WDTCF- Bart the General

It’s interesting, that after more than 5 years of this game, more than a hundred and fifty updates (163 so far), and loads and loads of  characters introduced, that we are just now getting to a character skin that was paramount to the introduction of a couple of key characters.

For this character skin, we have to go back, waaaaaaaaaaaay back to a time when The Simpsons were still struggling to find consistency in both animation and voice-overs.  The animation was jumpy and a bit crude, and the voices, while sounding kinda like the characters we have come to love, really didn’t feel “real” yet.  Homer, Burns, even Marge, felt more like people “reading lines,” than the fluid, “real people” feel we know now.

This episode is also from an era where the writers pretty much stuck to one storyline, and took the time to develop the characters more fully.  Bart and Lisa are still working out their differences, Otto is really just a stoner in a bus, and we get to know a handful of what are now regular characters, for the first time.

The episode in question??

Bart the General (S1E5).

That’s right, Bart the General is actually from an episode called “Bart the General.”  It is well worth rewatching, as are most of the episodes of season one. But, it is the first time we meet two major characters, (Grandpa Simpson and Nelson Muntz) as well as a minor, reoccurring character, Herman Hermann, from Herman’s Military Antiques).

This is the kind of episode from which loads of lore come from, and is loaded with clever lines and history.

Unlike the Wookster, who likes to give scene-by-scene descriptions, I am just going to hit some highlights and my favorite lines, with an admonishment to watch if for yourself!

The QUICK recap, is that Bart ends up defending Lisa against Nelson, who beats Bart repeatedly, and daily, until Bart seeks the advice of his parents (poor advice) and later that of his Grandpa Simpson, who is described as the “toughest Simpson alive,” who then introduces Bart to Herman, who comes up with a war strategy to beat the bullies, resembling closely a flanking exercise from WWII General Patton, bullies are vanquished, deal is cut, life goes on.

Here are some gems…
When we first meet Grandpa in his room at the rest home, he is pounding out an angry, letter to the editor (a man after my own heart!)

” Dear Advertisers,” I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive.
The following is a list of words I never want to hear on television again.
Number one: bra.
Number two: horny.
“Number three: Family jewels. (which is ironic, as it was just used in the episode when Homer is trying to teach Bart how to fight “Simpsons Style”).

When we first meet Herman…

Bart: Herman? Yes? Did you lose your arm in the war?
Herman: My arm? Well, let me put it this way. Next time your teacher tells you to keep your arm inside the bus window, you do it!
Bart: Yes, sir, I will.

From here we go into a full training section where Bart, Grandpa and Herman “Militarize” and train the kids into a “fighting unit.” Some great scenes here…

From here we go into a series of vignettes inspired by the 1970 movie Patton. 

YES… This same scene is recreated, kinda, in the animation for the “Training Grounds” in this event!

The iconic General Bart image is inspired by Patton…but to me, actually looks more like the publicity shot of the bad-ass-boss in “Cool Hand Luke.” You decide…

And then there is the homage to the REAL LIFE episode that end the real General Patton’s career…

Bart is admonished for slapping a recruit, by Grandpa.
Grandpa: You can push them out of a plane, you can march them off a cliff, you can send ’em off to die on some godforsaken rock, but for some reason, you can’t slap ’em.Now apologize to that boy right now.

 Recognize this scene from our games?

Everyone gets into the battle…and the enemy is vanquished!

And Finally… A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT Is Struck between Bart and Nelson…
Herman: Armistice treaty, article four.
” Nelson is never again to raise his fists in anger.
” Article five.
” Nelson recognizes Bart’s right to exist.
” Article six.
“Although Nelson shall have no official power, he shall remain a figurehead of menace in the neighborhood.
Bart: ” Wow. Sounds good to me.
Nelson: Okay, I’ll sign.


 Marge:  Are you boys through playing war?
Nelson: Yes, Mrs. Simpson.
Marge: Good. Then here’s some cupcakes.
Everyone: Oh, boy! – Cupcakes.

Bart:  Mmm! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, contrary to what you’ve just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners. Only losers.

There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War I, and the Star Wars trilogy.

If you’d like to learn more about war, there’s lots of books in your local library– many of them with cool, goy pictures. Well, good night, everybody.
Peace, man.

Peace, Man, indeed…

As much as we keep saying it..”War…what is it good for? Absolutely Nuthin’…say it again!”

The sad truth is, war is good for the economy, and since  the 1950s, when Ike warned us about the “Industrial Military Complex” driving the GDP…we have been a slave to war, and international peacekeeping for decades.  Oh…if we could only settle our differences with water balloons and cupcakes…but, I digress…

What did YOU think about this episode?  Does it make you happy to see that we an still find ways to mine the best lines/scenes into our game? Tell us what you think…you know we LOVE to hear from you. (fingers crossed).



12 responses to “WDTCF- Bart the General

  1. This is one on my favorite episodes.
    I think EA did a good job of making the event about it.
    & This was a great wdtcf article.

  2. Josephine Kick@$$

    I love when the game makes references to years gone by. This is a fun event 😃

  3. Just FYI – the General you show smoking the corn cob pipe, that’s General McArthur, not General Patton.

  4. I haven’t thought of this episode in years… maybe even decades, but as soon as I started reading the first part of this summary, the memory of it came flooding back. Thanks for a great flashback!!!!

  5. Still some possibilities available from this episode, but good job Patric. (Still think someone should take over my old Throwback Thursday series, I no long hav th time nor energy but I enjoy a good look back break down) :p

    (I tried to add a link to the Totbox’s Throwback Thursday: S1 E5 Bart the General episode but som thing didn’t, go right)

  6. I enjoyed the article, Patric. This is picky, but the general in the comparison pic is Douglas MacArthur. The Simpsons blended two people, so maybe it just doesn’t matter.

  7. I love it when they recreate scenes from the OG episodes. More please.

  8. Thanks for the walk down memory lane Patrick, I’ll half to watch that episode again.

  9. Cool, will re visit this episide, and the hell fish episode

  10. The key to Springfield has always been Elm Street. *Takes a knife and stabs the Springfield map* The Greeks knew it! The Carthaginians knew it! Now you know it.

  11. Such a classic episode

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