"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 bullies from setting off a stink bomb at the school bake sale, and the pair gets 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, a task that Homer is all too eager to do as he considered it a "business trip." 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 trio, causing the boys to throw the Homer into a dumpster and lock Homer in a dumpster.
Meanwhile, Marge forgets about the bake sale, and only has half an hour to make a raisin sponge cake. Marge finds out that she doesn't have any raisins, and drives to the supermarket to purchase them. But there is 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 and has 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, a retainer case owned by Jimbo's sister, 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 (due to Homer unknowingly blowing his cover), Lisa suggests that Bart help them, which he does after negotiating immunity from punishment for all his past and future pranks, as well as teaching him a swear word he didn't already realize. He then stole Skinner's car to locate Jimbo's house. Jimbo later receives a call from Martin warning the trio that the CTU is on to them and that they leave as soon as possible. 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 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, only to find that Martin was acting suspiciously (namely skipping and singing "Skip To My Loo"), and then proceeded to interrogate Nelson (who was in close proximity and didn't think it suspicious) by slamming a garbage pail over his head and beating it to find out whether Martin was a mole. Upon getting confirmation from Nelson, Bart then immediately calls Lisa and attempts to warn her that the bullies had a mole within the CTU. Before Bart can expose the name of the mole, however, he is knocked out by Martin.
At the bake sale, the bullies start the three-minute timer for the bomb. Martin then got his ant farm back from the Bullies (the sole reason why he acted as the mole), although one of the ants "joined the Bullies", with him being ominously escorted out of the room. 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 (with Willie helpfully telling Bart what the valve was). Skinner fills the room with the water, only for Bart and Willie to float because of the wooden chairs they are sitting on, but then realize that before the water would be able to cause a short circuit, they would be shoved head first into the fan blades. Running out of time, Bart attempts to swim out, but is unable break the room's only window. Martin then realizes the full ramification of his actions, and proceeds to "give himself a self-wedgie." 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 tossing her burnt and incredibly solid cake at the window and 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 burst into the gym and prepare to arrest Bart for his prank call. A nuclear bomb then goes off in the distance, suprising everyone but they sigh 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.
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).