Tooncrap #5 - Bart To The Future
Fail To The Chief
Written by: Raymond Gallant
The Simpsons is my favorite cartoon of all time. It's
the cartoon that has ingrained into my mind the most, where any
situation can call for the use of a perfectly timed Simpsons quote. But,
much like most fans of the series, we knew where it started to really
begin to degrade in quality much like Bart's stint as the "I Didn't Do
It" boy. The show was starting to woozle wuzzle well into its tenth
But for as bad as season 10 was, it was season 11 that really stunk. It
was the season that felt like the writers needed to shake the show up
with one awful character change after another. Remember how they thought
it was wise to take beloved town drunk Barney and make him a recovering
alcoholic? Or how they took happy-go-lucky Apu, and felt the need to
make his life miserable by making him the father of octuplets? And lest
we forget the killing off of everyone's favorite character Maude
Then there were infamously bad episodes like "Kill the Alligator and
Run", an episode that is almost universally hated. And there's also the
episode we're looking at for this month's induction. An episode that
Entertainment Weekly once listed as the worst episode of the Simpsons
(well up to that point at least). And that's Bart to the Future, which
is fitting, since we have some time travel themed inductions up this
month here at Game Show Garbage. So, what makes this episode so bad that
Entertainment Weekly had a cow, man? Let's find out as we review this
We open the episode as the Simpson family are headed to another random
camping trip, however since it's mosquito season, it may not be the best
time to visit Larva Lake. So, with nowhere else to go, the family stops
at a local Indian casino. The show uses a rare occasion to remember it
has some forms of continuity by having Marge remind Homer of her
gambling problem. And since Lisa won't shut the hell up about ethics,
it's only Bart and Homer going to the casino.
Since Bart is underage, he can't enter the casino either, and Homer
ditches him, while of course being as courteous and respectful to the
heritage of Native Americans. What? Shouting "Hi-how-are-ya!",
"Hi-how-are-ya!", "Hi-how-are-ya!" seems tamer than what they could have
gotten away with.
Back to Bart, who finds a way to sneak in, by stowing away in the trunk
belonging to the Great Gabbo, who ain't been looking so "great" since
his show got cancelled. However, Bart's attempt to score a Bloody Mary
is interrupted as he's quickly caught by security, and brought to the
casino owner. The owner predicts that if Bart continues his deceitful
ways, he'll have nothing but a life of hardship ahead of him. Since
being Native American, that means he's also a mystic, he shows Bart what
he'll be like 30 years into the future.
Hey, look at that, a future storyline that doesn't date itself. At least
it did something better than Lisa's Wedding. I'm still waiting for
England to save our asses in World War 3.
And we see that Bart's future is indeed bleak. He's a fat, unemployed,
failed musician who lives with Ralph Wiggum. And if that didn't sound
pathetic enough, Ralph is the one who actually has a job and pays the
rent. You know you've hit rock bottom when you're lower in the totem
pole than the kid who couldn't go to the deep end of the sandbox.
Bart is also a massive moocher, constantly telling people that he'll get
them back when opportunity comes his way. Fat, lazy, unemployed, a major
moocher. Oh dear god, he's me! Bart and Ralph do get a business
opportunity to perform at Nelson's restaurant. We also learn that "Smell
you later" will replace the word goodbye in 30 years time.
Since Bart pawned his amp for a boogie board, he goes to mooch money off
of Homer and Marge, who are pretty tired of bailing him out of trouble,
wishing he would be more like Lisa. Lisa, who is PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
I get that this is supposed to be an over the top version of the future
and all, but really? We're just going to make Lisa president? Not that
it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility for her, but it also
seems like a really lazy thing to do as well. It's like the idea a
5-year old would come up with if they couldn't make her queen of all the
world. I can buy a lot of far fetched stuff in this cartoon, but I find
it hard to believe that a Simpson could ever be president.
Bart doesn't get any sympathy from his parents, and they kick him and
Ralph out, not before Bart tells Homer that he's changed, and he used to
be cool. This will be Bart's running joke pretty much. It's much like a
lot of post-season 10 jokes. Funny the first time around, but lack the
punch that the jokes of the "good old days" have.
So, their next route is to mooch from Ned Flanders, who for being the
show's Charlie Church that once led the perfect neighbor life, is now
blind from the after effects of laser surgery. He tries to tell Bart
that he'll never grow up if he keeps getting bailed out like this, to
which Bart just spouts gibberish that pretty much can be summed up with
"me bad want money now. Me burnout". He also gets Flanders' praise for
not outing Rod and Todd.
Ha. It's funny because it's plausible.
And guess what? Bart's a terrible musician too, who can only do ripped
off versions of Jimmy Buffet songs. He comes home to see that he's been
evicted as well. Things are looking bleak, so Bart puts a gun to his
head... And learns that he didn't win the lottery. Heh. We also can
actually advance the plot further now since Bart also learns that Lisa
will be moving into the white house, which means that being her no good
brother, he's free to mooch away.
Lisa is the first straight female president. However, despite being in
charge of the nation, it turns out America is suddenly broke. Are we
sure this is THIRTY years into the future? Bart eventually gets into the
white house, and tells Lisa that he's here to be her secretary of
"keeping it real". If you mean secretary of smelly mooch, then you're on
the money. This is of course, not something that Lisa needs.
At the dinner table, everyone's present. Even baby Maggie. Yeah, turns
out Maggie's daughter ends up looking just like her. Hence the joke that
falls flat. And since this, you know, VISION OF BART'S FUTURE, was too
thin to keep the focus on him for about 20 minutes, we learn that Homer
is on the hunt for Lincoln's gold, which is supposedly buried somewhere
in the white house. Lisa is already seeing the signs of Bart being a
nuisance as he uses her private helicopter to pick up Ralph. When she
chews out Bart, he tries the "you used to be cool" line again.
Since Lisa's also got the problem with having to try and bail out the
country, she needs to raise taxes. Though this will get people pretty
pissed if she straight up just calls it a tax raise. So, her assistant
Milhouse suggests a temporary refund adjustment as a great way to just
out and out lie. And she could have gotten away with it too.
If it weren't for this meddling moocher, who just full on blurts that
it's a tax hike, while trying to shill his awful tapes. This results in
Lisa getting incredibly low approval ratings over her plan. So, her next
course of action is to bring in the creditors to show America's past
generosity. However there is the problem of having Bart just screw
things up again, so Lisa gives him a special assignment at Camp David as
secretary of keeping it real.
But Bart soon learns the truth in a sort-of-shining parody, as the ghost
of Billy Carter tells him that he was sent to Camp David because he's an
embarrassment. Also, Marge and Homer finally find Lincoln's gold, which
is just a lazy metaphor. Well that was a payoff worth waiting for.
Back at the white house, Lisa is almost about to be bludgeoned by the
angry foreign creditors, when Bart comes in to bail her out, by telling
them that they totally sent the money out to them. This seems to work,
causing the creditors to be more easy going. So, the moral of the story
is that you can be the person running the country, and still suck at
your job, and only the wisdom of an unemployed failure can truly save
the day... or something like that.
Lisa asks Bart what she can do to possibly repay him, to which he simply
says "Legalize it". Makes sense, since the writers had to be high when
coming up with this episode. Oh, and Bart may have burned down the white
house with his stereo. Back in the present, Bart is even curious why the
vision of his future had a side plot with Lincoln's gold. But the
episode actually ends with Bart really not learning his lesson about not
letting his future go this route, which made the episode so worth it.
And that's Bart to the Future. This is one I haven't watched in a while,
and looking back on it now, it is a pretty bad episode. None of the
jokes are all that funny, the plot is really stupid, and despite being
an episode set in the future, they barely do much involving technology
and how the world has changed. There's very little, and none of it is
all that interesting. Lisa's Wedding had more fun with the idea of 15
years in the future, and it worked greater. It's just a shame they dated
the episode to represent 2010. But then again, who really thought we'd
be going into 2014 with The Simpsons on its 25th season?
It also doesn't help that the plot feels far fetched even for a story
set in the future. It feels really pulled out of its ass. Again, I can
believe that Bart's life doesn't turn out so well. You can only live by
the "underachiever and proud of it" mantra before it bites you in the
ass. But Lisa as president, even for a character with the genius of
Lisa, I think really felt like they couldn't find a better and more
creative way to use her. She could be someone in the government, hell, I
could even buy her as mayor or governor. But president really feels like
they couldn't think of anything that could work for a far funnier story.
And the signs that this episode was pulled out of the poop chute were
made more obvious with the shoehorned Lincoln's gold subplot. It was
barely a major part of the episode, and the outcome was forgettable with
no real interesting payoff. Other than the "rail-splitting, theater
going freak" line. That warranted a chuckle. One of very few this
episode really elicits.
But for the flaws within, is it the worst episode of all time? I don't
know, I've seen far worse. I'd even argue the episode "Kill the
Alligator and Run" from the same season is even worse considering its
horrid plot and lack of any great jokes. But this episode is still bad.
A sign that the writing was on the wall, instead of being in this
episode. It's awful, it's tooncrap, and it can eat my shorts.