Grade School Confidential

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"Grade School Confidential"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 172
Prod. code 4F09
Orig. airdate April 6, 1997
Showrunner(s) Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Written by Rachel Pulido
Directed by Susie Dietter
Couch gag The Simpsons are clear blue bubbles that float to the couch and pop one by one.[1]
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Rachel Pulido
Susie Dietter

"Grade School Confidential" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons' eighth season, which originally aired on April 6, 1997.[2] It was written by Rachel Pulido and directed by Susie Dietter.[2] The episode establishes the long-term relationship between Seymour Skinner and Edna Krabappel.[1] Bart witnesses a romantic moment between Principal Skinner and Mrs.Krabappel and acts as a snitch for them. However, they later embarrass him and he exposes their romance to the public.

Plot[edit]

Martin Prince invites his classmates to his birthday party, but the event turns out to be incredibly boring. To cap off the poorly received party, things come to an end when everyone becomes ill with food poisoning thanks to Martin's parents serving oysters instead of cake. In the meantime, Principal Seymour Skinner and Edna Krabappel attend and have a conversation which leads to them discovering that they have romantic feelings for each other. They end up kissing in Martin's pink playhouse in an act witnessed by Bart Simpson, who did not get food poisoning since he fed his oysters to Martin's cat along with Lisa who feigns sickness so she could leave without excuse.

Bart plans to reveal what he witnessed, but Seymour and Edna fear that they would be fired if anyone found out and they swear him to secrecy. They hire him as their gofer so they can secretly exchange messages. Bart agrees for a while because the reward for his cooperation is that Milhouse will inherit Bart's poor school record. Eventually, Bart grows frustrated about his home, school and social life continually being interrupted to help them advance their relationship, putting him in embarrassing situations. One afternoon at school, after he is embarrassed in front of his classmates by having to say one of Seymour's messages to Edna out loud, Bart bitterly gathers the entire school in front of a janitor's closet and he opens the door to reveal that Seymour and Edna are making out.

Word of Seymour and Edna's relationship quickly spreads throughout Springfield, with the story growing more illicit and exaggerated with each passing turn by the children. An appalled Chief Wiggum, upon hearing his son Ralph's less than accurate version of the events, alerts Superintendent Chalmers. Chalmers gives Seymour an ultimatum – end the relationship or have both of them face dismissal. Seymour decides that love is stronger than his professional goals, so Chalmers fires him and Edna, expecting them to leave the school at the end of the day.

Bart learns that the couple have lost their jobs and feels remorseful. After Seymour apologizes to Bart for embarrassing him, Bart encourages the former principal to stand up for himself and Edna. Agreeing to Bart's comment, Seymour and Edna lock down the school, call the media (with Bart's help) and make their demands: They want their jobs back and the townspeople to not interfere with their relationship. However, several residents reply with their accusation about the two having sexual intercourse in the janitor's closet described by their children. Seymour insists nothing of the sort happened and that he is a virgin. At first, everyone is speechless, but being on the basis of being such an embarrassing thing for someone his age to admit, it has to be true for them. Realizing that they have overreacted over the relationship, the residents peacefully leave, believing that no one can pretend to be a 44-year-old virgin. Chalmers agrees to reinstate Seymour and Edna as though nothing ever happened, but insists that they keep their relationship at a minimum level during school days. The couple decide to continue their relationship more privately than ever by convincing Bart that they have broken up after thanking him for helping them. They then go back into their relationship and enter the janitor's closet where they continue kissing.

Production[edit]

The idea of Skinner and Krabappel becoming a couple had been around since the days when Mike Reiss and Al Jean were show runners.[3] The episode's writer Rachel Pulido took some of the inspiration for this episode from "Bart the Lover", specifically Mrs. Krabappel's line to Bart about refusing to date Principal Skinner because, "his mommy won't let him out to play".[4] The Mathmagician is based on Bill Gates.[5] The cakes in Agnes Skinner's cake book were designed to accurately resemble the real life versions of them.[6] Homer using his megaphone to talk to Marge and Lisa, who were standing next to him, was ad-libbed by Dan Castellaneta.[5] A deleted scene featured an awkward moment at Martin's party, between Bart, Milhouse and Martin, when the latter introduces the two to his parents.[5]

Cultural references[edit]

Mrs. Krabappel has a candle which resembles Charlie Brown, a character from Peanuts.[2] At the Aztec theater, a movie by Tom Berenger was played. It is implied by Superintendent Chalmers' comment "You think they actually filmed this in Atlanta?" and from the commentary that the movie is The Big Chill.[3] In trying to force Edna and Seymour out of the school, the Springfield police attempts to flood the area with music. This is similar to a tactic that the US troops used during Operation Just Cause in an attempt to force Manuel Noriega out of the Vatican embassy in Panama City.[5] However, in this case, romance-themed music was played, which was "Embraceable You" by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin.[3] Edna and Seymour's dance poses were taken from Orlando Baeza, who was the assistant director for this episode.[6]

Reception[edit]

In its original broadcast, "Grade School Confidential" finished 57th in ratings for the week of March 31 - April 6, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 7.7, equivalent to approximately 7.5 million viewing households. It was the fifth highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files, Party of Five, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place.[7]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "A delightful episode that finally brings to fruition one of the series' longest running gags: Edna and Seymour's mutual attraction. What is doubly refreshing is that it remains a constant in the subsequent episodes."[1] The scene in which Agnes Skinner shows Bart her cake book is one of Matt Groening's all time favorite scenes.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Grade School Confidential". BBC. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. Created by Matt Groening; edited by Ray Richmond and Antonia Coffman. (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ASIN 0060952520. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.  ISBN 0-06-095252-0, 978-0-06-095252-5. p. 232.
  3. ^ a b c Oakley, Bill (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Grade School Confidential" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ Pulido, Rachel (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Grade School Confidential" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ a b c d Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Grade School Confidential" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ a b Dietter, Susie (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Grade School Confidential" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (April 11, 1997). "CBS scores with NCAA basketball". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E. 
  8. ^ Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Grade School Confidential" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 

External links[edit]