Family vacations are a special kind of torture. And Bart makes this one an apocalyptic nightmare on the latest installment of The Simpsons.
Despite the unwieldiness of its title, "A Totally Fun Thing Bart Will Never Do Again" was a truly enjoyable episode. Most of the gags and quips were pretty average, except for a few hilarious Simpsons quotes, but there was a message at the core of this outing that made the mediocre plot a little heartwarming.
Bart starts this episode suffering from some pre-adolescent ennui; everyday is exactly the same, and it drives him to do some extreme things to escape his life and go on a cruise. His dedication to the cause inspires his fellow family members to join him and give up their prized possessions for yet another family vacation.
However, despite Homer's severe warnings about the disastrous nature of family trips, everything turns out wonderfully for the dysfunctional family. All this fun, happiness and increased marital attraction (between Homer and Marge obviously) makes the cruise a perfect experience. But all good things must come to an end... until Bart steps in.
What I liked about Bart's mischievous prank is that it wasn't just about creating chaos for the sake of chaos. His bad deed came from a place of anxiety and also an unselfish desire to prolong his family's joyful vacation. Yet, it was strange that Bart should suffer from such an adult concern: the fleetingness of happiness. Suddenly, he imagined living his whole life with no other moments to top this vacation, peaking at age ten.
It was a very sweet moment when Lisa and Homer(?!?!) taught him to just enjoy the happy moments in life despite all the drudgery and tragedy of existence. Stop worrying about having fun and just have it. Pretty deep for a Sunday night, huh?
The Simpsons has always tried to interject its parodies, satires and jokes with these important messages. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I really enjoyed the tender moment, especially when Bart gave himself over to the thrill of sliding down an icy glacier only to remember it fondly as an old man in the hospital.
How about you?