Monday, June 30, 2014
Retro Review: Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood
November 18, 1993
Or the One Where
Bart joins the Junior Campers and goes on a rafting trip with Homer.
After a bored Bart and Milhouse find twenty dollars, they go on an all-syrup-Super Squishee-bender that ends with Bart joining the Boy Scouts-esque Junior Campers in his sugar-induced stupor.
Ernest Borgnine guest stars in this episode as himself. The staff was reportedly a fan of his film work, and he agreed to the appearance because his grandchildren were big fans of the show.
Martin is seen playing a video game based on My Dinner with Andre, once again showing that Simpsons did it first.
The ending of the episode, in which Borgnine and the other campers are stalked by a shadowy figure, is a reference to the Friday the 13th films, something I never got until long after I first saw the episode, once I'd finally seen some of the Friday the 13th movies.
Homer: Oh, twenty dollars... I wanted a peanut!
Homer's Brain: Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts!
Homer: Explain how.
Homer's Brain: Money can be exchanged for goods and services.
Bart: OK, look: I made a terrible mistake. I wandered into a Junior Camper recruitment center, but what's done is done: I've made my bed, and now I've got to weasel out of it.
Marge: I know you think the Junior Campers are square and "uncool", but they also do a lot of neat things, like sing-alongs and flag ceremonies.
Homer: Marge, don't discourage the boy. Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals! ...except the weasels.
Bart: 'Don't do what Donny Don't does' ...they could have made this clearer.
Homer: Flanders! My socks feel dirty. Give me some water to wash them.
Flanders: Again? Homer, we have to ration the water carefully. It's our only hope!
Homer: Oh, pardon me, Mr. "Let's ration everything", but what d'you think we're floating on? Don't you know the poem, 'Water, water, everywhere, so let's all have a drink'?
This is another classic episode with a fantastic opening act, cramming in a ton of pop culture references and gags into the first ten minutes (plus an important economic lesson), as Bart and Milhouse engage in a sugar-fueled rampage of spending across Springfield, set to one of the show's greatest original song parodies ("Springfield, Springfield, it's a helluva town..."). After that we get a protacted send-up of the Boy Scouts (as a scout myself, I always appreciated this), as Bart is equally turned off by the inherit squareness of the organization but attracted to the opportunity to play with knives and set traps. Finally, the episode morphs into a Homer/Bart relationship story, as vestiges of future Jerk-Ass Homer emerge via his merciless mocking of Bart's scouting. In the end, Homer's jerk-ass-ness is salvaged when Homer's Krusty Burger map and nose for burgers saves the stranded raft (and because most of his jerky behavior is directed at Flanders), providing some redemption for his behavior before the end of the episode, an important element later episodes will all too often forget.
An all time great, just on the sheer volume of parodies, references and gags, supported by a strong Homer/Bart storyline.