpole."
  • Death Glare: One of the goats Bart had to eat the garbage sneers at Homer.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Marge tries this on Bart when she finds out that he broke Grandpa's teeth. Bart tries to call her bluff, but she tells him she's being serious, even stopping Homer the first time he caves. Just as the lesson is about to sink in, Homer sneaks Bart some pizza and tells him not to tell Marge and to try to behave. Bart calls Homer a sucker after he leaves.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "I can't let that happen! I won't let that happen! And I can't let that happen!"
  • Description Cut: At the parent's night, Mrs. Krabappel tells Marge about Bart's behavior, which she apologises for, stating he doesn't mean to be bad. Then it cuts to Bart and Lisa looking at the sleeping Abe, and Bart immediately declares that this is their chance to be bad.
  • Determinator: Homer takes every step necessary to prevent Bart from watching the movie, including telling the movie theater not to sell to him. For extra points, he finally decides to let Bart see the film decades later.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Homer and Marge are about to go to a parent-teacher meeting, Homer tells Bart and Lisa he'll bring them poison if they've been bad.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • If you notice, in this episode, Ralph's father wasn't Chief Wiggum, but rather someone who looks like a bigger version of himself wearing near-identical clothing.
    • In addition, Ned and his sons are among the first people waiting to see the movie. "Homer Loves Flanders" reveals that the only thing Rod and Todd watch are religious cartoons (because Flanders locked out every other channel) and in "Home Sweet Home-Diddly-Dum-Doodly", when they did watch their first episode of Itchy & Scratchy, they were traumatized over it.
    • An In-Universe variation occurs with the Itchy and Scratchy show itself; the series' first cartoon, "That Happy Cat", only featured Scratchy walking across the street and whistling and stretching happily, lacking Itchy and any of the comic violence the series was known for.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Homer prevents Bart from seeing the movie, BUT his harsh tactic somehow leads Bart to become the Chief Justice of the United States and as a reward, an older Bart and Homer see the film together at last.
  • Enemy Mine: Itchy and Scratchy once set their differences aside to beat up Hitler together. After Hitler is dealt with and they shake hands over their victory, Itchy turns on Scratchy and decapitates him.
  • Foreshadowing: While the Simpson kids are watching the older cartoons of Itchy and Scratchy, Maggie can be seen getting off the couch and walking away.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In Marge's Bad Future Imagine Spot for Bart, adult versions of Sherri and Terri are seen at the strip club.
    • As Marge has a horrified reaction to Maggie driving a car, Maggie is actually waving at her.
  • Gilligan Cut: Marge reassures Edna that Bart doesn't mean to be bad. Cut to him at home with a sleeping Grampa saying "It's time to be bad".
  • Groin Attack: The other implied place where Bart stuck fireworks down that kid's pants. Considering that Mrs. Krabappel didn't turn the doll over, that's a more likely place than an Ass Shove.
  • Grounded Forever: Homer doesn't just stop Bart from seeing the movie on the first day, or even for a few weeks. He forbids Bart from ever seeing the movie. EVER! He finally lets Bart see the movie when his son has grown up and become a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  • Hidden Depths: Homer knows the names of at least four Chief Justices of the Supreme Court (John Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, Warren Berger, and Earl Warren, whom he thinks was also a male stripper).
  • Ignored Epiphany: The first attempt to be firm with Bart almost works, just as he considers changing his behaviour however, Homer gives him a slice of pizza out of sympathy, so long as he promises to behave from now on.
    Bart: (cackles after Homer leaves) Sucker...
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Bart say "TV sucks" after Homer tells him that he's free to watch anything he wants on TV after he can't go to the movie. Being an avid TV fan (but sympathizing with Bart's plight), Homer responds: "I know you're upset right now, so I'll pretend you didn't say that!"
  • It Amused Me: Most of Bart's behavior up until Homer takes his ticket is out of sick joy. This includes the punishments Mrs. Krabappel mentions (synthesizing a laxative from peas and carrots, replacing her birth control pills with Tic-Tacs, bringing a switchblade hidden in a Krusty the Clown doll to school, and sticking fireworks down the pants of an unnamed boy), tearing up the carpets, hitting mustard packets with a hammer, and stealing Abe's teeth.
  • It's Personal: Marge's parent's conference with Mrs. Krabappel slowly devolves into the latter giving Marge a thinly veiled comeuppance for birthing the bane of her existence, right down to outright giving her a detention:
    (Marge writes "I WILL TRY TO RAISE A BETTER CHILD." on the classroom chalkboard)
    Marge: I really don't see how this is helping Bart.
    Mrs. Krabappel: (firmly) Just do it.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Bart gives up on any chance in seeing the movie once he learns Homer had the local theater ban him from seeing it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Snake, who after Maggie crashed the car into the prison and escaped as he was now determined to go on a crime spree, has his efforts only net him a Beta Max VCR (to his absolute chagrin).
  • Meat-O-Vision: A hungry Bart imagines Santa's Little Helper's head to be a pizza box and his tongue a slice of one.
  • Mythology Gag: Lisa mentions that Dustin Hoffman and Michael Jackson made cameos in the movie under different names, "but you could tell it was them." Both performers had previously appeared on The Simpsons under false names ("Sam Etic" for Dustin Hoffman and "John Jay Smith" for Michael Jackson), but audiences weren't fooled (though there was a long debate over whether or not Michael Jackson actually did voicework in "Stark Raving Dad" and the reason people doubted it is because the Simpsons crew and cast had to sign non-disclosure agreements about it. On the DVD commentary, they finally admitted that, yes, Michael Jackson did voicework on the show [though Kipp Lennon was the singing voice for the big, bald mental patient Jackson voiced]).
  • Never My Fault:
    • Bart is given the ultimate punishment for failing to keep an eye on Maggie, allowing her to steal the car and drive it into the local prison walls. However, it's technically Homer's fault, since he left his car unlocked and the keys in the ignition, and was stupid enough to not put up barricades to stop his mischievous daughter from leaving the house.
    • Earlier, Bart is pulling up the rug in front of Homer and (after Marge returns from grocery shopping) leaves the house when told to go to his room. Marge demands to know why Homer let this happen and his only retort is to ask how she could let this happen. When Marge replies she wasn't home, Homer chastises her "convenient" excuse.
  • Noodle Incident: "Oh dad, you and your stories: Bart broke my teeth. The nurses are stealing my money. This thing on my neck is getting bigger." While we did see Bart breaking Grampa's teeth, we don't see the other two events, which just adds more to just how horrible the Springfield Retirement Castle is (unless Grampa suffers from senility and thinks nurses are stealing his money and he has a growth on his neck that is getting bigger, since Homer calls him out on all this).
    • Some of Bart's pranks (the "peas and carrots" laxative, the birth control pill/Tic-Tacs switch, bringing in a Krusty doll with a switchblade in it, and shoving fireworks down a child's pants).
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The short film "That Happy Cat" is based on old efforts along these lines, and consists of Scratchy walking around and whistling. Justified, as it's a parody of the older, black and white cartoons that had no plot, were only made as a backdrop for popular music at the time, and whose characters had little to no personality.
  • Off-Model: Lisa when she tells Bart how great the Itchy and Scratchy Movie was, particularly when she says "Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson..." This could be due to it being one of the earlier episodes animated by Film Roman and Rough Draft Studios.
  • Police Are Useless: Per usual, the police don't do anything about Maggie driving the Simpson family car, the dog driving a bus, or the criminals escaping after Maggie crashes the car into the prison wall.
  • Pushover Parents: During a parent-teacher conference, Marge explains to Mrs. Krabappel that she and Homer have a hard time disciplining Bart whenever he does something wrong and are encouraged by her to start being firm about it. Following her advice, they get better at disciplining him, such as when they send him to bed without dinner for breaking Grandpa's teeth, and preventing him from seeing The Itchy and Scratchy Movie when he doesn't watch Maggie and she drives Homer's car.
  • Retraux: The early Itchy and Sratchy cartoons we see are clear homages to cartoons from the 1920s.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: As Homer continues to not punish Bart, Marge asks if he would prefer the boy become Chief Justice or a sleazy male stripper. Homer suggests Bart could be both.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: At the end, Bart and Homer's tickets to the movie are six-hundred and fifty dollars!
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: Milhouse boasts that he's seen the Itchy and Scratchy Movie thirteen times, while Nelson claims he saw it seventeen times.
    Bart: You guys must be getting pretty tired of that movie by now.
    Milhouse: No one who saw the movie would say that.
    Nelson: Let's get him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Disney and Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons: Much of the backstory of Itchy and Scratchy dates back to the late 1920s, with the introduction of "Steamboat Itchy" (a parody of "Steamboat Willie" the first Mickey Mouse cartoon). As the backstory moves to the World War II-era, the anti-Adolf Hitler cartoons are similar to those pitting the good guys of various Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons produced during that time against Nazis and the Japanese.
    • 60 Minutes: The TV newsmagazine and specifically, news stories from the early 1990s detailing abuse of elderly residents of nursing homes. Homer had threatened to send Grampa to the "the crooked home" he had seen on TV after Grampa mumbled incoherently (due to his broken-and-poorly taped-together dentures stuffed in his mouth).
    • Star Trek: The opening gag is a parody of the then-ongoing series of movies. This installment: Star Trek XII: So Very Tired, featuring a very elderly Captain Kirk complaining of health problems.
    • On seeing Bart's depression, Lisa claims he has the "demented melancholy" of a Tennessee Williams heroine.
    • "Mmmm, Soylent Green."
    • At the end of the episode, 40 years into the future, Bart is now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and he and Homer go see The Itchy and Scratchy Movie. The movie advertised to play after it is Beauty and the Beast.
    • During the final scene, Homer and Bart's silhouettes as they enter the theater are a reference to Mystery Science Theater 3000.
    • Prior to learning about The Itchy and Scratchy Movie, Bart (while stroking Snowball II), has a James Bond action figure in the microwave and says, "Stick around, Mr. Bond, things are really starting to... cook" as he melts him.
  • Smart Ball: Homer is surprisingly thorough in ensuring Bart can't see the movie, ripping up the ticket and keeping watchful eye on him throughout, even being savvy enough to request the theatre staff not to let him in. He even sticks to his approach long after even Marge, who chastised him for his lax parenting earlier, starts to crack.
  • Super Reflexes: When Grampa sneaks in Jasper's bedroom in the middle of the night to steal his dentures as a replacement for the ones Bart broke, he wakes up, turns the lamp on and points his gun at Abe, all within a second.
  • Take Our Word for It: During the parent-teacher meeting, Mrs. Krabappel produces a doll and asks a boy to use it to show where Bart stuck the fireworks. The viewers don't see the spot and their only clue is Marge's reaction.
  • Take That!: The Korean animation studio where American cartoons are made is portrayed as a hellhole, with workers chained to their desks, watched over by armed guards akin to a prison camp.
    • The real life Korean animators who worked on the show did not find this joke funny, and didn't want to animate it.
  • Two Decades Behind: The episode was very out-dated, even when it first aired. Bart is not allowed to see the Itchy and Scratchy movie in the cinema and thus misses what seems to be the greatest movie in the world. After a while the movie theaters stop playing it and it disappears out of the public eye. Bart never manages to see the movie until Homer finally takes him to see it in the future when the local movie theater is playing it again. The phenomenon that you could only see films when they were playing in a local movie theatre and had no chance of ever seeing them again as soon as they were taken out of rotation was true in the decades before the introduction of home video... which was introduced near the end of the 1970s, while this episode debuted in 1992! Although Homer probably prevented Bart from buying it on video.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bart's negligence while left in charge of Maggie results in her taking a car for a drive and helping people to escape prison.
  • Up to Eleven: Bart is the series' designated "bad boy" but most of his misbehavior is at worst harmless mischief that doesn't result in serious injury... Except in this episode, where it is (like when he made a laxative out of peas and carrots, stole Mrs. Krabappel's birth control pills and replaced them with Tic-Tacs, and stuck fireworks down a kid's pants).
  • War Time Cartoon: Parodied with Kent Brockman showing an Itchy and Scratchy propaganda cartoon made during World War II, where the cat and mouse fight off Adolf Hitler. In the end, Itchy kills off Scratchy too for the heck of it, while Franklin D. Roosevelt appears to kick them both in the behind and Itchy holding up a sign with the text "Save Scrap Iron".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At first, Marge is supportive of Homer's punishment of forbidding Bart from seeing the episode's titular movie—but when the punishment gets to the point where Homer convinced the movie theater employees to actually ban Bart from the theaters, she and Lisa call Homer out on this, feeling that taken the punishment too far at this point. Unlike most examples, it doesn't unfetter Homer.
  • Writing Lines: During the parent-teacher meeting, Mrs. Krabappel forces Marge to write "I will try to raise a better child".
    Marge: I don't see how this is going to help Bart...
    Krabappel: Just do it!

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