New Kids on the Blecch
- "Bart's a rebel. And that's what I need for my new band, the "Party Posse"."
- ―L.T. Smash
| "New Kids on the Blecch"
| Episode Information
"New Kids on the Blecch" is the fourteenth episode of season 12 of The Simpsons and the two-hundred and sixty-second episode overall. It originally aired on February 25, 2001. The episode was written by Tim Long and directed by Steven Dean Moore. It guest stars 'N Sync as themselves.
- "When a talent agency discovers the musical abilities of Bart, Nelson, Milhouse and Ralph, it scurries to set them up as the next big boy band sensation, complete with a sinister subliminal propaganda campaign in mind: "Join the Navy"."
After watching Great Moments in Olympic History, Homer becomes inspired to run in the Springfield Marathon. During the final leg of the race, Bart puts on a costume and runs into the lead and wins. During the prize ceremony, a bird takes Bart's fake mustache off his face, revealing the ruse to everyone. The crowd gets angry and approaches Bart as L.T. Smash arrives in his car and tells Bart to get in. Bart decides to go with the stranger rather than face the angry mob and they get away to Bart's house.
At the Simpson house, L.T. Smash reveals that he's putting together a boy band, the Party Posse, and he wants Bart as part of it because of his bad boy behavior. Whilst Bart and Homer agree, Marge is reluctant until Bart and Homer pressure her to agree. Bart then goes to Classified Records with Smash where he meets his fellow band members; Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph. Bart is initially surprised to find that his other band members are people from his school but he accepts it quickly. The Party Posse then begins to have dance lessons and records their first song, "Special Girl". During the recording, L.T. Smash turns on a voice enhancer to improve their singing voices.
The Party Posse holds their first live show at the Springfield Elementary School during an assembly. After this show, they meet 'N Sync who heard about them and wanted to meet them and deliver them a gift basket. Later, Bart is getting a massage whilst the rest of the family watch the TV for the Party Posse's first music video, "Drop Da Bomb". Lisa found the video and song weird and started to look into it, finding that it was full of subliminal messaging to get people to join the Navy. Lisa then goes to tell L.T. Smash about this, only to find that he was actually Lieutenant Smash of the Navy and he was behind it. As Smash tells Lisa that she can't leave, Lisa walks out the building.
Lisa tells the family all about Smash's subliminal messaging as they go to the Party Posse concert onboard the USS Sea Spanker. The band starts to sing a song, "Let's Re-Up Tonight", when a Navy admiral tells Lt. Smash that he's shutting down the boy band project as Mad magazine were about to publish an issue mocking the Party Posse and this would ruin the Party Posse's reputation and recruiting power. Angry at this, Smash takes control of the Sea Spanker and sets course for New York City to destroy Mad Magazine Headquarters. Upon arriving, 'N Sync catch up in a speed boat and start to teach the Party Posse a song and dance routine to diffuse the situation. However, Lt. Smash blows up the building before they can finish. After this, Smash is arrested and taken away.
At the end of the episode, 'N Sync talk about the Navy and how they protect people and ask for people to sign up, saying that they signed up J.C. yesterday. J.C. is then taken away. Over the end credits, live footage of 'N Sync recording their lines is shown off.
The idea of the episode came about because Mike Scully said that the writers weren't coming up with enough ideas for episodes. So Tim Long came back after the weekend with this episode idea. When Long pitched the story, he also said that they should get 'N Sync in there too. When the table read was done, none of the songs were written so the cast had to make up the tunes. Chris Kirkpatrick of 'N Sync said that all the members agreed to go on the show almost immediately, with Chris being on vacation at the time of being asked. Justin Timberlake recorded separately as he had been at a funeral at the time. L.T. Smash's voice was based on what Hank Azaria thought a marine trying to sound hip and cool would be like. The singing voices of the band were chosen to be different from their regular voices because it would have been too hard on Nancy Cartwright who voices three of the four members. They ended up going with three members from the band Natural; Ben Bledsoe, Marc Terenzi and Michael "J" Horn. The fourth singing voice is Tony Battaglia, who wrote the songs.
Justin Timberlake didn't want to say "word". He would laugh and say that he would never say that word when asked to record it. In editing, they then thought it would be funny to use the take of him saying "word" over and over again at the end of his lines. Chris Clements animated a lot of the 'N Sync scenes. To get the ball walking animation right, the animators got an exercise ball and walked on it. Gerald Clifford Rey animated the scene of Mad Magazine Headquarters getting blown up. The ending credits had live action scenes of 'N Sync in the recording studio which Michael Bridge helped put together.
In May 2014, a conspiracy theory started circulating that the Syrian rebellion was a foreign plot because the Syrian flag seen in the "Drop Da Bomb" video resembled the flag adopted by the Syrian opposition in the Syrian Civil War. However, the flag in the episode was actually the Independence flag.
- Long, Tim (2009). Commentary for "New Kids on the Blecch", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Kirkpatrick, Chris (2009). Commentary for "New Kids on the Blecch", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Azaria, Hank (2009). Commentary for "New Kids on the Blecch", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Scully, Mike (2009). Commentary for "New Kids on the Blecch", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Moore, Steven Dean (2009). Commentary for "New Kids on the Blecch", in The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season.
- Animation World Network - "U.S. Primetime TV Ratings For The Week Of February 19 – 25, 2001"
- IMDb - "New Kids on the Blecch"
- TV.com - "New Kids on the Blecch"
- The New York Times - "Egyptian TV Cites ‘Simpsons’ Episode as Proof Arab Spring Was Foreign Plot"