Bart Sells His Soul

Bart Sells His Soul

Infobox Simpsons episode
episode_name = Bart Sells His Soul

image_caption = Promotional artwork for "Bart Sells His Soul".
episode_no = 132
prod_code = 3F02
airdate = October 8, 1995
show runner =
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
writer =
Greg Daniels
director =
Wesley Archer
blackboard = "I am not a lean, mean, spitting machine"
couch_gag = The Simpsons are wearing fezzes and drive to the couch in minicars à la the Shriners. When they put their cars in park, all of them honk twice.
commentary = Matt Groening
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Greg Daniels
Wes Archer
David Silverman
season = 7
"Bart Sells His Soul" is the fourth episode of "The Simpsons"' seventh season.


Following Bart's prank of having churchgoers sing the hymn "In the Garden of Eden" by "I. Ron Butterfly" (a.k.a. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly), the Rev. Lovejoy forces him and Milhouse (for snitching on Bart) to clean the organ pipes. Bart is indignant at Milhouse, who claims he feared the fate of his soul, and proclaims he believes there is no such thing as a soul. Milhouse calls his bluff, and tells Bart he'd like to buy it (in the form of a piece of paper saying "Bart Simpson's soul") for $5. The deal is made. Lisa tells Bart that he will regret selling his soul, but Bart is still disbelieving. Soon, however, Santa's Little Helper will not play with him, automatic doors fail to open for him, and when he breathes on the freezer doors at the Kwik-E-Mart, no condensation forms. Also, although he still finds "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoons to be funny, he finds that he can no longer laugh. Bart begins to suspect he really "did" lose his soul, and sets out to get it back.

Meanwhile, Moe wants to expand his customer base by turning his tavern into a family restaurant called Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag, styled a la Bennigan's and Fuddrucker's. The gimmick: Everything is deep fried in a surplus fryer from the Navy (specifically from the USS Missouri) and if he does not smile when he hands a customer his check, the meal is free.

Bart tries to get his soul back from Milhouse, but he refuses and jacks up the price. That night, Bart has a nightmare about being the only child in Springfield to not have a soul, and he can't row his boat to a utopia across a large river by himself, while Milhouse gets his soul and Bart's to row for him, and he doesn't have to do anything. Lisa also taunts Bart with a dinnertime prayer, and he throws food at Lisa , leading him to make a desperate, all-out attempt to get the piece of paper back.

Moe's surly demeanor and the stress of running a family restaurant by himself ultimately unnerves him, and it is not long before he finally snaps at a little girl (who says that her "sodie" is too cold, making her "teef" hurt). The restaurant is a resounding failure, forcing Moe to revert the restaurant back into his run-down tavern.

In desperation, Bart makes a late-night attempt to retrieve his soul, having to travel across town where Milhouse and his parents are staying with his grandmother. However, the 2 a.m. visit is in vain; Milhouse had traded it to the Comic Book Guy for "Alf" pogs. A frustrated Bart camps the rest of the night in front of the Android's Dungeon to get his soul back.

In the morning, an annoyed Comic Book Guy tells Bart that he does not have said piece of paper anymore, refuses to disclose who he sold it to and tells him to go home. A despondent Bart walks home in the rain, and in his room dejectedly prays to God for his soul. In response, floating down from above is a piece of paper, with the words "Bart Simpson's soul." Lisa had purchased the piece of paper, and while she explains philosophers' opinions on the human soul, Bart maniacally eats it up. That night, he rests easy with the pets curled at his feet, and has a dream about his soul helping him get even with Martin and his soul as they row across the giant river.


The idea of selling someone's soul came from Greg Daniels' childhood. After encouraging a bully to sell his soul for 50 cents, Daniels convinced everyone else to tell the bully that Daniels could own him forever. When the bully came to Daniels in tears one night asking for it back, he jacked up the price to $1.00 and the bully got his soul back. Daniels did this again but stopped when he realized that the only other person in history who has profited off others' souls was Satan, and that scared him.Mentioned in the episode's DVD commentary.]

Alternate versions

In the American version of this episode, in the segment where Moe has an outburst and Todd says, "Ow! My freakin' ears!", Flanders says that he expects to hear bad language at Denny's. In the German dub, "Denny's" is replaced with "McDonald's and Burger King", since McDonald's or Burger King is more well-known in other countries than Denny's is.

Cultural references

*Sherri and Terri sing an adapted "Miss Susie".
*The song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is portrayed as lasting 17 1/2 minutes, as the album version does, with the church goers holding up candles, a la cigarette lighters at a concert, towards the end.
*When Bart asked Millhouse for his soul back, he tells Bart that he has sold it for ALF pogs.
*Dr. Hibbert and his family decide on going to The Texas Cheesecake Depository. This is a reference to the Texas School Book Depository.
*Moe reads a book entitled "Your Gimmicky Restaurant" by Bennigan and Fuddrucker.
*Lisa quotes Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
*Ned Flanders notes that he would expect foul language at Denny's.
*The scene where Milhouse is seen playing roughly with Bart's soul in his backyard with his Army figurines is similar to a recurring sketch on the short-lived sketch show Fridays about a hyperactive boy (played by Michael Richards) who would always stage elaborate and very violent war games with his Army men while in a mud pit in his backyard.
*Milhouse mentions the Ayatollah while playing war games in the backyard, saying "If the Ayatollah can't have it (Bart's soul), no one can."
*Bart's line "Are you there, God? It's me, Bart Simpson." is a reference to the teen novel "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret."
*When Bart and Milhouse are talking about souls, Bart says "Souls are just something parents make up to scare their kids, like the boogeyman or Michael Jackson."
*The basis for this episode is a possible reference to the Tales From The Darkside episode "I'll Give You A Million" in which a man sells his soul to an old rival for $1,000,000.


External links

*snpp capsule|3F02

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