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Recap / The Simpsons S 9 E 14 Das Bus

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Original air date: 2/15/1998 (produced in 1997)

Production code: 5F11

Springfield Elementary's Model U.N. participants (including Bart and Lisa) wind up stranded on an island when their bus goes off a bridge. Meanwhile, Homer tries to start an Internet company — even though he has no business plan, no computer, and no knowledge of the Internet.


  • Achievements in Ignorance: Despite possessing no knowledge on computers whatsoever, Homer somehow manages to get an ad for his business onto Comic Book Guy's computer regardless.
  • Actor Allusion: It is appropriate that Lisa should represent France in the UN Club as Yeardley Smith was born in Paris.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Despite Skinner butting heads with Bart very often, he is amused by how he starts his presentation on Libya.
    Skinner: OK, Libya. Exports.
    Bart: Yes, sir, you American pig!
    Skinner: (Chuckles) Nice touch.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Nelson: Kill the dorks!
    Lewis: Bash their butts!
    Sherri and Terri: Kick their shins!
  • Artificial Gill: Bart uses Milhouse's inhaler as one to dive into the sea and recover the snacks from the wrecked bus.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • As the school bus drives, we hear children singing "99 Bottles of Beer" very loudly, but when we cut inside, we see the kids are completely quiet and Otto is listening to it on his Walkman, in a tape called "Songs to Enrage Bus Drivers."
    Otto: Man, I don't know why I bought this stupid tape!
    (ejects tape, then throws it out the window)
    • Nelson takes Milhouse's glasses as a firestarter, as if to use them to focus the sun's rays. But then he proceeds to grab a rock and strike it against one of the lenses to make sparks, scratching the lens and bending the frames so badly that Milhouse can't see through them anymore.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Principal Skinner told Otto to be careful because he was being entrusted with the school's most important asset: the bus.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Nelson threatens Lisa to get to Milhouse, Bart immediately defends her.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: "Third notice... third notice... ooh, second notice (Homer drops the notice down a storm drain)..."
  • Class Trip: What was supposed to be a field trip to the Model U.N. Club ends in disaster.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Bill Gates' idea of "buying out" Homer is having his hired goons smash up his house. As Bill Gates points out, "I didn't get rich by writing lots of checks." (evil laugh).
  • Couch Gag: The Simpsons are frogs (with Maggie as a tadpole) jumping onto a lily pad. Homer uses his tongue to turn on the TV.
  • Credits Pushback: The Noah's Ark movie falls victim to this, even starting before the end credits.
    God: The key to salvation is—
    Kent Brockman: You've seen the movie, now meet a real life Noah! Only this one's been accused of killing two of every animal! Coming up next, on A.M. Springfield!
  • Culture Equals Costume: The students in the model UN Club wear costumes stereotypical of the nations they represent. Bart (Libya) wear a keffiyeh and Cool Shades, Lisa (France) has a striped shirt and a beret, Nelson (Japan) has a kimono and topknot, Ralph (Canada) wears a Mountie uniform, Lewis (USA) wears a cowboy outfit, etc.
  • Deus ex Machina: At the end of the episode, James Earl Jones, in a voiceover narration role, says that they were eventually saved by "...oh, let's say, Moe".
  • Dirty Coward: Milhouse forces Bart and Lisa to carry him when they are running from the others and when he swings over a gap, throws the vine down despite their pleas to throw it back and abandons them.
  • Epic Movie: The Noah's Ark movie, which is so long that it goes throughout the whole night and ends the following morning.
  • Especially Zoidberg: Used in Troy McClure's Noah's Ark movie, when God tells Noah to gather two of every animal:
    Noah: Even stink beetles?
    God: Especially stink beetles!
  • Exact Words: When Nelson says Milhouse's glasses will help to make a fire, it seems he'll use them to focus sun rays. He instead strikes a rock against them to make sparks.
  • Expy: Some characters assume similar roles to the major players in Lord of the Flies.
    • Bart is Ralph, as both assume the role of leadership.
    • Nelson is a stand-in for Jack. Both are violent antagonists who drive the children to savagery.
    • Lisa and Milhouse divide Piggy's role. Lisa is the voice of reason who tries to keep everyone civilized, while Milhouse is the physically-incapable Load and Scapegoat whose glasses are used to start a fire.
  • Eye Scream: When the kids race with fruit on the bus, a grapefruit gets stuck under the brake pedal and Otto presses down hard enough to crush it and send juice into his eyes, blinding him and causing him to drive the bus into the sea.
  • Foreshadowing: How quickly the kids resort to squabbling during the model UN meeting is indicative of how things will devolve among them once they get stranded on an island.
  • Gratuitous German: The episode title is a pun on Das Boot, but in German "Bus" is a masculine noun "das" a neutral article (thus "The Bus" properly translated is "Der Bus").
  • Historical In-Joke: As the kids begin fighting amongst themselves during the Model UN meeting, Skinner calls them to order by banging his shoe on the podium, a reference to Nikita Khrushchev doing so in 1960.
  • Honor Before Reason: The kids were all practically starving after their entire food supply got eaten by a wild boar. Lisa proclaims they’re saved when she saw that the boar lived off of licking slime mold from rocks and that they should do the same. A Smash Cut later, the boar is killed and cooked on a spit over a fire where the kids happily eat it. Lisa (mostly due to her vegetarianism) sullenly licks the slime mold despite it being unsanitary and that she’s starving.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Lisa is the only one who doesn't laugh at Skinner's boneing comment, prompting Bart to tell her to lighten up. When she laughs at Skinner telling Milhouse to do some serious boneing, Bart tells her to grow up.
    • Nelson tells the others not to blame each other for the situation, then says that it's all Milhouse's fault. He's not wrong, mind you.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Comic Book Guy hopes that Homer's business can provide "faster nudity".
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Ralph tries to eat some wild berries. He responds with "They taste like burning". Happens a lot to the poor kid.
  • Jerkass Ball: Milhouse is at the height of his cowardice and selfishness here. While he didn't eat all the food in the cooler, he still ate more than his fair share, proceeded to accuse his defense attorney (Lisa) of the crime he was accused of, and is a Dirty Coward who forces Bart and Lisa to help him and then leaves them behind to the angry mob. And let's not forget that his grapefruit was what caused the situation to happen in the first place!
  • Just Eat Gilligan: When Lisa shows the starving kids the boar they encounter sustains itself on the slime found on the island's rocks, she attempts to convince them they can do the same to survive. The children, having had enough of keeping their hunger at bay with very few food rations, fittingly kill the boar and roast it to eat its meat rather than licking unsavory stuff.
  • Kent Brockman News: After the family watches a ridiculously protracted epic film about Noah's Ark, Kent decides to do a little Credits Pushback — and does it before the credits even start:
    God: The key to salvation is—
    Kent: You've seen the movie — now meet a real-life Noah! Only this Noah has been accused of killing two of every animal! Coming up next, on A.M. Springfield!
  • Kids' Wilderness Epic: Deconstructed. Similar to Lord of the Flies, it shows that trapping a bunch of kids alone on a deserted island is more likely to lead to incompetence, boredom, and a slow, agonizing madness/distrust than quirky misadventures.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: Bart and Lisa clearly don't enjoy helping an ungrateful Milhouse but at no point do they stop.
  • Last-Minute Project: Bart's report for the Model U.N. Club.
    Bart: Uh, ahem, let's see... (shuffling blank papers) The exports of Libya are numerous in amount. One thing they export is corn. (Skinner raises eyebrow) Or, as the Indians call it, "maize". Another famous Indian was Crazy Horse. In conclusion, Libya is a land of contrast. Thank you.
  • Lighter and Softer: Not only is the episode far more comedic than the book it's referencing, but the ending is considerably more positive. The kids find out Milhouse was correct about the monster before they kill anyone and that he wasn't (entirely) responsible for eating all the food. They're then able to live together peacefully after killing the boar and eating it, and the narrator assures us that they were eventually rescued by "oh, let's say, Moe."
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: A tiny fish avenges itself after Bart laughs at it by biting a hole in the seat of his swim trunks when he turned around (in effect, "eating his shorts").
  • The Millstone: All things considered, Milhouse causes nothing but trouble in this episode. He threw the grapefruit that caused Otto to crash the bus and strand everyone on the island, forced Bart and Lisa to carry him while they were being chased by the angry mob, and still left them to die after they did everything they could to protect him. And while he was right about the monster stealing all the food, he still ate some behind everyone's backs when it needed to be rationed.
  • Never My Fault: Sherri/Terri blames Lisa for the disaster, as she started the U.N. Club. Lisa responds by passing the blame to Martin for seconding the suggestion.
  • No Ending: Lampshaded when narrator James Earl Jones says that the kids were eventually rescued by "Oh... let's say Moe". Justified, in that Lord of the Flies has a similar anticlimatic ending. All of the kids are however back in Springfield by the next episode without any explanation.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Parodied during the chase scene, in which Milhouse falls behind while he, Bart and Lisa are being pursued by the other kids.
    Milhouse: I can't go on, you two go ahead... and carry me with you!
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • Milhouse doesn't even admit he picked part of the food and when Lisa asks him if she could see someone else who could he points to Lisa, who has to explain she is his defense attorney and he might want to not shun her away for no reason.
    • Milhouse denies eating everything in the cooler, but Nelson picks up the scent of nacho cheese on his breath. Only when the boar is revealed as the true culprit does Milhouse admit he ate some sandwiches and a bag of Doritos.
  • Obligatory Swearing:
    • Bart says their adventure could be "just like The Swiss Family Robinson, but with more cursing," adding "We'll be living like kings! Damn hell ass kings!"
    • Bart complains about being hungry by saying his "tummy" hurts. Under the threat of Nelson punching him, Bart corrects it to "stomach", then "gut", then "crap factory".
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As the narrator mentions during the ending, Moe would eventually rescue the kids from the island. Of course, since this is a reference to Lord of the Flies' infamously lackluster ending, we don't get any details on how that went down.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Sherri defends her (and Terri's) nemesis Lisa when Bart knocks Lisa during the Model UN Conference, but even as it's an equivalent of if Nelson defended Bart (though Nelson stayed in character in this scene), it was probably done for the sake of starting a fight with everybody. Curiously, later when the Springfield kids are stranded on an island, Sherri blames Lisa for the crash, but Nelson blames Milhouse, who rolled a grapefruit on the bus floor, which accidentally jammed the brake pedal, causing the bus to crash.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Bart of all people shows a surprising amount of clemency as the de facto leader of the children, giving Milhouse a fair trial and finding him not guilty due to lack of incriminating evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, despite the fact that even he believed Milhouse ate all the food. It's deconstructed of course, as his rational authority alone isn't able to quell the angry mob that ensues.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why on earth would Otto (a bus driver) buy a tape called "Songs to Enrage Bus Drivers"?
  • Saved to Enslave: Otto, after being swept away from his sinking bus by a current, is eventually picked up a Chinese fishing boat. As he celebrates his rescue, the fishermen aboard have this conversation in Cantonese:
    Fisherman #1: Do we need another slave laborer in the cannery?
    Fisherman #2: You can never have too many slave laborers.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: When the kids chase Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse into a cave, Lisa tries to stop them by saying they're violating the Model UN Charter. The kids stop which actually surprises Lisa, she proceeds to give a speech until Nelson points out the "monster" behind them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title plays on Das Boot.
    • Bart represents Libya and wears Cool Shades, much like Muammar Gaddafi.
    • Bart tries to convince the children to build a group of treehouses while they are on the island, just like in Swiss Family Robinson. Naturally reality is not as fun as in this movie.
    • Ralph's facepaint resembles KISS drummer Peter Criss' makeup.
    • After the kids escape the sinking bus, they watch it sink vertically into the water similar to the climax of Titanic where the titular ship sinks in a similar fashion.
  • Slow-Loading Internet Image: Comic Book Guy attempting to view a naked picture of Captain Janeway provides the trope image.
  • Smash Cut: After finding out that the boar feeds by licking slime molds off of rocks, Lisa proclaims that they now have a food source, and thus are saved. The scene then cuts to the boar being spit-roasted, the other kids finally getting a decent meal, while Lisa sullenly licks slime off a rock.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Marge responds to Homer telling her about his internet business the same way Homer responded to Flanders telling him about his ("Internet, eh?")
  • Take That!:
    • "I'm so hungry I could eat at Arby's!"
      Lisa: Oh my gosh!
      Nelson: That is hungry.
      Lisa: Really hungry!
    • As Springfield Elementary's Model UN is fighting, Skinner says this:
      Skinner: Children! Do you want to be like the real U.N., or do you just wanna squabble and waste time?
    • The portrayal of Bill Gates and how he buys people out. According to the DVD commentary, the people at Microsoft were not happy.
  • Technobabble: An interesting example: While Comic Book Guy's request to Homer obviously goes over his head, it's actually clear, logical, and transparent to a trained networking engineer.
    Comic Book Guy: I'm interested in upgrading my 28.8 kbps internet connection to a 1.5 Mbps fiber-optic T-1 line. Will you be able to provide an IP router that's compatible with my token ring ethernet LAN configuration?Translation 
    Homer: [has no idea what was just said] Can I have some money now?
  • There Is No God: After having watched a Bible movie, Homer calls God "his favorite fictional character."
  • Time Marches On: Bart represents Libya during UN class and wears the same Cool Shades and showcases the same anti-American attitude as their former leader Muammar Gaddafi. Needless to say that this segment is less comprehensible since Gaddafi was ousted from power in 2011.
  • Treehouse of Fun: The kids imagine living in one while stranded on the island. When Bart and Nelson attempt to actually build it, however, the result is described by Milhouse as "kinda really crummy". Bart, in the tree's defense, says, "When Monsoon Season comes, you'll be glad it's there." The treehouse promptly collapses.
  • Trouble Entendre: "Buy him out, boys!"
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The bus crashed because Milhouse rolled the grapefruit to the front of the bus and under the brakes, causing its juice to blind Otto.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last we see of Otto is that he's taken aboard a Chinese boat where the sailors intend on using him for slave labor. According to the audio commentary, the episode originally just showed Otto being carried away by the current. The writers admitted that that would have actually been less cruel than the final version.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Lord of the Flies.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When the entire class gets stranded on an island, Bart is convinced that this is a castaway story like The Swiss Family Robinson. Sadly for him, they're actually in Lord of the Flies which isn't like that.note 
  • You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses: Invoked by Milhouse. Nelson's response? "Yoink!"
    Milhouse: [completely terrified] Well... now that you've got everything you need, I'll just, y'know, get out of your hair...
  • Your Television Hates You: A Credits Pushback happened just before "the key to salvation" was revealed.