|One action doesn't really quite equal the other here.|
Homer finds an old roll of film in his suit jacket, and Moe offers to develop it. He returns the photos to the family, which turns out to be nothing but four year old Bart and two year old Lisa fighting each other. Homer and Marge start to remember life with the two kids six years ago, and recall that, yeah, those two kids always fought with one another. Constantly.
One day, the Flanders' invite Homer and Marge to brunch, Ned offering to let his Grandma Flanders babysit the kids. However, Bart and Lisa scare Grandma Flanders to death with their religious ignorance. Fearful of what they did, the two run back home. While Homer and Marge delayed going to the brunch to have a quick "snuggle time", they still don't hear the kids trying to get back inside. The two instead hear an ice cream truck and give chase.
Following the brunch, Homer and Marge learn their kids have run off and are presumed missing, going through every effort to find them. Meanwhile, young Bart and young Lisa start to build a dynamic where Lisa's smarts and Bart's, hm, "ingenuity", work in tandem to help them survive. That still doesn't stop them from being hostile towards one another, but after Bart nearly lets Lisa crash into a tree, Lisa officially gives up and just lets Bart win all arguments. Later, Homer and Marge finally find and rescue the two kids who found themselves ontop the tire fire. The two kids' new dynamic of tolerance survives to this day, and Homer is credited (by Moe) to be a competent parent.
Well, this episode tried to be funny. There were jokes, a good amount of them. Many of them weren't funny. Some were very unfunny. There were a few references. Two specifically, Grandma Flanders and Bart's clown bed, were from Lisa's First Word and the episode seems to try to act as a continuation of that flashback story.
This episode also really tries hard to establish itself as some kind of canon, from deliberately avoiding framing itself in any period of time, to making a note of Homer's "first" chokehold of Bart, to the seemingly first meetings between the two kids and the likes of Milhouse, the bullies, and so on. It seems really forced, in short.
A lot of it really seemed unnatural as well. I know I've never been much of a stickler for continuity, but two year old Lisa in this episode seemed far more intelligent than three year old Lisa did in Lisa's Sax. There was a lot of dialogue that didn't really "fit" with any of the characters in either time period either. The entire time watching this episode, I felt there was something completely "off" about how this episode presents itself. I don't know if its the try-hard mentality of it, the fact that so many jokes were awful, or what. This was a pretty awful episode, even by this season's standards, and while its better than the last two flashback episodes, its by no real means any improvement, either.
Final Score: 5.8