- Catharsis Factor: Marge verbally tearing the citizens of Springfield a new one when their bullying goes too far.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: While the series was always sadistically funny with the whole town full of jerks, in this episode, all the characters excluding the family note are worse than usual, and thus absolutely unsympathetic.
- Funny Moments:
- Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney singing "Bart Stinks" to the tune of "Love Stinks" by the J. Geils Band.
- Lisa telling Bart that his rabbit died — because Homer buried it alive.
- Homer and Marge reminiscing about their wedding night, where they made out behind a billboard while a hobo watched them — who turns out to be the same one watching them now.
- Moe streaking during the baseball game.
- Homer trying to find a chair to rest on in the clothing store.
- After Bart's humiliation, Homer reads the sports section of the newspaper with the headline "SHAME!". He turns to the business section with the headline "Boy's Error Weakens Dollar".
- At the end when Bart finally gets the ball (after a whole night trying to do so) and the sun rises, the Large Ham Announcer has this to say:This glorious sunrise brought to you by God, the invisible giant you turn to when you're about to die.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- An earlier episode, "The Joy of Sect", shows Springfield being outright cruel towards a football team for losing a championship match, even going as far as to attack the players. This also leads to Fridge Horror where it's possible that, had Bart not attempted suicide, the entire town might've murdered him for the same reason as the football players.
- A later episode, Money BART, has Bart losing another game (because he tried to steal bases) and everybody (comparatively) being ok with that and Lisa giving Bart kudos. The fact that the focus of this latter episode was Lisa learning An Aesop of "win or lose, the important thing is to have fun" doesn't help, and some critics were quick to label it as yet another example of Lisa's Creator's Pet Double Standard moulding the plot.
- Heartwarming Moments: Despite this episode being hated for showing Springfield as cruel enough to drive a ten-year-old boy to suicide, the scene of Marge calling the town out for what they've done and arranging a new game to pick up Bart's shattered self-esteem is a bright spot in an otherwise pitch-black episode.
- Moral Event Horizon: LaBoot crosses the line when he starts to encourage the rest of the people to harass Bart into the Despair Event Horizon. And it is implied that other children were also attacked before with similar results, giving LaBoot a body count.
- Never Live It Down: While the citizens of Springfield did apologize to Bart and tried their best to make up for it, many fans see this as "too little, too late", especially since it took Bart 78 tries to actually get the ball and get his confidence back. They would never see them in the same light ever again, and some even wish that the titular characters would move out of Springfield for the sake of their safety, given Bart was at risk of being murdered until Marge snapped at the townsfolk.
- Nightmare Fuel: Just the fact that such a seemingly cheerful, quirky town like Springfield would do something so heinous as what they did to Bart alone counts as this, especially to a number of long-time Simpsons fans who saw the episode for the first time.
- To make matters even worse, this exist in real life. Now just throw Social Media into the mix.
- The Scrappy: Joe LaBoot's hypocrisy when he learns that he's speaking with Bart, and then is completely horrible towards him, has unsurprisingly gained him a large hatedom.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: As much as a lot of people loathe this episode, it does show that publicly shaming someone over something minor can have an adverse effect on their psychological being.
- Take That, Scrappy!: Abe booing Joe LaBoot, especially considering that LaBoot set off the latter half of the episode by driving Bart to tears.
- The Woobie: Bart. Normally, he'd be a Jerkass Woobie, but in this episode he doesn't do anything to deserve his treatment, except miss an easy fly ball.
YMMV / The Simpsons S18E18 "The Boys of Bummer"