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Bart Star
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There's only one thing you need to know to be a great quarterback.
Joe Namath to Bart

"Bart Star" is the sixth episode of Season 9.

Synopsis

Springfield's youth join a pee-wee football team. With Ned Flanders at the helm and Nelson at quarterback, the team is undefeated until Homer strong arms himself into Ned's job, destroying the team's undefeated season, and puts all of his faith in unqualified Bart as his quarterback.

Full Story

Following a health convention held in Springfield, the children of Springfield are deemed to be overweight. To help them stay in shape, the parents enroll their children into pee-wee football, including Bart. Ned Flanders becomes the coach and turns out to be great at it, allowing everyone to play, including girls. However, despite the team's undefeated streak under his coaching, he eventually and furiously quits after being fed up with Homer's constant heckling from the sidelines (especially after Homer threw an already opened beer can at Flanders' head, not only hurting his head, but also humiliating Ned when the suds from the beer fell on him).

Co
Homer turns out to be a lousy coach, and far more stereotypical in it. He cuts more than half the team unnecessarily and acts tough toward Bart, but when he is reminded of when he was a child and how his father was hard on him, he decides to be nicer to Bart. The next day, he plans to cut many more players off the team including all the girls, and changes the quarterback from Nelson to Bart, causing an uproar in the team because Nelson had been carrying the team on his own until Homer took over as coach. Bart is unable to play the position well, and causes the team to lose a few games. The team then falls out with Bart and take a dislike to him.

Bart chooses to pretend he is extremely injured so he can stop being the quarterback, but Homer claims that without Bart, the team must forfeit. Bart becomes offended, says he never wanted to be the quarterback anyway and tells him that he is terrible. The team tells Homer that Bart is horrible as quarterback. However, Homer, still not getting it, believes Bart is their best player. This causes Bart to get even more offended at Homer and quits the team. Nelson ticks Homer off at Bart (Homer failed to realize that it was his own fault) and shouts at Bart and says he is cut from the team. He also cuts Milhouse, much to Milhouse's delight. Bart and Homer have a fallout. Nelson is made the quarterback again and the team wins, but Homer has nobody to celebrate with and becomes lonely. Afterwards, Homer finds Bart, where he apologizes to Bart for blindly encouraging him for something he is not good at, and reconciles with him to rejoin the team again.

The next day, during the final championship game, the score becomes tied when Chief Wiggum comes to arrest Nelson on an outstanding warrant. To keep Nelson in the game, Bart plans to pretend he is Nelson as he is assuming it is only for a petty crime, despite it actually being for burglary and arson. Eventually, the team finally wins the championship, and the team tries to carry Homer, unsuccessfully, off the field. Joe Namath appears to give his final thoughts on the episode, finishing with Bart's fate being ambiguous as to how he will get out of trouble.

During the ending credits, Homer "cuts" all of the cast and crew members (except for Namath), as well as the Gracie Films logo.

Behind the Laughter

Production

The episode was written by Donick Cary, who obtained inspiration for it from when he was younger, where when he was in high school, he had a football coach who also had a son on the team. Similarly, show runner Mike Scully used to be on a soccer team when he was younger, where the coach had a son on the team, which he gave special treatment to, as Homer did.

George Meyer got inspiration for the scene in the beginning of the episode where Rainier Wolfcastle is taunting the kids when he was following behind Arnold Schwarzenegger during a hike, and Schwarzenegger also taunting his kids. Schwarzenegger's influence was again seen in the same scene, as he appointed to be the chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, which he served from 1990 to 1993.

The final scene took a long time to be finally made. The writing process for it was considered to be difficult, and was originally different when it was read at the writing table.

Casting

King of the Hill

The King of the Hill character cameos.

The episode guest starred Joe Namath, Roy Firestone and Mike Judge. Scully claims that Judge was paid $1,000,000 to cast in the episode, where he voiced the cameo of Hank Hill. Other King of the Hill characters appeared with Hank, including the Hill family, Dale Gribble, Bill, and Boomhauer, but none of them spoke. Namath, who was one of the guest stars, was liked by the staff, as they claimed that "He was very humble and was great coming in".

Originally, Marv Albert was going to play the part Firestone played as a sports radio host, but was immediately dropped following the controversial sexual assault charges that were made against him around the time the episode was being made.

Reception

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, thought well of the episode, saying, "A fun episode, where you root for Bart and, unusually, Nelson - all the way through. Homer is just too stupid for words, but that's excusable because we finally see Ned Flanders lose it, big time!" The director of the episode, Dominic Polcino, greatly enjoyed the episode, and claims that it is his favorite episode that he directed.

The fictional beer Homer mentions, Skittlebrau, has since inspired a clothing line, a webpage and many people have tried to make their own version.

Citations

Season 8 Season 9 Episodes Season 10
The City of New York vs. Homer SimpsonThe Principal and the PauperLisa's SaxTreehouse of Horror VIIIThe Cartridge FamilyBart StarThe Two Mrs. NahasapeemapetilonsLisa the SkepticRealty BitesMiracle on Evergreen TerraceAll Singing, All DancingBart CarnyThe Joy of SectDas BusThe Last Temptation of KrustDumbbell IndemnityLisa the SimpsonThis Little WiggySimpson TideThe Trouble with TrillionsGirly EditionTrash of the TitansKing of the HillLost Our LisaNatural Born Kissers