“I can’t believe ‘smell you later’ replaced good-bye.” – Bart. I get it! The episode explained the joke to me, so I get it! Sharp writing, guys!
Airdate: March 19th, 2000
Written By: Dan Kearney.
Plot: Bart gets caught sneaking into a Native American Casino. As punishment, he is forced to look into the future by the manager. In said future, Bart is a complete loser, drinking copious amounts of beer, writing terrible music with his roommate Ralph, and mooching to make his next payment. In contrast, Lisa has made a meteoric rise to be America’s first straight female President, although her predicament involves trying to fix a massive deficit. Unfortunately for her, Bart decides to move in with her…
Talk about messing with my mind here. In the thus-far dismal Season 11 of The Simpsons, I would argue that “Pygmoelian” is a contender for the best episode of the season. Even with the limited competition, it stands out in terms of having a coherent plot, interesting character development, and zaniness kept to a relative minimum. Even the faults within didn’t distract from the relative stability and comedy found within. Ultimately, if I had to pick 10 post-Season 10 Simpsons episodes to watch (a sort of “modern classics”), this would likely make the cut.
So, how’s about following up on that with one of the show’s more infamous episodes?
Not because of the apparent moment of precognition (which I’ll get to in the Tidbits), but because even the critics didn’t really like this episode. In 2003, Entertainment Weekly listed this as the worst episode of the entire series (albeit with the “relative” qualifier), with the Toronto Star‘s Ben Rayner and the Winnipeg Free Press‘s Randall King concurring. Most of the critique comes in comparison to “Lisa’s Wedding”, cited as one of the most beautiful and brilliant episodes of the entire series (which, given the brilliance of Seasons 2-8, is something).
And yes, let’s just get this out of the way – “Lisa’s Wedding” is a better episode. That’s more because, yes, “Lisa’s Wedding” is an absolutely brilliant and inventive episode, one that even makes me tear up at times. So even here, this episode had to live up to quite a tall order.
Cut a long story short, they didn’t even try, “Bart to the Future” sucks.