The Simpsons

Season 20 Episode 11

How the Test Was Won

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 01, 2009 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
181 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Bart and the rest of Springfield Elementary's less intellectually gifted end up on an adventure when they are shipped away from the school as the rest of the children take a standardized test. Meanwhile, Lisa struggles with the pressures of preforming well on the exam and Homer tries to avoid disaster for the day; because of a late payment, his insurance has lapsed until 3:00.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • "uncomfortable"

    Is it me or was i the only person who felt uncomfortable watching this? i felt the episodes plot was good but is delivered in a very poor fasion.such as the "dumb" joke. Has the simpsons really stooped this low for laughs to just parade around the episode like a monkey? what happend to the witty humor the simpsons was renowned for? The dance scene at the end was pretty funny with super "nintendo" chalmers but then the screen closes up into bart and the bully's pulling those irritating as hell faces which aren't funny in any way shape or form. the scenes where homer was trying to insure himself where above average and made me laugh pretty hard.

    in my opinion , this episode is just another case of the simpsons running out of ideas and using there new form of stupid humor.moreless
  • This is the best episode of the season!

    This episode was ssssssssooooooooooooooooooooo funny!

    This episode I would say was the best episode of seasons 20, 19, and 18!

    I love the part when Ralph was signing on the toilet.

    I also love when Ralph is on the garbage barge and Ralph says "I'm playing with Elmo!"

    I also like when Lisa is about to test and she is distracted by everything (even the Squeaky Voiced Teen on the pogo stick).

    I love when Otto thinks that he's driving a helicopter.

    I like the montage of Homer getting hurt repeatedly.

    But my favorite part of the whole episode was the huge dance number with 'footloose' music.

    My rating: 11 out of 10!moreless
  • This was probably one of s20's best eps, and that's not saying alot.

    This ep was probably one of the very few good ones of season 20 for a couple of reasons. One, Bart thinks that he is smarter than everyone else. Two, Homer was late on making insurance payments. Three, (and only three) Lisa screws up on a test.

    What I liked:

    * Homer and the selling oranges on the off ramp comment.

    * Not a whole lot.

    What I didn't like:

    * The fact that they could have done so much better.

    * The idea of the stupid kids going to a pizza party on a helicopter. I mean, seriously, come on, how pathetic is that? Not to mention lame and cheesy.

    This whole ep was probably one of the better ones, which is really sad because the rest of them were worse than this one. They certainly could've done a better job on this ep. I mean, sure the part with Homer and the oranges was funny, but that was about it.

    Overall, I think that this ep deserves a C at the best.moreless
  • This epsiode had some of the funniest gags I have ever seen in a TV show over the years. This episode was just priceless in so many ways. A must see.moreless

    Bart is informed that he and a select group of students have received perfect scores on a practice test for the upcoming Vice President's Assessment Test. As a result, he will be exempt from taking the real exam and will be transported by helicopter to a pizza party. Shocked at how Bart could have performed better than she did, Lisa freezes up when it comes time for her to take the exam. However, Bart and the others soon realize their trip is not what it seems, and their day turns into an adventure all its own. Meanwhile, when Homer is late on making an insurance payment, he must avoid bodily accidents at all costs until his insurance check is cashed, making for one very tense afternoon.moreless
  • Probably the best episode of season 20, but that really isn't much of an accomplishment.

    I have taken issue with the majority of episodes since season 16, and this is no exception. Some positives to this gave the episode a passing grade.

    I like the clip montage, harkening back to much more entertaining eras in my mind. The couch gag, while I'm not a fan of the extended ones, was interesting enough. Harry Shearer sounds pretty on form in this episode as Skinner. Though he's the oldest, he seems least affected of the voice actors by the 20 year time period.

    There is the occasional good line, such as Homer referring to a series-spanning worth of references as a week. Bart's exchanges with Skinner weren't bad for the most part, and the satire of standardized tests is decent enough statement.

    Still below almost anything prior to 2004, but if the rest of the season was on the level of this episode it would be an improvement over the first half.moreless
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

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

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

Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

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

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

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

Recurring Role

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille

Agnes Skinner, Brandine Del Roy, Dolph and others

Recurring Role

Marcia Wallace

Marcia Wallace

Edna Krabappel

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • During the couch gag, Sideshow Bob enters the Cheers pub. This is a nod to Kelsey Grammer who voices him, as Kelsey began playing "Frasier" in the Cheers which led to the spin-off.

    • The address on the Blue Umbrella Insurance letter at the beginning of the episode is "100 Balloon Payment Blvd."

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Principal Skinner: (Principal Skinner is showing the kids how to fill in the test with an over-sized pencil and test sheet.) So, when you take your practice test. Take your number 2 pencil and...
      Bart: What kind of pencil do we take again?
      Principal Skinner: Number 2. Take a number 2. (The audience starts snickering.)
      Bart: Looks like you took a big number 2. (The audience starts laughing.)
      Principal Skinner: Yes. Quite so. As you can see, I'm holding a big number 2 in my hands. Enjoying the weighted feel of it. (The audience starts laughing again. Superintendent Chalmers rolls his eyes and groans.)

    • Bart: I can't believe we have to start another year at school. I never learned anything at that suck shack.
      Homer: Hey! Who taught you language like that?
      Bart: Kid at school.
      Homer: So you did learn something!

    • Lisa: Dad, Bart's throwing away his future!
      Homer: Oh, no! Now who will sell oranges on the off-ramp!? (laughs)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Blackboard Joke: "March Madness" is not an excuse for missing school.
      Couch Gag: The family literally runs through a montage of classic sitcoms (The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch and Cheers) before making it to the couch safely.
      Billboard Gag: A picture of Milhouse with the caption: "Lost Child. No Reward."
      Ralph: It's dark!


    • Pee Wee's Big Adventure
      During Superintendent Chalmer's Footloose dancing he does a move made famous by Paul Reubens as in Pee Wee's Big Adventure dancing on a bar to the Champ's 1958 hit "Tequila".

    • No Child Left Behind
      Principal Skinner states that there will be a "No Child Left Alone" act, which is a parody of "No Child Left Behind" act.

    • Allstate Insurance
      When Homer finds out he is uninsured, he says "I'm not in good hands, I'm in no hands!" This is a play on the Allstate Insurance slogan, "You're in good hands with Allstate."

    • The Caldecott Medal and the Newberry Medal
      The banner hanging on Springfield Elementary on the first day of school reads: "Miss Caldecott is now Mr. Newberry." The names represent two prestigious awards for children's literature given by the American Library Association.

    • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
      The book Principal Skinner is reading from on the barge is the Mark Twain novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

    • Footloose
      The final dancing sequence is a reference to the 1984 film Footloose, in which a small town's government has banned dancing and rock music.

    • State Farm Insurance
      When Homer finds out he is uninsured, he says, "Like a bad neighbor, no one is there!" This is a play on the State Farm Insurance slogan, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."

    • How the West Was Won
      The title of this episode is a play on the title of the 1962 western How the West Was Won.