Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about a classic English adventure novel from the fourteenth episode of our favourite family, Treasure Island.
In the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons and season 2 premiere, Bart Gets an “F” (Season 02, Episode 01), it’s book report time in Mrs. Krabappel’s class. After Martin gives a breathtaking performance of an Ernest Hemingway classic, Mrs. K calls on Bart to present his book report.
However, much to no ones surprise, Bart is caught for not having read the book when all he does is describe the books cover.
Edna: “Perhaps you like to tell us the NAME of the Pirate.”
Bart: (thinking) Blackbeard, Captain Nemo, Captain Hook, Long John Silver, Peg Leg Pete, Bluebeard. (speaks) “Bluebeard.”
Treasure Island is once more referenced in the episode, when Bart recalls Dr. J. Loren Pryor’s recommendation that Bart repeat the fourth grade. Bart then sees himself in the future:
Dr. J. Loren Pryor: “I am afraid my recommendation is for Bart Simpson to repeat the fourth grade.”
Edna Krabappel: Class, the topic is world literature…
(Bart imagines the future, Edna Krabappel is now elderly, Bart is an adult, and his son bears an uncanny resemblance to modern-day Bart)
Aged Edna: “Alright class, the topic is world literature. What was the pirate’s name in Treasure Island? Bart Simpson?”
Bart Sr: “Look, lady, I got a peptic ulcer, a wife hocking me for a new car, and I need a root canal. Will ya quit bugging me about the stupid pirate?”
Bart Jr: [whispering] “Long John Silver, Dad!”
Edna: “I heard that Bart Junior! I want to see both of you after class!”
Bart Sr: “D’oh! Thanks a lot, son!”
But have you ever actually read Treasure Island:
Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894), narrating a tale of pirates and buried gold. It was published on November 14th, 1883 by the famous London-base publishing house Cassell and Co.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Told in first-person point of view by the protagonist Jim Hawkins, it features notable characters like Dr. David Livesey, Long John Silver, Captain Alexander Smollett, Squire John Trelawney, and Billy Bones, on an adventure on the ship Hispaniola.
Its influence on popular perceptions of pirates is enormous. It popularized elements such as treasure maps marked with an “X”, schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders.
There have been over 50 big screen or made-for-tv movie adaptations of Treasure Island, my favourite of which is the 1990 film adaptation starring Charlton Heston and Christian Bale.
Just as an FYI before I leave you, were you familiar with the other pirates Bart thought of? Blackbeard, Captain Nemo, Captain Hook, Long John Silver, Peg Leg Pete, Bluebeard? Blackbeard (c. 1680 – 22 November 1718), born Edward Teach, was an actual pirate who roamed the West Indies. Captain Nemo is a fictional character created by French novelist Jules Verne in his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869) and The Mysterious Island (1875). Captain Hook is a fictional characted created by Scottish playwright John Barrie in Peter Pan. Long John Silver, as mentioned above, is from Treasure Island. Peg Leg Pete is one of Walt Disney’s original cartoon characters, predating Mickey Mouse. Lastly, Bluebeard is a French folklore character who repeatedly marries and subsequently kills his wife.
Now that we’ve learned more about Treasure Island, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Have you ever read Treasure Island? What’s your favourite Simpsons classic literature reference? What about your favourite Simpsons school-related episode? Who’s your favourite pirate? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.