- "I wish someone would cut his ugly old head off!"
- ―Jimbo Jones
"The Telltale Head" was the eighth episode of season 1. It originally aired on February 25, 1990. The episode was written Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Sam Simon and Matt Groening. Rich Moore directed it. This is the first episode of the series in which Sideshow Bob, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Krusty the Clown, Jimbo Jones, Kearney Zzyzwicz, Dolph Starbeam, Ms. Albright, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, and Kent Brockman appear.
- "Bart cuts off Jebediah Springfield's statue's head to be cool to some bullies, but the whole city gets angry and starts looking for the vandal."
This episode's title card
The episode begins with Homer and Bart walking on a sidewalk in downtown Springfield at nighttime. Bart has the head of a statue in his arms. As the two turn the corner an angry mob advances on them. Homer and Bart are forced to turn and run away. The mob corners Homer and Bart in the town square next to the headless Jebediah Springfield statue. As the mob angrily advances, Bart climbs up onto the statue and begs everyone to please listen to his story. Flashback to Sunday morning: the family is getting ready for church and Homer is preoccupied with a football game. On the way into church Marge confiscates Bart's personal radio with earphones and gives them to Homer. During Sunday school the teacher and students discuss the topic of who is allowed in Heaven all the students ask a lot of questions and at the end confuse and drive the teacher crazy. Back in the church while the sermon is about sports gambling; Homer is oblivious because he is using Bart's headphones to listen to the game. On the way home from church Marge expresses her disapproval of Homer's headphones and Bart sees that the movie theater is playing Space Mutants, and begs to go see it; Homer doesn't care but Marge tells him no. Later at home Bart asks for 5 dollars from Homer and then takes off on his skateboard. Bart skates over to the movie theater, once there he encounters 2 of the worst kids in school: Jimbo and Kearney. Bart makes a good impression on them and when Dolph pokes his head out the emergency exit door and says the coast is clear, they invite him to sneak into Space Mutants 4 with them. Bart, a little unsure of the situation, agrees to sneak into the movie also.
Inside the movie theater the kids watch the movie and are discovered by an angry usher and kicked out of the theater. Back outside the group including Bart head to the Kwik-E-Mart. While Bart unwittingly distracts Apu and orders 4 Squishees, the other kids swipe a bunch of stuff from the store. Bart meets up with them in the parking lot and realizes he was used to help steal from the store, and in an effort to stay cool with the group he doesn't say anything. They all wander over to the town square to throw rocks at the Jebediah Springfield statue, once again Bart goes along with the group so they will like him. Later while the group shoots the breeze, one of the kids says it would be cool if somebody cut the head off of the statue. When Bart hears this he defends the town founder, Jebediah Springfield, and then the other three ridicule and tease him for it. Bart walks away embarrassed. When Bart walks home by himself he passes by the statue again, and thinking about what the kids said earlier he gets an idea. Bart arrives home and talks to Homer in the kitchen about the importance of being popular. Homer tells Bart that no matter what it takes popularity is the most important thing in life. That night after everyone is asleep a black clad Bart sneaks out of the house and heads to the town square. Once at the square Bart climbs to the top of the statue with a hack saw and beheads Jebediah Springfield.
The next morning Bart wakes up in bed next to the head of Jebediah (an homage to “The Godfather”). Bart heads downstairs to the kitchen with the head in his backpack where everyone is eating breakfast when a report comes over the radio announcing the decapitation of the town statue. Bart starts get nervous when he sees how everyone in the family becomes angry after hearing the report. Scenes from Moe's Tavern and the Retirement Castle reveal that everyone else is upset about the statue as well. In town Bart meets up with the 3 kids from the day before. He is about to show them the head when he hears them say they were just kidding about decapitating the statue and would like to pound whoever stole Jebediah's head. Bart quickly picks up his backpack and hurries away toward home, passing through a growing angry crowd downtown. On the way, Bart's guilty conscience talks to him in the form of Jebediah's voice. Back at home Bart quickly goes to the back yard and tries to bury the head, but his guilty conscience, acting as Jebediah, talks him out of it. Cut to the living room where the rest of the family is watching TV; Bart walks in with the head and confesses, much to the shock of the family. When Bart tells Homer he stole the head to become popular, Homer realizes he is at fault as well. Homer and Bart head back into town with the head and now the story meets back up with the beginning of the episode. As Bart finishes the story he apologizes to the angry mob and they have a turn of heart and forgive him. Bart places the head back on the statue and all is well as the mob cheers.
This is the first episode of the series in which Sideshow Bob, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Krusty the Clown, Jimbo Jones, Kearney Zzyzwicz, Dolphin "Dolph" Starbeam, Ms. Albright, and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon appear.
Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, said they enjoyed: "the Simpsons being grossly dysfunctional in church, Homer dispensing terrible advice, and a real moral dilemma for Bart." And DVD Movie Guide said "Good little moments abounded, and this was a generally solid episode. I liked the objects the boys saw in the clouds, and quite a few other funny bits appeared. “Telltale” wasn’t a great episode, but it was generally entertaining and clever."
In other languages
||"Bart köpft Oberhaupt"
||Bart decapitates the head
||"La cabeza chiflada"
||The crazy head
||"El héroe sin cabeza"
||The Headless Hero
||"Bart a perdu la tête"
||Bart has lost his head
||"Bart, chasseur de tête"
||"La testa parlante"
||The talking head
||"A beszélő fej"
||The talking head