Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bart Gets an F

Episode Number 7F03 (#214)
Created by Matt Groening; Developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Written by David M. Stern
Directed by David Silverman
Executive Producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Starring Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, and Harry Shearer
Special Guest Voice Marcia Wallace
Also starring Jo Ann Harris, Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor

The kids in Ms. Krabappel's class are giving book reports. Martin is giving his about The Old Man and the Sea and Ernest Hemingway essentially putting on a one-man show of the book. Bart is called up next and begins his report on Treasure Island. Bart clearly has not done his assignment and tries to fake his way through his assignment by describing the cover and reading the name of the author and publisher. Ms. Krabappel talks with Bart, telling him to straighten up and fly right so Bart does the only thing he can do. He fakes being sick, calls Milhouse, and gets the test answers from him. When Ms. Krabappel sees that Bart's test is even worse than Milhouse's exam, she calls Marge and Homer and Dr. Pryor to discuss Bart repeating the fourth grade. Bart swears that he will study and pass the next test but no one has faith in him.

Bart realizes that he is not going to pass by himself so he enlists the aid of Martin Prince to help him. In return, Bart teaches Martin how to be cooler. At first, it does work out but soon Martin is tempted away and abandons Bart to his own devices.

Bart prays that a miracle happens to cancel or postpone the test so that he can study more. Soon after Bart falls asleep, it starts snowing. School is canceled and as Bart runs outside, Lisa reminds him of the promise he made. Bart opts to stay inside and study which isn't easy for him. At school, Bart finishes the test and asks Ms. Krabappel to grade it. She does and he fails with a 59%. Bart begins crying saying that he tried his hardest and that failing is still the best he can do. Ms. Krabappel tries to cheer him up by saying that it's a high F but it doesn't help. Bart then mentions that he must feel like George Washington did when he surrendered Fort Necessity to the French. Surprised, Ms. Krabappel gives Bart an extra point for demonstrating applied knowledge thus passing the test and the fourth grade.

Random Observations
  • Martin titles his book report "An Afternoon With Ernest Hemingway."
  • Video game at the arcade that Bart plays: Escape From Grandma's House.
  • Homer makes Bart watch a gorilla movie marathon with him before bed where Homer really identifies with Gorilla the Conqueror.
  • When Bart goes to the nurse, she is picking tongue depressors off of the floor and putting them back into the jar.
  • Bart takes the test after getting the answers from Milhouse. Ms. Krabappel grades it immediately. "This test is worse than Milhouse's exam," she exclaims.
  • Dr. J. Loren Pryor talks with the Simpsons, Ms. Krabappel, and Principal Skinner about Bart and says that Bart is an "underachiever...and proud of it." Even the doctor's own diagnosis doesn't hold up because Dr. Pryor then states that Bart has a fear of failure which means that he's not proud of it. Bart even says so. A "fear of failure" is usually due to a kid not being smart enough but too shy or afraid to ask for help. Early Bart is capable but doesn't apply himself. While there may be some sort of learning disability, Bart just doesn't apply himself for the most part. I am glad that the writers and producers attempted to quell the assumption that Bart was an underachiever and proud of it, even if that's not why, according to James L. Brooks, they did this episode.
  • Martin (looking at Bart's desk): "No study area is complete without adequate plant life."
  • When school is canceled for the snow storm, even the utility companies are closed. That definitely doesn't happen. The city still needs water and power.