The Heartbroke Kid
| "The Heartbroke Kid"
| Episode Information
- "Marge, I know this is ill-gotten, but can we use it to ... ?"
- "To give these Germans 'das boot'? Jawohl!"
"The Heartbroke Kid" is the seventeenth episode of season 16.
- "Vending machines appear at Springfield Elementary School, and Bart quickly gets hooked on the junk food they dispense. He gains a large amount of weight and has a heart attack. When Bart can't stay on a healthy diet, he is sent to a maximum-security fat camp to kick his junk food habit. Back at home, the family is faced with large bills for Bart's treatment, and needs extra income in order to pay for it. They convert the house into a youth hostel which brings in the money they need, but also attracts an unfriendly and demanding crowd of German tourists."
Springfield Elementary School is seeking proposals for a vending machine contract. Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers consider and reject ideas from Horatio McCallister and Gil Gunderson. Lindsay Naegle presents the next proposal, representing a vending machine chain called Scammer and Z-Dog. When Naegle mentions the fund-raising potential of the machines ("Half the profits go to your school or camp"), Skinner and Chalmers enthusiastically accept her proposal and the school has its vending machines.
The machines talk in hip-hop slang and feature strangely named snacks, some of which contain harmful ingredients such as depleted uranium. Except for Lisa, none of the kids care about the harmful snacks, and they eagerly line up to feed their money into the machines and chow down on the snacks they dispense. The vending machines' biggest customer is Bart, who becomes hooked on the junk food to the point where he won't eat any food that doesn't come from the machines, even rejecting Marge's lovingly prepared tuna steak. In just three weeks, he gains an enormous amount of weight and suffers a heart attack.
Bart sees Dr. Hibbert, who says that junk food—specifically, malted milk balls—has clogged his arteries. Bart, however, doesn't change his eating habits, almost continuously eating the snacks until Marge puts him on a diet. When Bart can't stick to the diet, the family and some friends and neighbors stage an intervention and send Bart to Serenity Ranch, a maximum security fat camp. Also at the camp are Apu, Rainier Wolfcastle (last seen fattening up for a movie role) and Kent Brockman. The camp's counselor is Marine veteran Tab Spangler, who is dealing with many anger issues. Spangler puts the attendees through a wide range of treatment exercises with both physical and psychological components. Bart, however, does not do well, either cheating at the exercises or missing their point.
Back in Springfield, the Simpson family are faced with large bills for Bart's treatment. To pay for the camp, the family convert their house into a youth hostel which attracts German tourists, who become boarders. Spangler confronts Bart about his cheating, and takes him home to show him what the family are going through in order to afford his treatment. Bart is horrified to see his parents and Lisa mistreated by the boarders. Spangler suggests that Bart fight his addiction, and Bart takes the suggestion literally, breaking into the school and destroying the vending machines with an axe. He then steals the money from the vending machines, goes home and announces that he's cured, as he's finally seen the true cost of his addiction. When the family see the money Bart took from the machines, Marge (at Homer's pleading) decides they can use the money to pay for the fat camp, even though the money is ill-gotten, and decide to give the Germans "Das Boot". Homer gleefully chases out the boarders ("Time to take out the Euro-trash!").
Tab Spangler says that they still have three weeks of non-refundable treatment left, and Homer goes with Spangler back to the camp (whether by choice or otherwise is unknown). The episode ends with Homer and Spangler driving in Spangler's car. Spangler suggests that they stop for the night and split a hotel room (even though he had previously told Bart that the drive between Serenity Ranch and Springfield only took an hour); just after that, they get into an argument over the cheeseburger that Homer is eating.
This episode was originally set to be the 350th episode (despite being the 352nd to air), but was inexplicably switched with "Don't Fear the Roofer."
IGN listed Albert Brooks as the top guest star on The Simpsons for voicing Tab Spangler.