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"Bart's Not Dead" is the first episode of Season 30 and the season premiere.

Synopsis

Bart takes a dare, and ends up in the hospital. To cover for himself and Homer, he says he went to Heaven and met Jesus. Christian producers offer the Simpsons a movie deal, which Homer takes. But Bart can't deal with the guilt and comes clean to Marge after the movie is finished.

Full Story

At the student music festival at Springfield Elementary School, after Martin's poor performance, Lisa and Milhouse with Lisa playing a sad song. Dolph makes a dare with Bart to pull the fire alarm, but he declines, signing his death wish to the bullies.

The following day, Marge is proud of him at school, but Homer tells him to take a dare like a man. Marge begins to treat Bart well afterward in the car, which Bart does not take very well, imaging himself as an old man throwing himself off the boat when Skinner makes fun of him too, on Mother's day.

At Echo Canyon, Nelson, Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney dare him to jump off the dam, which Bart does ending face first on concrete. Ending up at Springfield General Hospital, Bart wakes up and in order to not disappoint Marge he creates a lie that he saw Heaven along with his maternal grandfather. Ned Flanders and the police comes to Bart bedside too and he slowly becomes popular.

After Lisa's failed attempt to scare Bart, Christian movie producers come at the house to present to Homer and Bart the opportunity to make a movie about his experience. Homer and Ned are forced to work together on the movie, including interviewing Emily Deschanel and Gal Gadot.

The movie starts recording, and Bart starts getting worried and having nightmares from Lisa's words. He actually ends up in Heaven in his nightmare, where he meets Clancy Bouvier and Jesus Christ, who beats him hard with "LOVE".

The movie, titled Bart's Not Dead, finally premieres, and it's a big hit. After that, Bart finally confesses to Marge and Lisa, and Springfielders gets pissed. Homer and Ned gives the raised money to charity and all is forgiven, but one thing.

On top of the house's roof, Bart asks Lisa if God will forgive him, to which she says if God exists, he'll forgive him, if Bart has remorse. Just after they start falling, only to end up on a pile of leaves, saving them. At the Pearl's Gates, Bart is shown at his death, and Homer says Jesus wants to meet him. Homer instead goes to Hindu Heaven, where he gets transformed to a turtle and sent back to Earth.

Reception

"Bart's Not Dead" scored a 1.4 rating with a 5 share and was watched by 3.24 million people, making it Fox's highest rated show of the night, and the episode received positive reviews from critics.

Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B− ranking, stating "'Bart’s Not Dead', (credited to Stephanie Gillis) aims for a more character-driven return. Sure, Bart, Homer, and Flanders wind up making a Christian-themed movie that winds up making $100 million, but the heart of the episode is, well, heart.”

Jesse Schdeen of IGN gave the episode a 7.2 out of 10 points ranking, stating "'Bart's Not Dead' stands as one of the better season premieres for The Simpsons in recent years, mostly because it settles for telling a clever, amusing story rather than relying on gimmicks. It doesn't take full advantage of its premise, but this episode still delivers some scathing satire of for-profit religious movies and a strong take on Bart's relationships with Homer and Lisa. Hopefully this episode is a sign of things to come for Season 30."

Tony Sokol of Den of Geek gave the episode a 3 out of 5 points ranking, stating ""Bart's Not Dead" isn't quite a classic episode, but it has all the classical elements. At the center of the piece is a fight over Bart's soul. He may worship the devil in public, but when no one is looking, or in this case when everyone is looking, Bart will always side with his mother and sister. And the Fox network brass because they couldn't have him going entirely over to the dark side. That's Homer territory. The film-within-the-episode skewers the righteous tinkering of facts, while raising the suspense on why Bart and Homer shouldn't get away with this. Bart, played by Jonathan Groff in the Christian film, doth protest too much, and far too specifically. It sounds like the movie is already a whitewashed version of something in need of fresh paint. The episode bodes fairly well for season 30 because, even though The Simpsons has covered this subject a few times, they show they are not going to ease up on casual blasphemy. After thirty years, the series has become the authority. Newer shows are taking on new ground, but The Simpsons are still shooting for something less than redemption. Bart begins the episode as the boy who refused to take a dare and ends it by taking it one step too far, but sadly takes a step backward."

Videos

Citations

Season 29 Season 30 Episodes 30
Bart's Not DeadHeartbreak HotelMy Way or the Highway to HeavenTreehouse of Horror XXIXKrusty the ClownDaddicus Finch'Tis the 30th SeasonMad About the ToyThe Girl on the BusI'm Dancing As Fat As I CanThe Clown Stays in the Picture101 MitigationsI Want You (She's So Heavy)E My SportsBart vs. Itchy & ScratchyGirl's in the BandI'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say D'ohD'oh CanadaWoo-hoo Dunnit?Crystal Blue-Haired Persuasion

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