Simpsons Wiki
Advertisement
Episode
References
Gags
Appearances
Gallery
Quotes
Credits
Home Away from Homer
The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star
The Bonfire of the Manatees


I wouldn't get too into that Catholic Church. With all the sitting and standing and kneeling, it's like Simon Says without a winner!
Marge Simpson

The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star is the twenty first and final episode of Season 16. It is the 350th episode (in production order) of The Simpsons. Originally slated to air April 10, 2005, it was postponed with no episode playing that night (it was finally aired May 15, 2005) due to the death earlier that week of Pope John Paul II, as the episode revolved around the Roman Catholic Church.

Synopsis

Bart is unfairly expelled by Principal Skinner for a prank at a school Medieval Festival that was actually caused by Groundskeeper Willie, and ends up going to a Catholic school, which is more affordable than other private schools. The only person who takes a real interest in Bart is Father Sean, who explains he acted a bit like Bart in his day, and lends Bart a "Lives of the Saints" comic book. Marge is afraid that Bart is turning into a Catholic (which, with all of the sitting, standing, and kneeling, she calls "Simon Says without a winner"), but Homer is sidetracked by the fact that the school is having a pancake dinner followed by bingo, and when he discovers that he can be absolved of all sins through confession if he converts, Marge problems are doubled, especially when she realizes that Catholics believe life begins at conception.

Full Story

Springfield Elementary School is holding the annual Medieval Faiyieyre. All the students are given roles: Lisa is the queen, Martin is the king, the school bullies are the royal guards, Bart is the cooper (a role that he bitterly hates) and Groundskeeper Willie, against his will, is cast as the village idiot. Bart is irritated with his role, since it requires him to carry an obscenely large and heavy barrel of pink lemonade around the entire gym, not to mention being mistreated by everyone, especially Lisa (who makes him trek across the gym several times with the barrel to refill her glass, treating him with complete disrespect, and has him escorted to the "dungeon" (a.k.a. Principal Skinner's car) when he mumbles at her under his breath, as well as the barrel breaking on him). As much as Bart hates his role, his hatred is not as strong as Willie's. Not only is he forced at the sake of his job to wear a humiliating costume of urine-soaked sackcloth for the fair, but he is also forced to sit in a cage wearing shackles while the students throw rotten fruit at him, which Skinner says is one of the few forms of entertainment regular people had in those days. Seeking revenge, Willie secretly fills a large pie with hundreds of live rats. When Lisa cuts the pie open, the rats wreak havoc in the gym and the entire event falls apart. Due to Bart's history of juvenile behavior, Skinner falsely blames Bart for the prank instead of Willie and expels him from school. At dinner that night, his entire family is irritated with him and refuse to believe his innocence, especially Lisa, who tells him that he deserved it; however, Marge is somewhat more sympathetic. After looking through other schools, Marge chooses to enroll Bart in St. Jerome's Catholic School. There, Bart's hip, rebel attitude is frowned upon, as his new teacher, Sister Thomasina, has a zero-tolerance attitude for his insubordination. She breaks a portable games console he plays in class, and hits him with a yardstick, eventually making him stand outside, in the corridor, holding out two dictionaries, one on each arm.

Bart meets Father Sean (voiced by Liam Neeson), who converted to Catholicism and decided on his vocation after he was beaten by his father and St. Peter told him to repent. He is sympathetic to Bart and gives him a comic book about the saints and he is drawn into it. At home, Marge becomes concerned over Bart's interest in the Roman Catholic Church, including his use of rosary beads, praying in Latin, and for doing a gross painting of Joan of Arc. On Marge's orders, Homer goes to the school to confront Father Sean, but reconsiders after joining the school's monthly pancake dinner and playing bingo. After expansively confessing, Homer learns that he must convert to Catholicism to be absolved of his sins. With Bart and Homer both considering joining the Church, Marge (worried she might be alone in Protestant Heaven while Bart and Homer are in Catholic Heaven, whilst Lisa and Maggie are never alluded to) seeks help from Rev. Lovejoy and Ned Flanders, who agree to intercept them. While he and Homer are learning about First Communion, Marge, Lovejoy, and Ned capture Bart.

On the road, Marge and Lovejoy try to bring Bart back to the one true faith: The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism. Back at the house, Lisa agrees with Homer and Bart's desire to join a new faith. Even after getting laughed at for being Buddhist by Father Sean, she says that Marge is taking Bart to a Protestant Youth Festival. Homer and Fr. Sean then leave in immediate pursuit. At the Festival, Marge fails to bribe Bart with the banal Christian rock of Quiet Riot (Pious Riot after their conversion), which doesn't work. However, he agrees after he plays some paintball, making her happy that "one of (those) dumb things would work". Homer and Fr. Sean arrive with a motorcycle and sidecar, shoot Marge's hair with some paintball bullets and engage in a Mexican standoff with Ned and Lovejoy. Bart dismissively tells everybody to calm down and points out the stupidity that all the different forms of Christianity are feuding, since the main beliefs are the same and there are only a few minuscule differences between them. The two groups agree to both fight monogamous gays and stem cells and to take Bart's idea to heart. The episode then jumps a thousand years into the future, when Bart is viewed as the last Prophet of God. In this age, mankind is waging war over whether Bart's teachings were about love and tolerance, or understanding and peace (and whether he was betrayed by his minion Milhouse and ripped apart by snowmobiles until he died). One side cries Bart's catchphrase "Eat my shorts", the other cries "Cowabunga" and both sides engage in a bloody battle. It is likely that after this episode, Bart was later reinstated back to Springfield elementary as an apology in the end for being falsely accused of Willie's prank.

Behind the Laughter

Reception

IGN called this episode the best episode of the sixteenth season. They thought of it as a great episode that dealt with the sensitive topic of religious tolerance, stating that "with a daring story, we can't help but remember when The Simpsons was an edgy hip show that would frequently shed a light on cultural complexes". They thought it would be ideal if there were more episodes like this one.

Citations

Season 15 Season 16 Episodes Season 17
Treehouse of Horror XVAll's Fair in Oven WarSleeping with the EnemyShe Used to Be My GirlFat Man and Little BoyMidnight RxMommie BeerestHomer and Ned's Hail Mary PassPranksta RapThere's Something About MarryingOn a Clear Day I Can't See My SisterGoo Goo Gai PanMobile HomerThe Seven-Beer SnitchFuture-DramaDon't Fear the RooferThe Heartbroke KidA Star is TornThank God It's DoomsdayHome Away from HomerThe Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star
Advertisement