Bart the General

"Bart the General" is the 5th episode of Season 1. It aired on February 4, 1990. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by David Silverman. This is one of the few episodes that doesn't include an opening sequence.


Lisa bakes a batch of cupcakes for Miss Hoover as a birthday present, and immediately, Bart demands one. She says no, much to Bart's resentment. After an apology on the school bus, Lisa gives Bart the cupcake she dropped on the floor when the bus jolted, and he eats it. When they get off the bus, Lisa was going to offer her friend Janey one. However, the cupcakes are snatched by one of Nelson Muntz's buddies and he stomps on them when Bart asks for them back. Bart lunges at them but Nelson shows up and holds Bart up by his neck, questioning his bravery. Bart persists to struggle and accidentally hits Nelson on the nose which makes him start bleeding. After, Bart attempts to shrug it all off, but is treated as a hero. After school, Nelson and his buddies beat up Bart and dump him into a trash can, which he then rolls down a hill, stopping at his front door and coughing out his hat.

At home, Bart goes into the bathtub and Homer comes in, blasting a hairdryer into his face to dry his tears. Bart tells Homer and Marge about the bully, and Homer advises Bart to fight dirty, while Marge suggests that he tell Principal Skinner. Homer pressures Bart to fight, while Marge suggests reasoning with Nelson. Homer dismisses Marge's advice and has Bart face a punching bag. Disapproving of Bart's fighting skills, Homer jumps on top of the bag and shakes it around in an attempt to beat it up, going as far as biting a piece off, while Bart looks on. Homer then reassures Bart that he should "fight dirty," saying that it is okay every now and then. Bart confronts Nelson and at first throws mud in his eyes which enrages Nelson. Bart tries to fight but is once again, mauled by Nelson. This time, he turns to the toughest member of the Simpson family, Grampa Simpson, as suggested by Lisa.

Grampa introduces Bart to Herman, a veteran who runs an army surplus store. Herman tells Bart to declare war on Nelson and instructs him on a full-assault strategy, while Bart thinks Herman is crazy. Bart gathers other kids from school who have been traumatized by Nelson and enlists them as troops. After a long training program, the troops go marching one by one. Cornering Nelson and his buddies, they start firing numbers of water balloons. Terrorized and outnumbered, the bullies surrender. Nelson is taken prisoner, but he threatens to kill Bart as soon as he is released, and mentions that Bart will have to untie him sometime. So afterward, Herman drafts an armistice, which Bart and Nelson agree to sign - Nelson will stop beating kids up but will still be a figure of terror to them. Marge enters with cupcakes, and peace prevails. The episode ends with a disclaimer in which Bart explains why wars, with the exceptions of the American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars trilogy, are never justified.