Simpsons Did It!: “The Telltale Head”


What?  ANOTHER Bart episode?  No wonder Lisa feels so depressed.

Actually, this one, “The Telltale Head,” despite being about Bart decapitating the statue of the town founder, Jebediah Springfield, may be more of a Springfield episode.

See, one of the better aspects of The Simpsons is the huge, rich, supporting cast.  A number appear in this episode for the first time, such as Apu and Krusty.  Also, Sideshow Bob.  More on him in a few entries.  Bart and his quest to become popular with the baddest kids in school may lead him to take questionable advice from Homer, but the response from the entire town, where even depraved people like Moe and Mr. Burns feel deep sorrow for the loss of a statue’s head, just goes to show what a backbench of great characters the show has at its disposal.  Yeah, it’s hard to imagine Mr. Burns getting this involved in town pride, but it happened.

And this is Springfield.  They’re always about a step and a half away from a riot in most cases anyway.

I know part of the idea here is that Springfield works in a weird parallel dimension of sorts, where yeah, the people would get upset enough to rip a kid to shreds over a statue, but that may be part of the joke.  Having Krusty (a largely unknown quantity at this point) and Reverend Lovejoy both screaming for blood also highlight the humor when a kid’s show host and a man of God apparently put more love into a statue than their fellow man.

One other thing that comes home here that Bart isn’t that bad a kid when all is said and done.  Bart may be a prankster, but he’s not a thief, he immediately regrets his act of vandalism, and his biggest stunts often come across as poor impulse control rather than active maliciousness.  He really is Homer’s kid.

Fortunately for Bart, this time he met a rather forgiving lynch mob.

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