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Marge Gamer
The Boys of Bummer
Crook and Ladder

The Boys of Bummer is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season.

Synopsis

The Springfield Isotots win a Little League championship game, but when Bart makes an error that costs the team the championship, the townspeople refuse to let him forget it. Meanwhile, Homer's attempts to talk his way out of being caught sleeping on a bed in a department store bed end up selling the mattress, so he ends up as a mattress salesman, but he has second thoughts when Reverend Lovejoy trades Homer's mattress for the one he just bought.

Full Story

The Simpsons attend a Little League Baseball game, and Bart catches a fly ball, pushing the Springfield Isotots into the championship. The next day while shopping at Costington's, Homer gets tired but can't find a place to sit, so he lies down on a mattress and ends up falling asleep. However, when he wakes up, everyone is staring at him, so he gets up and exclaims his love for the mattress and manages to sell five; he is promptly hired as a mattress salesman. At the championship, Springfield is against Shelbyville, and is leading 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but Shelbyville has the bases loaded. When their batter hits the ball that could win or lose the game, it heads towards Bart. He drops an easily caught pop up and repeatedly fails to pick it up, allowing all four runners to score on a walk-off inside the park grand slam, giving Shelbyville the victory.

The entire crowd turns against Bart and throws beer at him, to the point where Chief Wiggum hurries him in to his patrol car, only to drive back to the stadium and open the car roof so the crowds can continue to throw beer at him after fleeing from the stadium. Bart is totally humiliated and is now the town pariah.

At Homer's new job, he assists Apu successfully. Then the Lovejoys approach him with a sex problem, so Homer sells them a new mattress made by Matrimonix. The Lovejoys buy it, but return it to the Simpson home next day, their problem unimproved. As Homer is writing them a refund check, the Lovejoys make out on Homer and Marge's mattress, and trade their new mattress for it. That night, when Homer and Marge are unsuccessfully trying to have sex, Homer admits he traded their mattress away. Also that he spent the money they kept in it on a chain for Elvis. The next day, Tim and Helen are singing joyfully at the Church.

Bart crying
Bart's humiliation goes on as Bill and Marty tell everyone on the radio. The town continues to angrily mock Bart for losing the game. Lisa, feeling remorseful, tries to cheer him up by taking to see an old baseball star (Joe La Boot) who dropped a fly ball and still grew up to be rich and famous. Unfortunately, it only makes Bart feel worse after the baseball player learns who he is and makes everyone in the building sneer him, making Bart burst into tears.

The next morning Springfield awakes to find a deranged Bart has spray-painted "I HATE BART SIMPSON" on everything in town (including a passed-out Barney). While he is painting the message on the water tower (with Marge viewing him using glasses), he lets go of the rope that was holding him up in an attempted suicide which the citizens of Springfield actually encourage.

Seeing what he has done, and recognising that he has gone too far, a horrified and repentant La Boot desperately tries to catch Bart. Unfortunately, he trips over and misses, causing Bart to hit the ground hard. Grampa Simpson is on the scene and promptly tells La Boot he sucks.

Bart ultimately survives and is revived shortly afterwards by Dr Hibbert. The Doctor tells a worried looking Marge that Bart will pull through but that for the foreseeable future he needs plenty of bed rest, accompanied by peace, and quiet. No sooner does he say this, than a commotion is heard outside.

Marge looks out the window and sees an angry mob has gathered. Instead of showing sympathy, they bear slanderous signs and banners, whilst repeatedly chanting "Bart Sucks" over and over. For Marge, this is the last straw! She storms outside, incandescent with rage and angrily confronts the citizens of Springfield for mocking Bart's "boo-boo", telling them that they should be ashamed of themselves for treating a child in such a cruel, abusive manner. When she calls everybody hypocrites, since they themselves participated in similar events when they were younger, and (with the exception of book writer Lenny) haven't gone on to accomplish anything, the crowd has absolutely no counter-response.

Marge stresses her outrage that the whole community was prepared to emotionally traumatise her ten-year-old son in such an unrepentant, brutal fashion to the point that it would actually drive Bart to try and commit suicide. She states that this unjustified treatment coupled with the memory of the game will haunt Bart for the rest of his life. Marge rounds off the whole fiasco by stating that in her opinion, this incident only emphasizes the negative assessment that Springfield really is the "Meanest City in America". Marge thought that a giant billboard with that slogan was meant to attract small business, but realises now that it is actually true about the rsidents of the town. Now feeling guilty, the entire town apologizes for insulting Bart and seeking to make amends, agrees to restage the game as suggested by Lisa.

After 78 tries (some flying into orbit, some stolen by Homer, one where Moe ran naked on the field), Bart catches the ball, winning the game. Homer and Marge sneak into the Lovejoys' home to steal back their mattress, but the Lovejoys return and excitedly rush up to bed, and Reverend solves the problem Solomon-style – he cuts the mattress in half diagonally. Homer convinces Marge to drive behind a billboard where they have sex, just as they did on their honeymoon – complete with the same bum watching them.

Sixty years later, Milhouse nearly lets it slip to Bart that the game was faked to make up for his lack of talent, but then takes it back when Bart starts crying, prompting Bart to say that he rules and Milhouse drools. The episode finishes with the poltergiests of Homer and Marge watching Bart taunt Milhouse and voicing their disappointment, and Homer attempts to talk Marge in to having ghost sex with him, only for Marge to tell him that it is just not the same as when they were alive, although she still moans apparently (what with being a spirit and all).

Behind the Laughter

Airdate

Originally, this episode was to air on May 6, 2007. However, on April 16, the Virginia Tech massacre took place, less than two weeks before the airdate of "Stop or My Dog Will Shoot!", which prominently featured gunplay in some scenes. Out of sensitivity to the victims of the shootings, Fox moved this episode up in the schedule.

Reception

The episode received negative reviews by most Simpsons fans on social media and in real life. Many Simpsons fans consider it to be one of, if not the worst Simpsons episode of all time (not counting "Lisa Goes Gaga"), the main reason being that Bart is treated hatefully and horribly by baseball fans, in what was supposed to be an innocent game. However, it was given a 6.4/10 on iMBD.com.

The episode is also hated for the infamous scene where Bart attempts suicide by jumping off a water tower after being driven to insanity; he is just put into a coma afterwards.

Citations

Season 17 Season 18 Episodes Season 19
The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her HomerJazzy and the PussycatsPlease Homer, Don't Hammer 'EmTreehouse of Horror XVIIG.I. D'ohMoe'N'a LisaIce Cream of Margie (with the Light Blue Hair)The Haw-Hawed CoupleKill Gil, Volumes I & IIThe Wife AquaticRevenge is a Dish Best Served Three TimesLittle Big GirlSpringfield UpYokel ChordsRome-Old and Julie-EhHomerazziMarge GamerThe Boys of BummerCrook and LadderStop or My Dog Will Shoot!24 MinutesYou Kent Always Say What You Want