(S06E07) To paraphrase a line from Woody Allen, the only love that truly lasts is unrequited love. That's a good way to sum up this episode where Bart falls in love with Reverend Lovejoy's daughter, Jessica. Another great summation comes from Lisa, who tells Bart, quite wisely, "It's naive to think you can change a person." Of course, this being The Simpsons, Lisa qualifies her advice by insisting the hunky boy who works at the library might be changed if only he gave Lisa a chance.
A quick synopsis: Bart falls head over heels for Jessica Lovejoy and tries to behave around her, assuming a reverend's daughter must only be interested in boys who are moral. This proves difficult for Bart, since he is, as Lisa puts it, "the Devil's cabana boy." When that fails, Bart reverts back to his old ways by tying balloons to Groundskeeper Willy's kilt, exposing his manhood to everyone at Scotchtoberfest, a fake celebration that was set up by Principal Skinner as a means to trap Bart. Even Willy is unaware the event is fake, screaming, "Ya used me, Skinner!" Jessica becomes infatuated with Bart's "bad boy" ways, and eventually frames him for stealing money from the collection plate at church that she actually took herself. In true Simpsons fashion, a mob of townsfolk descend on Jessica's room at the end of the episode and discover the money hidden under the bed. Bart, of course, learns nothing, and Jessica learns she has the power to manipulate men. It's not especially satisfying, but the truth rarely is.
Homer and Marge remained in the background for most of this episode, with Bart and Lisa becoming the main focus. Earlier episodes seemed to focus more on the dynamics between the two siblings, and it's always a nice change of pace when the show examines their love for one another as opposed to constant rivalries. Lisa really wants to help Bart in this episode, and it's actually quite touching.
A few moments I enjoyed from this episode:
- The opening sequence lifted from Planet of the Apes in which the parents head out to corral their children and bring them home for the evening.
- Bart comparing Jessica to a Milk Dud: "Sweet on the outside, poison on the inside."
- Homer leaving a coupon for thirty cents off Shake and Bake in the collection plate.
- Willy explaining to people at Scotchtoberfest that they didn't always wear kilts in battle, but rather full-length gowns with sequins.