Round 44: Radio Bart vs. The Springfield Files

For those of you coming here via Dead Homer Society, might I turn your attention to this polemic on why men should sit down to pee I wrote? Got nothing to do with The Simpsons, but, you know… it’s about peeing.

Round 44: 8F11 vs. 3G01.

8F11: “Radio Bart” (Season 3 / January 9, 1992)
Written by Jon Vitti
Directed by Carlos Baeza
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

Herman, Carl, a flying saucer, Apu, Skinner, and Moe digging to free Bart from the well.

Bask in my amazing photo stitching skills! Bask, I said!

Great episode! I mean, it’s no Claymation Easter, and Sting’s no Bruce Springsteen, but what can you do? The story is based on Billy Wilder’s “Ace in the Hole,” a great movie with a great Kirk Douglas performance. Check it out if you haven’t seen it. I think it’s on Netflix?

I’m stalling, because I didn’t jot down any notes while watching this, as will happen every once in a while when I’m just too caught up in an episode, especially one I haven’t seen in a while. Loved “Radio Bart” from start to finish, nothing to complain about.

Plus, there’s this to look at. You’re so very welcome.

3G01: “The Springfield Files” (Season 8 / January 12, 1997)
Written by Reid Harrison
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

Marvin the Martian, Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still, Chewbacca, ALF, and Kang or Kodos in an FBI line-up.

The most illegal shot in the history of The Simpsons.

For many reasons, watching this episode feels different from watching any other episode. Much of that has to do with how and when I first came upon it, way way back in the late nineties. “The Springfield Files” was among four episodes on a VHS tape a friend’s sister brought back from England, and they were the first four episodes of The Simpsons I ever watched in English, not dubbed into horrible, horrible German. And watch them I did. Over and over and over.

So that was a whole new, kinda weird at first, experience anyway. Add to that the fact that back then (and still, to some extent, now) I was a huge X-Files fan. A cross-over of my two  favorite shows was a big thrill then, and watching it now I still get a kick out of Mulder, Scully, CSM and other elements from the X-Files appearing in Springfield.

But there’s another thing. This may be a weird complaint to have for a comedy show, and it’s not really a complaint, more of a… thing I noticed. More like any other episode I can think of, this one feels a lot like the jokes came first, the story later. Not even jokes so much as a string of funny references and situations. Unrelated skits, almost.

It’s probably just me and my history with the episode. But if you’ve noticed something similar let me know.

The winner: 3G01, “The Springfield Files.” I don’t think it will ever have a chance of winning the tournament, because it is too much of a one-off, too bending of the format. But I enjoyed it a lot, even more than the wonderful “Radio Bart.”