The Simpsons Review: “Yellow Subterfuge” (Season 25, Episode 7)


After a one week break for American Thanksgiving festivities, The Simpsons returned with a new episode that didn’t necessitate a trip to the store in order to get your favourite food to eat when disappointed. The focus of “Yellow Subterfuge” is Principal Seymour Skinner, and another scheme to bring Springfield Elementary under his fastidious desire for uniformity with the promise of a field trip on board a submarine. Even Bart Simpson summons the restraint to stay away from pranking in order to gain a place on that field trip, but is mere restraint enough, and has Skinner gone a bit around the bend this time?

From the first scene, the answer to that second question is an obvious yes. Tip of the hat to Quentin Tarantino as Skinner dreams of being Django Unchained, shooting school bullies, having a sweeping theme song, and riding into the sunset on the back of Superintendent Chalmers. Skinner’s bizarre daydreams aside, he announces to the kids that unlike last year’s field trip to the “Sign Here” sticker factory, this year’s field trip will be onboard the USS Tom Clancy, a Navy submarine. It’s a hook up that comes courtesy of Skinner’s Old Navy buddy, just not the “Old Navy” you’re thinking of. (And by the way, Yvan eht nioj!) The bad news is that since room on a sub is tight, only the best, most well-behaved students will be allowed to go. The good news is that all students get a clean slate. Even Bart.

Despite his best efforts – burying his whoopee cushions, cancelling a drone strike, wearing a tie – Bart’s name is taken off the list, so he decides to focus his efforts on other areas, like revenge. Homer, under the auspices of being a good father, offers to help. “What are his weaknesses?” Homer asks. “Everything,” says Bart. “Good, we can use that.” The weakness they choose is Skinner’s over-exaggerated Oedipal complex, and they enlist Agnes Skinner in a ruse to fake her murder by a sleepwalking Seymour.

Homer and Bart, who coincidentally happen to be in the neighbourhood after Skinner finds his mother’s “body,” help him get rid of the evidence. Homer then sets up Skinner with the fake identity as Dick Fiddler and tells him to get out of town, but Dick Fidd- I mean Skinner, thinks he should surrender to the police, briefly forgetting the Springfield PD’s sterling record of incompetence. But even though his life is turning into a movie that his mother would never let him watch, Skinner can’t bring himself to run, at which point Agnes reveals that she wasn’t killed by him after all.