|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 14|
|Directed by||Matthew Nastuk|
|Written by||Andrew Kreisberg|
|Original air date||February 16, 2003|
|Chalkboard gag||"I will not" (Bart destroys the chalkboard with an axe)|
|Couch gag||The living room is made of gingerbread and candy. The Simpsons are gingerbread people who rush to the couch. Homer takes a bite out of Bart’s head.|
J. Stewart Burns
"Barting Over" is the eleventh episode of the fourteenth season of The Simpsons, advertised by Fox, and indicated on-screen to be the 300th episode of the show (though in broadcast order, it is the 302nd episode, as noted in the episode proper). It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 16, 2003. In this episode, Bart discovers that he used to be a child star in commercials—and that Homer spent all the money he earned. In retaliation, Bart petitions the court to be legally emancipated, and he moves out of the house.
While Bart and Lisa are cleaning out the garage, they stumble across old home movies. One of the tapes they found has an old episode of the sitcom Perfect Strangers on it, followed by a commercial for a product called "Baby Stink-Breath"— with Bart as a baby with bad breath. Bart confronts Homer and Marge about the advertisement, and is told that his part in the commercial made him a lot of money. Although Marge attempts to comfort him by stating she had it put away in a trust fund, Homer rudely interrupts and confesses that he spent it all to buy back incriminating photos to avoid a scandal. The next day, a furious Bart goes to a law firm named "Luvum and Burnham" Family Law, at Milhouse's suggestion. He meets the Blue Haired Lawyer there, and tells him that he wants a 'divorce' from his family.
The next day, during dinner, the Blue Haired Lawyer comes to the house to serve Homer with a subpoena and a side of bacon to open the door. When the family discovers that Bart is suing them and declaring that he wants to be emancipated, they are horrified. An angry Homer defends himself by telling Bart that his father was terrible to him and rather than sue Abe, Homer got his revenge by dropping him off at a cheap nursing home.
At the trial, Bart's case is made clear in various ways, such as using a doll and Homer's anger management issues. Homer tries to deny it, claiming he's a calm and collected father who has minor anger problems when his son does something to make him mad. Judge Harm does not believe him and asks the stenographer to repeat the very same threatening words he spoke, much to both his embarrassment and Bart's lawyer's joy. She mentions that while Bart is too young for emancipation, she rules in his favor. She points out that Homer's sociopathic behavior and extreme anger management issues are sufficient reasons for Bart to live on his own. As a result, Judge Harm orders him to give up half his salary as his punishment for stealing Bart's money. He tries to plead his case to her against giving up his paycheck, claiming he's already paying for alimony with his Vegas ex-wife. When Harm ignores him, Marge tries to get him to be reasonable and behave himself. Furious, Homer tries to attack Judge Harm, but the bailiff stops him and drags him away for contempt of court.
The next day, Bart rents a loft near downtown and says tearful goodbyes to everyone except Homer. Marge tries to convince him to stay, promising that she will let him swear in the house more. Bart refuses and tells Marge that she, Lisa, and Maggie did nothing wrong. His problem has always been with Homer and now that Bart is emancipated, he's free from his father's abuse. Bart leaves in a taxi and Homer breaks down sobbing in the middle of the road. Despite an early and scary experience in the loft to its dangerous location, Bart discovers that Tony Hawk is also living in the building and throwing a party with punk band Blink-182. He and Hawk become friends, and he is content with his new life. Back at the Simpson house, Marge is still depressed about Bart being gone and convinces Homer to apologize to him. The family goes to meet him at his loft and Homer apologizes. Despite accepting the apology and promise of better treatment, Bart tells them that he is going on Tony Hawk's Skewed Tour.
At the event, Homer meets up with Hawk and pleads with him to pretend to lose to him so that he can make Bart proud of him again. Hawk reluctantly agrees and gives Homer a modified skateboard, which does all the stunt work. Later on, Hawk decides to teach Homer a lesson in humility for the way he has hurt Bart. After a skateboard match, Tony falls to the ground and Homer finally promises that he will never mistreat Bart again. Lindsey Naegle approaches Homer and asks him to star in a commercial. Homer accepts so that he can get Bart fully repaid. At the Simpson house, Homer is embarrassed when he watches the final product, an advertisement for an impotence drug, but Bart tells him that nobody will remember it in 50 years. Fifty years later, Homer is dead, and an elderly Nelson Muntz visits his grave to laugh at him.
The episode title is a reference to the movie Starting Over (1979).
According to the Complete Fourteenth Season commentary, the FOX network insisted that the 300th episode be scheduled specifically on February 16, 2003 so that there was time to plan a huge promotion for the episode. However, the actual 300th episode would have already aired two weeks prior. This was referenced in this episode during a joke where Lisa tallies the number of Homer's schemes at 300; Marge comments "I could've sworn it was 302."
Blink-182 recorded their lines for the episode on April 24, 2002; Hawk recorded his a week later on April 29. Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 has stated that being on The Simpsons was "truly one of those “wow, this is unreal” moments that I’ve been lucky enough to experience. It still makes my day every time I think about it." Tony Hawk also said, "Being on The Simpsons, let alone a milestone episode, really made me think to myself that I've actually, completely made it."
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