My Fair Laddy
"My Fair Laddy" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' seventeenth season. It first aired on February 26, 2006. This is the first episode that centers around Groundskeeper Willie. The title and the plot is based on the Broadway musical and film My Fair Lady.
When Mrs. Pummelhorst (the school gym teacher first mentioned by a little girl hanging from the gymnastic rings on season six's "The PTA Disbands!") announces that she will be leaving to undergo gender reassignment surgery and come back as the shop teacher "Mr. Pummelhorst," Coach Krupt, a substitute takes her place. Every gym class, he has them play a game called "Bombardment," and at Christmas double Bombardment, which basically just involves him throwing dodgeballs at the students.
When Bart gets sick of the constant bullying, he fills a ball full of water and sticks it in the freezer overnight. The next day, he throws it at the gym teacher, who ducks, and the ball crashes through the window and destroys Willie's shack. When Marge picks up Bart from school and sees Willie is homeless and sitting alone in the pouring rain, she offers to let him stay at their house, and he eventually accepts. When there, Lisa has Willie realize that his life could be much better, and she decides to turn him into a proper gentleman. Bart, however, does not believe that she can do it, but Lisa bets that she can do it in time for the school science fair.
Meanwhile, Homer comes home with his last pair of blue pants ripped and torn after his seat breaks at the go-cart track (an incident he tries to pass of as "normal wear-and-tear" to Marge). As he searches through town for a new pair, he finds no store that sells his favorite type of pants. When he goes to the factory that sells them, the manager tells him that they do not make blue pants anymore due to poor sales. Homer tells him that he will get more customers. He does this by writing "Buy blue pants" on the back of his head (when he turns out the light, Marge observes that the writing glows in the dark, to which a rather scared Homer replies, "It's not supposed to."). Homer's advertising campaign pays off and soon everyone is wearing blue pants. However, Marge is annoyed when Homer begins putting other advertisements around his body (one on his arm reading "EAT MAINE POTATOES" really just being a reminder to himself).
While this is happening, Lisa is struggling to teach Willie how to act sophisticated. Soon, it is the day before the science fair, and he is still his same old self. When he sees how disappointed Lisa is, he suddenly surprises both Bart and Lisa by correctly (and with a 'proper' accent/dialect) saying a sentence she gave him. At the science fair the next day, he impresses everyone with his politeness and verbal dexterity under the guise of G.K. Willington Esq.. However, no one actually knows that it is the old groundskeeper until Lisa announces it to everyone. Once again, she wins the science fair, and the bet along with it.
Even though he is respected by everybody, Willie misses his old life and feels out of place working as the maitre d' at a fancy restaurant, but his job and his shack were both taken by the music teacher (who, somehow, drove the tractor on top of the school). He explains to Lisa that he wishes to go back to the way things were, and she understands. Soon, he is returned to his restored "crap shack", which Lisa has decorated with a new sign on the inside wall reading "Home Sweet Home." Willie, acting very grateful for the gift, asks to be alone. Lisa understands and promptly exits the shack. Upon her leaving, Willie takes the sign and smashes it on the ground.
The episode's plot is based on My Fair Lady and also features parodies of songs from the play such as "Wouldn't It Be Loverly", "The Rain in Spain", "I Could Have Danced All Night", "On the Street Where You Live", and (briefly) "Get Me to the Church on Time".
The scene where Bart throws the ice ball at the new gym teacher takes elements from pvt. Pyle's shooting scene from Full Metal Jacket.
The bullies challenge Kearney to circumnavigate the planet in eighty days, a reference to Around the World in 80 Days.
"My Fair Laddy" was ranked as the twenty-fifth best The Simpsons episode by AOL. Robert Canning, Eric Goldman, Dan Iverson & Brian Zoromski of IGN named it the best episode of the seventeenth season calling it a fun parody of My Fair Lady.
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