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Bart's Comet script

While assisting Principal Skinner in his amateur astronomy, Bart discovers a comet is heading straight for Springfield.

Episode 2F11, Season 6
First aired Feb 05, 1995
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Bob Anderson

ACT ONE

The episode starts at Springfield Elementary. The children stand outside. Principal Skinner stands in front of then, wearing goggles.

SKINNER
And now, to top off our most propane-explosion-free science week ever, our grand finale: the launching of a weather balloon!

The children cheer. Bart's voice can be heard over the top.

BART
Go, weather balloon! Hurrah for science, woo!

SKINNER
(quietly) "Hurrah for science, woo"? I can't say I approve of the "woo" but the "hurrah" was quite heartening. (louder) Release the balloon!

Groundskeeper Willy releases the balloon as the kids cheer. As the balloon rises, Bart can be seen holding a piece of string. It is connected to the balloon, and he pulls it sharply. Two flaps on the balloon unroll, revealing a picture of Skinner's head on one side and his legs on the other. A banner on the balloon reads "Hi, I'm Big Butt Skinner". The kids laugh.

SKINNER
Nooooo!!!

Skinner runs after the balloon.

BART
I don't think I really captured the eyes.

MILHOUSE
Bart, if you have a failing, it's that you're always demanding perfection. If you have a failing.

SKINNER
Whoever brings down that balloon doesn't have to learn fractions!

The children cheer and start throwing rocks. Many land on Skinner's car, which is beneath the balloon.

SKINNER
Uh, uh careful, children, that's my car!

Nelson, Jimbo throw several rocks directly at the car.

NELSON
Ha ha!

SKINNER
(to Willy) Destroy that balloon.

WILLY
Aye.

He shoots a gun into the sky several times, as two fighter planes fly past.

PILOT ONE
Tango 14, we're being fired at. I'm getting an exact ID on the boogey now.

A screen flashes "Iraqi Fighter Jet".

PILOT ONE
Iraqis again. Launching sidewinder missile. (A missile is launched and destroys the other plane.) Missed 'em. Launching second sidewinder missile. (The missile destroys his plane, and both pilots parachute.) (to the other pilot) This is what happens when you cut money out of the military and put it into health care!

PILOT TWO
It's a good program! Just give it a chance, that's all I ask!

Suddenly, the parachutes rip, and both pilots fall to the ground. They get straight up and start punching each other. Back at the school, Skinner watches the balloon float off.

SKINNER
Oh, it won't come down for months. Curse the man who invented helium! Curse Pierre-Jules-Cesar Janssen! Now to find out who did this. (He turns to the children.) Bart! Empty your pockets.

BART
Empty my pockets, you say? (he takes things out of his pockets) Well, certainly, but I fail to see how--

Skinner picks up some paper.

SKINNER
Hmm... blueprints of the dummy... notarized photos of you making the dummy... and an alternate wording for the banner, "Buttzilla".

BART
Race you to Utah, Milhouse.

MILHOUSE
Okay!

As Bart runs off, Skinner grabs him.

SKINNER
I'm going to punish you for this, Bart. And it won't just be a simple caning this time. Because you have impeded science, you must now aid science. Yes... Starting tomorrow, you will assist me with my amateur astronomy, taking down coordinates, carrying equipment, and so forth. Four-thirty in the morning.

BART
There's a four-thirty in the morning now?

At four o'clock the next morning, Bart's radio alarm clock wakes him up.

RADIO DJ
Top of the hour, time for the morning news. But of course, there is no news yet, everyone's still asleep in their comfy, comfy beds. Good night, everybody.

Bart groans, then gets out of bed and walks to his parents' room.

BART
Mom, will you make me breakfast?

MARGE
(yawns) There's a stuffed pepper in the trash from last night. Just rinse it good.

Downstairs, the pets watch TV. A boy's voice can be heard.

BOY ON TV
Come home, Lassie. Here, boy! Come on, girl. Atta boy!

As Bart comes downstairs, the pets turn the TV off and pretend to be asleep. Bart gets his bike from the garage and leaves the house.

BART
Still dark. Better use the generator.

He turns it on, but the force against his back wheel slows him down enormously. He cycles past the school and meets Skinner nearby.

SKINNER
Ah, there's nothing more exciting than science. You get all the fun of... sitting still, being quiet, writing down numbers, paying attention... Science has it all.

BART
Is that the telescope we're going to be looking through?

SKINNER
Yes, but you won't be looking through it. (he chuckles) I forbid it. But you don't need a telescope to enjoy astronomy, Bart. (pointing) There are all the constellations you've heard so much about. There's Orion, the swan, the chariot race...

BART
Why don't they look anything like their names?

SKINNER
Well, you do have to use your imagination. Look, there's the three wise men.

He points at a constellation which clearly depicts three men.

BART
Who names these things anyway?

SKINNER
Whoever discovers them. I've been hoping I could find something that would be named after me.

BART
And you've never found anything?

SKINNER
Once. But by the time I got to the phone, my discovery had already been reported by Principal Kahoutek. I got back at him, though... him and that little boy of his. Anyway, that's why I always keep a cellular phone next to me. (Skinner gives the phone to Bart, who puts it in his pocket.) Now, this morning we're going to be mapping a small square of sky that's thought to be empty. It's my hope that it's not.

BART
So what am I supposed to do exactly?

SKINNER
Just write down my findings as I give them to you. Six hours, nineteen minutes, right ascension, fourteen degrees, twenty-two minutes declination... no sighting.

BART
Mm-hm.

SKINNER
Six hours, nineteen minutes, right ascension, fourteen degrees, twenty-three minutes declination... no sighting.

BART
Mm-hm.

The scene fades to later.

SKINNER
(excitedly) Six hours, nineteen minutes, right ascension, fourteen degrees, fifty-eight minutes declination! ...no sighting. Did you get that one Bart?

BART
Hell no.

SKINNER
Good.

Skinner spots something.

SKINNER
My stars! Give me the phone, quick!

He dials the phone. At the Observatory, a woman picks up the phone.

WOMAN
(to a man) Check out 6-19-14-59.

The man focuses on Skinner's weather balloon.

SKINNER
No, there's no need to do that... it's already named after me. (hangs up the phone) It's pretty close to the ground, maybe I can catch it. (as he is about to leave) Don't touch the telescope, Bart. Even a slight change in elevation can destroy a whole morning's work.

He runs off. Bart looks at the telescope, then spins it wildly.

BART
Woo! All hands on deck, pirates off the port bow! (looks into the telescope) Hey... (presses "redial" on the phone) Hello, observatory? This is Bart Simpson. I see something weird in the sky at 4-12-8 and the last number is 7.

Skinner is on top of the climbing frame. He manages to catch the balloon.

SKINNER
Ah, got you, my rumpy doppelganger. (he floats to the ground) I've got it! I-- (sees Bart on the phone) what are you doing? Give me that phone!

WOMAN
(on phone) Congratulations, Bart. You've just discovered a comet.

SKINNER
Nooooo! (lets go of balloon accidentally) Nooooo!!! (a paper boy rides by, throwing a paper in front of him with the headline "Prez Sez: school is for losers") NOOOOO!!!

 

ACT TWO

It is dinner time at the Simpson home.

HOMER
And then I sped away without anyone seeing my license plate.

LISA
Sounds like you had a good day today, Dad.

HOMER
Yeah... 'cept I forgot to go to work.

MARGE
What did you do today, Bart?

BART
What didn't I do? (he holds up a newspaper)

MARGE
(reading) "Boy Discovers Comet".

LISA
What?

MARGE
(reading) "A young Springfieldianite has discovered a new comet to be known as the 'Bart Simpson Comet'." Oh, honey, I'm so proud of you.

BART
But then, you've always been proud of me.

MARGE
(pause) Yes...

The next day, Bart looks for somewhere to sit in the canteen. A boy calls to him.

HAM
Won't you join us, Bart?

BART
(looking around) Uh... I guess so.

DATABASE
As the first student at Springfield Elementary to discover a comet, we're very proud to make you a member of our very select group. Welcome to Super Friends.

BART
Huh?

SUPER FRIENDS
Welcome, Super Friend!

HAM
I am called Ham, since I enjoy ham radio. (pointing to the kids around the table) This is Email... Cosine... Report Card... Database... and Lisa. Your nickname will be Cosmos.

BART
Well, I'm done eating. Goodbye.

SUPER FRIENDS
Goodbye, Cosmos!

HAM
Bye bye!

DATABASE
Perhaps some night you could show us your comet.

BART
(pointing out the window) There it is right there.

DATABASE
I make it a point to never to turn my head unless I expect to see something, Bart. Naturally, we can't see your comet in broad daylight and without a telescope.

BART
But you don't need a stupid telescope. (pointing) It's right there.

The kids see it and gasp.

EMAIL
Oh no, no, no, no, this isn't right at all!

DATABASE
It must be coming toward us at a fantastic speed.

BART
Huh?

LISA
Don't you realize what's happening, Bart? Your comet is going to collide with the Earth and every living thing in its path will be killed!

BART
I knew you'd try to find something wrong with my comet, Lisa. You've always been petty and small, right from the beginning.

REPORT CARD
We must alert the proper authorities.

EMAIL
To the observatory!

The kids ride up to the observatory, singing.

SUPER FRIENDS
We are the Super Friends!

BART
Hey, shut up!

Inside the Observatory, the man looks through the telescope.

MAN
Dear God!

WOMAN
Warren, we've talked about you hogging the eye piece.

A siren sounds. Grampa and Jasper are sat outside in the street

ABRAHAM
Sounds like the doomsday whistle! Ain't been blown for nigh onto three years.

JASPER
(tutting) Trouble a-brewing.

Mayor Quimby calls a meeting at the town hall.

QUIMBY
Fellow citizens, when I learned about the impending crisis, I caught the very next plane to Springfeld... field.

Everyone applauds.

QUIMBY
First of all, yes, there is a comet in the sky, and yes, it is going to hit Springfield.

A few people clap.

QUIMBY
You, er, don't need to applaud that. Now, here's what we think the impact might look like. Show them, Jerry.

A man shows slides the comet approaching Springfield, then the explosion. Moe's bar is labeled.

MOE
Oh dear God, no!

The next slide shows a crater with "charred corpses" around it. The townspeople gasp.

QUIMBY
Fortunately we have a plan. Professor Frink?

FRINK
Ng-hey, good evening, ladies and gentlemen--

MAN
Quit stalling!! What's the plan?!

FRINK
All right, just take your seat, just take your seat. (he unveils a model of the city) Now, working with former Carter Administration officials and military men who were forced into early retirement for various reasons which we won't go into here, ng-hey, we have planned this defense for the city. (he flicks a switch, and the model starts moving) As the comet hurtles towards the city, our rocket will intercept it and blow it to smithereens.

The model rocket hits the comet as it approaches. The comet explodes and Moe's catches fire.

MOE
Oh dear God, no!

QUIMBY
And that will be the end of, er, Mr. Comet.

CROWD
(cheering) We're saved!

Outside, they point and laugh at the comet. Lisa looks worried.

The Simpsons drive home.

HOMER
Will you all stop worrying about that stupid comet? It's going to be destroyed, didn't you hear what that guy in the building said?

LISA
But Dad, don't you think--

HOMER
Ah-ah! Lisa, the whole reason we have elected officials is so we don't have to think all the time. Just like that rainforest scare a few years back. Our officials saw there was a problem and they fixed it, didn't they?

LISA
No, Dad, I don't think--

HOMER
Ah-ah! There's that word again.

Everyone watches the comet approaching in the sky. At the Springfield Armory, the rocket is raised, ready to be fired. A label on the side reads, "Caution: aim way from face". The family sit on lawn chairs on their roof.

MARGE
Homer, what if this doesn't work?

HOMER
Well, then I have a backup plan. See, while the unprepared are still sitting around twiddling their thumbs and going (twiddling his thumbs and humming) do- do- do- do- do, do- do- do- do...

BART
Dad! The plan!

HOMER
I'm getting to that! So anyway, they're going (twiddling his thumbs and humming) do-do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do...

BART
Dad!!

HOMER
So anyway, we get in our car and take the bridge out of town, while all the while they're still going (twiddling his thumbs and humming) do- do- do- do- do, do- do- do- do...

LISA
Dad, they're firing the rocket!

The blast knocks Homer backwards off his chair.

HOMER
All right!

The rocket climbs up and up, towards the comet... and passes right in front of it, down, and destroys the bridge. The citizens of Springfield all do the collar-pull thing.

LISA
It blew up the bridge! We're doomed!

HOMER
It's times like this I wish I were a religious man.

REVEREND LOVEJOY
(running past) It's all over, people! We don't have a prayer! Ahh...

 

ACT THREE

The Simpsons watch the news.

KENT BROCKMAN
The rocket foolishly soared too high, and lost control of its servo guidance mechanism, leaving us with some... (looking at his watch) six hours to live. (A screen behind him displays a countdown timer) So, let's go live now to the charred remains of the only bridge out of town with Arnie Pie and Arnie in the Sky!

ARNIE
With the bridge gone and the airport unfortunately on the other side of the bridge, a number of citizens are attempting to jump the gorge with their cars. It's a silent testament to the never-give-up and never-think-things-out spirit of our citizens.

KENT BROCKMAN
With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.

SPEAKER
Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of--

CONGRESSMAN
Wait a second, I want to tack on a rider to that bill - $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.

SPEAKER
All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?

FLOOR
Boo!

SPEAKER
Bill defeated.

KENT BROCKMAN
I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work. Now, over the years, a newsman learns a number of things that for one reason or another, he just cannot report. It doesn't seem to matter now, so... the following people are gay.

A list of names scroll up the screen very quickly.

MARGE
Turn it off!

HOMER
(writing the names down) Just a second... (Marge turns the television off) What's everyone so worked up about? So there's a comet, big deal. It'll burn up in our atmosphere and what's ever left will be no bigger than a Chihuahua's head.

BART
Wow, Dad, maybe you're right.

HOMER
Of course I'm right. If I'm not, may we all be horribly crushed from above somehow. (everyone groans) Okay, if you're that worried about it, let's go down to the bomb shelter.

LISA
We have a bomb shelter?

HOMER
Homer Simpson takes care of his family. (cut to Homer banging on a door) Flanders! Open up!

NED
Heidy-hoeroony, neighbor. What can I do you for?

HOMER
Get out of there. My family needs to use your bomb shelter.

MARGE
Homer!

NED
Uh oh, I kind of figured this might happen, so I built the shelter big enough for both our families.

HOMER
No deal, out!

MARGE
Get in the shelter, Homer!

The shadow of the comet looms over the city. Some penguins in the zoo fly off, a paperboy abandons his bike and hides under a bench. Several cars are left abandoned in the street. Back in the shelter, the families are bored.

MARGE
(looking at her watch) One more hour.

HOMER
An hour? I can't wait another hour. What's keeping that stupid comet? (someone bangs on the door) Ah, there it is.

Ned answers it, to find all the townspeople stood outside.

NED
Well, howdily-doodily, neighbors. Shouldn't you be in your shelterini's by now?

MOE
We haven't got shelterini's. We want in yours!

NED
Ho ho, well sorry, the shelter's kind of full.

MOE
Really? Oh. Well, we'll just go off some place and die then. Thanks.

Everyone walks off.

NED
Wait! You know, I may regret this when our air runs out and we can't whistle or stay alive... but oh, what the hey.

Everyone rushes in. The shelter is very crowded. Waldo (from Where's Waldo) can also be seen. Homer tries to shut the door.

HOMER
(struggling) I can't get the... I can't get the door closed. Somebody's going to have to get out.

LISA
(muffled) I'd get out but I don't know where I am.

BARNEY
Hey! Somebody's touching me!

SKINNER
I am.

BARNEY
Oh, okay!

KRUSTY
Okay okay, let's figure out who should stay. (pulls out a notepad) Let's see... the world of the future will need laughter, so I'm in.

MOE
And they'll need somebody to dispense drinks, i.e. me, um, and someone'll have to run the power. Uh, you can do that, Homer.

HOMER
Uh, yeah... I can do that...

The comet approaches. Everyone is still trying to figure out who should get out.

REVEREND LOVEJOY
Okay, let's start again. We'll need laughter, religious enlightenment, gossip - that's Mrs. Lovejoy...

HOMER
Wait a minute! We all know the one thing we won't need in the future! Left-handed stores. That's you, Flanders! (aside to Rod and Todd) I'm terribly story. (aloud) Flanders is the only useless person here. If anyone dies, it should be him. (aside) I'm sorry, please forgive me. (aloud) So let's kick Flanders out. (aside) Sorry.

NED
Well sir, sounds fair. Toodleloo, everybody, I-I'll scream when the comet gets here.

MAUDE
Oh, I'm coming with you, Neddy.

NED
No, sweetheart, you... you stay here, because--

MAUDE
Okay.

NED
I might go mad with fear out there, so Todd, I want you to shoot Daddy if he tries to get back in.

TODD
(crying) Okay, Dad.

NED
Okay. (He leaves and starts singing.) Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be...

The shelter is very quiet.

MOE
Hey, uh, I got an idea: we can play a game to pass the time. Uh, I'll make the sound of a barnyard animal, and, er, you all try to guess what it is.

He makes a strange, unrecognizable noise.

WIGGUM
It's a pig!

BART
It's a cow, man!

LISA
It's a pony!

KRUSTY
No, it's a goat. You know, one of them lady goats.

SELMA
There are no lady goats. A lady goat is a sheep.

DR. HIBBERT
I believe she's right.

OTTO
You're crazy!

CAPTAIN MCCALLISTER
Arr, what's it to you?

OTTO
What's it to me?

Everyone starts arguing.

MARGE
Stop it! Stop it! Can't you see this barnyard noise guessing game is tearing us apart?

Everyone is silent. Ned can be heard, still singing.

NED
Whatever will be, will be...

MARGE
Say, Moe, was it a duck?

Everyone starts arguing again.

HOMER
Shut up! Shut up! Stop it! Stop it! I can't take this any more. I can't let that brave man out there die alone. I'm surprised and disgusted by all of you! Especially his
children. I'm going out there! (he goes out, slamming the door behind him, then puts his head back round the door) And it was a baby ox!

MOE
He's right, you know.

SKINNER
About the ox?

MOE
About everything, dammit! Hey Homer, wait up. I want to die too!

APU
If you are going, I am going.

BARNEY
Me too!

OTTO
I'm outa here!

WIGGUM
Yeah!

OTTO
The reception in there sucked.

Everyone leaves. Outside on a hilltop, Ned sings to himself.

NED
When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother, "What will I be?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?"
Here's what she said to me...

The townspeople walk up the hill, singing.

EVERYONE
Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be, will be,
The future's not ours to see,
Que sera se--

QUIMBY
(pointing skywards) Run!

The comet enters the atmosphere, breaking up.

MARGE
Look!

LISA
It's breaking up!

The comet breaks up more, until it becomes just a small rock. The rock makes a hole in Skinner's weather balloon, deflating it, then rebounds off Ned's bomb shelter, knocking it to the ground. Ned and Moe look on and gasp, while the comet bounces up the hillside. Bart picks it up.

BART
Cool!

LISA
We're saved!

Everyone cheers.

SELMA
Sure makes you appreciate the preciousness of life. (lights a cigarette)

MOE
Let's go burn down the observatory so this'll never happen again.

Everyone leaves, except for the Simpson family.

LISA
I can't believe that extra-thick layer of pollution that I've picketed against is what burned up the comet.

BART
But what's really amazing, is that this is exactly what Dad said would happen.

LISA
Yeah, Dad was right...

HOMER
I know, kids. I'm scared too!

Fade to credits.