8 The Telltale Head

The episode begins in medias res: Homer and Bart are chased through the streets of Springfield by an angry mob while carrying the head of the statue of their town founder, Jebediah Springfield. Surrounded by the mob, Bart begins to relate the events of the previous day. Bart suffers through a boring morning at church and is forbidden by Marge to see the violent new Space Mutants movie. After church, he runs into a local gang Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney. The three invite Bart to sneak into the Space Mutants movie with them.

After being thrown out of the movie by the manager, the gang shoplifts from the Kwik-E-Mart, throw rocks at the Jebediah Springfield statue, and watch clouds. Bart remarks that one cloud resembles Jebediah Springfield, but without a head. His new friends remark that they wish someone would decapitate the statue, saying it would be funny to see the town so upset. When Bart disagrees, the bullies make fun of him which upsets Bart. Bart is conflicted and asks Homer whether it is okay to compromise your beliefs to be popular. Homer tells Bart that popularity is the most important thing in the world, as long as Bart is not talking about killing someone. That night, Bart sneaks out of the house and decapitates the statue.

The town is shaken by the crime, which causes Bart to feel guilty about his actions. Adding to his guilt is when Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney are upset as well, telling Bart that if they met the person responsible, they would attack him critically, as they did not actually mean what they said about the statue before. Bart begins to fear of the consequences he would face if his actions are to be revealed, and his conscience manifests itself as the statue's severed head, which begins speaking to him. Unable to go on, Bart finally confesses his crime to his family, explaining that he thought that being popular was the most important thing in the world that Homer told him. It was then Homer realized that he inspired Bart of his popularity advice that caused him to commit the crime in the first place, and feels extremely guilty of doing so. It was then Bart decided to return the head back where it belongs, and Homer follows along, holding himself responsible for the events. They are found by the angry mob, returning the story to the beginning. Bart tells the mob that his act has actually brought the town closer together, to which the mob agrees. The head is returned to the statue and everyone forgives Homer and Bart for their actions. Homer and Bart then leave peacefully, with the former reminding the latter that "not all lynch mobs are this nice."

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