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I Married Marge
Radio Bart
Lisa the Greek

"You know, I've done a lot of bad stuff through the years. I guess now I'm paying the price, but there's so many things I'll never get a chance to do. Smoke a cigarette, use a fake I.D., shave a swear word in my hair... (cries)"
Bart, to his parents after he fell into the well.

Radio Bart is the thirteenth episode of Season 3, and the show's 48th episode overall.


Bart uses a radio microphone that he got on his birthday to trick the townspeople into thinking a little boy is stuck in the town's well, but when Bart goes to retrieve the radio, he's the one stuck in the well with no one to help him.

Full Story[]

It is Bart's birthday, and Homer doesn't understand what to get for Bart as a present. He observes an ad on TV for the Superstar Celebrity Microphone, which can be used to send voices over the radio. Homer jumps on the idea and orders one for Bart. However, at his birthday party (held at Wall E. Weasel's), Bart is less than enthralled by it, and is unenthusiastic about his other gifts as well. He ends up showing the most interest in the label-maker that Patty and Selma get him, and uses it to put "Property of Bart Simpson" labels on many things in the house, including a radio, Homer's rear and a can of beer (to Homer's dismay), and Santa's Little Helper.


The Superstar Celebrity Microphone

Homer tries to show Bart how great the microphone is, but Bart isn't convinced, largely due to Homer yells full blast into the microphone, creating heavy feedback. However, Marge also tries it out (keeping her voice down), and Bart is sold and decides to have a little fun of his own with the microphone. After trying it out on a few unsuspecting victims (he manages to make Rod and Todd Flanders believe that God is talking to them through the radio), Bart lowers his radio down into an old, abandoned well and calls for help over the radio, pretending to be a boy who has fallen into the well. Groundskeeper Willie falls for the prank and tells the whole town about the boy in the well. Then a number of townspeople gather around the well, and Bart explains that he is an orphan named Timmy O'Toole. Due to the size of the well, none of the city's police force can fit inside it to go rescue Timmy, and they can't simply pull him out with a rope because (as "Timmy" explains) his foot is caught under a rock.


A number of townsfolk attempt to come up with solutions to free the boy. A carnival is held near the well to benefit Timmy O'Toole, and Krusty the Clown decides to work with musician Sting to create a song called "We're Sending Our Love Down the Well," also as a benefit for Timmy. On TV, Channel 6 News provides frequent updates about Timmy, and an Itchy & Scratchy episode ("Cat Splat Fever") is dedicated to him.

However, Bart's ruse is broken when Lisa sees him wrestling the microphone away from Santa's Little Helper. The dog's growls through the microphone make the townspeople believe that something is wrong with Timmy, and the local news immediately reports on his "possibly feral condition". Lisa confronts Bart, warning him that his prank is going to end up backfiring. Bart scoffs at this, until he remembers that he used his label-maker to put a "Property of Bart Simpson" label on the radio in the well.

Later that evening, Bart returns to the well to retrieve the radio, and attempts to climb down into the well using a rope. When Springfield Police Officers Lou and Eddie see the rope, they untie it, sending Bart plummeting down into the well, where his foot ends up trapped under a rock—much like the story he made up to fool everyone. Bart calls for help, and explains to Lou and Eddie about his prank. The two officers then decide to leave Bart in the well.

The next day, Marge asks what the police are doing to help Bart. Chief Wiggum says that there is equipment located in Shreveport, Louisiana that can get Bart out of the well, but because Bart tricked the public, there is very little public support to help him. Mayor Quimby considers helping Bart, but in the wake of negative public opinion, he renounces his support and proclaims "Let him stay down there!", which draws cheers from his brainwashed constituents.

Bart Crying in a Well

Later that evening, Marge and Homer return and drop a sweater down for Bart to wear. As Bart ponders his situation, and considers that he'll be trapped down in the well for the rest of his life, Homer is suddenly inspired to dig a tunnel to get Bart out. Before long, a number of other citizens (including Sting) have joined in the effort (although Jasper is convinced that they are just digging holes), while Kent Brockman reports on the assassination of a squirrel. After several hours, they manage to reach Bart. Homer assures Bart that they'll make sure that no one else will ever fall down the well.

The final shot shows Groundskeeper Willie posting a small sign nearby that says "Caution: Well" (instead of the more sensible option of just boarding up the well). As Willie finishes pounding the signpost into the ground, he says, "That should do it!"

Behind the Laughter[]


The episode's plot is inspired by the media frenzy around “Baby Jessica” McClure in 1987. Jessica, age 18 months, fell down a well in Midland, Texas and was rescued in a highly publicized incident. The episode paralleled the real life rescue, in which an oil worker proposed digging by the well and breaking in at the bottom.

When this episode was being made, the producers approached Bruce Springsteen to appear. He rejected doing the episode, and got Sting to appear in his place.

According to the DVD Commentary, the producers originally wanted Homer to sing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot rather than "Convoy." Jon Vitti said the reason "Fitzgerald" was not used was because Lightfoot had signed over the rights to the song to the families of the 29 people who died on the ship. Using the song on TV would have required obtaining approvals from all 29 families, which was deemed too much trouble just to have Homer sing a couple of lines from the song.

In one scene, Bart uses his radio to make Homer believe aliens are invading Earth, which prompts Homer to brandish a shotgun in panic. According to the commentary, Homer's original reaction was to mix Kool-Aid and rat poison, ostensibly to spare his family the horror of alien invasion. This was deemed too dark and was changed.


In the DVD commentary for the episode, the staff expresses their disbelief that this episode lost the Emmy for animated program to Claymation Easter. Al Jean said they thought this episode or Ren & Stimpy would win and were absolutely floored when neither did. David Silverman said he believes The Simpsons and Ren & Stimpy split the vote, allowing Claymation Easter to grab the Emmy. The Daily Telegraph characterized the episode as one of "The 10 Best Simpsons TV Episodes."

Krusty The ClownKrusty the Clown Show Characters, Locations and Key Episodes
Krusty the Clown | Sideshow Bob | Sideshow Mel | Sophie Krustofsky | Mr. Teeny

Krusty Burger | Clown College | Kamp Krusty
Krusty Gets Busted | Itchy & Scratchy & Marge | Like Father, Like Clown | Kamp Krusty | Krusty Gets Kancelled | Bart Gets Famous | Homie the Clown | Bart the Fink | The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show | The Last Temptation of Krust | Insane Clown Poppy | Day of the Jackanapes | Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington | Today, I Am a Clown | Yokel Chords | All About Lisa | Once Upon a Time in Springfield | The Ten-Per-Cent Solution | Clown in the Dumps | The Nightmare After Krustmas | Fears of a Clown | Krusty the Clown (episode) | The Clown Stays in the Picture | Clown V. Board of Education


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?