Dr. Swanson brings up Dark Stanley in Bart's session without any problem, but when she sees her therapist and he brings up Dark Stanley, she freaks out.
Cletus says that he teaches his older kids and they teach the younger kids, but that he himself wasn't properly educated. If that's the case it's strange that all the kids can read a fairly complicated TV promo without any practice, but Cletus can only pretend to read their contract.
In the scene where Brandine stops Cletus from letting the children go on tour, the box factory is visible behind Brandine. The box factory was featured in the episode "Bart Gets Famous", which was the first Simpsons episode that Susie Dietter directed.
Lisa says she sent Brandine an email to let her know what was going on with her children. But as indicated in episode #217 "I'm With Cupid" when she couldn't decipher a message consisting of 6 characters (I Love *), Brandine can't read.
Susie Dietter directed a Simpsons episode for the first time since "Lisa the Simpson" in season 9.
Trivia: The music played at the beginning, when Marge is reading a book at the beach was first played during Bart's story ('Mutiny on the Bounty') in "The Wettest Stories Ever Told".
We learn that Marge was saving up money for a Breast Reduction surgery for Homer.
We learn that Homer hit Bart with the hammer brand Stanley, which is where he got the idea for Dark Stanley.
Lisa falls down a cliff like Homer did in "Bart The Daredevil." Maybe it runs in the family?
Apparently, Superintendent Chalmers' first name is Gary.
(Bart tries to reject conversation with his therapist.)
Dr. Swanson: Well, I get paid whether you make progress or not. Why don't we just kill the time playing video games?
Bart: (Sarcastically) Yeah right. I bet you got a bunch of learning games. Why don't you go online and find a boyfriend, while I take a nap?
(Bart turns over and lies down on the couch.)
Dr Swanson: Actually, I just got "Death Kill City II: Death Kill Stories!"
Bart: Whoa! You've got DKCIIDKS?! That one's rated bad for everyone!
Lisa: My name is Lisa. What are your names?
Yokel Child: Whitney.
Yokel Child: Jitney.
Yokel Child: Dubya.
Yokel Child: Incest.
Yokel Child: Krystalmeth.
Yokel Child: International Harvester.
Yokel Child: Birthday.
Jitney: Awwww, are we gonna do this much work every day?
Bart: Years ago, Stanley DeGroot was a cook here at school. All the kids made fun of him because he never graduated from college.
Kids: Stanley, Stanley, no degree! Two credits short at MIT!
Skinner: Simpson, I know you're behind this! Well, you are going to get some counseling from the school psychologist!
School Psychologist: DARK STANLEY'S GONNA EAT MY BRAINS!
Superintendent Chalmers: Or from a qualified professional.
Bart: They hanged him for murder and buried him in an unmarked grave. When they came back the next day, the whole cemetery was missing!
Krusty: Kids, it's finally happening: your own primetime special. The songs will be written by Broadway's greatest composer: this guy. What's your name again, Fuzzface?
Stephen Sondheim: Stephen Sondheim. I know you hear this all the time, but I think you're great.
Krusty: And I'm sure you hear this all the time: you cost an arm and a leg, so let's get to work.
Stephen Sondheim: Here's the opening number.
Krusty: (taking the sheets) Complex harmonies…intricate lyrics…pithy observations on modern life. What is this junk? Where's the zazz? Just do what you did in "Cats."
Stephen Sondheim: I didn't write "Cats."
Krusty: You didn't?!
Marge: Bart, honey, this is all we can afford for now. If it doesn't work, maybe when you're an adult you can pay some lady to make you happy for an hour.
Bart: Ya know, I'm pretty sure I will.
Nelson: And just when you think he's done, Dark Stanley takes your skin and makes footy pajamas.
Dolph: Nobody pajamanates my skin!
Yokel child: Hey, you're one of those funny people with a big, crazy nose!
Krusty: A clown?
Yokel child: No, a j--
Krusty: Joker! That's right. And I'm not a practicing Joker so I'm not that offended.
Andy Dick: I'm blue collar. I'm totally blue collar. My dad owns a shovel.
Stephen Sondheim: Hey! This peppy stuff isn't bad! Maybe I will write that jingle for Buzz Cola.
Homer: Look at those morons! They sing because they're stupid.
Cletus: I don't sign anything, unless I pretend to read it. (pretending to read a contract) Hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, hamburger, looks good to me.
Bart: Then I had this crazy dream that my family were all just cartoon characters and that our success led to some crazy propaganda network called Fox News.
Apu: He used to rob me two, three times a week. Now, I'm lucky if I get it once a month.
Snake: He never initiates it; I have to do all the work. He just stands there.
Milhouse: They say that Dark Stanley will kill you, then go wee-wee in your skull.
Groundskeeper Willie: I'll bring those kids back dead or alive!
Skinner: Not DEAD!
Groundskeeper Willie: Aw, you never let Willie be Willie!
Lisa: What kind of lunch is this? A drawing of a sandwich.
Bart: All I got is Grandpa's medication.
Marge: Homie, you woke up early?
Homer: Stumbled home at dawn, same diff.
This episode won the 2008 Annie Award for Best Music in an Animated Television Production.
Blackboard Joke: None.
Couch Gag: The couch is replaced by a vending machine filled with figurines of the family along the top row and the rest of the rows filled with various Springfield residents. Ralph Wiggum enters the living room and selects C5 on the machine, which dispenses him a figurine of Homer. He bites the head of Homer and exits.
The Magnificent Seven
The music that plays when Groundskeeper Willie is rounding up the children with a lasso is an original score from the 1960 western film The Magnificent Seven.
Krusty: …Appalachian Dumpling Gang…
This is a reference to the Disney movie The Apple Dumpling Gang starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway.
Krusty's "No-Collar Comedy Tour" is a jab at the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" created by Jeff Foxworthy and including Bill Engvall, Ron White and Larry The Cable Guy.
Krusty mistakes Stephen Sondheim for the creator of the musical Cats. It was actually written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who also composed such hits as Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Phantom of the Opera.
The scene at the end of the episode where Dr. Swanson is talking to a psychologist about Bart is an allusion to the popular HBO series The Sopranos. On that show Tony Soprano's therapist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, talks to a psychologist (played by the actor who voices the psychologist in this episode: Peter Bogdanovich) about her feelings towards Tony.
Un Chien Andalou
At the film festival, Lisa and the kids are apparently watching Salvador Dali's Un Chien Andalou ("Andalusian Dog"), the surrealist silent film classic made in 1929.
The cover of the therapist's video game, "Death Kill City II: Death Kill Stories" is very similar to the cover of the "Grand Theft Auto" games, specifically "Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories."
This is also a possible mockery of the whole dispute over how violent video games (especially Grand Theft Auto, a 'Mature'-rated game) can stir violence in children who play them.
The end is a reference to The Honeymooners.
Krusty: The Smashing Bumpkins!
A play on the band Smashing Pumpkins, who appeared in the episode "Homerpalooza."
The music that was used during the Dark Stanley story was the theme from 12 Monkeys.
The visuals in Bart's "Dark Stanley" story are very similar to the drawings of the late Edward Gorey.
The Sound of Music
This episode is roughly based on the musical The Sound of Music.
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