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A Father's Watch

"A Father's Watch"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 28
Episode 18
Directed byBob Anderson
Written bySimon Rich
Production codeWABF11
Original air dateMarch 19, 2017 (2017-03-19)
Guest appearance(s)

Vanessa Bayer as Dr. Clarity Hoffman-Roth
Brian Posehn as Dumlee
Rob Riggle as Dr. Fenton Pooltoy
Adam Silver as himself

Episode features
Chalkboard gagStudying is not "appropriating nerd culture"
Couch gagAll the past and present Simpsons' pets are on the couch.
Episode chronology
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"22 for 30"
Next →
"The Caper Chase"
The Simpsons (season 28)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"A Father's Watch" is the eighteenth episode of the twenty-eighth season of the animated television series The Simpsons, and the 614th episode of the series overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on March 19, 2017.


Two recently deceased frogs meet in heaven and say they are proud to have died for a noble cause: so Bart can dissect them in science class for the pursuit of knowledge. However, they are horrified and angry when Bart laughingly mutilates the body he left behind. Marge despairs over Bart's terrible report card (she says they can't even hang it on the fridge in the garage). Several Springfield parents go to parenting expert Dr. Clarity Hoffman-Roth's lecture for advice. Following her recommendation of giving kids trophies for achieving either laughably simple tasks or doing absolutely nothing, Homer opens a trophy store. However, Bart volunteers to be the store's assistant and, after his shoddy work is revealed, Homer loses his temper and rants at length about what a "pathetic loser" Bart is and always will be, unaware that a devastated Bart has heard what he said.

Meanwhile, Lisa lashes out against the Trophy Culture – not least because her genuine achievements earn smaller trophies than the non-achievements of classmates like Ralph Wiggum. Bart visits Abe and finds out that Abe's father (who isn't shown but was mentioned in "The Winter of His Content" as being alive and estranged from Abe) was a widely respected expert on child abuse in his day, and passed down a rare watch to Abe, which Abe then gives to Bart. Soon, Lisa causes a different movement by getting another parenting expert, Dr. Fenton Pooltoy, to speak to Springfield's parents, who says that too much praise creates millennials - in his words, "a generation of soft, entitled narcissists who drop out of college to become DJs", and his no trophies or false praise approach is embraced by the parents of Springfield. However, Lisa's plan backfires because this leads to Marge throwing out of all of Lisa's genuinely earned awards.

Meanwhile, Homer's trophy business success comes to a crashing halt, and a happy Bart flaunts Abe's watch to Homer, who always wanted the watch as a symbol of Abe's respect that he never received (he also wants to use it to finish his self-published novel), but Bart loses the watch in the forest near Springfield and badly injures Milhouse while failing to retrieve it. Abe tells Bart they're going to be profiled for a little read magazine's issue on families, and Bart can't tell Abe the truth because it would kill him.

When Homer takes his trophies to a pawn shop, he finds the watch (which Milhouse did find, but being mad at Bart for dropping stones at him, he pawned it), planning to rub the recovery in Bart's face, but when he sees Bart is broken and tearful over the loss, he feels bad and gives the watch back to his son. Marge praises Homer's actions, and he says he's going with his gut - or specifically his GUT (Give Up Trying) approach. After their picture is taken for the magazine, Bart then breaks the watch by accident and Abe tries to choke him to death.

The episode ends with Trophy Culture hitting its nadir as the 2017 NBA Draft takes place and Commissioner Adam Silver announces that the kid with the most trophies has been selected: Ralph Wiggum, much to Lisa's chagrin. Homer then sings Joe Esposito's "You're the Best Around" over the credits.


Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+, stating "It’s the moment Bart loses that watch that does it. 'A Father’s Watch' improbably winds together three story strands into a satisfyingly unified whole episode. I say 'improbably' because The Simpsons’ latter-day tendency to cram three potentially show-carrying plot devices into one undercooked outing is a constant, baffling weakness. But here, Marge’s worry about Bart’s perpetual underachiever status, Lisa’s scheme to undermine the resulting parental obsession with overpraising, and Bart’s relationship with his grandpa (cemented by the gift of a family heirloom), are all tended with care. Credit goes to first-time Simpsons writer Simon Rich, of Saturday Night Live and Man Seeking Woman fame, who roots each storylines’ comic turns in the characters, all while coming up with some plain old good jokes, both in the meat of the episode, and in the fiddly bits around the margins...There’s a care in all the aspects of 'A Father’s Watch' which is most refreshing."[1]

Tony Sokol of Den of Geek gave the episode three out of five stars, stating "Good lines, very funny lines, not quite as ever-flowing as has been this season’s usual. But a show about positive reinforcement doesn’t need quite so many lines to make the point. It just has to make the point repeatedly. Or in song, as Homer does often."[2]

"A Father's Watch" scored a 1.0 rating with a 3 share and was watched by 2.40 million people, making it Fox's highest rated show of the night.[3]

Simon Rich was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Writing in Animation at the 70th Writers Guild of America Awards for his script to this episode.[4]


  1. ^ Perkins, Dennis (March 19, 2017). ""A Father's Watch" · The Simpsons · TV Review Everyone gets a trophy on a sweetly well-crafted Simpsons · TV Club". The A.V. Club. Chicago, Illinois: Onion, Inc. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Sokol, Tony (March 19, 2017). "The Simpsons Season 28 Episode 18 Review: A Father's Watch". Den of Geek. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  3. ^ Porter, Rick (March 21, 2017). "'Little Big Shots' adjusts up, 'NCIS: LA' adjusts down: Sunday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  4. ^ "WGA Awards: The Complete Winners List". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. 11 February 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2019.

External links