First Aired - 5/5/1994
Bart sneaks out of school and finds himself at a party for Mayor Quimby's nephew, Freddy but when Freddy gets in trouble for allegedly assaulting a French waiter, Bart must choose to keep his mouth shut about the ordeal or expose the truth and admit that he cut school to see it happen.
This episode contains examples of:
- Accident, Not Murder: Not murder, but one of Mayor Quimby's nephews stands accused of beating up a waiter. Bart, who witnessed the event, reveals that the waiter actually had a series of clumsy accidents. The waiter denies it ever happened, only to suffer a series of similar accidents right there in court.
- Acting Unnatural:Marge: (reading the paper) Mmm. It says Freddy Quimby beat a waiter half to death! Those Quimby children are so wild and rich, I hope he finally gets what's coming to him.
Bart: But Freddy Quimby's innocent!
Lisa: How do you know? There weren't any witnesses.
Bart: Heh, oh yeah, right.
Lisa: You'd think someone would have seen something at a crowded party like that.
Bart: Well they didn't, OK? They didn't. It says right here in black and white, "No witnesses." Case closed. (grabs paper) Now let's all read the funnies. (reads) Oh look: Charlie Brown said "good grief". Hah. I didn't see that coming. (forced laughter)
- Actor/Role Confusion: Bart and Chief Wiggum address Rainer Wolfcastle as McBain.
- All for Nothing: Although this doesn't happens on the episode proper, in a deleted scene that would be shown on the DVD release Freddy was taken back into custody shortly after being released (about two seconds later) because he grappled the waiter and started threatening to hurt him for real, making Bart's sacrifice meaningless. As well, Bart's attempt to prevent getting detention for playing hookie are all turned futile in the end because of his own conscience and Skinner's pettiness.
- Amusing Injuries:
- Mr. Lacoste, the waiter, undergoes a series of kitchen accidents in a ridiculously short time after arguing with Freddy Quimby (and tries to get some money out of it by suing him in court).
- And later on he falls several stories from the courtroom window on the back of a truck full of rat traps (which of course had an open roof).
- Artistic License Law: The court proceedings play out more like a civil case than a criminal one. Also lampshaded by the judge, who acknowledges reopening the proceedings once deliberations have begun is unconstitutional, but she can't say no to kids.
- Asshole Victim:
- What Freddy would have been if Bart hadn't vouched for him. While he didn't beat up the waiter, he's still not a very nice person—or a "horrible yet innocent person", as Lisa puts it.
- The waiter himself, who promptly falls to another lengthy slapstick Humiliation Conga after it's revealed he tried to frame and jail Freddy simply to hide he is just The Klutz.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: When Bart argues that having Freddy acquitted cancels out his skipping school, Skinner gives him three months detention. Then he says "Wait", as if he's going to take it back, only to give him four months.
- Berserk Button: Freddy really doesn't like it when people mispronounce "chowdah."Defense Attorney: You certainly would never lose your temper over something as trivial as the pronunciation of the word "chowder."
Freddy: That's "chowdah!" "Chowdah!" I'll kill you! I'll kill all of you! Especially those of you on the jury!
Defense Attorney: Wow, that didn't go well. The defense rests.
- Blatant Lies: Edna:Bart: (handing her the phony note) My mom's number's on there in case you want to check up on me.
Edna: That's okay, Bart. I trust you.
(Smash Cut to Edna showing the note to Skinner)
- Break the Badass: Skinner's Trope Namer "Non-Giving-Up School Guy" moment is probably one of the few times in the show when we see Bart honestly terrified of the principal.
- Captivity Harmonica: Played by one pupil at the prison school bus.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Bart ditches school after the school day has been lengthened, with Skinner in hot pursuit. He gets away and witnesses an accident that later implicates Mayor Quimby's nephew Freddy. He later testifies on the stand to clear his name, which proves to Skinner that he indeed played hooky. Skinner, petty as he is, gives him three months detention — "Wait... make that four months detention."
- Clock Tampering: Mrs. Krabappel says that, thanks to a clock-tampering incident, class will be extended for two hours to make up for lost time. Bart groans and begrudgingly looks at the Lil' Bastard Clock Tampering Kit hidden in his desk.
- Comically Missing the Point: Chief Wiggum, arriving in a kitchen where a waiter lies on the floor after an apparent beating, is shocked that someone's taken a bite out of the giant Rice Krispie square.
- Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Parodied. Bart is randomly able to hear Principal Skinner and Homer's inner monologues. Skinner's monologue is played straight, but Homer's thoughts suddenly trail off into the Meow Mix jingle.
- Courtroom Episode: The trial of Freddy Quimby and all of the antics that ensue within it compose most of the episode.
- Creator Backlash: In-Universe, Rainer Wolfcastle agrees with Bart's assessment of his last film and says there were a ton of script problems.
- Creator Cameo: Matt Groening as the courtroom sketch artist.
- Death of a Child:
- The clip of the Show Within a Show "McGarnigal" that Bart watches has the titular detective asking a kid named Billy to testify and promises he will be safe... Gilligan Cut to Da Chief telling McGarnigal that Billy was killed by whoever tried to frame McGarnigal for foiling their chance to put him away and his throat was sliced open, and McGarnigal telling his chief that he was eating a sandwich.
- The "re-cut" version of Free Willy that Homer watches has Jesse getting flattened by Willy when the Signature Scene of Willy jumping over the seawall goes wrong.
- Deus ex Machina: Just as Bart is about to get caught by Skinner, Freddy Quimby happens to drive by the place, allowing him to escape.
- Disaster Dominoes: The waiter slips and slides facefirst into a row of pans, which knocks him into the microwave and accidentally jams his hand in the toaster, which sends him flailing into a closet full of rat traps, etc.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Bart skipped school and when he confessed to it so Freddie Quimby wouldn't be sent to jail for a crime he didn't commit, Skinner gives him four months detention.
- The waiter attempts to cover up his clumsiness by framing Freddy for his injuries, who had insulted him beforehand.
- Bart is afraid of being sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor in the cafeteria for skipping classes.
- Freddie threatens to kill everybody in the courtroom because his own lawyer doesn't say "chowder" as "chowdah". This one backfires on him hard because he did it right after testifying that he didn't had such a Hair-Trigger Temper.
- Homer swears that he will make sure that Quimby ends up in jail because he was summoned to perform Jury Duty the irony then is that he becomes a Rogue Juror and votes Quimby "not guilty" because the deadlock would allow him to spend the night in a five-star hotel with free HBO.
- Does Not Like Shoes: The picture at the top says it all. Admittedly, Bart is only this way for a few seconds, and this episode is perhaps set in summer, but Bart appears to want to be barefoot in this episode. Of course, it's also a reference to Huckleberry Finn, who is perhaps the most famous example of a fictional boy who did not like shoes.
- Evil Is Petty:
- Skinner admits to be a petty man right before defying Saved by the Awesome and give Bart three... no, four months' detention for skipping school just one day (he also went all "Hah! I knew you would slip up!" right when Bart testified (and thus confessed his skipping), unnerving the rest of the jury (and Apu telling him to stop acting like that).
- The case against Freddy Quimby is so open-and-shut because he is the kind of guy who would clobber someone just for not saying a word the way he wants to... even if it's inside a courthouse.
- The waiter tried to hide his humiliating clumsiness by framing and jailing Freddy for assault as payback for mocking him earlier.
- Extra Y, Extra Violent: One of the pieces of evidence used against Freddy Quimby is Dr. Hibbert exposing that he has an "Evil Gene".
- Faux Horrific: Just to show how insulated and small the people of Springfield are, Quimby's lawyer has his opening statement being to defame the waiter's character by point out not only is he not from Springfield, he's not even from America. Cue several people rushing to the phones, and Hutz angrily whispering that he be told everything.
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: Skinner notices a chewed wad of gum on the ground and tastes it:Skinner: His brand of gum: Doublemint. Trying to double your fun, eh, Bart? Well I'll double your detention! Heh... I wish someone was around to hear that.
- Fisher Kingdom: Otto snaps at Bart and Lisa, but quickly apologizes, blaming it on the prison bus he's been forced to drive ("This bus and I have sort of a Shining thing going on."). Likewise, the other kids start acting like they're in prison (complete with banging a cup against the bars).
- Flashback Effects: When Bart recalls the fateful event, it is preceded by a fuzzy visual transition and the typical xylophone sound effect.
- For Want of a Nail: Had he not gotten distracted by the bottle of champagne, Freddy undoubtedly would have assaulted the waiter, as he had his fist cocked back and was blatantly threatening him.
- Forged Letter: Bart creates one as an excuse to skip school.Please excuse my handwriting, I busted whichever hand it is I write with. Signed, Mrs. Simpson.
- Frame-Up: Freddy Quimby may be a complete Jerkass, but he is innocent of the crime he is accused of.
- Freudian Slip: When Homer deliberately deadlocks the jury by voting not guilty instead of guilty:Homer: I'm only doing what I think is right. I believe Freddy Quimby should walk out of here a free hotel.
- From Bad to Worse: The events that motivate Bart to skip school. On a beautiful spring day, Bart has to take a dingy prison bus to school, where new and painful chairs have been installed to eliminate slouching, and everyone has to stay behind for an hour thanks to Bart's own tampering with the clocks.
- Gilligan Cut: Lisa assures Bart that Quimby will receive a fair and impartial jury. Cut to...Homer: Ohhhh, jury duty?! I'll see that Quimby kid hang for this!!
Lisa: I knew it was a bad idea to watch him open the mail.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie try this on Lisa after Bart skips school, but it fails because they both keep forgetting whether they're supposed to be Good Cop or Bad Cop.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Freddy. Having it go off in the middle of declaring under oath that he didn't had it almost did him in.
- Hollywood Law:
- The entire jury was made of major cast members, such as Homer, his sister-in-law Patty, his next-door neighbor Ned, Apu (who at the time was not yet a US citizen), and Principal Skinner (whose presence is a plot point, because it means that Bart can't admit that he witnessed what really happened without admitting that he was skipping school to a school official). Part of the process to ensure jury impartiality is to ensure that none of the jurors are personally connected to the defendant, the plaintiff, any witnesses, or each other. No sane judge would impanel a jury where everybody knows everyone else. Plus witnesses are bribed right there in open court, and no one cares.
- Lampshaded on one point. The judge acknowledges that re-opening the case when she does is grossly unconstitutional, but she 'just can't say no to kids'.
- And it still might be an example, since re-opening the case due to new evidence which could have changed the original verdict is usually permitted, though it's only permissible in regards to exculpatory evidence, as Double Jeopardy attaches in the event of an acquittal.
- Also while the trial appears to be a criminal case but is being run as a civil trial.
- Hollywood New England: Freddy, like all the Quimbys, has a Kennedyesque Boston accent. In fact, his insistence that the French waiter pronounce chowder "correctly" as chowdah is the whole reason the trial is taking place.
- I Don't Pay You to Think:Girlfriend: Freddy, honey, I think something just jumped into the backseat.
Freddy: I'm not paying you to talk.
- Ignored Epiphany: Skinner tries to find where Bart is playing hooky, but all the places he expects Bart to be hanging out (like the 4-H Club) are abandoned. Skinner asks himself if he's really become this out-of-touch, but then only concludes, "No, it's the children who are wrong."
- Imagine Spot: Bart has one when Skinner passes him when exiting the jury box:Skinner: I can't wait until the sentencing part. That's where I really shine!
(Bart has a daydream where Bart's on trial and Skinner's the judge)
Skinner: Bart Simpson, for the heinous crime of hooky, I sentence you to a lifetime of hard labor in the cafeteria!
(flashes forward to the future, where Bart is serving the sons of the school bullies)
Bart: (now with a hoarse voice, a la Lunchlady Doris) More cream corn, Jimbo Junior?
Jimbo Junior: This cream corn tastes like cream crap!
Bart: Watch the potty mouth, honey.
- At the beginning of the episode, while riding to school, Bart sees a pond and imagines himself hanging out on a raft with Huckleberry Finn and Abraham Lincoln. Later, while he is at the pond, he sees a raft with two figures approach, assuming his fantasy is coming true. But it turns out to be two creepy men who offer to show Bart a dead body.
- Implacable Man: Skinner, when he chases Bart.
- Infant Immortality:
- Instantly Proven Wrong: Lisa. When Bart compares going to school to being in prison, Lisa scoffs at the comparison. Then Otto drives up on a prison bus because the regular school bus is being repaired.
- I Resemble That Remark!: "This is an outrage! I am not some clumsy Clouseauesque waiter! I will..." [falls out of the court window into an open truck fall of rat traps].
- Jury and Witness Tampering: A pretty memorable subversion in that, even with all of the blatant bribery that Quimby was tossing around, Freddy was still going to be declared guilty (the fact that Freddy threatened to kill said everybody in court, jury included, when he was put on the witness seat was all the jury needed to decide).
- Jury Duty: Homer's reaction to being summoned for it was wanting to make Freddy pay for it.
- Karma Houdini: Played with. Freddy Quimby didn't do anything to the waiter except act like a jerk, so he did deserve a not-guilty verdict. On the other hand, he was also a massive jackass, and it's very easy to see why the jury would believe he assaulted the waiter (and he even did so in a deleted scene, which lands him back in court and makes Bart's sacrifice pointless). One review of the episode said that part of what made it interesting was that beating up the waiter was probably the only thing Freddy wasn't guilty of.
- Kick the Dog: Skinner admits to being a "small, petty man" before defying Saved by the Awesome by giving Bart three months of detention for skipping a single day of school. He then tells Bart to wait as he's walking away dejected and appears to be thinking it over (thus making it happen for real) before telling Bart that he's adding an additional month to that punishment.
- The Klutz: The Reveal as to where the French waiter's injuries really came from. Freddy teased him a little, then got distracted by a bottle of champagne and walked off with it. The waiter promptly slipped and stumbled around the kitchen, brutally beating himself against various appliances. The case is made when the waiter, standing up to protest this as defamation, undergoes a similar experience in the courtroom before falling into the back of an open truck carrying a load of mousetraps.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
Marge: It took 75 federal marshals to bring him down. Now let's never speak of him again.
- Marge mentions an uncle who used to say "Shoot 'em all and let God sort it out." And he did just that.
- And then Marge actually does speak of him again when she tells Bart to listen to his heart, and "...not the voices in your head like a certain uncle did one gray December morn."
- Little Stow Away: Bart in the backseat of Freddy's car.
- Lost My Appetite:Da Chief: Well McGarnigal, Billy is dead! They slit his throat from ear to ear!
McGarnigal: Hey! I'm trying to eat lunch here!
- Maurice Chevalier Accent: The French waiters accent becomes the object of Freddys ridicule.
- Miscarriage of Justice: Even with all of the blatant bribery and tampering Quimby is doing, the case against Freddy is pretty much a Kangaroo Court and would have gotten him sentenced regardless if not for Bart's testimony (that Freddy threatened to kill everybody in the courtroom, jury included in a moment of Hair-Trigger Temper when he almost had it made didn't help him any). Lisa lampshades it such:
- "It's ironic that a monstrous, yet innocent, man will be found guilty."
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Given that Freddy Quimby straight up says "I'm not through demeaning you", it's easy to assume that hiding his klutziness was the not only reason the waiter framed him.
- Mood Whiplash: Bart is having a nice, relaxing time down by the river when all of a sudden he sees two indistinct, but familiar-looking figures approaching on a raft. At first Bart gasps, thinking that his dream earlier in school is coming true. But then the figures come closer, revealing themselves not to be Abe Lincoln and Huckleberry Finn, but a pair of raggedy, scary-looking hobos.Hobo: Hey, kid! Ya wanna see a dead body?
Bart: (screams and runs away)
- Mouse Trap: When the waiter tries to tell everybody that he's not clumsy, he slips and falls out the window into a truck full of mousetraps.
- Never My Fault:
- Skinner looks for Bart in all the places he thinks a boy would go for fun, but when he can't find him at the museum or the 4-H club (which has been abandoned for a long time), he considers "Am I so out of touch? No, it's the children who are wrong."
- The whole courtroom plot is pivoted by a waiter more willing to falsely accuse and jail a man for assault than admit he suffered injuries from being a klutz.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Bart suddenly has the ability to read Skinner's and Homers minds, and they both know it.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed
Bart: Hey, McBain, Im a big fan, but your last movie really sucked.Wolfcastle: I know. There were script problems from day one.Chief Wiggum: Yeah, Ill say. Magic ticket, my ass, McBain.Wolfcastle: Maria, my mighty heart is breaking.
- The Quimbys are parodies of the Kennedys, with the family scandals and Boston accents. When Mayor Quimby says he does not recognize Bart, Bart says hes a nephew he doesnt see often named Bart Bart. This is a play on the nickname of President Kennedys son, John Jr., who was known as John John. Johns mother, Jackie, kept him away from Kennedy family events, so he wouldnt get caught up in their scandals.
- Rainier Wolfcastle moves from being a generic The Ahnold to having more specific character traits of the actual Arnold Schwarzenegger. His wife is named Maria, like Arnolds (now ex-)wife and Kennedy family member, Maria Shriver. And there is a joke about a movie that sounds suspiciously like Last Action Hero.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Hilariously subverted with the injured waiter.
- Non-Giving-Up School Guy: Skinner will stop at nothing to get Bart back into the classroom. When Bart destroys a bridge, Skinner just walks through the river.
- No Sympathy: When discussing the "slouch-eliminating" chairs:Milhouse: (slurring) I lost all feeling in the left side of my body. (tries to lift hand but fails)
Edna Krabappel: Yeah, yeah.
- Notably Quick Deliberation: The jury was all set to declare Freddy guilty from second one of day one, and voted so. The only reason the jury gets deadlocked was because Homer wanted a free hotel stay.
- Not Helping Your Case:
- When Freddy's attorney says it's ludicrous that his client would attack someone for the way he says chowder, Freddy snaps back "That's 'chowdah'! Chowdah! I'll Kill You! I'll kill all of you! Especially those of you in the jury!"
- Even worse is that he was almost home free at that point.
- In a deleted scene, Freddy walks out of the courthouse, only to grab the waiter demanding he say 'chowdah' correctly. And the cops pull him back inside.
- Obviously Evil: Freddy Quimby starts a jackass and becomes more vile as the episode goes on. The moment he roars that he will kill everybody in the courtroom (especially the people in the jury) because his own lawyer didn't say "chowder" as "chowdah", the people in the jury are actually happy it is going to take only a few minutes to vote him guilty.
- Odd Couple: Skinner and Homer at the hotel.
- Once More, with Clarity!: When the confrontation happens between Freddy and the waiter, the audience hears the dialogue but only sees Bart watching the scene. When Bart testifies later, he reveals that after Freddie says, Im gonna enjoy this! he picks up a bottle of champagne, chugs it, and leaves the kitchen. The waiter then slips and causes his own injuries.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- While skipping class, Bart found Homer and then hid before Homer saw him. To avoid getting caught for skipping class, Bart pushed his hair forward in hopes Homer wouldn't recognize him. Homer, on the other hand, actually saw and recognized Bart but was too afraid of getting caught for skipping work to care about the boy skipping classes so he put a hair comb on his face to pass it as a mustache. They pretended not to recognize each other.
- Homer's fake glasses, which don't hide the fact he's snoring and drooling in court.
- Perp Sweating: Lisa is grilled by Skinner about Bart's whereabouts under a lamp.
- Precision A-Strike: "I know you can read my thoughts, Bart. Just remember, if I find out you cut class, your ass is mine. Yes, you heard me. I think words I would never say."
- Re-Cut: Homer is watching Free Willy, but instead of making the famous jump, the whale doesn't and crushes the boy.Homer: Oh, I don't like this new director's cut.
- Recycled Animation:
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Homer is the only juror to correctly declare Freddy not guilty. He doesn't do it because he honestly believes it, but just so he can deadlock the jury and enjoy a free night in a luxury hotel with HBO.
- Rope Bridge: Bart destroys one to stop Skinner from following him. It doesn't work.
- Rogue Juror: Homer deadlocks the jury for the sole purpose of staying sequestered and enjoying the free hotel room and amenities it entails.
- Rule of Funny: The waiter's injuries are all shown in detail, save the broken limbs he has during the trial. Once he finally falls unconscious, the waiter's limbs spontaneously break without prompting.
- Running Gag: During the trial, Homer wears fake glasses to trick people into thinking he's paying attention. At the end of the episode, he tries the same trick when Marge decides to tell him about her day.
- Saved by the Awesome: Bart tries to invoke this, explaining that if he hadn't skipped school an innocent man would have gone to prison, and thus should not be punished for it. Skinner gives him three months detention anyway, stating that he's a "small, petty man." Then he adds an extra month after thinking it over for a few seconds.
- Scandalgate: During his report, Kent Brockman said he suggested that the name of the media event covering Freddy Quimby's trial should be "Waitergate" instead of "Beat-Up Waiter", but he was howled down at the press club.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Mayor Quimby bribes witnesses to help his nephew's case. They're given money while on the stand.
- Shameful Source of Knowledge: Bart can't testify without revealing that he skipped school.
- Show Within a Show: Bart watches a TV show episode of McGarnigal that bears a striking similarity to his situation.
- Skinner's Non-Giving-Up School Guy moment is a Shout-Out to Westworld where a robot does the same walking through a river trick.
- The similarities to Ferris Bueller's Day Off are highlighted when Skinner channels Principal Rooney. ("Your ass is mine!")
- Bart hears Homer's thoughts, which at that moment happens to be the Meow Mix jingle.
- Skinner imitates part of the opening sequence from The Odd Couple, and even notes it, until Homer yells at him to shut up.
- Bart's daydream is of course a reference to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- Otto suddenly snapped at Bart and Lisa, claiming he and the prison bus have "sort of a Shining thing".
- When Bart testifies that the waiter's injuries were the result of his own clumsiness, the waiter denies being Clouseauesque.
- Jasper claims he needs to watch the dog from Frasier ride the dolphin on SeaQuestDSV.
- Skewed Priorities:
Chief Wiggum: Oh my god...somebody's taken a bite out of the giant Rice Krispies square! ...Oh, and the waiter's been brutally beaten. Heh...
- When the injured waiter's body is found:
- Skinner considered Bart's confession about skipping school slightly more important than the court case in which he was a juror.
- Skipping School: Bart ditches school and is pursued by Principle Skinner.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The waiter that was more willing to frame Freddy Quimby for assaulting him than admit he was merely The Klutz.
- Soap Within a Show: Bart watches a TV show episode of McGarnigal that bears a striking similarity to his situation.
- Spanner in the Works: Bart would have likely evaded getting caught skipping school if not for the stubborn waiter's false allegations forcing him to confess what he witnessed. This itself was a Spanner In The Works to the waiter's lawsuit against Freddy Quimby.
- Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz.
- Stealing from the Hotel: Homer takes "souvenirs" from the hotel room where he's being sequestered, including the table at one point, and one of Skinner's ties. At the end he has put all of the room's furnishings into his bedroom.
- Stock Money Bag: Moe receives bribe money in court. It's a large bag with a dollar sign on it.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: The waiter objects to being seen as a "Clouseauesque waiter." He elaborately pratfalls and injures himself in a slapstick fashion twice over.
- Take That!:
- Tempting Fate: After the waiter falls out of the window into the truck full of rat traps, he remarks "at least there were no big ones". There's then a very loud snapping sound, and another groan of pain from the man.
- Try and Follow: Bart shouts this to Skinner after destroying the Rope Bridge.
- Viewers Are Goldfish: The Show Within a Show, McGarnigal, has the title character's name stated four times, including once by him.
- The Waiter Did It: To himself!"This is an outrage! I am not a clumsy, Clouseau-esque waiter! I will..." (trips and falls out the window into a truck full of rat traps)
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Based on a comment by Kent Brockman in this episode, it's in a state where it's illegal to broadcast trials.
- Would Hurt a Child: The head of The Mafia, on the episode of McGarnigal Bart watches.