The Simpsons

Season 1 Episode 5

Bart the General

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 04, 1990 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
472 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Bart begins to have troubles with Nelson Muntz, the school bully, and is forced to take drastic measures to deal with his problem.

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  • Not my favorite

    This episode marks the debut of the bully character, Nelson, known for his "haw-haw" catchphrase. Once again, season 1 give us another episode with boring moments for some of the episode, but the humor is handled well. There's good enough in this episode like Homer stealing a cupcake, Bart being honest to Lisa, Homer disapproving Marge's advice, all the people in the retirement home are named "grandpa", Grampa writing a letter about how old people are portrayed on TV, and Homer getting hit by a water balloon, a boy kissing Lisa which came out in the newspaper. The funniest out of those are probably the scene with Grampa because what's ironic is that the word "family jewels" was said by Homer earlier. My other flaw with the episode was the usual mean-spirit-ness we see in these bullying episodes. I enjoyed most of the final act when Bart and his army go against Nelson and it had a happy ending. Overall, this was decent episode with good amount of humor to enjoy.

    Score 7/10moreless
  • Perfect

    The episode begins inside the Simpson's kitchen before school where Lisa is baking cupcakes to bring to Miss Hoover at school. Homer and Bart think Lisa is trying to butter up her teacher but she is just being nice. On the school bus Lisa makes Bart suck up to her in exchange for a cupcake. Once at the schoolyard Lisa shows off her cupcakes to her friends and one of Nelson's minions steals the cupcakes away and begins to eat them. Bart comes over to Lisa's rescue and attacks the bully. Nelson then comes over to break up the fight; he picks up Bart by the shirt collar with Bart blindly swinging. One of Bart's punches lands and gives Nelson a bloody nose. Everyone gasps after seeing what Bart has unwittingly done. Nelson tells Bart he will get him after school. Inside the classroom a worried Bart daydreams about the showdown with Nelson after school. In the dream there is nothing Bart can do to defeat Nelson. Milhouse wakes Bart up in time to go to lunch. In the lunchroom everyone hails Bart as a hero. A modest and nervous Bart downplays the situation. Nelson walks up to a trembling Bart to remind him about the fight after school. Back in the classroom Bart daydreams again this time about his own funeral in which his family mourns him, and Nelson pounds him one last time. After school a nervous Bart darts around the playground hoping to avoid Nelson. Bart turns a corner only to see Nelson standing right in front of him. Nelson promptly pummels Bart, throws him in a trash can, and informs Bart to meet again tomorrow after school for another beating. Nelson and his minions roll Bart away in the trash can.

    Overall, this episode was great, and it was also hilarious.

    10 out of 10moreless
  • I say this was the best episode from the first season.

    Spoilers! :)

    being fed up by Nelson constantly bullying him, Bart gets advice from Lisa to go to Grampa Abe Simpson. Abe takes him to meet Herman, a guy with one arm that helped Bart declare war. After training a bunch of Springfield Elementary students and fighting back against Nelson, Herman had Bart and Nelson sign a contract that said Nelson should not bully Bart again.

    This was the best episode from the first season, because it has the most adventure out of the season. And plus I love Herman. ♥

    Peace :)moreless
  • bart gets an army to stop nelson bullying him after giving him a nose bleed.

    the best seson 1 episode.

    has a tasty end when marge makes them all cookeys.

    it all starts with lisas muffins and nelsons henchman.

    mostley about children but the owner of the milatary store is well... CRAZY(and to seriouse).

    i never expected anny one to help bart.

    its a very very very good episode with good animation.

    at times bart over reacted at times but nelson probualy would kill him.

    bart nelson and grampa are the main charicers gramp is busy writing to tv the gueys telling them that he hates language on tv.

    nelson is wanting to kill bart for making his nose bleed.

    and bart is getting a kid army.

    it a realy realy good episode that is season ones finest.moreless
  • Very funny!!!!!!!!!

    This episode is very funny. It's one of the first episodes where the humor becomes what it is in later seasons.

    When Bart stands up for his sister Lisa, Nelson Muntz, the school bully, says he's gonna beat him up after school. Sure enough, he does. Bart is fed up with Nelson beating everybody up, so he seels advice from Grampa. Grampa gets his war friend Herman to train Bart and the other kids to fight Nelson, military style. This was a great episode. It's certainly one of the best episodes of Season one. I loved all of Bart's daydreams, and when Bart coughs up his hat, and much more.

    Overall Grade: 90%/A-moreless
Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Susan Blu

Susan Blu

Weasel #1

Guest Star

Jo Ann Harris

Jo Ann Harris

Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones, and others

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • In "Homer's Odyssey," Mrs. Krabappel tells the class to remember the story of the boy who stuck his hand out of the window and had his arm ripped off by a truck going the other way. This could possibly be Herman, as he mentions that if Bart's teacher ever says not to stick his hand out of the window, he'd better not do it!

    • On Herman's model of the town, he misspells the "Kwik-E-Mart" as "Quick-E-Mart."

    • Goof: During exterior shots of the Simpson home in this episode, the tree house is never shown. Yet the tree house is used extensively in this episode.

    • Goof: At the end of this episode when Nelson's goons are holding on to Nelson, they both have black skin. But in the next shot, one of them has yellow skin.

    • This episode ends with a disclaimer featuring Bart in a library telling the viewers about the reality of war and saying that the only good wars are The American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars trilogy and advising viewers to go to the library and look up info about war. Also the end credits roll over an exterior shot nighttime of the Simpsons' home instead of a black screen.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • (Meeting at the treehouse)
      Bart: Okay, we all know why we're here, right?
      Milhouse: No, why?
      Bart: To fight Nelson, the bully. That guy has been tormenting all of us for years, and I for one am sick of it! I can't promise you victory. I can't promise you good times. But the one thing I do know--
      (All the boys file out.)
      Bart: Whoa! Whoa! I promise you victory! I promise you good times!
      (Boys cheer)

    • (The Simpson-Muntz Armistice Treaty.)
      Herman: Armistice treaty, article four. "Nelson is never again to raise his fists in anger." Article five. "Nelson recognizes Bart's right to exist." Article six. "Although Nelson shall have no official power, he shall remain a figurehead of menace in the neighborhood."

    • Homer: Mmm...cupcakes.

    • (Bart's disclaimer at the end of the episode.)
      Bart: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners. Only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars trilogy. If you'd like to learn more about war, there's lots of books in your local library--many of them with cool, gory pictures. Well, good night, everybody. Peace, man.

    • (Herman uses a map and some props to lay out some battle plans.)
      Herman: Okay, our main force will be split into two groups. One will circle around this way to cut off the enemy's retreat, the other will drive in this way, closing the trap. It's a classic pincer's movement. It can't fail against a ten-year-old!

    • (Grampa and Bart pay a visit to Herman's Military Antiques.)
      Herman: What's the password?
      Grampa: Let me in, you idiot!
      Herman: Right you are!
      (Herman lets them in the store.)
      Grampa: So, Herman, has the large-type edition of this month's Solider Of Fortune come in yet?
      Herman: Uh, not yet. But, can I interest you in some authentic Nazi underpants?
      Grampa: No! Actually, we came over because I want you to meet my grandson, Bart.
      Herman: Ah. Hello, young American.
      Bart: Hello, sir. Uh, Mr. Herman?
      Herman: Yes?
      Bart: (Stutters) Did you lose your arm in the war?
      Herman: My arm? Well, let me put it this way. Next time your teacher tells you to keep your arm inside the bus window, you do it!
      Bart: Yes, sir, I will.

    • (More from Herman's Military Antiques.)
      Grampa: Bart's got a problem with a local young bully named Nelson. I thought you could help him with some kind of strategy.
      Herman: Strategy. Hmm. How many men do you have?
      Bart: None.
      Herman: You'll need more. And you'll need to train them, hard! Now, let's see.
      (Herman pulls out a map and spreads it out on the counter.)
      Herman: Ah. Okay. The key to Springfield has always been Elm Street. The Greeks knew it. The Carthaginians knew it. Now you know it. First you'll need a declaration of war.
      (Herman pulls out a document.)
      Herman: Uh, ah! That way, everything you do will be nice and legal. Okay, I can use this one from the Franco-Prussian War. I'll just change "Otto von Bismarck" to read "Bart Simpson."
      (Herman mutters to himself as he doctors up the declaration of war.)
      Bart: (to Grampa) Psst! Grampa, I think this guy's a little nuts.
      Grampa: Oh, yeah? Well, General George S. Patton was a little nuts. And this guy's completely out of his mind. We can't fail!

    • (Marge tries to help Bart with his bully problem.)
      Marge: This bully friend of yours, is he a little on the chunky side?
      Bart: Yeah, he's pretty chunkified, all right.
      Marge: Mm-hmm. And I'll bet he doesn't do well in his studies, either.
      Bart: No, he's pretty dumb. He's in all the same special classes I am.
      Marge: That's why he lashes out at the world.
      Homer: Oh, Marge.
      Marge: So tomorrow, instead of bickering with this boy, talk to him. You'll be surprised how far a little understanding will go.
      Homer: Well, thank you very much, Mrs. Maharishi Gandhi.
      (Homer takes Bart by the hand.)
      Homer: Let's go, boy.

    • (Lisa makes some cupcakes for her teacher.)
      Bart: You know, there are names for people like you.
      Lisa: No, there aren't.
      Bart: Teacher's pet, apple polisher, butt kisser--
      Homer: Bart! You're saying "butt kisser" like it's a bad thing.
      Bart: Huh?
      (Homer pats his leg and Bart sits on his lap.)
      Homer: Well, you see, boy, it never hurts to grease the wheels a little.
      Lisa: I'm not greasing the wheels, Dad. I like my teacher.
      Homer: Sure, Lis. You see how it works, Bart? A cupcake her, a good grade there.
      Lisa: Dad, I get good grades 'cause I'm smart and I pay attention and I study hard.
      Homer: Yeah, right, Lisa. It's the three roads to success, Bart: work, brains and--
      (Homer grabs one of Lisa's cupcakes.)
      Homer: Hmm?
      Lisa: Oh, brother.

    • (Bart pays a visit to the Retirement Castle.)
      Bart: I'm here to see Grampa.
      (Down the hallway, all the doors open and old men stick their heads out.)
      Receptionist: Half the people here are named Grampa.
      Bart: Well, Grampa Simpson then.
      (All the old men grumble and go back to their rooms.)
      Receptionist: Second floor, third dank room on the left.

    • (Lisa gives Bart some advice about his bully problem.)
      Lisa: Why don't you go see Grampa?
      Bart: What can he do?
      Lisa: He'll give you good advice. He's the toughest Simpson alive.
      Bart: He is?
      Lisa: Yeah. Remember the fight he put up when we put him in the home?

    • (Homer attempts to show Bart how to fight, using a punching bag.)
      Homer: Now here's that bully of yours. Show me your stuff
      (Bart grunts as he weakly punches the bag.)
      Homer: No, no! Not like that! Like this!
      (Homer growls as he jumps on the punching bag and takes a bite out of the side of it.)
      Homer: See that, boy? You didn't expect that, did you?

    • (Homer consoles Bart after he is beaten up by Nelson.)
      Bart: Dad, I need help. Please.
      (Bart moans, as tears roll down his face.)
      Homer: Now come on, Bart. We don't want your mother to see you crying.
      Bart: Oh, man.
      Homer: Here. Let me help you dry those tears.
      (Homer blasts Bart in the face with hot air from a hair dryer.)

    • Nelson: I'm gonna get you again tomorrow, Simpson.
      (Nelson's goons throw Bart into a trash can.)
      Goon #1: Is 3:15 good for you?
      Bart: Uh, not really.
      Goon #1: Too bad!
      (The goons tip the garbage can over and roll it away down a hill.)

    • (Bart daydreams about his funeral and people walk by his coffin)
      Milhouse: Thanks, Bart! We got the day off from school for this.
      Homer: Yeah, and I got a day off from work!
      Marge: Homer!
      Homer: But what's a day off from work when I'm never going to see my beloved son again! (Crying) Oh, Bart! Oh, Bart!
      Marge: That's better, Homer.

    • (More from Bart's daydream funeral.)
      Otto: Good-bye, little dude. (to Principal Skinner) He looks so lifelike, man.
      Principal Skinner: Yes. The school nurse did a wonderful job reconstructing his little face after the fight.
      (Otto puts his headphones on and walks away from the casket.)
      Principal Skinner: Good-bye, son. I guess you were right. All that homework was a waste of your time.

    • (In self defense, one of Bart's punches connects on Nelson's face.)
      Goon #2: Nelson, you're bleeding.
      Nelson: Nah, happens all the time. Somebody else's blood splatters on me. (Sniffs) Hey, wait a minute. You're right. (to Bart) You made me bleed my own blood!

    • (Herman and Bart prepare for the attack on Nelson.)
      Herman: We got the water balloons?
      Bart: Two-hundred rounds, sir. Is it okay if they say "Happy Birthday" on the side?
      Herman: Ugh, well, I'd rather they say "Death From Above," but I guess we're stuck.

    • (Grampa writes a disgruntled letter to TV advertisers.)
      : Dear Advertisers, I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive. The following is a list of words I never want to hear on televison again. Number one: bra. Number two: horny. Number three: family jewels.

    • (Bart leads his "troops" in marching song.)
      Bart: I got a "B" in arithmetic.
      Troops: I got a "B" in arithmetic.
      Bart: Would've got an "A" but I was sick.
      Troops: Would've got an "A" but I was sick.
      Bart: We are rubber, you are glue.
      Troops: We are rubber, you are glue.
      Bart: It bounces off of us and sticks to you.
      Troops: It bounces off of us and sticks to you.
      Bart: Sound off.
      Troops: One, Two.
      Bart: Sound off.
      Troops: Three, Four.
      Bart: In English class I did the best.
      Troops: In English class I did the best.
      Bart: Because I cheated on the test.
      Troops: Because I cheated on the test.
      Bart: Sound off.
      Troops: One, two.
      Bart: I can't hear you!
      Troops: Three, four!
      Bart: We are happy, we are merry.
      Troops: We are happy, we are merry.
      Bart: We got a rhyming dictionary.
      Troops: We got a rhyming dictionary.
      Bart: Sound off.
      Troops: One, two.
      Bart: One more time!
      Troops: Three, four.
      Bart: Bring it on home now!
      All: One, two, three, four. One, two...three, four!

  • NOTES (4)


    • Stripes
      Herman running up and jabbing the training dolls with his bayonet is a parody of what happens when Bill Murray does the same in the 1981 comedy Stripes. Bart even watches disapprovingly like Warren Oates does.

    • The Longest Day
      The shot of the GI helmet resting on its top while Nelson and his goons try to escape is an homage to a scene in the 1962 film The Longest Day.

    • Full Metal Jacket
      The "trainees" doing pull-ups and other exercises on a jungle-gym-type structure as the sun sets in the background is a parody of a scene taken out of Full Metal Jacket (1987).

    • The Brady Bunch
      Some elements of The Brady Bunch episode "A Fistful Of Reasons," also appear in this episode: An older brother sticking up for his younger sister when a bully (or in the Simpsons' case, a bully's lackey) strikes; like Peter, Bart unsuccessfully attempts to fight the bully; Like Carol did with Peter, Marge advises Bart to reason with Nelson; members of the family teaching Bart fighting techniques to use if necessary.

    • Life Magazine
      After Nelson is forced to surrender, one of Bart's soldiers rushes up to passionately kiss Lisa, the moment preserved on film. The incident parodies Life magazine's famous V-J Day photograph of a sailor passionately kissing a nurse in Times Square, as Americans celebrated Japan's surrender.

    • Bart: Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun.
      The ending scene disclaimer where Bart talks about the realities of war and recommends books on the topic, spoofs the old The ABC Afterschool Special and CBS Schoolbreak Special. Plus Bart throws in a quick homage to the Star Wars trilogy.

    • Herman: The key to Springfield has always been Elm Street. The Greeks knew it. The Carthaginians knew it. Now you know it.
      This line of dialog, as well as Bart slapping a soldier because he is being a disgrace to Bart's army (in Bart's eyes at least) and some of the music used in this episode are from the 1970 film Patton.