Original air date: 4/6/1997 (produced in 1996)
Production code: 4F09
This episode features the blossoming romance between Seymour Skinner and Edna Krabappel in spite of school rules forbidding relationships among faculty. As Bart catches wind of the fling, both use him as an emissary to keep the secret, but Bart eventually gets so fed up he decides to expose the affair, putting Skinner's and Krabappel's careers in jeopardy.
Plot SummaryIt's another dreary day at Springfield Elementary, where things have gotten to a point Mrs. Krabappel has a stash of firecrackers to wake the kids up after everyone dozes off as Principal Skinner reads the morning announcements. Then, Martin Prince approaches the opportunity to invite his classmates to his birthday party on Saturday, much to their disinterest. They do go eventually, even Bart and Milhouse, if just to escape from a even drearier pretend space trip with Homer. In all honesty though, the party turns out not to be too festive at all, featuring among other things, a "mathemagician" who seemingly doesn't know much about numbers. Meanwhile, Edna and Seymour also attend the event, but they are forced to hide in Martin's tea house as Mrs. Skinner invites herself to the party (as she and Seymour live next to the Prince family).
If the dullness wasn't enough, Martin's mom decides to serve oysters instead of a birthday cake, and almost all of the kids get sick, except for Bart and Lisa (who, in spite of being a vegetarian, pretends to have food poisoning anyway to get out). At the same time, Skinner and Krabappel discuss how they spend their weekends and realize their lives are pretty much boring to the point a mutual attraction quickly develops between them, leading them to kiss while Bart looks. He then tells about it at school during lunch on Monday, which leads to him being summoned to the Principal's office. There, Seymour and Edna explain the situation, including that their jobs could be at risk if Bart ever tattled on them as a conflict of interest could arise, so they decide to buy his silence by tampering with the school records.
Soon, Skinner and Krabappel adopt cooler dispositions while they begin to use Bart to keep their romance away from public knowledge, including making him spend time with Mrs. Skinner, who keeps a scrapbook of old magazine clippings of cake recipes (in spite of her not liking cakes), or having him go to the midnight matinee so Superintendent Chalmers could believe they were having a field trip instead of a date. However, one day Skinner makes Bart say "I love you" to Mrs. K. in front of the entire class, leaving him obviously humiliated. But when even Martin taunts him, he decides enough is enough and leads the entire school to the janitor closet, where they find Seymour and Edna making out.
After school, the children all talk about the tryst between Skinner and Krabappel (or "Crandall", as Homer had always thought), with differing details. However, Ralph tells Chief Wiggum they were "making babies", which leads to a phone call to Superintendent Chalmers, who angrily storms into Seymour's office first thing in the morning, telling him to either break up his affair with Edna, or both losing their jobs. They choose the second option, much to Bart's dismay, who decides to lock himself with them after school, attracting media attention by telling Kent Brockman a giant octopus is at the roof.
There is no octopus of course, but the lock-down attracts the town's attention, with Chalmers urging the three to drop the stunt and resorting to using lights and soft music for the two lovers, but they refuse to budge, up to and including Skinner passing frankfurters for dynamite sticks before insisting on making the townspeople decide on the matter. The indignant Springfieldians claim he and Krabappel had carnal relations, to which he confesses he's still a virgin. After being exonarated by the astounded populace, Seymour and Edna thank Bart for his help, and after apologizing for the inconveniences they tell him they'll drop their affair because of the furore. This turns out to be a lie however, as they return to the janitor's closet as soon Bart leaves.
"Grade School Confidential" contains examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: Homer thought that Edna's last name was "Crandall" instead of "Krabappel".
- When Homer borrows the bullhorn, it seems he's going to lecture Bart. He instead asks about his remote control.
- Chief Wiggum picks up the phone and asks someone named Sarah to get him Superintendent Chalmers, implying that she is the operator. It turns out Sarah is actually his wife, who is sitting right next to him and helpfully dials Chalmers's number.
- At Martin's birthday party, Milhouse is blindfolded playing a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. And Bart is coaching him; and it looks like Bart is about to trick him into pinning the tail on a nearby cactus. Then Milhouse gets queasy...
- The Bore:
- More evidence of it with Skinner's secret messages — which are full of incredibly lame puns that he can't stop himself from explaining.
- The Prince family's ideas of what makes a birthday party fun are so horrendously bland that Lisa (who is one of the few who could appreciate the educational appeal in some aspects) and Ralph (who is usually too dumb to care) are bored to tears (literally, in Ralph's case) and Lisa even pretends to have food poisoning so she can get the hell away.
- Homer's attempts at Incredibly Lame Fun with Bart and Milhouse.
- Butt-Monkey: As part of their deal with Bart, Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel alter the student files so that Milhouse inherits Bart's permanent record. This will bar him from all but the "hottest and noisiest" jobs.
- Chirping Crickets: When Skinner chokes in his denial that he and Edna had relations in the closet.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Homer fails to pay attention three times:
- When Lisa tells her parents about Krabappel and Skinner's affair, Homer fixates on how he'd been calling her "Crandall" instead of her actual name. He becomes intensely upset over this mistake, and he never pays the affair any mind.
- During Bart's protest, Homer uses a bullhorn to call out to Bart... to ask Bart where the remote is instead of scolding him for his troublemaking.
- After Seymour dispels the crowd's fury by revealing that he's a virgin, Homer wonders aloud if Krabappel is a virgin, too.Krabappel: [offscreen] HAH!
- The cafeteria worker thinks that Skinner praised the gravy, but he actually said "Good gravy!" to express shock.
- Ralph's accurate, but garbled retelling of events elicits a confused response from Chief Wiggum: "A baby looked at you?"
- The police try using music to discourage Skinner and Edna... only instead of unpleasant music, they choose a gentle love song which the two dance to.
- During the protest, Maude describes her concerns about the affair, and she prudishly spells out "sex" and "children" letter by letter. Krusty misunderstands what she's saying and nearly ruins her attempt at subtlety:"Sex Cauldron?! I thought they closed that place down!"
- Homer fails to pay attention three times:
- Continuity Nod: Krusty's "Sex Cauldron" remark — which he derived from Maude's spellings of "Sex" and "Children" — draws attention to his illiteracy, which was established way back in "Krusty gets Busted." It seems he has improved since then, if only somewhat.
- Bart remembers that Lisa became a vegetarian when she comes down with oyster-induced food poisoning. Lisa responds that she's faking it; she just wanted to leave Martin's party.
- Convenient Slow Dance: The cops play "Embraceable You" to try to get the protesting couple out of the school. On managing to successfully upset only Bart, they ramp it up by cutting power to the whole building and shining a spotlight on the window of the cafeteria, creating disco-style lighting when it goes through a hanging colander.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Wiggum decides to torture the protesting Edna, Seymour and Bart out of the school with music, but chooses to strike up the world's most Convenient Slow Dance. Edna and Seymour, naturally, love this, with the result that it darn near works on Bart after all.
- Couch Gag: Clear blue bubble versions of the family float into the living room, land on the couch, and pop.
- A Day in the Limelight: Principal Skinner and Mrs Krabapple are the main characters of this episode, Bart is involved in the story as their Secret-Keeper but the rest of the family are all Out of Focus.
- Did They or Didn't They?: The episode initially hints that Seymour and Edna are sleeping together, with a candle burning all the way down during the time he's at her apartment and Seymour in a notably cheery mood the next day. By the end, Seymour counters the rumor that they were having sex at school with a public admission that he's a virgin. Whether he's telling the truth is debatable, but it's likely that they didn't, as rumored, have sex in the janitor's closet...at least not at the time when Bart and the other students caught them (by the time the rumor got to Lisa they'd been found naked, when in fact they'd been kissing fully-clothed).
- Discriminate and Switch: During Martin's birthday party, Skinner and Krabappel enjoy using his tea set while hiding within his playhouse. Their conversation seems to be setting itself up to deride Martin for owning the set, but it goes in the opposite direction:[Skinner and Edna privately enjoy tea in Martin's cramped playhouse.]
Skinner: More tea, Edna?
Krabappel: What kind of little boy has a tea set?
Skinner: [as he pours her some more tea] Heh, I think we both know the answer to that... A lucky boy!
- The Dog Bites Back: Bart is used by Seymour and Edna to keep their relationship secret and humiliate him in front of his class. He immediately exposes their relationship after he's humiliated.
- Embarrassing Cover Up: In reaction to the rumor that he and Edna were having Sex at Work, Seymour informs the town that he's a virgin. Obviously, no one would lie about being a virgin at age 44...would they?
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Lisa, a hard-core zealot of educational fun (Depending on the Writer), can't stomach the immense nerdity and blandness of Martin's party and pretends to be one of the kids suffering food poisoning so she'll have a reason to get the hell out of there.
- Bart Simpson has some pretty good dirt on both of the people on the school that are pretty much his sworn enemies, and Skinner makes it clear that if he keeps quiet he will obtain some good perks. He exposes their affair because he gets fed up with being used as a middle man for their secret messages and being embarrassed as a result. Even then, when Skinner loses his job, Bart shows further standards by insisting on doing something for himself instead of by someone else's orders and helping Skinner and Krabappel negotiate their reinstatement.
- Mrs. Krabappel might be boring and behind the times, but even she's baffled by Martin having a tea set.
- Extreme Doormat: Bart notes that Seymour has been this his entire life, always taking orders from others whether they were his army commanders, his mother, or Superintendent Chalmers. Seymour decides to finally stand up for himself...because a 10-year-old said he should.Seymour: I'm gonna do what Bart should have told me to do a long time ago!
- The Food Poisoning Incident: Everyone except for Bart, Lisa, Skinner, and Krabappel got sick from eating bad oysters at Martin Prince's birthday party (apparently, Martin's mom decided to serve oysters in lieu of a birthday cake). Bart didn't get sick because he fed his share of oysters to Martin's pet cat while Skinner and Krabappel didn't get sick because they were in Martin's pink playhouse at the time — when Bart questions how Lisa could've gotten sick (noting how she's a vegetarian and that oysters are technically meat), she explains that she simply wanted an excuse to leave without seeming rude.
- Friendly Enemies: Edna tries to invoke this with Bart by attempting to have a casual conversation with him at Martin's party, but he only gets weirded out. He does, however, come through for both Edna and Skinner when he saves their jobs.
- Gaslighting: Upon finding out that Bart saw them kiss, Skinner and Krabappel try to convince the boy that what he saw and heard never happened and he imagined the whole thing. Bart doesn’t believe them for a second, of course, and he even chastises them for not coming up with a better lie.
- George Jetson Job Security: Upon learning about the secret relationship, Superintendent Chalmers fires both Seymour and Edna. Pretty much acknowledged by Bart when he urges them to make a case for themselves, which they do successfully.
- Gossip Evolution: How Seymour and Edna get in trouble:Milhouse: ...and then Bart opened the door and Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel were kissing — and swearing!
Pahusacheta: Father! Uncle Apu! A teacher was in the closet with the principal and he had as many arms as Vishnu and they were all very busy.
Lisa: I was in the library at the time, but Janey told me that Principal Skinner and Bart's teacher, Mrs. — what's her name?
Lisa: Yeah, Krabappel. They were naked in the closet together.
Ralph: Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and the baby looked at me.
- Harmful to Minors: Thanks to Bart, a group of students catch Edna and Seymour kissing in a closet. While this isn't exactly appropriate, by the time Gossip Evolution has done its job most of the town believes that they actually witnessed a sexual act.
- Humiliation Conga: Bart gets forced into increasingly embarrassing activities: exchanging love notes, being dragged out of bed to cover for a movie date, having to look after Agnes, and a classroom declaration of love.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Agnes shows Bart her cake collection album, she agrees that Bart can take any picture he wants, only to stop Bart from taking the coconut cake picture, which we don't find out why she refused to let him have the picture, as the scene cuts to school immediately afterwards.
- Incredibly Lame Fun:
- Martin's family hired a mathematician with a magician gimmick rather than an actual magician to entertain his birthday party to the disappointment of the kids with the exception of Lisa (and then gets annoyed because the guy can't do his job right, handwaving his miscalculations as "magic").
- Homer's own attempt to entertain Bart and Milhouse consists of driving them around on a slow-moving lawnmower as a pretend space launch and doing a cheap impersonation of Richard Nixon.
- Irony: Agnes collects pictures of cakes, yet she doesn't like cake because it's too sweet for her.
- Jerkass Has a Point: As it turns out, the Moral Guardians of Springfield aren't concerned about the school faculty dating each other so much as with the rumor that a bunch of elementary-aged students actually caught them having sex at school.
- Kid Has a Point: Bart pretty much has to help Seymour and Edna, even showing them how to create a scene.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: After spectacularly failing in trying to reason with Bart to keep quiet about his and Edna's relationship, Skinner acknowledges he's beaten and negotiates a deal with Bart for his silence.Skinner: Bart, if life has taught me one lesson repeatedly, it's to know when I'm beaten. Let's talk deal!
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- Nelson delivers this on behalf of everyone who suffered from boredom and food poisoning at Martin's party by decking him.
- Nelson's own karma comes when the food poisoning from the oysters kicks in right after he punches Martin.
- Lonely Together: At the party, Skinner and Edna go over their plans for the weekend. Skinner would have spent his weekend setting out the following week's outfits, while Edna would have collected nightclub matchbooks... And neither party would be doing much else afterward. Suddenly, they recognize each other as kindred spirits in their loneliness, sparking a relationship that lasted well after this episode.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": It happens twice.
- First, the school when Bart opens the janitor's closet.
- Second when Seymour admits to being a virgin, which is enough of a shock that the townspeople back off completely. (The end of the episode strongly implies Skinner lied.)
- Mandatory Line:
- Homer doesn't really have much to do in this episode other than to play pretend with Bart and Milhouse, lament his mispronunciation of Mrs. Krabbappel's name ("I've been calling her Crandall!"), and ask Bart where the remote is (the latter of which was ad-libbed by Dan Castellaneta).
- Marge has even fewer lines."Krabappel?"
"Oh my gosh!"
"Homer, Bart's up there!"
- Megaphone Gag: Bart is barricaded inside Springfield Elementary with Skinner and Krabappel. After police fail to talk them down, Homer seizes the police bullhorn to address his son.Homer: [through bullhorn] BART, THIS IS YOUR FATHER. DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE REMOTE IS? I LOOKED ALL OVER THE HOUSE.
Bart: [yelling from the school's roof) Did you check your pocket?
[Homer finds the remote in his back pocket.]
Homer: [through bullhorn to Marge and Lisa] IT WAS... [He lowers bullhorn as they flinch.] ...it was in my pocket.
- My Beloved Smother: Agnes is seen spying on Skinner during Martin's party. Later on, Skinner and Edna have Bart distract her, because she wouldn't approve of Skinner dating.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Mathmagician is based on Bill Gates.
- Noodle Incident: When Maude mentions the rumor that Seymour and Edna were having "S-E-X" in front of the "C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N," Krusty says, "Sex Cauldron? I thought they closed that place down!"
- Nothing Personal: Chalmers tells Skinner and Krabappel that he personally wants to support their relationship, but as a public servant he's required to take action against them.Superintendent Chalmers: No one would like to celebrate your love more than I, but I'm a public servant, and not permitted to use my own judgment in any way.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Bart's stunned silence upon seeing Seymour and Edna making out.
- Apu's reaction to Pahusacheta's side of the story is a surprise "Wow."
- Only Sane Man: Chalmers is incredulous when Edna suggests taking their case to the townspeople.Chalmers: Oh, yeah, that'll be real productive. Who do you wanna talk to first, uh, the guy in the bumblebee suit or the one with the bone through his hair?
Sideshow Mel: My opinions are as valid as the next man's!
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Bart gets the attention of Kent Brockman's news station by calling them up and telling them there's an escaped octopus on the roof of the school building. Kent opens his report with "So once again, I've been had."
- Out of Focus:
- Homer doesn't have much of a role in this episode other than to play pretend with Bart and Milhouse, realize that he's been calling Mrs. Krabappel "Crandall", asking Bart were the remote is, and wondering if Mrs. Krabappel is also a virgin like Skinner.Edna: Ha!
- Marge only has eight words in three lines in this episode: "Krabappel", "Oh, my goodness" and "Homer, Bart's up there".
- Lisa only shows up in Martin's birthday party, and to participate in the Gossip Evolution regarding Skinner and Krabappel.
- Homer doesn't have much of a role in this episode other than to play pretend with Bart and Milhouse, realize that he's been calling Mrs. Krabappel "Crandall", asking Bart were the remote is, and wondering if Mrs. Krabappel is also a virgin like Skinner.
- Playing Sick: When kids get sick at Martin's party from eating oysters, Lisa (who, being a vegetarian, never ate any oysters) pretends to be sick just to be taken out of the party.
- Plot-Induced Illness: The kids getting food poisoning from improperly served oysters (which can contain parasites if not properly cooked).
- Rage Breaking Point: After they bribe him into silence about their relationship, Skinner and Krabappel start taking advantage of Bart, using him as a go-between for their lovey-dovey messages. Unfortunately for Bart, he's delivering these messages publicly — and because he's sworn to secrecy, everyone else thinks they are his words. He finally reaches a breaking point when Martin, of all people, taunts him over one such love declaration. Tired of being humiliated, Bart rallies everyone in the school and directs them to a janitor's closet, where Skinner and Krabappel are sharing an intimate moment. From that point forward, word quickly spreads around about the couple's affair.
- Reverse Psychology: Clumsily attempted by Wiggum after reading a book on "Police Psychology." It works as well as you'd expect.Wiggum: Fine. Stay in the school. We don't want you to come out!Bart: You got it!Wiggum: Damn!
- Riddle for the Ages: Why didn't Agnes want Bart to take the coconut cake picture?
- Rock Bottom: At Martin's birthday party, Seymour and Edna recognize how empty their lives are.Seymour: Is this how you imagined your life, Edna?
Edna: Well, yes, but then I was a very depressed child.
- The Scapegoat: Edna and Seymour present Bart his permanent record, which was a file as thick as a phone book, stating it will in the future keep him from getting all but the hottest and noisiest jobs. However, if he agrees to keep their relationship a secret from everyone else, they’ll let someone else “inherit his dreary wind-blown future”, to which they select Milhouse.
- Screw the Exchange, I Have Limits: Bart resorts to this despite the agreement to have his records exchanged with Milhouse.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Martin's party so so bad that even Lisa, one of the only children in Springfield who's as geeky as he is, fakes being sick from the oysters so she'll have an excuse to leave.
- Secret-Keeper: Bart agrees to be this for Seymour and Edna in exchange for some perks, but they quickly take advantage of him.
- Sex at Work: What the town thinks Edna and Seymour were doing in one of the janitorial closets at school.Ralph: Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and the baby looked at me!
- Shoddy Shindig: Martin's birthday party sucked so hard, the vacuum cleaner was jealous. Even ignoring the part where everyone got food poisoning, the simple fact that Martin’s parents thought it would be a good idea to serve oysters (fresh or not) instead of cake at a birthday party shows how out-of-touch they are, the rest of the party comprising of things that would be enjoyed by those far older than the intended demographic (an ice sculpture with fancy fruit bowls, which one would be more likely to find at an upscale soirée than a child's birthday) or just things that nobody would enjoy (the "entertainment" is just a guy in a wizard costume doing math calculations… incorrectly.) The party was so bad overall that even Lisa, the kid who might be most expected to enjoy the party, pretended to get food poisoning with everyone else (as a vegetarian, she didn't actually eat the oysters) just so she would have an excuse to leave.
- Shout-Out: The command Bart gives is a parody to the Star Trek phrase "Set Your Phasers to Stun".Bart: Okay, crew, set your faces to stunned.
- Sleep Cute: After staying at the school all night to protest their firing, Edna and Seymour fall asleep in chairs with their hands intertwined, while Bart sleeps near them on a pillow.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Martin Prince's birthday party winds up being the scene of Seymour and Edna's first kiss, which, critically, Bart witnesses.
- Smarter Than You Look: Bart isn't fooled by Seymour's attempt at a cover-up and knows it. Then again, Skinner is a really Bad Liar.
- Sore Loser: Ralph cries when he didn't pin the tail correctly to the donkey.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Edna, in particular, is implied to be this, admitting that her lonely life is exactly where she expected to end up, having been "a very depressed little girl".
- Status Quo Is God: Subverted. When it's all over, Seymour and Edna tell Bart they couldn't take the townspeople gawking at them constantly, so they're going to break up. After Bart leaves, though, Skinner remarks kids believe anything you tell them and heads to the nearest closet with Edna.
- Stunned Silence: The townspeople’s reaction to Skinner’s confession that he’s a virgin.
- Teachers Out of School: Bart is so weirded out to encounter Edna at Martin's party that he chickens out of attempting a normal conversation with her, even though she's quite amiable and reminds him that they're not at school.
- Teacher's Pet: Bart is forced into this until his limit is pushed.
- Unishment: Wiggum and his squad play "Embraceable You" in an effort to torture the three protesters out of the school building. Cue Dance of Romance between Seymour and Edna. Encouraged by the fact that Bart seems to be pretty upset, the police ramp things up by cutting the power to the building and shining a spotlight at the window.
- Virgin-Shaming: When Seymour says he's never slept with anyone let alone Edna, everyone gawks for a bit and then leaves them alone on the supposition that, as Chalmers puts it, nobody would lie about being a 44-year-old virgin.
- Waxing Lyrical: When Skinner's "bomb" turns out to be fake:Wiggum: Wait a minute, these are hot dogs! ARMOUR hot dogs!
Chalmers: What kind of man wears Armour hot dogs?!
- We Were Rehearsing a Play: Bart points out that Skinner could've gone with this excuse instead of saying Bart imagined the whole thing.
- With Friends Like These...: Bart has zero qualms about letting Seymour and Edna transfer his dismal student record to Milhouse. And earlier at Martin's party, he had no problem trying to guide him into a cactus plant during a game of pin the tail on the donkey.
- A Wizard Did It: The Mathemagician explains away a miscalculation by claiming the "seven" is magical.
- Worst News Judgement Ever: Bart manages to get Kent Brockman and the news crew to show up at the school by saying there's an escaped octopus on the roof. Brockman falls for it.Brockman: [live on-camera] So, once again, I've been had.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Bart motivates Skinner by telling Skinner all he's ever done is take orders his entire life and urges him to stand up for himself for once.