|Its a shame there aren't any blood-gushing billboards in real life...|
The Itchy & Scratchy portion of the episode is never really the main focus: the movie serves as a plot device for the latter portion of the episode, but the introduction of the cartoon's mythos - where Scratchy was introduced in 1928 as a boring, unpopular character but was teamed up with the violent Itchy a year later in a Steamboat Willie parody - really was excellent.
As for the episode itself, at a parent teacher conference, while Homer is pleased to learn Lisa is doing well, Marge has the burden of learning about Bart's various schemes. At the end of the meeting Mrs. Krabappel suggests to the two that when they punish Bart for being bad, they have to make the punishment firm. If they do so, Bart could become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, otherwise "there's no telling how low he can sink". They get their first chance to punish Bart that same night, after Bart breaks Grampa's teeth. Marge punishes Bart by refusing to let him have any dinner. Bart scoffs at this, believing he'll get pizza eventually, but as the night continues, Bart begins to realize that he's not getting any. Just as he begins to learn that he's gotta straighten up and fly right, Homer relents and finally gives Bart some pizza, and the lesson is lost.
As the days continue, Bart finds a way to either squirm out of punishment or gets a lucky distraction to help him out. Marge reminds Homer what needs to happen, at which point Homer agrees that he'll make sure the next punishment sticks. As the Itchy & Scratchy Movie had been announced, Bart and Lisa are watching a show regarding the cartoon's history. Bart was tasked to keep an eye on Maggie, but doesn't keep track of her while watching the show. As a result, Maggie somehow is able to get into, start up, and drive Homer's car, ultimately crashing into a prison wall. Maggie is thankfully okay, but with Bart being responsible for what happened, Homer decides on an appropriate punishment: banning Bart from ever seeing the Itchy & Scratchy Movie.
Despite Bart's and even Lisa's pleas for Homer to let Bart see the movie, Homer refuses to budge. The movie, is expected, is a huge hit, loved by all who see it, which Bart continues to not be a part of. Two months in, even Marge thinks Bart has had enough, but Homer continues to insist his punishment is working. Bart tries to pay for a new ticket at some point, but the theatre had been instructed by Homer not to let Bart in. After eight total months, the movie ends its run with Bart having never seen it. While Bart admits Homer had won, Homer says that they've both won in the long run.
Forty years later, Bart is now the Chief Justice of the Supreme court. Taking old man Homer to the movies, Bart is pleasantly surprised to see the Itchy & Scratchy Movie in the theatre as a classical re-release. Homer finally lets Bart see it, and though the movie has undergone some animation glitches in the past 40 years, the two still enjoy the film.
This was a fun episode. I liked the Itchy & Scratchy portions of the episode, I liked the little bit that takes place in the future at the end. It's not as funny as some of the other top episodes of the season, but that should in no way detract from this episode's quality.
Final Score: 8.7