24 Minutes is the twenty-first episode of Season 18. It aired as part of the one hour season finale, alongside the episode "You Kent Always Say What You Want". It was originally promoted as being the 400th episode, but aired as the 399th. It is an obvious parody of the TV series, 24, and even contains Jack Bauer and Chloe O'Brian from the show as guest stars in this episode.
In a parody of 24, Bart and Lisa join forces to prevent the school bullies from setting off a stink bomb at the school bake sale, and the two get help by many different students including Martin.
An expired and highly pungent container of yogurt at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is found and belongs to Homer, who is ordered to dispose of it by Mr. Burns. After failing to persuade Apu to take it, the yogurt falls into the hands of the bullies.Then Homer mistakenly uncovers Milhouse spying on the bullies, causing the boys to throw them into a dumpster.
Meanwhile, Marge forgets about the bake sale, and only has half an hour to make a raisin sponge cake. She finds out that she hasn't got any raisins, forcing her to drive to the shop. But there's only one box of raisins and to get it, Marge has to fight with Helen Lovejoy, ending up knocking her down (Helen sustains serious injuries to be hospitalized). Marge gets the raisins and buys them. Back at home, she starts baking. In order to save time, she drastically increases the oven temperature to 1,200 degrees, burning the cake and making it rock-solid. Marge attempts to cover it up with pink and white frosting before leaving for the bake sale. She accidentally drops the cake when getting out of the car (which makes it fall onto the car hood, denting it, and eventually the ground). She can't repair it, so she just pats a bit of the icing flatter. Not surprisingly, no one tries to eat any of the cake at the bake sale.
At Jimbo's house, the bullies make a powerful stink bomb from the expired yogurt (referred as TCBY) (along with other ingredients such as roadkill, burnt hair, Jimbo's sister's retainer case, six weeks of bottled farts, possum placenta and sweat from a walk-around Goofy-suit), and plan on detonating it at the bake sale. After Milhouse's failed attempt to track the bullies, Lisa suggests that Bart help them, which he does after negotiating immunity from punishment for all his past and future pranks. Bart breaks in to Jimbo's house but can't navigate through the house properly since the only schematics he was given was a drawing Jimbo made of his house in the second grade (including made up rooms such as a roller coaster room and shark tank). During his investigation, Bart finds the door to the basement and comes across their set up showing the tests they had done including using Ralph Wiggum as a test subject. When trying to contact Lisa and tell her what he had found, Bart's phone call is accidentally crossed with a call from Jack Bauer of 24 and turns it into a prank call against him. After finding out about the stink bomb, Bart returns to the school to tell Lisa, but is knocked out by Martin, who turned out to be the bullies' mole.
At the bake sale, the bullies start the three-minute timer for the bomb. Bart, locked in the ventilation room with Groundskeeper Willie, wakes up and contacts Lisa by his cell phone and shows her a picture of the stink bomb, telling her to have Principal Skinner dump the hot dog water and short circuit the ventilation fan. Skinner fills up the room with the water. Only for Bart and Willie to float because of the wooden chairs they're sitting on, but then realize that before the water would be able to cause a short circuit, they would both be shoved head first into the fan. Running out of time, Bart attempts to swim out, but is unable break the room's only window. Sideshow Mel notices Bart under water through the other side of the window and Chief Wiggum tries to shoot through the glass (accidentally aiming at Bart's face each time), only to learn that the glass is bulletproof. Marge helps him, breaking the glass by throwing her burnt and incredibly solid cake through the window flooding the gymnasium. Lisa then arrives and defuses the bomb (which turns out to have a rather simplistic off switch), saving the bake sale from the stench. However, after that, Jack Bauer and several CTU field agents brust into the gym, destroying the bomb, and prepare to arrest Bart for his prank call. A nuclear bomb then goes off in the distance, but everyone sighs with relief after Bauer reassures them that the bomb went off in Shelbyville.
Behind the Laughter
An original idea saw Edgar Stiles from 24 appearing in the episode and being killed, but the concept was dropped. Lisa told Bart that Jimbo drew a picture when he was a kid, and got a frowny face from the teacher.
Robert Canning on IGN named "24 Minutes" the best episode of the season, citing "this smart, funny, spot-on parody of 24 was so good that it came very close to redeeming the entire season."
Note: When Milhouse is listed as eliminated on the board there are other names: Sherri, Terri and Wendell all with Xs through their names on a list of field agents (Living).