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"Das Bus"
The Simpsons episode
The Simpsons 5F11.png
Lisa explaining to the rest of the kids they are in violation of the model UN charter.
Episode no. 192
Prod. code 5F11
Orig. airdate February 15, 1998
Show runner(s) Mike Scully
Written by David S. Cohen
Directed by Pete Michels
Couch gag The family is portrayed as frogs (Maggie is a tadpole), on a lily pad.[1]
Guest star(s) James Earl Jones as the narrator
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure[2]
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
Mike Scully
George Meyer
David S. Cohen
Pete Michels

"Das Bus" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season and originally aired on the Fox network on February 15, 1998.[3] Bart, Lisa and other children from Springfield Elementary School are stranded on an island and are forced to work together. Meanwhile, Homer founds his own Internet company. It was written by David S. Cohen and directed by Pete Michels. Guest star James Earl Jones narrates the final scene of the episode.[1]

Contents

Plot

The Springfield Elementary School Model United Nations club is going on a field trip. On the bus, Bart, Nelson, and Milhouse are playing a game by rolling fruit to the front. Milhouse rolls a grapefruit that gets stuck under the brakes. When bus driver Otto attempts to press down on the pedal, it squishes the fruit, and juice squirts into his eyes, causing him to lose control and crash the bus off a bridge into the water.

Otto leaves the kids behind in an attempt to get help but ends up being washed away by the current. It is later revealed Otto is picked up by a Chinese fishing boat. The students, however, swim to a nearby tropical island. Bart tries to tell the kids that being stranded on an island is just like TV where life is easy and cocktails are plentiful, comparing it to The Swiss Family Robinson, only with more cursing. Reality soon sets in when the island is largely barren and the kids lack survival skills. With no food and no adult supervision, the kids rely on snack food retrieved from the sunken bus by Bart. They awaken the next morning to find the snacks are missing. Suspecting Milhouse because of his pot-belly and nacho cheese breath, the students put him on trial and he blames the loss on a mysterious island "monster".

Back at home, Homer discovers that Ned Flanders has his own home-based Internet business, Flancrest Enterprises. Homer complains to Marge that everyone except the Simpson family are getting rich off the Internet, and he wants a piece of the action, despite knowing nothing about it. He launches his own dot-com company, Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net, which is later bought out by Bill Gates and his goons, who sweep Homer's possessions off the desk and snap his pencils.

During the mock trial held by the students, there is insufficient evidence to prove Milhouse ate all the food. Because of this Bart, acting as judge, acquits Milhouse at the trial. The other students are not happy with this verdict and attempt to kill Milhouse. Lisa tries to stop the violence, but gets pushed by Nelson. Bart, angered by this, tells everyone to leave Lisa alone. The other students end up chasing Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse into a cave, where it's revealed that Milhouse's "monster" is actually a wild boar. On one of the boar's tusks is an empty bag of chips. The students apologize to Milhouse who reveals that he only took two sandwiches and a bag of dorito's. They then kill the boar and eat it (with the exception of Lisa, who adheres to her vegetarianism and licks slime from a rock instead). The episode ends with a narration (provided by James Earl Jones):

So the children learned how to function as a society,
and eventually they were rescued by, oh, let's say...Moe.[1][4]

Production

The couch gag was suggested by Dan Castellaneta's niece.[5] The movie True Lies was the inspiration for the bus crashing against the bridge.[6] To get the fisherman's Chinese correct, Cohen called his friend.[6] When the Chinese actors came, the actors felt Cantonese would be more appropriate for the fisherman instead of Mandarin, so it was changed. Moe was picked to rescue the kids, because the writers thought it was funny.[7] A deleted scene had Homer buying anti-stress instruments. He uses them all and gets stressed. According to Mike Scully, this scene was deleted due to the episode being too long.[5]

Cultural references

Most of the episode about being on the island is a reference to William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies.[6] When the kids are squabbling in the classroom, Principal Skinner restores orders by banging his shoe on the desk. Skinner's actions are a reference to the shoe-banging incident by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at the UN.[7] The title comes from the 1981 film Das Boot, although it would be "Der Bus" in German.[1]

Reception

In a 2006 article in USA Today, "Das Bus" was highlighted among the six best episodes of The Simpsons season 9, along with others including "Trash of the Titans," "The Last Temptation of Krust," "The Cartridge Family," "Dumbbell Indemnity," and "The Joy of Sect".[8] The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "A fantastic episode. Ignore the Internet business side, and wallow in the cleverness of the kids trapped on the island. Bart has never been cleverer, Nelson more menacing, and Milhouse more geekish. Great stuff with a delightful ending that is so witty and obvious, that it's annoying you never imagined they'd get away with it."[1]

The episode has become study material for sociology courses at University of California, Berkeley, where it is used to "examine issues of the production and reception of cultural objects, in this case, a satirical cartoon show", and to figure out what it is "trying to tell audiences about aspects primarily of American society, and, to a lesser extent, about other societies." Some questions asked in the courses include: "What aspects of American society are being addressed in the episode? What aspects of them are used to make the points? How is the satire conveyed: through language? Drawing? Music? Is the behavior of each character consistent with his/her character as developed over the years? Can we identify elements of the historical/political context that the writers are satirizing? What is the difference between satire and parody?"[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Das Bus". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/simpsons/episodeguide/season9/page14.shtml. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  2. ^ Gimple, Scott M. (1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0060987633. 
  3. ^ "Das Bus". The Simpsons.com. http://www.thesimpsons.com/episode_guide/0914.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  4. ^ Plot synopsis information for the episode "Das Bus". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 2006. 
  5. ^ a b Scully, Mike. (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for the Deleted Scenes. [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ a b c Cohen, David. (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for "Das Bus". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  7. ^ a b Scully, Mike. (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for "Das Bus". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  8. ^ Clark, Mike (2006-12-22). "New on DVD". USA Today (Gannett Co. Inc.). http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/reviews/2006-12-21-new-on-dvd_x.htm?csp=34. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  9. ^ Thomas B. Gold (2008). "The Simpsons Global Mirror". University of California Berkeley. http://sociology.berkeley.edu/documents/undergrads/syllabi/Soc190_1.pdf. 

External links








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