The Good, the Sad and the Drugly
"The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" is the seventeenth episode of the twentieth season of the animated television series The Simpsons, and the 437th episode overall. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on April 19, 2009. In the episode, Bart sets up Milhouse to take the fall for a prank the two of them pulled, and the duo's friendship becomes strained when Bart falls for a charitable girl named Jenny. He starts making her think he is actually good and not bad. Meanwhile, Lisa goes insane when she finds articles on the Internet predicting that Springfield will be a barren wasteland in fifty years.
The episode was written by Marc Wilmore and directed by Rob Oliver. It features actress Anne Hathaway as Jenny. "The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" received generally mixed reviews from critics for its similarities with other episodes. According to the Nielsen ratings, the episode was watched by 6.50 million households in its original airing.
Milhouse and Bart loosen every bolt and screw in Springfield Elementary, leading to mass chaos when the building and its contents fall apart. Milhouse is apprehended by Principal Skinner and suspended from school for a week (and subsequently grounded). Bart, whose involvement with the prank was not discovered, promises to visit Milhouse every day. Homer drops Bart off at Springfield Retirement Castle to visit Grandpa. There, Bart is immediately smitten with a kind and charitable girl named Jenny. Bart makes a concerted effort to appear "good" to Jenny, demonstrating his newfound good nature by defending ducklings and eventually inviting Jenny over for dinner. However, Milhouse shows up on the Simpsons' doorstep and threatens to reveal Bart's true, dark nature because Bart forgot to visit him during his suspension. Milhouse begins appearing on Bart and Jenny's outings, each time hinting at Bart's misdeeds. Eventually, Bart confesses to Jenny that he was actually bad before he met her and only pretended to be good to start a relationship. He continues to say that he is changed completely because of being with her. Jenny, though momentarily pleased by Bart's honesty, cannot forgive or trust Bart, and angrily leaves him.
Meanwhile, Lisa is assigned to write a report on what Springfield will look like in the year 2059. When she discovers online reports about soap for drinks instead of water, a world war over a tiny drop of oil, a parking lot yet to be filled forever and the last polar bear committing suicide by hanging himself, she is filled with anxiety and depression and terrifies her classmates with her dark visions of the oceans rising from global warming, turning humanity and the lowlands into a desert and darkness falling upon Nineveh. Homer and Marge take her to a psychiatrist, who prescribes Lisa "happy pills" known as "Ignorital". Lisa is initially skeptical, but after taking her first pill she loses touch with her problems and sees pollution (as well as everything else) as smiley faces. In her love-induced stupor, she nearly kisses a running fan held by Maggie, until Marge finally intervenes by deciding that she wants Lisa back to normal and should not take the pills anymore. She tosses them in the wastebasket, where they are promptly eaten by Santa's Little Helper. When Maggie (most likely doing it intentionally) holds the fan up to him, he (off screen) licks the fan himself.
Heartbroken, Bart is at the Kwik-E-Mart, drowning his sorrows on a couple of Squishees. Soon a back to normal, Lisa shows up and wisely tells him that he should try to deal with his heartbreak by apologizing to Milhouse. When Bart asks why since he turned Jenny against him, Lisa relates a story about her own problems with her depression for the future of the world. Bart decides to take Lisa's advice, buy a bouquet of roses, and apologizes to Jenny for lying to her about his true character and Milhouse for his neglect to visit him.
In the end, it is revealed that the apology and roses are for Milhouse. The two friends reconcile and play a prank together, repeatedly driving a Zamboni over the floor of the school until it is as slippery as ice. They then wait for the bell and watch as the school kids slide around while fake snow falls simulating an out-door ice rink.
"The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" was written by Marc Wilmore and directed by Rob Oliver. In September 2008, it was announced that Anne Hathaway would guest star as Bart's girlfriend in a future episode. Hathaway, who has been a Simpsons fan since the shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, said that she grew up watching The Simpsons with her brothers, and said that "it stuck with me...high school, college, post, everything. I always stop whenever it's on." She said that she "flipped out" when she was offered a guest role and that it "might be the most [...] exciting thing" that has ever happened to her. The episode marked the first time she did a voice-over to an animation that was not animated beforehand. Hathaway described her character Jenny as a "good girl" but "not necessarily bland" and "a little complicated, [and] a little judgemental".
The episode was also notable for featuring the first grounding to be used since "Fraudcast News" back in Season 15. This would lead to three additional episodes utilizing the grounding, "Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'oh", which had Homer threaten to ground Bart at the end of the episode, "The Devil Wears Nada", in which Rod and Todd are grounded, and "Postcards from the Wedge", which marked the culmination of the grounding, since at the end of that episode, after 21 seasons of being sent to his room, or being punished in other ways, Bart is finally grounded for the first time ever, and remains grounded for the rest of the episode. In all, Seasons 20 and 21 feature more groundings than the previous 19 seasons put together. Prior to Season 20, the only groundings that were ever mentioned were in "Lisa's Rival", "Marge Be Not Proud", and "Fraudcast News".
According to the Nielsen ratings, "The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" was watched by 6.50 million households in its original in the United States on April 19, 2009. It received a 3.0 rating in the 18–49 demographic, and was the second most-watched series in the Animation Domination block, after Family Guy and ahead of American Dad! and the series premiere of Sit Down, Shut Up.
Erich Asperschlager of TV Verdict said that it "isn't a bad episode [...] It's just not very original", as he thought it "borrows heavily" from past episodes, stating: "I'll gladly defend the show against those who say it's no longer funny, but episodes like this make it hard to defend against those who say that 20 seasons on it's just more of the same." Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode 7.5/10, and said that "a lot of the basic ideas found in "The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" have been mined before in episodes of The Simpsons, but said that the episode "was using the classic episodes as an inspiration and not simply ripping them off." Canning said that Hathaway "did a fine job", but said that "there was nothing extreme in the part that she was called upon to perform, so in essence Jenny could have been performed by anybody."
Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club said that the episode "relied on a few old chestnuts, plot-wise," and "benefited from a pretty straightforward A story [with] no weird digressions or preludes that go nowhere, and a minimum of Homer-centric buffoonery."
- Snierson, Dan (2008-09-03). "Exclusive: Jodie Foster, Anne Hathaway to guest on 'The Simpsons'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- Hathaway, 0:00 - 0:15
- Hathaway, 0:16 - 0:25
- Hathaway, 1:33 - 1:37
- Hathaway, 0:34 - 0:41
- Gorman, Bill (2009-04-20). "Housewives Keys ABC Win; Sit Down, Shut Up Premieres Mixed". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- Asperschlager, Erich (2009-04-19). "The Simpsons 20.17: "The Good, the Sad, and the Drugly"". TV Verdict. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Canning, Robert (2009-04-20). "The Simpsons: "The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- Koski, Genevieve (2009-04-19). ""Born Again On The Fourth Of July" / "Good, Sad And Drugly" / "420" / "DeLorean Story-An"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- "The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Good, the Sad and the Drugly" at TV.com