Episode Nineteen, Season Eight of The Simpson’s is entitled Grade School Confidential. It originally aired on April 6th, 1997. I viewed this episode Saturday March 20th on a widescreen plasma TV at my Grandmother’s house. The couch gag for this episode is a repeat. After Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel hit it off at Martin’s birthday party and Bart sees them kissing he attempts to blackmail them. In exchange for destroying his permanent record Bart is to keep his mouth shut. However, he is roped into assisting the educators in keeping their affair a secret. Bart can no longer take it and exposes their secret by revealing the couple to the student body while they’re making out in the janitors closet.
When they refuse to end what Superintendent Chalmers calls their “tawdry, fulfilling relationship” he fires them both. Skinner and Krabappel pack up their offices and prepare to spend their new lives together. However, feeling bad for his role in their dismissal, Bart rallies the pair who barricade themselves in the school in protest. The siege ends when their will breaks and they give up. However, Skinner reveals to the town that he is a virgin, there by clearing up the misunderstanding that he and Edna were having sex in the school. Chalmers reinstates the two saying that “no one, anywhere, ever would admit to being a forty year old virgin” if it wasn’t true and them instructed them to “keep the lewdness to a minimum. After the crowd breaks up the couple heads for the janitor’s closet. Right before shutting the door Skinner comments on how naïve people can be.
It is my assumption that based on this comment Skinner is not in fact a virgin, though if any adult male character on The Simpsons were it would be him. This episode is interesting for a few reasons. It is a rarity in that Homer barely appears. It also does a good job of personalizing two second tier characters in Skinner and Krabappel. Finally, it ties in Bart and is one of the many episodes that illustrate that while he is a slacker and a hell raiser, the boy also has a good heart and doesn’t want to see his pranks actually cause anyone real harm. This is particularly important because in the early years of the show its critics, mostly on the socially conservative side, tried to paint it as a program that encourages all manner of irresponsible behavior on the part of children.
My counter argument to that has always been that simply watching the show and paying attention rather than just keeping a list of all the bad things that Bart does or says reveals that he is not a source of encouragement for children to behave badly. The Simpsons holds a mirror up to society and just because we don’t always like what we see doesn’t mean that that’s the end of the story.
The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #19: Grade School Confidential
Rating: 4 out of 5