Bart Star

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"Bart Star"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 9
Episode 6
Directed by Dominic Polcino
Written by Donick Cary
Production code5F03
Original air dateNovember 9, 1997 (1997-11-09)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode features
Chalkboard gag "I did not invent Irish dancing"
Couch gag Everyone sits on the couch and is crushed into a cuboid block by a compactor. [1]
CommentaryMike Scully
George Meyer
Donick Cary
Nancy Cartwright
Dan Castellaneta
Dominic Polcino
Episode chronology
 Previous
"The Cartridge Family"
Next 
"The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"
The Simpsons (season 9)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"Bart Star" is the sixth episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons . It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 9, 1997. [2] Written by Donick Cary and directed by Dominic Polcino, the episode guest starred Joe Namath, Roy Firestone, and Mike Judge. [2] The episode sees Homer becoming the coach of a pee-wee football team and expresses nepotism for Bart by making him the quarterback which receives backlash from the whole team, including Bart himself. The episode was critically well received.

<i>The Simpsons</i> (season 9) Episode list for season of animated series

The Simpsons' ninth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 1997 and May 1998, beginning on Sunday, September 21, 1997, with "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson". With Mike Scully as showrunner for the ninth production season, the aired season contained three episodes which were hold-over episodes from season eight, which Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein ran. It also contained two episodes which were run by David Mirkin, and another two hold-over episodes which were run by Al Jean and Mike Reiss.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American free-to-air television network that is a flagship property of the Fox Corporation. The network is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, with additional offices at the Fox Broadcasting Center and at the Fox Television Center in Los Angeles.

Donick Cary is an American writer and producer. He got his start writing for “Late Night with David Letterman.” He continued working with the show through its move to CBS, serving as both head writer and the “guy in the bear suit.”

Plot

Following a Health convention held in Springfield, the children of Springfield (including Bart) are deemed to be overweight. To help them stay in shape, their parents enroll them in pee-wee football. The coach, Ned Flanders, helps keep the team undefeated, but Homer heckles him relentlessly. Ned finally snaps and turns the job over to Homer, who admits that he (Flanders) was doing a good job.

Springfield (<i>The Simpsons</i>) Fictional city in the United States from the Simpsons universe

Springfield is a fictional town in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, which serves as its main setting. A mid-sized town in an undetermined state of the United States, Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. The geography of the town and its surroundings are flexible, changing to address whatever an episode's plot calls for.

Bart Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed Bart while waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip, Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name is an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received its own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

Ned Flanders Fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Nedward Flanders Jr. is a recurring fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the extremely religious, good-natured, cheery next-door neighbor to the Simpson family and is generally envied and loathed by Homer Simpson. A scrupulous and devout Evangelical Christian, he is among the friendliest and most compassionate of Springfield's residents and is generally considered a pillar of the Springfield community. Ned Flanders appearance is based on Great Britain's Stuart Parker.

Homer initially acts tough towards Bart, but when he is reminded of how his father Abe was hard on him as a child, he decides to be nicer to Bart. The next day, he decides to cut many players from the team, and replaces star quarterback Nelson with Bart, causing an uproar from the team. Bart is unable to play the position well and causes the team's first loss. While training at night Bart meets Joe Namath, who promises to help him, but soon after Joe's wife fixes the car, which had broken down due to vapor lock, Joe leaves without helping Bart.

Nelson Muntz Fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Nelson Muntz is a fictional character and the lead school bully from the animated television series The Simpsons, best known for his signature mocking laugh "Ha-ha!". He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and was introduced in Season 1's "Bart the General" as an antagonist but later became a close friend of Bart Simpson.

Joe Namath American football player

Joseph William Namath, nicknamed Broadway Joe, is an American former football quarterback and actor. He played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1962 to 1964, and professional football in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) during the 1960s and 1970s. Namath was an AFL icon and played for that league's New York Jets for most of his professional football career. He finished his career with the Los Angeles Rams. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. He retired after playing 143 games over 13 years in the AFL and NFL, including playoffs. His teams had an overall record of 68 wins, 71 losses, and four ties, 64–64–4 in 132 starts, and 4–7 in relief. He completed 1,886 passes for 27,663 yards, threw 173 touchdowns, and had 220 interceptions, for a career passer rating of 65.5. He played for three division champions, earned one league championship, and one Super Bowl victory.

Lisa suggests that Bart pretend he is injured to get out of quarterbacking, which he eagerly does, but Homer claims that without Bart the team must forfeit. This causes Bart to become angry and quit the team. The next game, Nelson is made quarterback again and the team wins, but Homer has nobody to celebrate with and becomes lonely. Afterwards, Homer finds Bart and persuades him to rejoin the team. The next day, during the championship game, the score is tied when Chief Wiggum comes to arrest Nelson. Bart decides to pretend he is Nelson and the team finally wins the championship. [2] [3]

Lisa Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Lisa Marie Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She is the middle child and most intelligent of the Simpson family. Voiced by Yeardley Smith, Lisa was born as a character in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed her while waiting to meet James L. Brooks. Groening had been invited to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the elder Simpson daughter after his younger sister Lisa Groening Bartlett. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family were moved to their own series on Fox, which debuted on December 17, 1989.

Chief Wiggum Fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Chief Clancy Wiggum is a fictional character from the animated television series The Simpsons, voiced by Hank Azaria. He is the chief of police in the show's setting of Springfield, and is the father of Ralph Wiggum and the husband of Sarah Wiggum.

Production

Mike Judge voiced character Hank Hill in a cameo cross-promotion for his animated series King of the Hill. Mike Judge by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Mike Judge voiced character Hank Hill in a cameo cross-promotion for his animated series King of the Hill .

The episode was written by Donick Cary, who obtained inspiration from an experience in high school he had with a football coach who had a son on the team. [4] Similarly, show runner Mike Scully had been on a soccer team whose coach would give his son special treatment. [5]

Mike Scully American writer and producer

Michael Scully is an American television writer and producer. He is known for his work as executive producer and showrunner of the animated sitcom The Simpsons from 1997 to 2001. Scully grew up in West Springfield, Massachusetts and long had an interest in writing. He was an underachiever at school and dropped out of college, going on to work in a series of jobs. Eventually, in 1986, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a stand-up comic and wrote for Yakov Smirnoff.

George Meyer obtained inspiration for the scene toward the beginning of the episode where Rainier Wolfcastle is taunting the children from an experience he had with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was following Schwarzenegger during a hike, and overheard him taunting his children. [6] Schwarzenegger's influence was seen in the same scene, as he was appointed to be the chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, on which he served from 1990 to 1993. [7]

George Meyer American producer and writer

George A. Meyer is an American producer and writer. Meyer is best known for his work on The Simpsons, where he led the group script rewrite sessions. He has been publicly credited with "thoroughly shap[ing] ... the comedic sensibility" of the show.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Austrian-American actor, businessman, bodybuilder and politician

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American politician, actor, filmmaker, businessman, author, and former professional bodybuilder. He served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 to 2011.

Hiking Walking as a hobby, sport, or leisure activity

Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word "walking" is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps. The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling, hillwalking, and fell walking. The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.

The final scene took a long time to write. The writing staff found it difficult to come up with a resolution that would end on positive terms for Bart and Homer, and was originally different when it was read at the writing table. [5]

Casting

Joe Namath, Roy Firestone, and Mike Judge guest-starred in the episode. The appearance was a cross-promotion for Judge's animated series King of the Hill which followed The Simpsons on Fox's Sunday schedule in 1997. Other King of the Hill characters (Hank's niece Luanne, Hank's wife Peggy, Hank's son Bobby, and Hank's friends, Dale Gribble, Bill Dauterive, and Boomhauer) were present in the scene, although none of them spoke. [8] Marv Albert was originally going to play Firestone's part as a sports radio host, but was dropped following sexual assault charges that were made against him around the time the episode was in pre-production. [5] Albert would later appear, however, in the season 20 episode "The Burns and the Bees". [9]

Reception

In its original broadcast, "Bart Star" finished 27th in ratings for the week of November 3–9, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 10.8, equivalent to approximately 10.6 million viewing households. It was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files and King of the Hill . [10]

Since airing, the episode has received positive reviews from critics. The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, thought well of the episode, saying, "A fun episode, where you root for Bart and, unusually, Nelson - all the way through. Homer is just too stupid for words, but that's excusable because we finally see Ned Flanders lose it, big time!" [1] In 2011, Keith Plocek of LA Weekly 's Squid Ink blog named the scene in which Homer tries to purchase "beer that has candy floating in it" (which Homer calls skittlebrau) at the Kwik-E-Mart as the fourth best food moment on the show. [11]

The director of the episode, Dominic Polcino, greatly enjoyed the episode, and claims that it is his favorite episode that he directed. [12]

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References

  1. 1 2 Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Bart Star". BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
  2. 1 2 3 Gimple, Scott (1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued . Harper Collins Publishers. p. 17. ISBN   0-06-098763-4.
  3. "Bart Star". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved on November 11, 2007.
  4. Cary, Donick (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Star" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. 1 2 3 Scully, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Star" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. Meyer, George (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Star" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. Castellaneta, Dan (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Star" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  8. Cartwright, Nancy (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Star" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  9. "Sports Figures on The Simpsons". Sports Illustrated . CNN. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
  10. Associated Press (November 13, 1997). "CBS soars to top on 'angel' wings". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
  11. Plocek, Keith (2011-11-11). "Top 10 Simpsons Food Episodes: Tomacco Ribwich with a Side of Guatemalan Insanity Peppers + Skittlebrau". Squid Ink. LA Weekly. Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2011-11-12.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. Polcino, Dominic (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart Star" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.