- "You see, folks, we're all trying to please someone else. And as soon as you're not a human be-ing, you're a human do-ing. Then what comes next?"
- ―Brad Goodman, self-help guru
- "A human go-ing!"
- ―Bart Simpson, self-help critic
"Bart's Inner Child" is the seventh episode of season 5. It originally aired on November 11, 1993. The episode was written by George Meyer and directed by Bob Anderson.
- "Bart accidentally has the entire town emulating his actions, thanks to a feel-good therapist. James Brown guest stars as himself."
Promo image for the episode
Homer sees an add for a trampoline in the Springfield Shopper and takes it from Krusty. He charges admission for the neighborhood kids to jump on it. When the kids get on it, however, they get injured, so Marge makes Homer get rid of the trampoline. Homer tells her that she's no fun, so, offended, she goes to her sisters' apartment to vent. Patty and Selma show Marge an infomercial starring Brad Goodman, a self-help guru. Taking his methods into practice, Homer and Marge improve their relationship.
When Goodman comes to Springfield for a seminar, Marge and Homer decide to take Bart to improve his behavior. During the seminar, Bart speaks out and disrupts Goodman's speech. Rather than get angry, however, Goodman embraces Bart's willingness to speak his mind and tells the citizens to be like Bart so they could be with their inner child. Though initially enjoying his role as a trendsetter, Bart feels as though he is losing his identity when everyone starts imitating his behavior (such as by speaking out in class and spitting off an overpass).
The citizens of Springfield hold a "Do What You Feel Festival" where everyone does what they feel. Unfortunately, this results in workers not doing their jobs, culminating in an ungreased Ferris wheel coming off its hinges and crashing into the zoo whereupon the animals escape and run amuck through town. People begin arguing with one another until they all decide to blame Bart. They form a mob to attack him, but Homer rescues him in a parade float. Giving up, the crowd decides to go to the old mill to get some cider.
Back home, the Simpsons discuss what they've learned. Homer believes the entire thing was Bart's fault for being a bad role model, while Marge states that self help should be left to people in big cities. Lisa, however, corrects them by saying anyone can achieve self help, but it has to be through a long process of self exploration, not through quick fix ideas. With that sorted out, the family watches McGarnagle, a show about a cop who solves crimes in his spare time.