When Flanders Failed Written by John Vitti Directed by Jim Reardon [$Id 7f23 1.2 911007 21

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

When Flanders Failed Written by John Vitti Directed by Jim Reardon =============================================================================== [$Id: 7f23 1.2 91/10/07 21:37:15 raymond Exp Locker: raymond $] =============================================================================== > Title sequence =============================================================================== Blackboard :- `Nobody likes sunburn / slappers'. Unknown cutoff. Driveway :- No oil on the driveway. Homer does not shake his fist at Bart. Homer says `D'oh!' when Lisa scoots past. Couch: :- They do a little dance. =============================================================================== > Didja notice... =============================================================================== ... Maggie had a bottle in her mouth instead of a pacifier? ... during the dinner scene, Bart starts out eating with his left hand, but later is seen eating with his right hand? ... Bart hops over Jasper as he rushes back to karate class? ... the Buzz Cola (``twice the sugar, twice the caffeine'') machine? (What happened to `POW! Cola'?) ... the advertisement for Barney's Bowl-O-Rama? A female voice sings, ``Let's go to Barney's Bowl-O-Rama, for entertainment and exercise!'' ... the Flanders kids were toasting marshmallows on the cigarette lighter? =============================================================================== > Movie References =============================================================================== + It's a Wonderful Life - ``Oh, golly, it's a miracle!'' {nag} - the townspeople rally to save a friend - ``To Ned Flanders, the richest left-handed man in town.'' cf. ``To my brother George, the richest man in town.'' {nag} - the policeman with an accordion {tws} - Maude is wearing a Donna Reed dress {tws} - Ned ringing up sales on his register like mad. cf. George's brother tallying donations on an adding machine. {tws} - everybody singing =============================================================================== > Freeze Frame Fun =============================================================================== >> Things in Ned's store Cups-a-Plenty Car with left-handed gearshift Lefty apron (!?) left-handed shot glass left-handed pinking shears left-handed ledger book left-handed zither `Kiss me, I'm left-handed' T-shirt left-handed corkscrew left-handed can opener left-handed nunchucks Things mentioned, but not seen: left-handed apple peelers left-handed ice-cream scoop >> Ned's belongings A weed-whacker. (``Property of Ned Flanders'') An apron which says, ``Hail to the chef''. A hand-held camcorder. (See [7f11]) A `Ned Loves Maude' shirt. (worn by Homer) A `Maude Loves Ned' shirt. (worn by Bart) A `World's Greatest Dad' cap. (worn by Homer) His eyeglasses. (worn by Bart) A `Welcome to Flanders Country' welcome mat. (in front of Ned's car door) A `God Bless Our Happy Car' needlepoint. (in Ned's car) A handkerchief with `NF' embroidered on it. (Homer cries into it when he admits that Ned's failure was his fault.) {bml} >> Other stores in the mall, courtesy of Brian Scearce {bls} Vendetta (seen out the window of the karate school during the lesson) SIMPLY SHOES and athletic equipment and active wear Assassins 1/2 Price Sale (Flanders picks another loser). {rc} Coming soon... Gum For Less. (See [7f10]) Perky Hut Shakespeare's Fried Chicken Tongs "R" Us (the `R' is backwards.) The Ladder Barn Also, Nick Riviera's clinic was there, but I forget what it was called. >> People in Ned's store Dr. Marvin Monroe Sideshow Mel Dr. Nick Riviera (I think) Principal Skinner Len Jasper Moe Burns and Smithers Police Chief Wiggum Barney (and two babes) Chuck Ellis Krusty (standing by the car) [MSB101@psuvm.psu.edu] Brian Scearce {bls} adds to the list: Apu Bleedin' Gums Murphy Bob (the RV salesman) Diamond Joe Quimby Grampa Simpson's fellow home resident (the guy who stole his paper in BtG) Lionel Hutz Master Sushi Chef Professor Lombardo (art teacher) Mrs. Lovejoy Otto Princess Cashmere Richie Sakai So much for `one out of every nine Americans'... >> At the video arcade (where Bart is mastering the Death Pinch) Courtesy of Ron Carter {rc}: A Robert Goulet (!) Destroyer arcade game machine. A reference to the Michael Jackson arcade game machine (Moonwalker)? =============================================================================== > Animation goofs =============================================================================== Brian Scearce {bls} reports: When Barney's drinking his beer in Moe's, his chest is (for one frame) the same color as his shirt. When Marvin Monroe is in the store at the end, his cigar (for one frame) is white, rather than brown. Makes it look like a hand-rolled cigarette. =============================================================================== > The sappy ending =============================================================================== J. D. Baldwin {jdb} saith: Hey, I hate a tacked-on happy ending as much as the next guy, but how could you really expect an episode centering on Flanders to have anything a sugary-sappy ending? I thought this was one place where it was pretty funny--particularly when you add in the homage to the sugariest ending of all time: `It's a Wonderful Life'. (Hey, get off my back--I IAWL.) =============================================================================== Mike Lee (MIKELEE@oregon.uoregon.edu): With respect to the critics, I think they're missing the context. We're not supposed to feel warmed by the happy ending---we're supposed to recognize it for the cynical plot device it is. Why else would Bart know the words to a song that died before he was born? =============================================================================== > Assorted comments =============================================================================== Steve Portigal {sp} refuses to sit idly by while the Canadian Football League is brutally mocked: ``Yes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders really are a team. Not to be confused with the Ottawa Roughriders. Look, I didn't name the teams okay!! Oh for a left handed football...'' =============================================================================== Andrew Tannenbaum {trb} points out that The Art of War by Sun Tzu (the book Akira hands out) is an ancient and still classic book of warfare. =============================================================================== > Quotes and scene summary =============================================================================== % Homer trims his lawn with Ned's weed-whacker (``Property of Ned Flanders''), % ignoring Ned's comment that at the rate he's going, he'll be out all day. Ned: Come on over and strap on the feed bag. We're going to fire up ol' Propane Elaine and put the heat to the meat! Nummy-nummy-num! [hands Homer an invitation] Homer: I'll be there! [sotto voce] Notty-notty-not. -- ``When Flanders Failed'' % At the kitchen table... The Flanders' are having a beef-a-thon. Incredible Ned-ibles. Maude-acious vittles. -- Lisa reads Ned's barbecue invitation, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Marge tells Homer to give Ned a chance, but Homer maintains that Ned is % a jerk. When Marge tries to stick up for Ned, Homer accuses her of being % the president of the International `We Love Flanders' Fan Club. % Marge brings the kids and some potato salad to the `Bar-B-Que', but Homer % is conspicuously absent. Marge says that Homer has important work at the % plant that only he can take care of. Homer is actually lying on the % family room couch, ostensibly watching ``exciting fifteenth round action % at the Canadian Football League draft'', but is really grousing. Stupid Flanders. Go ahead, Marge. Have a ball. What if they came back and I was dead from not eating. They'd cry their eyes out. [mock crying] ``We should have never gone to the Flanders'. Oh, why did we go to the Flanders' house and leave Homer alone with no food?'' And I'll be laughing, laughing from my grave, ha ha ha. -- Homer really knows how to show 'em, ``When Flanders Failed'' % But he is drawn to the window by the aroma of a flame-broiled burger. % Bart notices that Homer is drooling out the window and rubs his stomach % to rub it in. This proves too much for Homer, who rushes across the lawn % and helps himself to a tray of hamburgers and a six pack. Later, Bart % and other kids play `tag'. Homer enjoys the kids' insulting epithets. % % Ned calls everyone together to announce that he's quitting his job in % pharmaceuticals (burning his necktie to demonstrate) and will open a % shop that sells only left-handed goods. He'll call it, ``The Leftorium.'' % % Later, Ned asks Homer what he thinks of the idea, and Homer has his % reservations. Ned knows it's not going to be easy, but it'll be fun. % Maude comes forward with a wishbone and invites Ned and Homer to make % a wish. Hmm, let's see... [dreams of newspaper headline: PRESIDENT DECLARES WORLD PEACE] Naah... [dreams of newspaper headline: PRESIDENT SIMPSON DECLARES WORLD PEACE] Mmm... [dreams of newspaper headline: PRESIDENT SIMPSON WINS SUPER BOWL] Hey! -- Homer makes a wish, ``When Flanders Failed'' Come on, Homer. I've got an ambition to do some wishin'! -- Ned Flanders, ``When Flanders Failed'' [dreams of a penniless Ned] Ooh! [dreams of Ned shutting down his ``Flanders' Stupid Left-Handed Shop'' with a `Going out of business' sign] Heh heh heh heh. [dreams of a grave with the tombstone, ``RIP Ned Flanders'] Eh, too far. [dreams of Ned shutting down his ``Flanders' Stupid Left-Handed Shop'' with a `Going out of business' sign] Mm! Okay, ready. -- Homer makes a wish, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Homer wins and gloats. He then takes a bite out of his hamburger and % laughs evilly with food splattering out of his mouth. He starts choking, % his face turning purple... Ned prepares to administer the Heimlich % Maneuver... % % [End of Act One. Time: 5:02] % % Bart watches another typically violent Itchy & Scratchy cartoon. Marge: Bart, how many hours a day do you watch TV? Bart: Six. Seven if there's something good on. -- ``When Flanders Failed'' % Marge suggests Bart stop watching TV and get some exercise. Marge, TV gives so much and asks so little. It's a boy's best friend. -- Homer explains, ``When Flanders Failed'' % They see a TV advertisement for a martial arts school (next to Shakespeare's % Fried Chicken)... Akira: Hello, I am Akira. Ha! [breaks a cinder block with his forehead] That didn't hurt very much, because I know the ancient art of karate. [lying on his back with a giant rock on his chest, as two men pound the rock with sledgehammers] Karate focuses the mind and gives you self-confidence. People from all walks of life... Doctors... Man: Hai-ya! [breaks a cinder block with his forehead, in the process, breaking his glasses, which he forgot to take off] Akira: Home makers... Woman: Hoi-ya! [breaks a cinder block with her forehead] Akira: Landscape architects... Woman: Haiiiii-ya! [breaks a cinder block with her forehead] Akira: Choreographers... Man: Hoa! [breaks a cinder block with his forehead] Akira: High karate, at low, low prices. George Washington: I cannot tell a lie. This is a great deal! [smashes a wooden board with his head] [TV caption: Washington's Birthday Sale, $10 a lesson] -- TV advertisement, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Bart offers to study karate. % % Homer drops Bart off at the martial arts academy, then visits Ned's store. % A woman accidentally drops a coffee mug, but Ned forgives her. She then % asks Ned to validate her parking ticket, which he gladly does. Absotively posilutely! -- Ned Flanders' way of saying, `yes', ``When Flanders Failed'' % Aside from the woman, the store is empty, and Ned hasn't sold a thing yet. % Meanwhile, Bart suffers through the karate lesson. Akira: We learn karate, so that we need never use it. Bart: Um, excuse me, sir. I already know how not to hit a guy. Can we break out the nunchucks? Akira: Ah yes, the impetuousness of youth. For now, let us read... Bart: Akira, my good man, when do we break block of ice with our heads? Akira: First, you must fill you head with wisdom, then you can hit ice with it. Bart: Yo, sensei. Can I go to the bathroom? Akira: You can if you believe you can. Bart: [leaving] Pay money to read books, pffft. The hell with this! -- Karate school, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Bart heads for the arcade and plays the `Touch of Death' video game, % which has a martial arts theme. % % At dinner, Homer gloats that Ned's business is a flop. Lisa: Dad, do you know what Schadenfreude is? Homer: No, I do not know what shaden-frawde is. [sarcasm] Please tell me, because I'm dying to know. Lisa: It's a German term for `shameful joy', taking pleasure in the suffering of others. Homer: Oh, come on Lisa. I'm just glad to see him fall flat on his butt! [getting mad] He's usually all happy and comfortable, and surrounded by loved ones, and it makes me feel... What's the opposite of that shameful joy thing of yours? Lisa: [nastily] Sour grapes. Homer: Boy, those Germans have a word for everything! -- Selbstverstaendlich! ``When Flanders Failed'' % Marge asks Bart what he learned in karate school, and Homer threatens that % it'd better be worth his ten bucks. Bart swallows hard, then says he % learned the `touch of death' and offers to demonstrate on Lisa, who runs in % fear. Bart, don't use the Touch of Death on your sister. -- Marge, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Bart has snuck out of karate school again and is watching Itchy and Scratchy % on the TV sets at an electronics store. He rushes back (causing minor % havoc among the people whose paths he crosses) in time to emerge from the % karate school's front door when Homer picks him up. Homer: Hey, boy! How was class? Bart: Today, we learned how to rip a man's heart out and show it to him before he dies! Homer: Ooh. That'll learn him. -- Karate school, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Jimbo, Kerny, and Dolph emerge from Ned's store having shoplifted a % left-handed shot glass and left-handed pinking shears. The activity % has lost its charm for Jimbo, who leaves to steal some baked potatoes from % the Food Court. % % Homer stop by the store, which is still empty. Ned: I think word of mouth is starting to spread. Man: Hey, I hear you validate parking tickets without purchase. Ned: Oh, right as rain! Or, as we say around here, `left as rain', heh heh. Man: Just stamp the ticket. Ned: Oh, okay. -- ``When Flanders Failed'' % At Moe's Tavern, Barney asks how Ned's business is going, while Moe curses % the right-handed corkscrew he has to suffer through. Moe asks what Ned % sells, and Homer doesn't say. % % At home, Bart keeps threatening Lisa with the `Touch of Death' to get her % to change the TV channel. % % At work, Homer looks for a candy bar in the vending machine, but all there % are are apples. He submits `No more apples in the vending machine please' % to the suggestion box on Burns' door, and while his hand is still inside, % Smithers opens the door and tells Homer to bring the box inside. There, % he sees Monty struggling with a can opener (presumably to open the tin of % cat food for the sick-looking cat in his lap). Burns: And what's your name? Homer: Homer Simpson, sir. Burns: Simpson, eh? I'm Monty Burns. -- Pleased to meet you, again, ``When Flanders Failed'' Burns: [reads an entry in the suggestion box] `Keep that handsome owner out of sight, he's distracting the female employees'. Oh, Smithers... Smithers: You got me, sir. -- ``When Flanders Failed'' % But he also finds, ``a real one!'' and makes fun of the fact that it's % not a complete sentence, and lets Homer leave, reassuring him that there % will be plenty of apples in the future. He then returns to his tin. Burns: Damned infernal gizmo. My kingdom for a left-handed can opener! Homer: Um, Mr. Burns? ... [dreams of Ned's Leftorium store] Ned: [in Homer's dream] Come on, Homer, tell him about the store! I'm dying out here! Homer: Sorry, Flanders. [leaves] -- ``When Flanders Failed'' % Driving home, Homer sees Ned's belongings strewn on his front lawn. Ned % tries to sell his camcorder to a man, unsuccessfully. Ned: See anything you like? [at Ned's lawn sale] Homer: Oh, I get it! It's not good enough for you, but it's good enough for me! Well, I wouldn't be caught dead buying this... Hello! -- Homer espies Ned's gas grill, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Homer offers $20 for Ned's $300 grill. Ned gives in, but Homer holds out % until Ned throws in a few lawn chairs and a tool bench. Later, Homer is % barbecueing in the backyard... Homer: Hey, Bartly-boobly, care for a steak-a-rooney? Bart: Sounds crumptly-uptious, dear old duddly-doodly! Homer: Heh heh, duddly-doodly. -- Talking like Ned Flanderoosky, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Marge is surprised to find Ned's living room set in the backyard, which % Homer says he paid only $75 for. I'm sure did nothing to discourage this, you scavenger of human misery. -- Lisa, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Homer answers the door... Chuck: Good afternoon, sir. I'm Chuck Ellis, from the Springfield Collection Agency, and I'm here to ask you why you don't think you need to pay your bills. Homer: Oh, I know I need to pay them, but there's just so many! Chuck: Does it make you feel good about yourself to owe people money? We've been very patient with you, Mr. Flanders. Homer: I know, but... Wait a minute, I'm Homer Simpson. Ned Flanders lives over there. Flanders is in debt? Are you sure? Chuck: Ha. We don't make mistakes. -- ``When Flanders Failed'' % Chuck warns, ``See you on Thursday,'' before leaving. % Homer drops Bart off at karate school, who immediately sneaks out. % Homer sees Ned closing his Leftorium; he's gone out of business. % % [End of Act Two. Time: 14:32] % % On the playground, Lisa plays her sax, and Jimbo, Kerny and Dolph take it % and play keep-away with it. She runs off in tears, then finds Bart. She % introduces Bart to the boys, threatening, ``He knows karate.'' Bart tries % talk his way out of it, but ends up hanging from a basketball hoop. % Below, Lisa holds her sax, noting, ``It's funny how two wrongs sometimes % make a right.'' % % Homer comes home to see that the bank has foreclosed on Ned's house, so % the Flanderses are temporarily living in their car before they go to his % sister's apartment in Capital City. While the kids sing `Put on a Happy % Face', Ned calls Homer aside... Ned: At times like these, I used to turn to the Bible and find solace, but even the Good Book can't help me now. Homer: Why not? Ned: I sold it to you for seven cents. Homer: Oh. -- ``When Flanders Failed'' % Ned notes that it seems, ever since the barbecue, there's been a curse on % him. Homer cries and admits that it's all his fault, but Ned calls Homer % a true friend because he tried to warn him not to go into business from the % start. Homer: Listen, Flanders, you still have that store? Ned: For two more days. [sniff] It becomes Libertarian Party headquarters. I hope they have better luck than I did. -- Fat chance, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Homer orders Ned to open his shop tomorrow, then starts spreading the word % about Ned's store. He calls Jerry, Moe, Barney... `Kiss me, I'm left-handed''? [laughs] Oh, that's a classic! [laughs] Whoa! [falls off the table] -- Barney, bastion of balance, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Monty Burns continues struggling with his can opener, then finds a note % in his suggestion box. ``To the mall! I'll explain on the way!'' % % Ned dejectedly rides the escalator to his store, where he finds the store % teeming with customers. It's all here, and it's all backwards! -- Homer hypes Ned's Leftorium, ``When Flanders Failed'' Burns: [talking to a tin can] Ah, the worm has turned, has it not, my tin-plated friend? Look at you, you were once so proud. Feel the wrath of the left hand of Burns! Moe: My life begins today! Barney: [wearing a `Kiss me, I'm left-handed' shirt] Wow, what an icebreaker! [two pretty girls kiss him] Chuck: Left-handed ledgers! Now I can write all the way to the edge! Akira: Ha ha ha. Left-handed nunchucks! -- Shopping at the Leftorium, ``When Flanders Failed'' % Burns approaches the register with an armful of left-handed can openers, % and tops it off by purchasing the car with the left-handed gear shift. Homer, affordable tract housing made us neighbors, but you made us friends. -- Ned, ``When Flanders Failed'' % The Todd-meister leads everyone in a rendition of `Put on a Happy Face', % accompanied, of course, on the left-handed zither. % % [End of Act Three. Time: 20:03] =============================================================================== Episode summaries Copyright 1991 by Raymond Chen. Not to be redistributed in a public forum without permission. (The quotes themselves, of course, remain the property of The Simpsons, and the reproduced articles remain the property of the original authors. I'm just taking credit for the compilation.)


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank