Stupid Flanders, always being superior to Homer just because he’s better in every way. He has that ribbon book that gives him an answer for everything. He’s always turning the other cheek like he’s saying oh look at me, I can take everything you dish out and ask for seconds because I have the inner comfort that comes from faith, hope, charity and a lifetime of repression. Ned’s turned so many cheeks he won’t be able to sit down for two lifetimes. Oh, excuse me, can’t reference reincarnation because Jebus didn’t teach that. Or at least he did until the concept was pulled by revisionists. Stupid Flanders.
Oh and don’t get me started on how Marge feels about Flanders. I think she’s had a thing for him ever since they did the Springfield community theater’s musical adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire. Stupid Flanders, taking advantage of Marge’s good-intentioned nagging to make Homer take a long fat look in the mirror and feel bad. Marge and Flanders might even be a better couple than the Simpsons because she is always wagging her fingers at society too.
In The Simpsons’ “Bull-E,” Marge takes on the bully pulpit and unleashes the horrors of a put-upon police force. Marge’s anti-bullying crusade gives Springfield’s largest carte blanche to interpret who are lawbreakers. Wiggum admits that it is easier to arrest people who don’t know they’re breaking the law than it is to go running after veteran criminals. This can be taken as a not-too-subtle commentary on the rampant abuses of power finally being reported about the keepers of the thin blue line. So many of the victims that have been reported, much less those that go unreported, of overzealous police procedures, don’t seem to realize they overstepped a statute.
Random enforcement of vague legislation may be a problem, but at least it’s one that can be solved by celebrity. Famous people, is there nothing they can’t solve? Krusty the Clown, Fat Tony and Homer are celebrated as reformed bullies. Unlike the free-range bullies, Jimbo and Kearney, who get no notice at all.
Albert Brooks always brings The Simpsons up a notch in their game. He has created some of the show’s most memorable and beloved guest appearances. He took Marge to brunch, headed the EPA and was Homer’s best boss, Scorpio. His anger management instructor is a new addition. He strong arms hearts and minds. A former killer extorting bullies to open up their innermost demons so they too could be terrorized. You don’t have to know the works of B.F. SKINNER to understand the consequences of this line of therapy. But there’s no need for remorse over that.
I always suspected that Johnny Mathis was hiding repressed rage beneath his radio-under-a-tunnel vocal cadences. It has been established that Ned’s iddly-diddly way of talking is a cover for the things his Christian conscience won’t say out loud. The Simpsons stick to this when Ned tells Homer off in the autograph line. Notice, as he is actually saying what is on his mind, asking for his own spiritual reparations, he doesn’t utter a single oodly. They return when he once again has to swallow the sin of pride and forgive his oafish bully of a neighbor. It’s easy to forgive transgressions of property, but the idea that Rod and Todd might be lose a smidgeon of what masculinity they have puts them in danger of angering a wrathful overprotective god.
Otto’s School Train trip subplot left childhood education on the tracks. I loved the line, from the little train that couldn’t anymore, “I’m going to die children, and so will all of you someday.” I’m really glad Otto got that bug out of his ear and stomped the edumacational earwigs to death.
Bart learned a valuable life lesson, one that Louis C.K. learned a few seasons ago on Louie: He did nothing wrong, but giving in to bullies is a major turn off to even the most non-violent of women, on TV. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but if both C.K. and the Simpsons say it, it has to be true. It doesn’t matter for Bart anyway, he’s stuck in pre-puberty forever due to the birthday party union cease and desist order.
By the unregulated power invested in me, I declare this a winning episode. I say that every week and it’s just not true, but it had a deleterious effect on my bran. Every joke worked. The social commentary was interwoven into the fabric of the jokes and not worn on the sleeves. The high point for me was Moe’s seven second bleeped curse. It was enough to make Mrs. Lovejoy faint, so it had to be of biblical proportions. I wonder how to find it on google thesaurus.
“Bull-E” was written by Tim Long and directed by Lance Kramer. The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Pattie and Selma Bouvier, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria plays Chief Wiggum and Moe Szysla. Harry Shearer is Ned Flanders. Guest stars: Albert Brooks as Dr. Raufbold, Joe Montegna as Fat Tony and Johnny Mathis as himself.
But It All Went By So Fast: Why don’t we do it in the gym? Springfield Elementary Dance. Recycled school flyers. Volley Ball Runner-Up, Best Dancer. Mayor Quimby apologized to the witches, from Springfield. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Wow. This bully’s going down! Grand Marshall for life.