Mini-Review – The Simpsons: “Bart’s New Friend”

This Simpsons episode written by Judd Apatow 22 years ago was pretty darn bad! Obviously it had some recent edits, but the plot progression is simplistic and definitely feels like early-career scriptwork.

This is not the episode’s only problem but the premise that Homer is hypnotized to think he’s 10-years old is too outlandish for the period in which it was written. But now the Simpsons just met aliens so who cares. Also, the premise is kind of just Office Space (though this was written well before).

Some characterization issues. The first act of the episode sees Homer becoming a workaholic after he learns there’s been a guy, who’s now retiring, who’s been covering for him all these years at the power plant. I think this is a clever premise, but the result—that Homer realizes he has to step up his game at work and takes on that responsibility of his own accord—does not feel accurate to Homer at all.

Some of the episode was pretty fucked up. It really bugged me how in one scene Bart seemingly drowns Homer (he shoots a squirt gun up his nose over and over till Homer gurgles and collapses) and then multiple scenes happen before we get to see that he’s okay and that was just meant to be a throwaway gag.

It had a little more heart than your average modern episode. But it wasn’t done well enough to significantly impact the overall not-good quality of the episode.