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Recap / The Simpsons S6 E16: "Bart vs. Australia"

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Episode - 2F13
First Aired - 2/19/1995
After Bart pranks a child in Australia in order to prove to Lisa that the Coriolis effect does affect draining water, he faces more than he bargains when the family has to go to the nation to apologize.

Tropes in the episode:

  • Adolf Hitlarious: Bart phones an elderly Hitler while trying to call people in the Southern hemisphere.
  • Argentina Is Nazi Land: Bart unknowingly phones an old-age Adolf Hitler in an unknown South-American country (implied to be a Spanish-speaking one note  — and possibly Argentina — as a bicyclist passes and says, "Buenas noches, mein Fuehrer").
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Bullfrogs are carnivorous, and would not feed on corn.
    • Koalas are drawn with only one thumb, when they should have two.
  • Artistic License – Geography (most are Rule of Funny, but still need to be looked at):
    • Burkina Faso (a West African country) is actually north of the Equator, not south, so Bart shouldn't have called the country when he was making his phone call. He had the globe right in front of him and could see it (if it was one of those globes that maps out all the countries within a continent).
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    • Kangaroos living that close to an airport? If anything, it'd be wallabies.
    • Australia doesn't allow the import of invasive species, and takes importation of animals extremely serious. Bart just lets his bull frog jump away without anyone at the airport noticing them or prohibiting them from doing this.
    • Fosters is an export-only beer, so it's unlikely at best the Prime Minister could drink it in his swimming pond or Homer could order it at a bar. A more appropriate beer to be offered would be Victoria Bitter.
    • The clerk at the souvenir store acts like he has never seen a frog before, despite Australia having over 230 species of frogs. Crosses with Artistic License – Biology.
    • Lisa playing the didgeridoo at a store: In Aboriginal culture, girls and women can't play the digeridoo (but they can dance to it) as it's considered taboo for anyone but men and boys to do so. This sparked quite a bit of controversy, and it did not help that Lisa is a white (well, okay, mustard-yellow) American girl with no connection to that culture.
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  • Artistic License – Physics: Ironically, the "fact" that kicked off the entire episode was wrong: while the Coriolis effect is real, it's too weak to affect the direction of your average draining vortex, which is far more affected by stuff like the shape of the receptacle.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: U.S. Ambassador Evan Conovernote . In order to appease Australia, he offers nothing but Disproportionate Retribution for Bart's actions — the fact that the "public apology" option would include Bart getting his ass kicked was something he "helpfully" decided not to mention in order to make the Simpsons accept it.
  • Banana Republic: Bart phones a Latin American dictator who thinks the phone call is his subjects starting a revolution.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Bart thought taunting Bruno over the phone would be enough to put his prank-calling behind him. He was wrong.
  • Boxing Kangaroo: One appears on the logo of the "Hopping Mad Collection Agency" letter Bart gets.
  • Brick Joke: Bart's bullfrog ends up multiplying and wrecking the Australian ecosystem.
  • British Royal Guards: Discussed as Homer sees a guard at the US Embassy.
    Homer: Hey! Are you like one of those English guards who can't laugh or smile or anything? (makes noises and faces at him, and gets punched in the face) Ow!
    Marine: No, sir! U.S. Marine Corps, sir!
  • Buried Alive: Implied to have happened to some poor soul when the camera pans through the Earth. They were able to break out of the coffin but didn't get much farther; plus they were digging in the wrong direction.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The squeaky-voiced Australian teen calls bullfrogs "chazwazers".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Homer asking Bart if he can commit fraud to go on a free trip to Florida (they would go to Florida later on "Kill the Alligator and Run" but Bart didn't commit fraud there).
  • Convection Schmonvection: This episode provides the page image.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A conversed trope due to In-Universe Values Dissonance. While Bart had committed an embarrassing crime, it was minor enough that just saying he was sorry (with a hefty amount of faked sincerity) was enough (and maybe pay the bills)... even Homer (with his strangling Running Gag) thinks that performing a Literal Asskicking of Bart's rear with a jackboot so huge that it covers the wearer's knee is too much (and gets angry with Ambassador Conover because he decided not to inform the Simpsons of what the Australians wanted to do, because otherwise they would not have agreed to come... and this was the offer he gave after he mentioned that the U.S. government was willing to toss Bart in Federal Prison to appease the Australians).
  • Dub Name Change: In the French version, Tobias the Australian boy is named Toby by his father, Bruno.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Homer's lecture to the Australian government about corporal punishment.
  • Eagleland: Present and accounted for, although spoofed all the same (to give examples: Bart moons the Australians with "Don't Tread on Me" written on his butt, Homer sings about missing his country when he sees the embassy's anti-coriolis effect machine, and every machine that has "Made in the U.S.A." written on it that appears is Awesome, but Impractical).
  • Embarrassing Slide: One slide in the projector is the US government's plan B for Cuba (which involves assassinating Castro), which the diplomat quickly takes out and swallows with the words: "Oops! Let's pretend we didn't see that, did we?"
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: The Simpsons laugh as Australia's ecosystem is destroyed.
  • Everyone Chasing You: Happens to the Simpsons near the end.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "Bart vs. Australia" is Bart facing off against Australia after a phone prank gone wrong.
  • Expy: The First Australian Prime Minister looks just like Snake, while the Australian store clerk looks and sounds like the Squeaky-Voiced Teenager (unofficially named "Jeremy Freedman") back in Springfield.
  • Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: While Homer is showering, Bart keeps flushing the toilet, causing him to scream because of the changing temperatures.
  • Global Ignorance:
  • Hollow World: Apparently, the Hindu god Vishnu controls the center of the Earth.
  • Introduced Species Calamity: Bart brings his pet bullfrog to Australia; this results in a population explosion later on in the episode. In the final scene, a koala is seen hanging onto the skid of the helicopter taking the Simpson family to a ship that will take them back to America, implying that America will soon have the same thing happen to it with koalas.
  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: Deconstructed for once in Western animation — Bart and Homer try to get away by stuffing themselves in the pouches of two kangaroos, only to find that it's full of mucus and womb slime. Bart and Homer even comment that it's not like in the cartoons.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: When pursued, Bart and Homer attempt to get away in kangaroos' pouches, only to find that, unlike in cartoons, they're filled with disgusting slime.
  • Karma Houdini: Bart is never punished for what he has done. He almost is, but when the government betrays the family, Bart's punishment and his actions stop being a priority.
  • Land Down Under: Almost every stereotype about Australia is squished in.
  • Lazy Bum: Prime Minister Andy's introduced lounging naked on a floating tire in a lake, rather than doing his job.
  • Literal Asskicking: Bart's punishment.
  • Lost in Translation: Bart asks a translator of a South American dictator "which way the water in their toilets turns after flushing?" The translator misinterprets this and tells the dictator "the tides are turning" (meaning that his people are rising up to overthrow him), to which he panics and jumps out of the window.
  • Mama Bear: Marge is outraged upon finding out Bart was set up by the American government. Earlier, she is also strongly opposed to the idea of having Bart incarcerated.
  • Mooning: Bart shows his buttocks to the offended Australian people.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: The fence of the American embassy "made with pride in the U.S.A." malfunctions half way, and the anti-Coriolis Effect machine is absurdly Awesome, but Impractical monster that nearly takes up an entire bathroom, and was installed solely to prevent homesickness.
  • National Stereotypes: Australians really don't come off too well in this episode.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • We never see Bart make the call to Burkina Faso, but there it is on the phone bill.
    • Also, how does Bart manage to write "Don't Tread on Me!" so legibly on his own butt? (Lampshaded by Lisa.)
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Punishment for phone bill fraud: go to Australia and apologize. The U.S. Government "helpfully" decided not to tell the Simpsons that it would also include a Literal Asskicking with a jackboot bigger than Bart.
  • Older Than They Look: Hitler is remarkably well preserved for a man of 105. He has excellent posture, is able to walk under his own power (although with help from a cane), doesn't appear to have any problems with his vision, is still able to drive and isn't struggling with senility.
  • Our Founder: A statue of an Australian convict who looks like Snake Jailbird can be seen, a surprisingly subtle joke about Australia originally being settled as a British penal colony.
  • Papa Wolf: Homer... As far as keeping Bart from getting booted.
  • Popularity Polynomial: In-universe example, when discussing the brief Australia craze in the US, a movie theater shows the marquee "Yahoo Serious Festival".
    Lisa: I know those words but that sign doesn't make any sense.
  • Reality Ensues: Homer and Bart just think they can hop into kangaroo pouches to ride around in, but can't because they're too big and it's full of mucus.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted. Andy seems perfectly fine accepting Bart's apology, until he has him arrested for an additional punishment, the booting, because "A mere apology would be a bit empty".
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The episode is basically a Whole Plot Reference to Michael Fay's caning for vandalism in Singapore.
  • Scare Chord: The koala riding the helicopter back to American soil.
  • Serious Business:
    • The entire episode happens because Bart calls numerous people in the Southern Hemisphere just to prove the Coriolis effect has no effect on drains after he loses a drainage race against Lisa. Bart loses interest later on.
    • Likewise, an international incident almost sparks between the United States and Australia simply because one guy got conned into paying a A$900 (roughly $1,220 in 1995) collect call.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The American bullfrog Bart takes along to Australia (and eventually becomes an invasive species there).
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Tobias' home in Australia, a framed picture of Uluru can be seen.
    • Bart's joke: "I hear a dingo eating your baby" references a real life event, the disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain at Uluru, Australia in 1980. The mother claimed she was snatched by a dingo but was convicted of murder, until 6 years later where new evidence was found that exonerated her. Evil Angels, also known as A Cry in the Dark is a widely known film regarding the incident.
    • When the plane lands in Australia, we see rubble from Skylab under the airport's ground.
    • The Australian showing Bart a spoon rather than a knife is a reference to Crocodile Dundee, where the knife welding robber change his tune when he saw Dundee's large Bowie knife. Dundee already appeared earlier in this episode during the slideshow the American representative displayed.
    • Wez from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior can be seen in the crowd chasing after the Simpsons.
    • When the Simpsons leave the embassy by helicopter, it's a direct shout-out to a famous photo of South Vietnamese fleeing to the US embassy by helicopter to leave Vietnam after the Communist takeover in 1975.
    • The laundry ship that takes the Simpsons back home is named "SS Walter Mondale", after the Democratic politician who lost the presidential elections in 1984.
    • One of the Australian addresses is "10 Sheepdip Court", a reference to the Monty Python's Flying Circus "Bruces" sketch.
  • Singing in the Shower: Homer at the beginning of the episode... Before Bart begins to flush the toilet constantly.
  • Smarter Than He Looks: Bart's epic taunt for the Australians: he moons them with the message, "Don't Tread on Me", written on his buttocks. Even Lisa is amazed the message was clear and legible.
    Lisa: I'm amazed you were able to write so legibly on your own butt!
  • Society Marches On: When discussing the brief Australia craze in the US, a movie theater shows the marquee "Yahoo Serious Festival".
    Lisa: I know those words, but that sign doesn't make sense.
  • Talk to the Fist: Twice Homer does stupid things in front of the U.S. Marine guarding the embassy's gate, and twice the Marine punches Homer in the face.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • A man stuck on the roof of his house during a volcanic eruption (though natural disasters like that call for an evacuation, so how would that man still be there?) risks and loses his life just to grab for a telephone that happens to ring while he floats by.
    • A koala bear touches an electric device twice, gets electrocuted, falls down and immediately climbs up in the tree again. Possibly doubles as foreshadowing to "Blame It on Lisa".
  • The End... Or Is It?: Upon seeing that the offspring of Bart's frog are eating all of Australia's crops, Lisa notes "That's what happens when you introduce a species to an ecosystem that can't handle them". The camera then pans to a koala hanging on the helicopter's skid, and zooms ominously in on its face.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The man on the roof of his house during a volcanic eruption chose to grab for the payphone and die rather than just leave it alone.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lisa is responsible for setting the whole plot into motion with her misinformed description of the Coriolis effect.
  • Vacation Episode: The Simpsons travel to Australia. Something of a Trope Codifier for future Simpsons vacation episodes.
  • Versus Title: One of many for The Simpsons.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Many Australian viewers thought the accents depicted in the episode sounded more like Cockney or South African accents.


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