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Recap / The Simpsons S 6 E 7 Barts Girlfriend

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Episode - 2F04
First Aired - 11/6/1994
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Reverend Lovejoy's preteen daughter, Jessica, arrives in town, and she and Bart strike up a relationship that proves more than he can handle.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Implied with the pained look Jessica gives when her father blatantly ignores her one more time (going all "na-na-na-na, I can't hear you" with church songs when she recites her criminal past and flat-out says it's for him to see her as she is).
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted. At first, Jessica seems like the typical sweet preacher's daughter who happens to be attracted to a bad boy, but she turns out to be even worse than he is.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: As the school's being evacuated due to Jessica's false fire alarm, Willie says "If I don't save the wee turtles, who will?", and kicks his way into the science classroom...and moments later runs out covered with little biting turtles, saying "Aah! Save me from the wee turtles! They were too quick for me!"
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  • Attention Whore: One of Jessica's last lines is demanding her father pay attention to her.
  • Badass Boast: The "I eat X for breakfast" variant is spoofed. One of the reasons Bart can't stand up to Jessica is because "her hair smells like red Froot Loops," so Lisa goes "Oh yeah? Well, I eat Froot Loops for breakfast!"
  • Bait-and-Switch: While coasting down a ludicrously steep hill, Bart sees a jackknifed glue truck. He assumes some of it has spilled and will therefore slow him down. Turns out that the glue ain't going nowhere. Then, when Bart runs over a single wheat grain and falls the rest of the way down the mountain...
    Truck driver: Oh, no! There goes the glue after all!
    (Bart turns to see a wave of glue heading towards him)
    • The calendar gag. Bart vows to avoid Jessica, and there's a montage of him marking off days on his calendar. The expectation is that he successfully made it through that amount of time, but then Bart announces:
    Bart: There. If I can just get through this many days without seeing her, she should be completely out of my system. Okay, day one... (circles the first crossed-out day)
    Marge: (pops in) Time for church, Bart. I bet your little friend Jessica will be there.
    Bart: D'oh!
  • Batman Gambit: Skinner sets up "Scotchtoberfest" knowing Bart wouldn't resist pranking the people there.
  • Big "NO!": Bart, just before the wave of glue hits him.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jessica. Lampshaded when she tells Bart "I'm the sweet, perfect minister's daughter...and you're just yellow trash.".
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  • Blue Boy Pink Girl: Jessica's the pink girl to Bart's blue boy.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When Marge tells Bart that it's time for the family to go to church after he's resolved never to see Jessica again, Bart replies with a frustrated "D'oh!"
  • Call-Back: Ned Flanders is shown with the ability to sing like a woman when in church, very much like how he would scream like a woman in "Bart of Darkness."
  • Child Prodigy: Jessica has an amazing I.Q. and reads at a higher grade level than normal. Subverted in that Bart only thinks she is; her I.Q. is 108 and she reads at a fifth grade level, both putting her only actually slightly above average, but enough to amaze Bart.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Despite his endless moralizing, Reverend Lovejoy can't discipline his daughter Jessica. It seems this is because Lovejoy is in deep, willing denial over what kind of person Jessica really is. When he mentions that they probably took her out of boarding school a little early, Jessica gets fed up and points out that she got expelled. As she begins listing numerous offenses, Lovejoy covers his ears and starts singing a hymn while Jessica demands that he pay attention to her.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Reverend Lovejoy gets so desperate after the church money is found in Jessica's room that he accuses Bart of somehow sneaking his room into the Lovejoy house. Everyone else just stares blankly at him.
  • Daddy Issues: Jessica's self-absorbed, manipulative tendencies seem to stem from the fact that her dad only cares about his projected image of her.
  • Delayed Reaction: Homer when Bart (under false suspicion of having stolen the collection plate money) makes a break for it.
    Homer: (a full ten seconds after Bart has gone) Stop him! He's heading for the window!
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Skinner gives Bart detention just because he can.
    • Nelson punches Bart in the stomach for "besmirching an innocent girl's name".
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. Jessica is plainly shown to be a manipulative brat who knowingly takes advantage of boys and the trouble she lands Bart in is... well, it's played about as straight as this show is willing to go.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bart even finds stealing from the collection's plate low, despite what the church thought of him.
    Bart: (to Jessica) You're turning me into a criminal when all I want to be is a petty thug.
    • Invoked when Jessica finally confesses to stealing from the collection plate, though the reason has more to do with her disgust at Reverend Lovejoy's willful blindness than it does with any remorse for letting Bart take the blame.
  • Evil Counterpart: While Bart is openly a troublemaker, he also has moments of sympathy and morality. Jessica, however, hides behind an image of being the pure-hearted Reverend's daughter, while acting in ways that horrify even Bart.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Bart discovers to his shock that Jessica is even worse than he is. She even frames him for stealing from the church.
  • Exploding Calendar: The "crossing off days" variation is parodied. Bart resolves to avoid seeing Jessica for a while, and then he's seen marking several months' worth of days on his calendar. But then, of course, Marge comes in and tells him it's time for church - where Jessica will surely be.
  • Fille Fatale: Amongst boys smitten by her, Jessica falls right into the role of femme fatale, and isn't afraid to use it.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Bart's calendar for April shows 31 days (the month only has 30 days), while his calendar for May shows 30 days (the month has 31 days). Though it's entirely possible this wasn't deliberate but rather an animation/writing goof.
  • Freudian Excuse: Apparently the reason Jessica acts like a total bad girl is because she craves attention, due to her father not giving her any.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Lisa initially gives her brother's framer a chance to come clean on her own. When this is ignored, she grips the pulpit and yells to everyone that Jessica is the culprit. This honesty is what resolves the plot.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Bart was accused of stealing church money, Homer said he'd believe if Bart told him he didn't. Bart said he didn't and Homer not only refused to believe but also asked how Bart dared to lie. (Bart wasn't but, either way, Homer had just set a bad example by falsely claiming he'd believe Bart)
    • Marge doesn't want Bart to play with a Troll doll because it has "such bizarre hair".
    • Prior to that, Marge tells Bart he has to go to church "to learn morals and decency, and how to love your fellow man". Cut to Lovejoy reading a graphically violent passage. And before that, she and the other parents captured the kids and even had Bart and Lisa in metal collars on a chain.
  • Ignored Aesop: Enforced. The creators state that in Real Life, it is very difficult for a person to change their ways—Jessica never learns that misbehaving isn't a good way to live and her dad never learns to actually discipline her when she behaves badly. Zig-zagged with Bart. Jessica talks him into doing her punishment (cleaning the church stairs). While he only intends to do a second-rate job, he's still wasting his time doing this instead of just walking away.
  • Ignoring by Singing: Tim starts loudly singing church hymns to block out Jessica pouring her heart out over her true nature.
  • Ironic Echo:
    Lisa: (near the beginning) I just think you and Jessica are too different from each other to get along. She's a sweet, kind reverend's daughter, and you're the devil's cabana boy.
    Jessica: (after she has framed Bart for stealing) If you tell, no one will believe you. Remember, I'm the sweet, perfect minister's daughter, and you're just yellow trash!
  • Jerkass:
    • Skinner plants a trap that ends with Bart held at gunpoint by several people just so he can throw Bart in detention for three months while it's a weekend.
    • Jessica makes Bart look like a saint in comparison.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Every time Bart seems to think he's talked Jessica into changing her ways, she screws him over.
  • Kick the Dog: Jessica talks Bart into going up to the top of an impossibly steep hill, then shoves him down it.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Jessica's a very naughty girl who's around Bart's age.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded by Bart.
    Bart: Is it my hair? My overbite? The fact that I've worn the same clothes day in, day out for the last four years?
  • Little Sister Instinct: Lisa enforces this trope full on when she finds out the truth about the stolen collection plate.
    Bart: Give it up, Lis: she's a criminal mastermind. She's got 108 IQ, she reads at a 5th grade level, and...(sighs) her hair smells like red Fruit Loops.
    Lisa: Yeah? Well I eat Fruit Loops for breakfast.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Jessica uses her beauty to manipulate boys and uses timidity to manipulate adults and girls.
  • Medium Awareness: Much of the Simpson characters with yellow skin are often portrayed as Caucasian, but instead of White Trash, Jessica Lovejoy refers to Bart as Yellow Trash.
  • Motor Mouth: "Youstolemoneyfromthechurchcollectionplate!"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Skinner looks rather guilt-ridden as Groundskeeper Willie chastises him for "using" him in his "Scotchtoberfest" setup.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Jessica's 108 IQ (slightly above average) and reading at a fifth-grade level (not bad if she's in fourth, but hardly impressive) are treated as her being "a criminal mastermind." By Springfield standards, that seems very probable.
  • Not Me This Time: Everyone thinks Bart stole the money, but he's actually innocent. Not that anyone believes him besides Lisa and Marge.
  • One-Liner, Name... One-Liner: When Skinner reveals that “Scotchtoberfest” — which Groundskeeper Willie is celebrating in full Scottish regalia — isn’t a real holiday but rather a ruse to bait Bart into bad behavior, Willie is devastated and furiously shouts, “Ya used me, Skinner! Ya used me!”
  • Preacher's Kid: Jessica falls into the category of the rebellious troublemaker who pretends to be sweet and nice so that everyone thinks she's innocent and can do no wrong.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Bart laughs about sticking Jessica with a second-rate cleaning job of the church stairs. Of course, she's out having fun, while he's spending time scrubbing down stairs that don't even look particularly dirty to start with.
  • Rapid-Fire "But!": Bart visits the Lovejoy house to have dinner with Jessica. When Bart's crude language gets him thrown out, he stammers "But-But-But...", but Helen believes he's saying "butt" and covers her ears while shouting "Please, make him stop!"
  • Reality Ensues: Bart gets punched in the gut by Nelson for telling people he's dating Jessica, something she denies. Bart writhes on the ground for a few minutes, so Jessica kisses him on the cheek to get him moving. Bart gets back up...only to fall on the ground still writhing. Being belted in the stomach isn't something you walk away from instantly. According to the DVD commentary, the writers thought Bart still being in pain would be funnier than if he instantly started to leave with Jessica.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: The episode was originally rated PG (suitable for children, but only with parental supervision) by the BBFC when it came out on VHSnote , but now has a U (suitable for all audiences) rating uncut since 2005.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Tim Lovejoy blatantly refuses to believe that Jessica is anything but the perfect little Reverend's daughter, despite overwhelming proof and her directly telling him of all her crimes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The opening sequence of the kids running away from Church contains several references to Planet of the Apes, including a brief snippet of Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack.
    • Bart gets the full Hannibal Lecter restraints when he's being treated like a pariah by the rest of the churchgoers.
    • Bart announcing that he's going to strut and walking around to The Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive" playing is what happens at the end of the Saturday Night Fever sequel, Staying Alive.
  • Smug Snake: Jessica, fulll-bore. When Bart first accuses her of being too far with the wrongdoing, she tells him that as the Reverend's kid she will be believed and not him, and when Lisa tries to indirectly tell her in front of the other churchgoers to please tell the truth, she just smugly smiles back, which breaks Lisa's Rage Breaking Point.
    Lisa: Oh, what the hell, (points at Jessica) it was Jessica Lovejoy!
  • Special Guest: Meryl Streep as Jessica Lovejoy.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding:
    Marge: Have you noticed any change in Bart?
    Homer: New glasses?
    Marge: No, he looks like something might be disturbing him.
    Homer: Probably misses his old glasses.
  • Strict Parents Make Sneaky Kids: Subverted — it is eventually revealed that Reverend Lovejoy is an utter Jerkass of a parent that refuses to acknowledge Jessica as a regular human being that seeks attention and love. As a result, when Jessica recites her long criminal record in an attempt to draw his attention, he just places his hands over his ears and sing church songs so he won't hear her as he runs out of the room.
  • Troll: Among the things Jessica talks Bart into doing is eating ice-cream in front of overweight people exercising.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Bart hears angelic singing on his way to church. He assumes it's Jessica, but it turns out to be Ned Flanders.
    Bart: That's very disturbing.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    Skinner: (to Bart) There's no such thing as Scotchtoberfest.
    Willie: There's not? Ya used me, Skinner! YA USED ME!

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