Sunday, April 05, 2020

Bart Gets Hit By a Car

Wait. Hold on. What's the title of this episode again?
Oh! Thank you, random title screen.

Episode 7F10 (#23)
Created by Matt Groening; Developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Written by John Swarzwelder
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Executive Producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Starring Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer
Guest Starring Hank Azaria, Doris Grau
Special Guest Star Phil Hartman

Bart is skateboarding through the streets and sidewalks of Springfield when he approaches an intersection and is promptly hit by a car. Whether a dream or reality, Bart is sent up the golden escalator to Heaven.

Despite a Heavenly Voice telling Bart not to spit over the side, Bart does it anyway and is immediately sent to Hell. Due to a clerical error, Bart isn't scheduled to die until the Yankees win the pennant and is sent back into the living. He awakes in the hospital surrounded by his family and lawyer, Lionel Hutz. Hutz gives Homer his business card (which is also a sponge if you get it wet!) and leaves. The next day at work, Mr. Burns offers Homer $100 to sign away any legal right to sue Mr. Burns for hitting his child. Homer casually mentions that $100 won't cover Bart's medical bills which sends Burns into a rage screaming about extortion. Homer then decides to call Lionel Hutz.
"You can ching-ching-ching cash in on this tragedy!"
Hutz promises to get Homer a million dollars (50% of which Hutz will take) from Mr. Burns who so carelessly targeted and ran down the little boy. Hutz brings in Dr. Nick Riviera to look Bart over again and come to the conclusion that instead of a bump on the head and a broken toe, Bart now has whiplash head and facial trauma. He wraps Bart in bandages, gives him a wheelchair, and the trial is a go.

The first day doesn't go very well for Mr. Burns. Bart's testimony of an evil Mr. Burns targeting and running down Bart while he's trapped against a wrought iron fence doesn't sit well with the jury. Mr. Burns' testimony of his sanctimonious excursion to deliver toys to an orphanage brought to a premature end as Bart kept skating right toward Mr. Burns no matter which direction Burns steered just cemented the jurors' hatred for this 104-year-old man. Burns and his lawyers decide to offer the Simpsons a settlement of $500,000 which Homer turns down because Homer knows that Burns knows that he's going to lose the case. Marge tries to get Homer to take the money and mentions shifty lawyers and phony doctors. Unbeknownst to them, Burns and Smithers have been listening to them and now have a plan of action. They cancel the offer and release the hounds.

The next day, the Blue-Haired Lawyer calls Marge to the stand. When questioned, Marge tells the truth and nothing but the truth. Now out $1,000,000 dollars, and whatever the Lionel Hutz's fee was because, as we'll learn in later episodes he does not work on contingency (Money down!), Homer is looking at his wife a bit differently. After dinner, Homer goes to Moe's and is followed by Marge. Homer reveals that he's not upset about the money but that his wife didn't stand by him. Marge wants him to look her in the eyes and say that he doesn't love her anymore. Homer does and realizes that he can't do it. He loves Marge more than ever and everyone in Moe's celebrates with 1/3 off pitchers of domestic beer.

Random Observations
  • Bart, looking down at his body: "Hey, cool. I'm dead."
  • This is the first episode where Mr. Burns is genuinely evil and not just a curmudgeon. He would continue to be evil for the rest of the series although some would argue he went from being evil to cartoonish supervillain.
  • This is the first episode to guest star Phil Hartman. At the time, Hartman was on Saturday Night Live. In this episode, Hartman voices Lionel Hutz and the Heavenly Voice. Hartman would become one of the most-used guest voices. Sadly, Hartman died in 1998 in a tragic murder-suicide.
  • This episode also debuts the voice of Doris Grau. Grau, the script supervisor for the series, would go on to voice Lunchlady Doris. Grau would go on to voice Doris on The Critic. Grau would pass away in 1995 of respiratory failure.
  • "I'm the Devil!" is a great read by Harry Shearer.
  • The Devil tells Bart that he's not due to die until the Yankees win the pennant. The Yankees would win in 1996 and win again six more times over the next 24 years.
  • Homer to Lionel Hutz: "Yeah, who are you? I saw you chasing Bart's ambulance."
  • Lisa: "Mr. Hutz, are you a shyster?"
    Hutz: "How does a nice little girl like you know a big word like that?"
  • Dr. Hibbert touches Bart's bump and broken toe causing Bart to say "Ow, quit it" just like in the Christmas special.
  • Mr. Burns offers Homer $100 so he doesn't sue. Burns explodes when Homer mentions the medical bills. Homer has a point and it's a shame he was led to use shifty lawyers and fake doctors when he truly had a case against Mr. Burns. But then, I guess, we wouldn't have an episode.
  • Lionel Hutz makes his secretary give him fake phone messages to impress clients. "The Supreme Court called..."
  • Dr. Nick: "And this smudge here, that looks like my fingerprint, it's trauma!"

  • Mr. Burns thinks about the newspaper headlines if he fired Homer after running over Bart:
    "Burns fires ungrateful employee"
    "Another smart move by Burns"
    "Hooray for Burns!"

  • Hutz: "Now let's pretend you're on the witness stand. How are you, Bart?"
    Bart: "Fine."
    Hutz: "Oh, fine. Isn't that nice? Bart says he's fine. WRONG! YOU ARE NOT FINE! YOU ARE IN CONSTANT PAIN!"
    Bart: "I am in constant pain."
  • Mr Burns, in court after his lawyer mentions how rich and powerful he is: "I should be able to run over as many kids as I want!"
  • Judge Snyder: "You wouldn't lie to the United States, would you, Bart?"

  • No. NO!

  • "Take me! I'm old!"
  • Homer and Marge definitely should've taken the $500,000.
  • Marge tells the truth. It does not go well for Homer and Lionel Hutz.
  • While the writer's have Homer say it's not about the money, Homer is upset that his wife blew his one chance. While this is a decent argument (my wife should stand by me) it still goes back to losing out on the money.
  • I believe this is the first episode that really stuck out to me. Maybe because it's Bart-heavy and I was eight-years-old at the time this aired but this episode always stuck out to me as one of the best shows of the first couple of seasons. It has that Simpsons humor but also Simpson heart in equal doses.