|"Bart to the Future"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Promotional artwork for this episode with Lisa as the first straight female President of the United States.|
|Orig. airdate||March 19, 2000|
|Show runner(s)||Mike Scully|
|Written by||Dan Greaney|
|Directed by||Michael Marcantel|
|Chalkboard||"Non-flammable is not a challenge."|
|Couch gag||The living room is set up like a trendy night club (complete with a disco ball, a velvet rope, several club hoppers, and a bouncer). The bouncer lets Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Maggie in, but sends Homer away.|
"Bart to the Future" is the seventeenth episode of the eleventh season of The Simpsons. The title of the episode is a reference to Back to the Future. It is the second of three future-themed Simpsons episodes (along with "Lisa's Wedding" and "Future-Drama"). The episode is listed as the worst Simpsons episode of all time in the February 7, 2003 issue of Entertainment Weekly.
The Simpsons are going to Larval Lake on a picnic. When they arrive, however, they find that mosquitos have overrun the park (even stealing a park ranger's class ring and stripping the flesh and muscle from one of his hands). While driving back, the Simpsons find an Indian casino. Homer and Bart go in (leaving Marge in the car because of her gambling addiction and Lisa because of her conflict over the ethics behind Indian gambling), but Bart is turned away because of his age. Bart then finds Arthur Crandall (the ventriloquist from "Krusty Gets Kancelled") and sneaks in through Gabbo the dummy's case. During a performance, Bart bursts out of the dummy case and gets caught by casino guards. Bart is sent to the casino manager's office, where the manager shows Bart a vision of his future if Bart doesn't change his ways.
Thirty years into the future, Bart is a beer-drinking slacker trying to launch his music career after dropping out of the DeVry Institute and has resorted to mooching off his parents and Ned Flanders (who is now blind from botched laser eye surgery and is aware that his sons, Rod and Todd, are gay, but keeps it a secret between himself and Bart) for money. The only gig Bart can get is at a beach bar owned by Nelson Muntz, and even then, Bart is only paid in popcorn shrimp. Bart lives with Ralph Wiggum (who now has brown hair and doesn't speak in as many moronic non-sequiturs as he did when he was younger) in a beach cottage by the shore, from which Bart is evicted.
Meanwhile, Lisa is the first straight female President of the United States, trying to rebuild the country after Donald Trump's disastrous term as President. In her attempts at doing so, Bart tries to upstage her by using Lisa's job as a foot in the door for a professional music career, which leads Lisa to be branded unpopular when Bart reveals to the public on live TV that Lisa will be imposing a tax to get the country out of debt. When Lisa meets with America's creditor nations who demand that America pay the countries back, Bart steps in and uses his skills at stalling debt collectors to save the day. In return, Lisa promises Bart to "legalize it".
After the vision is over, Bart promises that he'll change (even though he apparently learned nothing from it). Lisa finds Bart in the casino manager's office and tells him that the family's been kicked out after Homer pushed a waitress and Marge lost $20,000. Bart tells Lisa about his future vision where he has a rock band and a moped, while downplaying Lisa's future Presidency as "some government job."
Unlike season six's "glimpse-into-the-future" episode, "Lisa's Wedding," Maggie does not appear in this episode's future, though she does appear (in a way) and is revealed to be Maggie's daughter (who shares her mother's name). A scene featuring the real Maggie Simpson as an astronaut was cut from this episode, even though it was shown in the FOX promos. It can now be seen as an Easter egg on The Simpsons season 11 DVD set.
In a 2003 article, "Bart to the Future" was listed as the worst episode of all time by Entertainment Weekly, stating that, "while Bart to the Future was likely better than anything else on TV the week it first aired, even Mojo the monkey could've banged out a more inventive script," and that, "We didn't know it was physically possible for something to both suck AND blow."