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Bart vs. Thanksgiving
Bart the Daredevil
Itchy & Scratchy & Marge

Ladies and gentlemen, the ten-year old who's brave and bold, when he's not in class, he's risking his ass, the world's greatest daredevil, Bart Simpson!
―Announcer in Bart's dream

Bart the Daredevil is the eighth episode of Season 2.


Bart attempts to follow in the footsteps of his hero, a daredevil named Captain Lance Murdock. As part of becoming a daredevil himself, Bart does increasingly dangerous stunts leading to his final stunt: jumping the Springfield Gorge on his skateboard.

Full Story

While watching TV, Homer and Bart (who are both watching a wrestling match with their friends) observe a commercial for the monster truck rally featuring Truck-o-Saurus, a giant robotic dinosaur. That night Homer tells them they are going. However, there is conflict in that it is held on Saturday night, the same evening as Lisa's musical recital (Lisa says it's her first time performing a solo). Bart and Homer are reluctant to attend the recital as Truck-o-Saurus is only there that one night. At first they sob over it but Marge tells them the recital takes place earlier than the monster truck rally so they can make it to both events. Throughout the concert Homer constantly tries to speed up the concert and once it ends, he grabs Lisa (letting her bow first) and leave. However, they arrive at the rally late and take a wrong turn right into the arena, where Truck-o-Saurus smashes the family car. The owner and operator of Truck-o-Saurus compensates the Simpsons for the damage, and the family then takes their seats in the audience but first are given special items.

Lance Murdoch

The rally's grand finale features a death-defying stunt by "the world's greatest daredevil", Lance Murdock. Despite the fact that the act leaves Murdock badly hurt and hospital-bound, Bart is enamored and dreams of becoming a daredevil. When he tells his father of his ambition (in a sleepy manor), Homer dismisses it as "kids say such stupid things".

Bart quickly injures himself during his first skateboard stunt. At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert shows Bart a ward full of children who have been hurt from attempting stunts. Nonetheless, Bart is persistent and continues, once again attempting to jump the car and making it successfully. Bart then expands his daredevil acts by jumping over a swimming pool, some animals, and Homer on his hammock. On a class trip to Springfield Gorge, Bart announces that on the coming Saturday he will jump over the gorge. Lisa tries to talk Bart out of it but he won't back down, and gets him into visiting the hospital to see Murdock, hoping that the daredevil will talk him out of the dangerous stunt. Unexpectedly, however, Murdock supports Bart's plan and really encourages Bart. Still hoping to deter him, Lisa tells the family when they get home. Homer is shocked at Bart and calls Lisa a squealer but admits that if did get hurt or died she'd miss him. Bart then tells his parents firmly that they can't watch him every second and eventually he will be off to the gorge.

Homer making the jump

Even after a punishment, several orders, and a "heart-to-heart talk" with Homer, Bart still goes to the gorge and tries to jump it but he is stopped at the last second by Homer (he found out where Bart went when he asks his son to play catch). Homer angrily resolves to jump the gorge himself to show Bart what it is like to see a family member needlessly risking his life for no reason. Bart, not wanting to see his father get hurt, recants his wish to jump the gorge. However, Homer finds himself on Bart's skateboard rolling down the ramp toward the jump. Homer becomes airborne, and it looks for a few seconds that he is actually going to make the jump but he ultimately plummets. Then he is placed into an ambulance by a helicopter, which ultimately rams into a tree, sending Homer down the gorge again, and is eventually taken to the hospital, placed in the same room as Lance Murdock, where he says, "You think you've got guts? Try raising my kids!"


Behind the Laughter


The episode was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by Wes Archer. The character Lance Murdock was based on Evel Knievel, an American motorcycle daredevil and entertainer famous in the United States and elsewhere between the late 1960s and early 1980s. Kogen, Wolodarsky, and many other members of the Simpsons' staff were fans of Knievel's stunts, and Wolodarsky named "Bart the Daredevil" as his favorite episode among the episodes that he wrote for The Simpsons, because it is "near and dear to [his] heart".

Dr. Hibbert makes his first appearance on the series in the episode. In Kogen and Wolodarsky's original script for "Bart the Daredevil", Hibbert was a woman named Julia Hibbert, who they named after comedic actress Julia Sweeney (Hibbert was her last name, through marriage, at the time). When the Fox network moved The Simpsons to prime time on Thursdays to compete against the National Broadcasting Company's (NBC) top-rated The Cosby Show, the writing staff instead decided to make Hibbert a parody of Bill Cosby's character Dr. Cliff Huxtable.

The episode was originally too short to air, so Al Jean and Mike Reiss wrote a filler piece which was a parody of cartoon shorts from the 1940s called "Nazis on Tap." In the short, amongst other things, Mr. Burns would be making planes for the war effort at his aircraft plant, Bart's spiky hair would be replaced by a pointy Jughead cap and Moe Szyslak would be a dog. Matt Groening thought the piece was too weird and nixed it, thinking it was too early in the series to present something so offbeat to the audience. Audio from the piece was released online by Simpsons storyboard artist John Mathot in 2006. Simpsons character designer Phil Ortiz adapted the short as a four-page comic book and handed out copies at Wizard World Philadelphia on June 2, 2016.

The music video for the "Do the Bartman" single premiered after this episode.


Matt Groening said in an interview that this episode was his favorite Simpsons episode. This would likely explain why footage of this episode is that which is most often used for the series' clip shows. The scene of Homer plummeting down Springfield Gorge has become one of the most used Simpsons clips ever: it was featured in the 1993 episode "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" and referenced in "Treehouse of Horror XIII" to the point in an episode far down the line, many seasons later, Homer is about to flash back on the moment, only to be interrupted by Lisa, who says, "Everyone's sick of that memory."

This episode was once again referenced in The Simpsons Movie. There is a scene where Bart and Homer jump over Springfield Gorge on a motorcycle and when they land on the other side, the ambulance from this episode can be seen (still stuck against the tree) in the background. It also ranked #18 in the "TV's Funniest Moments" special by the Museum of Television and Radio. In the episode, the footage of Homer falling down the cliff shows him falling down on the skateboard, bouncing off the cliff and finally landing at the bottom, where the skateboard lands on his head. After being loaded into the ambulance, it crashes into a tree, and the gurney rolls out, and Homer goes down the cliff again.

However, when the clip is shown in So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show, additional footage is seen of Homer bouncing down the cliff once again, and after he lands at the bottom, the gurney falls on his head.

The episode is once again referenced in an episode of Family Guy, where Homer and Peter fight in Kang and Kodos's spaceship, which ends up rolling down the gorge. Peter shouts that they are going to make the jump, but Homer tells him "Trust me. We're not." and the spaceship falls down the canyon.



The Simpsons Bart the Daredevil - Homer Jumps Springfield Gorge Uncut


Season 1 Season 2 Episodes Season 3
Bart Gets an "F"Simpson and DelilahTreehouse of Horror (aka "The Simpsons Halloween Special") • Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every FishDancin' HomerDead Putting SocietyBart vs. ThanksgivingBart the DaredevilItchy & Scratchy & MargeBart Gets Hit by a CarOne Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue FishThe Way We WasHomer vs. Lisa and the 8th CommandmentPrincipal CharmingOh Brother, Where Art Thou?Bart's Dog Gets an FOld MoneyBrush with GreatnessLisa's SubstituteThe War of the SimpsonsThree Men and a Comic BookBlood Feud