Bart Gets Hit by a Car
- "Hutz is the name, Mr. Simpson. Lionel Hutz, attorney at law. Here's my card. It turns into a sponge when you put it in water."
- ―Lionel Hutz
| "Bart Gets Hit by a Car"
| Episode Information
"Bart Gets Hit by a Car" is the tenth episode of season 2 of The Simpsons and the twenty-third episode overall. It originally aired on January 10, 1991. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Mark Kirkland. It guest stars Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz and as the Heavenly voice.
- "Bart is knocked off his skateboard by Mr. Burns in his car. After a brief trip to Heaven, and a slightly less brief visit to Hell, he falls to Earth. With the help of dodgy lawyer Lionel Hutz, Homer tries to sue Burns for a million dollars. And Marge and Lisa discover there are many ways you can arrive at the truth."
While out riding his skateboard with reckless abandon, Bart is hit by a car driven by Homer's boss, Mr. Burns. While Burns and Smithers argue about what to do about him, Bart's soul floats out of his body and he ascends a luminous stairway to Heaven. When Bart spits over the edge, the stairway turns into a chute and sends him directly to Hell. After the Devil looks over Bart's case history on his computer, he sees Bart is not due to arrive in Hell for nearly another century. As Bart begins to regain consciousness, the Devil tells him to be rebellious and listen to heavy metal music. Bart wakes up in a hospital bed with Homer, Marge, Lisa and a strange man hovering over him. Asking the strange man, Lionel Hutz, who he is, Lionel presents Homer with his card and tells him if he wants to make a lot of money, to give him a call. Acting on his lawyers' advice, Burns offers Homer money to ensure he does not take legal action against him. But he only offers Homer a paltry $100. Homer turns it down and calls Lionel Hutz. After learning Homer is going to sue him, Burns becomes furious and decides to fire him. After Smithers reminds him firing a man who's son he hit with a car would be bad for his image, Burns has no choice but to settle the lawsuit in court or talk the Simpsons out of it.
Hutz assures Homer if he does exactly what he says, he can get a settlement for a million dollars. But to do it, Bart has to lie about the extent of his injuries. To further stack the deck in their favor, Hutz uses the legal testimony of a shady doctor, Dr. Nick Riviera, to come up with his own diagnosis. Both Bart and Burns present exaggerated memories of the accident on the stand, but the civil jury is more accepting of Bart's fabricated story. In a last attempt to get them to drop the lawsuit, Burns invites Homer and Marge to his home. He offers them $500,000 to settle the case, then leaves the room to let them discuss it. Burns listens in on their conversation in the next room by looking through the cut-out eyes of a painting. Marge, feeling guilty they have been lying, asks Homer to drop the case. She only wants Burns to pay Bart's medical bills and to make an apology for the accident. But Homer wants to hold out for the full million. Upon hearing they are using a quack, Burns walks back into the room, tells them to leave and releases the hounds.
In court the next day, Burns' lawyer calls Marge to the stand and reminds her she is under oath. Marge testifies that Hutz and Dr. Riveria made Bart lie about his injuries. A stunned Homer listens in disbelief as his million dollars slips away. That night at dinner, Bart is disappointed that they lost the million, thinking of the great life they could have bought, but Marge reprimands him that honor is more important than easy money. Homer, aghast at how Marge cost him a million dollars, leaves and goes to Moe's. Marge follows him to Moe's Tavern to apologize, he says he has lost his chance to make anything of his life and is worried that he no longer loves her. Marge, shocked at this, says that if Homer no longer loves her after making eye contact with her will accept their marriage is over. When Homer looks his wife in the eyes, he says he loves her more than ever.
The episode's plot was based on Billy Wilder's 1966 film, The Fortune Cookie in which Walter Matthau plays a dishonest lawyer who convinces Jack Lemmon's character to fake an injury for a large cash settlement. While working on the court room scenes, director Mark Kirkland watched To Kill a Mockingbird and The Verdict to get ideas for different angles he could use. Although the episode was written by John Swartzwelder, a lot of the ending was pitched by executive producer James L. Brooks, who felt the episode needed a more emotional ending, so some shots were reworked so that voice-overs could be added.
The episode includes the debuts of three recurring characters, Lionel Hutz, Dr. Nick and the Blue-haired lawyer. Lionel Hutz was designed by Mark Kirkland, who gave him a evil design, but was asked to make him more "bland looking." He gave him a powder blue suit to make him stand out more. Phil Hartman, who voices Hutz, also guest stars for the first time. He would later become one of the most frequently appearing guest stars, with Hutz and Troy McClure (who was introduced later in the second season) being his most well-known characters.
Dr. Nick Riviera is voiced by Hank Azaria, who used a "bad Ricky Ricardo" impression. The animators modeled Dr. Nick after then-supervising director Gabor Csupo, because they mistakenly believed that Azaria was impersonating him. The Blue-haired lawyer, who does not have a proper name, was based on Roy Cohn, who became famous as Senator Josepth McCarthy's lawyer. His voice, provided by Dan Castellaneta, was also an impression of Cohn. The devil is also shown for the first time, and he was designed by Mark Kirkland, who originally tried to give him a scary design, but the writers asked him to use a more comedic look. The show's then-script supervisor Doris Grau also appears in the show for the first time. She was used because of her unique voice, and appears as a minor character in this episode, but would later become known for voicing Lunchlady Doris.
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|Season 2 Episodes
|Bart Gets an "F" • Simpson and Delilah • Treehouse of Horror • Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish • Dancin' Homer • Dead Putting Society • Bart vs. Thanksgiving • Bart the Daredevil • Itchy & Scratchy & Marge • Bart Gets Hit by a Car • One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish • The Way We Was • Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment • Principal Charming • Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? • Bart's Dog Gets an "F" • Old Money • Brush with Greatness • Lisa's Substitute • The War of the Simpsons • Three Men and a Comic Book • Blood Feud