AKA: Springfield Elementary is bought out by a toy company that uses it for market research, culminating in the creation of Funzo...or the episode where Gary Coleman is a few prawns short of a galaxy.
The Setup: Bart breaks his "butt bone", putting him into a wheel chair which leads to the school bankrupting itself by attempting to become wheelchair-accessible.
Lisa: Principal Skinner, I though public schools were required to have access ramps for the disabled.
Skinner: Technically, ues, but the building costs would be astronomical.
Fat Tony: Did I hear the word "astronomical"? If so, my construction outfit "Valdezzo Brothers Olive Oil" is poised to help.
Skinner: No, no, no, no. We're not building anything.
Fat Tony: How can you say that when construction has already begun?
Skinner: How did those trucks get here so fast?!
Fat Tony: In order to avoid certain legal complications, the trucks are always rolling.
Skinner: This is a proud day. Now when people ask if we're in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1975, I can say we are closer than ever before!
Krusty: Well, folks, that's the end of Krusty's nondenominational holiday funfest. I want to thank my guests: Tea Leoni, Beck, the Dixie Chicks, ... and Patrick Ewing as the genie. So, have a merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, kwazy Kwanza, a tip-yop Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan. Now a word from *my* god: our sponsor.
Homer: So, who am I beating up?
Lisa: Nobody. You're just gonna break into everyone's house and steal their favorite toy.
Bart: Thus saving Christmas.
Homer: Now, let's see...this'll make three Christmases I saved versus eight I ruined...two were kind of a draw...
Bart: Just dump 'em in the fire, Dad.
Lisa: Yes, the madness ends here.
Homer: Ha! If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that.
Teebore's Take: Ostensibly a Christmas episode (though that doesn't really become clear until the third act; it did at least originally air in December) this is my favorite episode of the season so far. It's solid and consistent with funny bits throughout, a good use of guest stars (Tim Robbins as Jim, the toy company exec and Gary Coleman as himself-sorta), and a solid Bart/Lisa story with a dash of non-Jerk-ass Homer thrown in. Plus, it still finds time, amongst the gags, to satirize the frenzied Christmas shopping season in general and the Tickle-Me-Elmo craze and its ilk specifically.
The mob's breadstick wheelchair ramps and the subsequent closing of the school are pretty unrealistic, as is Funzo himself, who is far too advanced for a children's toy, as well as Homer's burglary of his neighbors, but coming in an otherwise funny and satirical episode, that zaniness doesn't seem as egregious.
After inadvertently causing Bart's accident, Homer is pretty quiet until the third act, when he shows up to help Bart and Lisa save Christmas.