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Recap / The Simpsons S 8 E 19 Grade School Confidential

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When Bart catches Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krapabbel kissing in a kiddie playhouse, the two bribe Bart into keeping their secret by making his permanent record Milhouse's, but when the stress becomes too much, Bart outs them and gets the two fired.

Tropes of this episode:

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  • Accidental Misnaming: Homer thought that Edna's last name was "Crandall" instead of "Krabappel".
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • 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' number.
  • 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.
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  • 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?"
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    • 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 shut that place down!"
  • 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.
  • Discriminate and Switch: This exchange with Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel as they hide out in Martin's playhouse:
    Skinner: (holding a miniature teapot) More tea, Edna?
    Krabappel: (holding another miniature teacup) What kind of little boy has a tea set?
    Skinner: (as he pours her 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
    Marge: Krabappel?
    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.
  • 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.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Martin 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").
  • Irony: Agnes collects pictures of cakes, yet she doesn't like cake because they it's too sweet for her.
  • 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: At Martin's party, Nelson's 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 adlibbed by Dan Castelleneta).
    • Marge has even fewer lines.
      "Krabappel?"
      "Oh my gosh!"
      "Homer, Bart's up there!"
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Averted. Originally, Lisa was going to directly participate in the Gossip Evolution, but the writers realized she wouldn't have misunderstood what was actually happening, so they had her say she was in the library and heard the story from Janey.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: 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.
  • 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.
  • Secret Keeper: Bart agrees to be this for Seymour and Edna in exchange for some perks, but they quickly take advantage of him.
  • Shown Their Work: Lisa is right when she points out to the Mathemagician that 7 goes 4 times in 28. She could have also added that 7 times 3 is 21, not 22 as he writes it on the blackboard... But hey, "magic seven"!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Teacher's Pet: Bart is forced into this until his limit is pushed.
  • 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.
  • 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 (while being recorded): So, once again, I've been had.

 
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Skinner and Krabappel's dance

When Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel share a dance in the romantically-lit cafeteria, the camera spins around them as they embrace.

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