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"I like holding hands and dinner by candlelight. And oh, yes. I really hate yo-yos."
Bart Simpson (as "Woodrow") writes to Mrs. Krabappel
"I said I don't want any damn vegetables."
Todd Flanders

"Bart the Lover" is the sixteenth episode of Season 3, and the show's 51st episode overall.

Synopsis[]

Bart creates a phony lover for a lonely Ms. Krabappel after Krabappel punishes Bart with detention for smashing the class fish tank with a yo-yo. Meanwhile, Homer curbs his profanity with a swear jar after Ned Flanders' son, Todd, picks up Homer's foul language.

Full Story[]

In Bart's class a film on the importance of Zinc is shown. After the bell rings Edna tries to get the kids to stay, but none of them do. She has been feeling increasingly lonely, in attempt to be happy, she decides to put a personal ad in the magazine. The next day there is a school assembly where everyone watches a performance from The Twirl King Yo-Yo Company which amazes the children. The next day the yo-yo craze sweeps through Springfield Elementary School, much to Edna Krabappel's annoyance who cannot stand the fact that people only talk about yo-yos. After talking to the class about the pilgrims coming to the New World and meeting the natives, she becomes fed up when the wholesome class asks if yo-yos were involved. She declares that she doesn’t want to hear of see yo-yos of any kind in class. While secretly showing off a new trick to Milhouse, Bart accidentally ends up breaking the classroom fish tank with his yo-yo, as a result, Bart is given one month of detention. Despite his attempt to get back the yo-yo she won't allow it. Eventually Bart does get it back and also discovers the personal ad Krabappel put in the newspaper, ending with "Object: SAVE ME." Realizing it is Mrs. Krabappel's, he chooses to pull a prank and respond by mail with a new alter-ego. Bart pretends to be an adult male called "Woodrow," named after former President Woodrow Wilson. For romantic writing to send to Edna, Bart borrows a couple of lines from Homer's old love letters to Marge, then watches old movies as inspiration for more writing. A chain of romantic correspondence follows, where Edna sends Woodrow a sexy photo of herself and Bart reciprocates by sending her a picture of ice hockey player Gordie Howe, claiming that it is a photo of Woodrow.

Meanwhile, Marge notices that Santa's Little Helper needs a new dog house. She wants to buy one, but Homer says that he can save money by building one instead. His infuriating attempts at constructing the dog house cause him to curse loud enough for Todd to overhear. At night, Ned is upset when he hears Todd say "hell no" and "damn" at the dinner table. He seeks out ways to find the source of the cursing. Ned presumably comes to a dead end when he can't find what he is looking for since none of the usual suspects taught Todd to curse (i.e: bumper stickers, T.V., grandparents, comic books, and Rod).

Edna takes the next step, asking if she and Woodrow can meet in person, have dinner, and return to her apartment for some "home cookin.'" Bart, as Woodrow, writes a letter making a date to meet at The Gilded Truffle for dinner, and Edna is excited at the prospect of meeting Woodrow. Bart, however, has no intention of keeping the date, and while Edna waits in vain for Woodrow at The Gilded Truffle, Bart goes to the movies. Later, he comes out of the movie theater, laughing after watching "Ernest Needs a Kidney," and then feels guilty when he sees Edna crying while sitting at a table by herself.

The next day while Ned tries to come up with more sources, he and his sons overhear Homer curse in his failed attempt to build a doghouse for Santa's Little Helper. Ned discovers he was the source and confronts him for cursing out loud that lead to Todd picking up foul language. Homer criticizes him about his mustache in retaliation, which Ned promises to shave off in return for Homer's cutting back on the swearing. At night when Homer claims that it's too late for him to stop swearing, Marge disagrees and reveals that her father, Clancy, had the same problem until her mom, Jacqueline, set up a swear jar for him to put change in every time he said a bad word.

Homer promises to put money in a "swear jar" -- 25 cents for each curse. Thanks to Homer accidentally putting a $20 in the church donation plate, failing to get a strike in bowling, being jealous over Flanders getting cast in commercials because of his clean-shaven face, not thinking to put a door on the doghouse he's been building, and having a beehive fall on him, Homer fills the swear jar with enough money for Marge to actually buy a doghouse for Santa's Little Helper and some beer for Homer.

At school, Bart tries to cheer his teacher up by pointing out that there's plenty of other guys out there, such as the men who work at the school. Edna rejects the prospect of dating any of the school's male employees and points out their biggest flaws (like how Principal Skinner's mom still treats him like a kid and won't "let him out to play", how Coach Fortner [a character who was never seen and only mentioned in this episode] is a drunk, and how Groundskeeper Willie has a disgusting fetish [that may or may not be the voyeuristic videotaping fetish he has as seen on "Homer Badman", "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", and "Bye Bye Nerdie"] that Mrs. Krabappel doesn't want to reveal to Bart). Mrs. Krabappel then tells Bart he's the closest thing to a man in her life, the revelation of which causes her to break down crying.

Remorseful for what he's done to his teacher, Bart admits what he did to his family. His parents scold him for what he did, but when Homer argues that Bart should admit the truth to his teacher and face the consequences, Marge argues that might not be the best thing to do, as the truth would (more likely than not) humiliate Edna. Lisa suggests writing a letter that tells Mrs. Krabappel that that even though Woodrow's leaving her and will never see her again, he'll always love her and keep her in his heart. After several attempts, during which Homer repeatedly pitches the same idea ("I am gay"), the family produces a romantically diplomatic letter that proves to be a success. After delivering the letter and Edna reads it, she's sad that Woodrow's gone, but is also happy that she got closure from a man she's never met in person. She suggests to Bart that they spend his last day of detention outside and he agrees to that. The episode closes with a picture of Gordie Howe and his hockey stats.

Citations[]

Season 2 Season 3 Episodes Season 4
Stark Raving DadMr. Lisa Goes to WashingtonWhen Flanders FailedBart the MurdererHomer DefinedLike Father, Like ClownTreehouse of Horror IILisa's PonySaturdays of ThunderFlaming Moe'sBurns Verkaufen der KraftwerkI Married MargeRadio BartLisa the GreekHomer AloneBart the LoverHomer at the BatSeparate VocationsDog of DeathColonel HomerBlack WidowerThe Otto ShowBart's Friend Falls in LoveBrother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?
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