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Thread: R&R Bart gets an "F"

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  1. #91
    Junior Camper GeniusEthanFoley's Avatar
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    May 2015

    I always used to be on the fence with this one, but grew to enjoy it more. Nowhere near favorite of Season 2 or anything like that, but they started to add more depth to the characters and things were coming together better following Season 1, so it was a solid season premiere with an emotional plot. Although I wouldn't recommend this one as a "haha" "Laugh out loud" kind of episode.

  2. #92
    Getting carried away on you Venomrabbit's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
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    Well, got nothing better to do so... season 2 episode 1! Seems like a good subject for a practice review!
    Like quite a few of the older episodes, this is one of those that are a little funny pacing wise. Funny in a good way but not “ha-ha” funny... what I mean is they feel like they have an awful lot going on in the episode but it doesn't feel rushed still. Maybe since the plot is more basic they could afford to cram more meat into it compared to the newer seasons.

    It's not a particularly jokey episode but I don't really think it needed to be especially when a lot of the interactions were allowed to feel more genuine and even heart-warming in return. I'm fine with sacrificing some jokes for storytelling, it builds a bit more character and makes them easier to empathise with as a result since they seem more human than comedy devices and therefore when they do get into certain situations in other episodes, it just makes it better.


    + My goodness, Martin. My god I miss his theatrics. Also it's always nice when Krabappel actually had nice things to say about the better students.
    + Bart's book report is as wonderfully awkward as expected from someone who never even bothered to read the book and something I'll get to later because it's a nice point on Bart's character.
    + Another nice Mrs K touch, she doesn't like Bart but is still quite concerned about his performance in school.
    + “I just want to have a beer while I'm caring!” and Bart's “paper”
    + Big gorilla night! It's not exactly something Bart's into but it's still a lovely moment of Homer trying to be a good dad. Honestly I forgot he used to be quite lovable.
    + More on this later but Sherri & Terri turning Bart's attempted trick around on him. Find a few fellow watchers' reactions to be a BIT strong, seeing as Bart was, again, trying to trick and cheat off them. And Martin being a condescending douche bag.
    + The TV and Homer's grumbling, one of the few funny moments in the episode.
    () So did Milhouse lie about the test too? Or was Bart just not listening.
    + Another nice genuine bit of interaction between Bart and Otto.
    +More Martin! Honestly this guy just steals the show.
    + Martin's bus equation. Again another funny moment. The following montage between him and Bart counts too! Even as a “cool” kid he's still very Martin, still using words like “fellows”
    () Not sure how to feel about the snow-day scene. It goes on for a while but it is brilliantly exaggerated and didn't go on for so long that it became grating. Hi Bob!
    + Bart's little daydream, his studying attempts being completely derailed by his poor attention span.
    + Damnit Martin, like I said he kinda steals the show.
    + Another thing to get back to in a bit, Bart's little break down.
    - Well I guess it couldn't be helped with so much going on in the episode but the end did feel a bit of an asspull, Bart somehow knowing an apparently difficult and obscure bit of history yet not enough to actually pass the test otherwise? Still, is kinda saved by a rather heart-warming conclusion and again, one of Mrs Krabappel's nicer moments.

    Okay I'll admit the minuses were nitpicking. I didn't really have a whole lot NOT to like about this one.
    Other talking points

    Bart's behaviour:
    Didn't really find anything wrong with this. Yeah maybe it's a bit odd to see him so concerned over studying but I could buy it, his motivation was clear enough: being afraid of the crippling humiliation of being held back a grade. It also plays into something I prefer to think about Bart: He's not DUMB so much as academically lazy. He's shown a fair bit of creativity and craftiness in the series but sitting still going through textbooks? Not his style. Maybe the crying at the end might have been overdone otherwise but honestly, I think it works since we at least saw his struggles starting from trying to get an easy answer out of the smart kids and then a desperate, sincere attempt to actually study against his own nature.

    Like I said, it's a lot of little things like in this episode that make characters more believable as people and coupled with his efforts, it is actually really upsetting when he still fails. I like this angle far better than how “The kids are all fight” tried to frame it in that he's just “Evil and dumb” that scene still bugs the hell outta me. Trying to measure Bart's intellect in school should probably be more comparable to trying to assess how smart an elephant is by its ability to climb a tree.

    Again, don't like the “bad for the sake of it/for the evulz” thing they like pushing either, Bart was a troublemaker before because it wasn't only a good way to cure school boredom but also cause it let him show off to the other kids for some easy attention and admiration. Yet when it comes to a lot of stuff in the modern episodes, he causes that much harm to the kids who oughta be his “audience” that there's no logical reason why everybody should completely hate his guts.

    Sherri & Terri:
    Yeah it's only a little scene but like in Homer's Odyssey, it's also a rather odd example of the problems that persisted in the classic era... but not for the scenes themselves. Rather an example showing that with a few characters, “Flanderisation” as tvtropes calls it, set in early. Since season 5 they'd been typecast as “those people that show up and make fun of other people” and since Sleeping With the Enemy they've more gone into just being plain mean and nasty which... you COULD say might've been their humiliation at the end of that episode just making them more outright hateful of others but since Nelson's dad is still missing in later episodes... negative continuity.

    It's odd since their first two or three appearances set them up as something more interesting: two girls who seem to work hard, are smart, sit all neatly with their hands on their laps and behave perfectly... except they're actually a pair of tricky troublemaking little shits whose favourite brand of mischief is tricking people into doing really dumb things or otherwise getting them into trouble while coming off smelling like roses, kinda like having it both ways. Like Nelson, they could have been potentially interesting rivals for Bart in a wildly different way but also like Nelson, that angle just kinda fell apart early on. Rivals with actual differing skills and specialities are much better than the edgy clone types and it's a shame neither Nelson nor the twins got all that much to work with from there. Hell, with the exception of “The Daughter Also Rises” they don't even try pulling any tricks on anyone anymore.
    Not a funny episode... and I think it didn't need to be. It had plenty of charm, a lot of genuine-feeling interactions and well... Martin was just perfect. It's got a good sense of character building for a lot of them... even if as mentioned above, they didn't actually go through with a lot of it. Really I can't think of anything that could feasibly be improved all that much either, usually I'd have a section for that but I got nothing this time. Can still see how people might not be entertained by it but I feel going heavy on jokes would have just killed the storytelling.

    (okay, I admit I got pretty bad for rambling about TL;DR stuff but technically, I was rewatching this as I typed, lots of rather raw thoughts swirling around. Plus as a character driven episode I naturally had a lot to say. Also TL;DR is how I roll I guess.:P)

  3. Thumbs Up To This Post by: GlitterCat

  4. #93

    I love this episode, it has a good story, and it's good to see Bart studying and doing the right thing, even though he didn't have to do it. Plus, the 59-60 thing I think was pretty clever. 5/5.

  5. #94
    Newbie WeirdGirl's Avatar
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    Jun 2018
    Washington State, USA

    This episode has always hit really close to home to me. Not to get too personal, but I have always had a really hard time getting good grades in certain subjects, and I already tear up a little at the end when bart begins to cry about his test results. Something about barts reaction always seemed eerily real to me, and I feel like the animators, writers, and Bart's voice actor, Nancy Cartwright, perfectly captured the way that kids feel in situations like these. Although I mostly remember this episode for its emotional value, there are still some great comedic moments. Overall, one of the most memorable episodes in the series. 4/5

  6. #95

    5/5 Very good

    "I kissed the teacher"


  7. #96
    Junior Camper
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    Jul 2018

    Let me just jump right in with praise: This is a great episode! It's better than any episode the first season produced, and it's one of my favourite episodes of season 2. I felt like I was finally at home upon reaching this episode, as this was the Simpsons I knew. Although not the first episode produced, I can see why this one was chosen as the premiere, as it kicks off season 2 on an incredibly strong note. Everything just feels like it has more effort and polish put into it, from the writing and characterization, to the animation and music score. Dan Castellaneta finally sounds like Homer Simpson. It just stands out as a particularly well structure episode in every sense. As always, Bart is the best Simpson. It amazes me how skilled they used to be able to create emotional episodes around the lil' bastard, and I'm sure his struggle throughout the episode was relatable to many, not just through the fact that he's failing class, but how often he falls into procrastination while attempting to study.

    The whole town celebrating in the snow was definately the highlight of the episode, along with the climactic scene of course. Bart finally breaking down in tears upon receiving another F really drove home how misunderstood he is by his parents and teachers. It makes him so much more sympathetic than the generic rebel without a cause he's become now. Bart kissing Edna was great and his reaction afterward was a great touch of characterization. They could've done an entire episode about Bart having to befriend Martin to pass the test, and they did an entire episode the following season on the relationship between Bart and Edna. The one downside is that laugh-until-your-sides-hurt Simpsons comedy gold isn't quite there yet, and wouldn't be officially until season 3.

    Still, I consider this to be the first classic of the show. 9/10

  8. #97
    Pin Pal Szyslak100's Avatar
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    Jul 2017

    Bart Gets an 'F' was in charge of starting the second season of the series. The election of this one occurred because Bart enjoyed its moment of greater popularity (being the representative of the merchandaising) and the producers believed that it would be appropriate to give the initial kick with its protagonism. Go that they guessed right. In his first broadcast, he broke the record of spectators for this show. Record that still continues in force.

    We all love Bart for scenes and situations like this.

    The key to this episode lies in the characterization of Bart. As it was said, his character was the great sensation of the early 90s. And, on this occasion, they chose to create a story centered on him, which allows him to demonstrate several facets of his. He is not only shown as the prankster and popular kid who made American society adore him. It also shows his sentimental side, enhanced by his urgent need to pass the exam and pass the year. During these 23 minutes, they managed to develop two different Bart Simpsons. One of them, the usual, who is able to lie, who plays video games and watches cartoons, and who enjoys his life with jokes and daring. The other, the one that shows his most human and adorable side, which leads him to miss the happiest day in Springfield to study, to ask God for a miracle and take advantage of it to study, and the one who starts crying for a failure in school.

    This is the good side of Bart that has rarely been explored.

    The habitual personality of Bart is seen in contrast in an amazing way with the underrated Martin Prince. It was a fantastic idea that he tried to teach Bart to study and that he teach Martin to be popular. In fact, this change of roles left us various of the best moments of the episode. The montage in which they are reciprocally educated is fantastic. The scenes in which Martin shows his nudity are fun, and I also like to see him in the wave and being accepted by Bart's friends. Another advantage of this plot is that the viewer can feel identified with one of the two opposites, or by staying in balance between them, as in my case, that for some moments I am cool and for others I am a nerd. In addition, we have good developments of characters like Homer, who is no longer the grumpy one before, Lisa, who convinces Bart to make the right decision, and Otto, who despite all his problems is chosen by Bart as an authority figure.

    The character animation of Martin is fantastic in this scene.

    I really like that simplicity of the episodes of the Groening, Simon and Brooks era. Of course, telling simple stories was much easier when the tour was nil or scarce. But it has to be said that it's nice to see these kinds of stories, which probably many of us have experienced, such as an exam defining our future in a subject or, even, in a year, as Bart does. The story, which shows us how a problematic and scattered child has to concentrate and sit down to study to save his year, is very simple but also very effective. I find it interesting to see Homer encouraging Bart to watch a movie instead of studying. I guess that speaks enough of the situation of the child, who not only struggles to make their own will, but because their environment leads to other activities. I insist that it is very easy to reflect the childhood of one -or someone close to one- in this, which is an important plus.

    We have all resorted to this resource when there are no answers, although few have worked.

    In terms of humor, I think that a good job is done, even though it is not the main focus. I've already mentioned my favorite scene (the montage of Bart teaching Martin, and Martin teaching Bart). But there is much more. The other montage, in which we see everyone in Springfield enjoying the snow, has many fun jokes. And Bart's face when he looks at it all is really hilarious. I also enjoy watching Bart trying to cheat Edna and the school nurse. As for the emotions they offer, they are really genuine. Both the promise that Bart makes when threatened with repeating the course, and the crying that arises when he finds out that he failed in his goal are very realistic. As well as his suffering to have to lock himself to study, and his enormous joy to pass the exam, which even takes him to kiss the teacher. Of course, I found it an unnecessary resource to involve God in this, and that Bart affirms that part of that six of Him.

    The day was so nice, that the whole town listens to the melody of Lisa and Murphy, even Sideshow Bob, who should be in jail.

    Bart Gets an 'F' is a great opening for the second season of the series, achieving the goal of making a quality product around Bart, the star of the program. If on the Szyslak100 scale, ten was the highest, zero the lowest and five the average, I would give this episode an eight. But as it is not the case...

    Last edited by Szyslak100; 07-12-2019 at 09:27 AM.

  9. #98
    Professional Teleporter Mícheál's Avatar
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    Nov 2017
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    @Szyslak100 Great review, I really enjoyed reading that (not just a review, but also a bit of an analysis of Bart too).

    I'd love to do a proper review of this one myself someday.
    "I may or may not die young. I haven't decided yet."

  10. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Szyslak100

  11. #99

    I have to give this one a 5. There are so many elements about it that I love rewatching. Bart's dream about the future and how he was stuck in the same class forever. Him visualising his problem so he isn't thinking about snow, only for everyone in the dream to start playing in the snow.

    Oh yeah - I kissed a teacher! blech!

  12. #100
    Junior Camper The B's Avatar
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    Aug 2019

    Good episode.
    Classic "golden age" of The Simpsons.
    Everything in this episode is:
    • the child's tragicomedy of possibly not passing to the next grade (besides Bart's line "God is my witness: I can pass the 4th grade!" is quite ironic, I think, as during the series he is always in 4th grade);
    • God/human relationship;
    • classic The Simpsons jokes ("I... kissed the teacher! blech!" is one of my favourite moments overall);
    • lagging/excellent children cooperation (Bart & Martin);
    • some impossibility (like suddenly snow) e.t.c.

    TOTAL 83.2/100. GOOD!
    IMHO the most and the least favourite episodes of each season (without clipshows and trilogy episodes):
    1. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire/Homer’s Night Out 2. Old Money/Simpson and Delilah 3. Bart the Lover/Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk 4. Homer’s Triple Bypass/Marge Gets a Job 5. Secrets of a Successful Marriage/Burns’ Heir 6. ’Round Springfield/A Star Is Burns 7. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily/Bart the Fink 8. Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious/The Springfield Files 9. Miracle on Evergreen Terrace/Das Bus 10. Maximum Homerdrive/Monty Can’t Buy Me Love 11. Faith Off/Pygmoelian 12. Homer vs. Dignity/New Kids on the Blecch 13. Poppa’s Got a Brand New Badge/Weekend at Burnsie’s 14. Moe Baby Blues/Three Gays of the Condo 15. Fraudcast News/Co-Dependent’s Day 16. Sleeping with the Enemy/Pranksta Rap 17. Bonfire of the Manatees/The Italian Bob 18. The Wife Aquatic/Rome-old and Juli-eh 19. He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs/Smoke on the Daughter 20. Coming to Homerica/In the Name of the Grandfather 21. The Squirt and the Whale/Stealing First Base 22. The Ned-Liest Catch/Love Is a Many Strangled Thing 23. A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again/The Ten-Per-Cent Solution 24. The Saga of Carl/Penny-Wiseguys 25. Brick Like Me/The Man Who Grew Too Much 26. Bart’s New Friend/Simpsorama 27. Halloween of Horror/Every Man’s Dream 28. The Town/Trust but Clarify 29. Flanders’ Ladder/Grampy Can Ya Hear Me 30. TBA/TBA

    I think that opinions may differ how many people, so many opinions.

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