"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 (even though in broadcast order, it is the 302nd episode, as noted by Marge to Lisa in the episode proper). It aired on February 16, 2003. In this episode, Bart discovers that he used to be a child star in commercials—and that Homer blew all the money he earned. In retaliation, Bart petitions the court to be legally emancipated and move out of the house.
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While Bart and Lisa are cleaning out the garage, they stumble upon 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, who tells him that its revenue made a lot of money. However, Homer had ended up spending it all to buy back incriminating photos that were used in a blackmail scheme. Bart is infuriated and claims he is sick of all of Homer's ill treatments, but he taunts him that he cannot do anything about them until he is eighteen (and plans to work Bart like a dog when he's 17 in anticipation for his 18th birthday). 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. When the family discovers that Bart is suing them, they are shocked. He declares that he wants to be emancipated, much to Marge's horror and his father's rage. Homer tells Bart that his father was terrible to him while he was growing up and instead of suing him for emancipation, he just dropped him off at a cheap nursing home.
At the trial, the Blue Haired Lawyer uses a doll commonly seen in child molestation trials from whose clothing Bart pulls out the pockets to show the court where Homer swindled money from him. Later, Homer is seen on the stand where Bart's lawyer alleges that he has a clear anger management issue. He blows up for a second and tries to convince the court that he is much calmer than that. Unfortunately, Judge Harm does not believe Homer and proves it by having the stenographer repeat what he said. Despite acknowledging that Bart may be too young for emancipation, Judge Harm rules in Bart's favor and declares him legally emancipated. She cites Homer's sociopathic behavior and short temperament as the main reason why Bart should not live with him. As a result, Homer is forced to give up half his salary as his punishment for stealing Bart's money. Furious by this loss, Homer tries to attack Judge Harm, but the bailiff stops him and drags him away for contempt of court.
The next day, Bart rents up a loft near downtown, prepares to leave 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 her that he had nothing against her, Lisa and Maggie. 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, which Homer chases down taunting him that he won't last on his own and will be coming back. However, as the taxi drives off, Homer breaks down sobbing in the middle of the road, with cones surrounding him.
Bart's early experiences in the loft were rather scary due to its dangerous location, but he soon finds that Tony Hawk is living in the building and throwing a party with pop-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 an equally desperate Homer to apologize to him. The family goes to meet him at his loft. He apologizes and requests he come home, promising to treat him better by paying back the money. Bart accepts the apology, but 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, Homer challenges Hawk to a skateboard match and does a good job, thanks to the skateboard. Hawk, unhappy about being shown up by Homer, decides to "take out the thrash". They duel with their skateboards in mid-air, and Tony falls to the ground. Homer speaks to Bart and finally promises that he will never mistreat him 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 watched 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.
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. Blink-182 recorded their lines for the episode on April 24, 2002, Hawk recording 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."
- D’Angelo, Joe (2002-04-26). "Blink-182, Tony Hawk To Appear On 'The Simpsons'". MTV (MTV.com). Retrieved 2010-06-01.
- Hoppus, Mark (November 12, 2010). "This Happened". HiMyNameisMark. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Crerar, Simon (2007-07-05). "The 33 funniest Simpsons cameos ever". The Times. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
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