Air Date: February 4, 1990
After standing up for Lisa against a bully, the biggest bull of them all, Nelson Muntz, is out for Bart’s blood. Bart has to enlist the help of Grandpa Simpson along with Herman, perhaps the craziest man in Springfield, to declare all out war against Nelson.
Matt Groening commented in an interview that they had to jump through hoops in order to get this episode past the censors, but nowadays it would be quite tame compared to today’s television (or even today’s Simpsons episodes). Though this features Bart as the main character the much more adult themes of war and what it means to be a leader are displayed. Something kids were much less privy to in the early 90s. Now I feel like stuff like this is covered on Adventure Time or other kid-based television. It was pretty heavy stuff for it’s time even if they didn’t go very far into deeper themes, but it’s message is there.
This is the first episode, outside of the Christmas Special, that feels like a real Simpsons episode. All the characters feel like they do in later installments, something I wasn’t sure would change this soon, but I’m glad that all the elements we love about the Simpsons seems to be in place.
I really like the character of Herman, someone who I don’t think shows up in any other episodes. I’m not sure though, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a lot of these shows, some I don’t think I’ve seen since I was a kid. The same kid who was influenced by this episode to declare war on my own Elementary School bully, oh, the bloodshed… (that “joke” only makes sense if you know about how much parents were worried about the Simpsons influencing children to be “bad” like Bart, this was before the days of things like South Park existed, or even before Comedy Central I believe).
+10: A great episode that shows for the first time just how far the show can (and will) go, also some pretty unique animation in this one
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