Air Date: October 11, 1990
As the title implies, Bart gets an F on a test, after a long line of other F’s, and Mrs. Krabappel thinks he’s going to have to repeat the 4th grade. Bart makes a deal with Martin that he’ll make him cool if Martin helps him study.
A decent episode with a lot of laughs. Fun fact, this episode was shown first because of the immense popularity that Bart Simpson got during this time period. And all parents were upset, even though this was a prime time show it was immediately being watched more by younger people and children. This was probably because cartoons were still seen as only a media meant for children. Anyway, many parents thought that Bart was corrupting the youth because he was a bit of a problem child. Matt Groening responded by saying something like, “Why does everyone on TV have to be a role model? I hardly know anyone who’s a role model in real life” (I’m paraphrasing). Even though they claimed this episode had nothing to do with any of that, many parents who watched things with their kids (mine did not) felt this was a way to make up for this controversy and show how Bart struggled in school.
I just think that stuff is interesting. If this came out today I’m sure most people would find it quite tame. This episode is good because it shows a softer side of Bart and also a tougher side of Martin, oddly enough. It’s really funny too, and makes me think the writers for the second season seem to know what works with these characters more so than in season one. I suppose for the majority of the first season the Simpsons just felt like your average cartoon family. It wasn’t until towards the end of that season that these characters really start to solidify. Here, it’s obvious that these characters feel like real people.
+10: A great start to a new season