|Inner Homer: "Food goes in here!"|
Homer: "It sure does."
This episode begins with great excitement as Homer finds an ad in the paper for a free trampoline! Despite Marge's inclinations, hastily does Homer drive to Krusty's house to acquire the item, though Krusty implies some kind of treachery afoot which Homer does not pick up. Soon enough, he and the kids are bouncing around on it, with Homer having bigger plans for the trampoline. It begins with him charging others to jump on it as well, but the plan goes awry when everyone starts getting hurt while on the trampoline. Homer has to ultimately get rid of the trampoline by setting up a trap for Snake the criminal to steal it.
While that ploy didn't work out, Homer still finds some dignity in that at least he was willing to try something fun, while Marge would've been content just keeping things are dry and boring as they apparently were previously. Not happy with being called out on her frequent nagging by Homer and the kids, Marge heads over to her sisters' place, where they show her an infomercial featuring a self-help "guru" named Brad Goodman. Marge gets Homer to watch a tape featuring Goodman with her, and the two come to the conclusion that, in other words, Marge's nagging only serves to shame Homer, and if Marge becomes more tolerant, they both will become better people as a result. It seems to work for the both of them, and soon Goodman himself is going to visit Springfield himself in a presentation. The whole family, and seemingly the whole town, goes to it, where Goodman advises that people "loosen up", to follow their inner-child. When Bart, bored out of his mind, decides to interrupt, Goodman only encourages Bart, calling Bart's carefree attitude exactly what Springfield needs towards self-improvement. Urged to "be like the boy", the town runs off confident in its new direction, all except Lisa who is appalled by these turn of events.
At first, Bart is prideful that everyone is following in his example, but now that everyone is being a class clown or getting into other kinds of mischief, he loses what made himself special, and becomes depressed over it. With the town's new outlook on things, a "Do as you feel" festival is held, where people are encouraged to do what they feel like. However, things turn sour when a bandstand and a Ferris wheel fall apart, because the people in charge of maintenance didn't feel like doing a competent job at doing so. With tempers rising, people start letting others know what they feel like, and soon a brawl breaks out. While initial blame is placed on Goodman for his shoddy help, the town quickly turns its anger on the boy whom Goodman told them to be more like: Bart. Homer helps Bart escape via a slowly-moving float, and that night the family argues over self-improvement.
I wasn't a big fan of this episode. The trampoline segment at the beginning was top notch, but once everyone started acting like Bart (except Lisa who acted like, well, Lisa), the episode really went south. There's still a good amount of jokes throughout the episode, but the latter half of this episode really didn't sit well with me. Its been awhile since I've come across a 'real miss', and given the score you'd think its silly to consider such an episode a "miss", but its the worst episode I've viewed since Season 3.
Final Score: 7.6