A Father's Watch
"A Father's Watch" is the eighteenth episode of the twenty-eighth season of the animated television series The Simpsons, and the 614th episode of the series overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on March 19, 2017.
|"A Father's Watch"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Directed by||Bob Anderson|
|Written by||Simon Rich|
|Original air date||March 19, 2017|
|Chalkboard gag||Studying is not "appropriating nerd culture"|
|Couch gag||All the past and present Simpsons' pets are on the couch.|
After an opening sequence where a recently deceased frog arrives in Heaven and goes from being happy about being used for a noble purpose as a science lab specimen to being horrified and angry when Bart laughingly mutilates the body he left behind, Marge despairs over Bart's terrible report card (she says they can't even hang it on the fridge in the garage). Several Springfield parents go to parenting expert Dr. Clarity Hoffman-Roth's lecture for advice. Following her recommendation of giving kids trophies for achieving either laughable simple tasks or doing absolutely nothing, Homer opens a trophy store and his business is booming. However, Bart volunteers to be the store's assistant and after his shoddy work is revealed, Homer loses his temper and rants at length about what a "pathetic loser" Bart is and always will be, unaware (and not caring at all) that Bart heard what he said and was devastated.
Meanwhile, Lisa furiously lashes out against the Trophy Culture – not least because her genuine achievements earn smaller trophies than the non-achievements of classmates like Ralph Wiggum. Bart visits Abe and finds out that Abe's father (who isn't shown but was mentioned in "The Winter of His Content" as being alive and estranged from Abe) was a widely respected expert on child abuse in his day, and passed down a rare watch to Abe, which Abe then gives to Bart. Soon, Lisa causes a different movement by getting another parenting expert, Dr. Fenton Pooltoy, to speak to Springfield's parents, who says that too much praise creates millennials - in his words, "a generation of soft, entitled narcissists who drop out of college to become DJs", and his no trophies or false praise approach is embraced by the parents of Springfield, but Lisa's plan backfires because this leads to Marge throwing out of all of Lisa's genuinely earned awards, causing Lisa to feel defeated. Meanwhile, Homer's trophy business success comes to a crashing halt, and Bart is happy about it.
Bart also flaunts Abe's watch to Homer, who always wanted the watch as a symbol of Abe's respect that he never received (he also wants to use it to finish his self-published novel), but Bart loses the watch in the forest near Springfield and badly injures Milhouse while failing to retrieve it. Abe tells Bart they're going to be profiled for a little read magazine's issue on families, and Bart can't tell Abe the truth because it would kill him.
When Homer takes his trophies to a pawn shop, he finds the watch (which Milhouse did find, but being mad at Bart for dropping stones at him, he pawned it), planning to rub the recovery in Bart's face, but when he sees Bart is broken and tearful over the loss, he feels bad and gives the watch back to his son. Marge praises Homer's actions, and he says he's going with his gut - or specifically his GUT (Give Up Trying) approach. After their picture is taken for the magazine, Bart then breaks the watch by accident and Abe tries to choke him to death.
The episode ends with Trophy Culture hitting its nadir as the 2017 NBA Draft takes place and Commissioner Adam Silver announces that the kid with the most trophies has been selected: Ralph Wiggum, much to Lisa's disappointment.
Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+, stating "It’s the moment Bart loses that watch that does it. 'A Father’s Watch' improbably winds together three story strands into a satisfyingly unified whole episode. I say 'improbably' because The Simpsons’ latter-day tendency to cram three potentially show-carrying plot devices into one undercooked outing is a constant, baffling weakness. But here, Marge’s worry about Bart’s perpetual underachiever status, Lisa’s scheme to undermine the resulting parental obsession with overpraising, and Bart’s relationship with his grandpa (cemented by the gift of a family heirloom), are all tended with care. Credit goes to first-time Simpsons writer Simon Rich, of Saturday Night Live and Man Seeking Woman fame, who roots each storylines’ comic turns in the characters, all while coming up with some plain old good jokes, both in the meat of the episode, and in the fiddly bits around the margins...There’s a care in all the aspects of 'A Father’s Watch' which is most refreshing."
Tony Sokol of Den of Geek gave the episode three out of five stars, stating "Good lines, very funny lines, not quite as ever-flowing as has been this season’s usual. But a show about positive reinforcement doesn’t need quite so many lines to make the point. It just has to make the point repeatedly. Or in song, as Homer does often."
"A Father's Watch" scored a 1.0 rating with a 3 share and was watched by 2.40 million people, making it Fox's highest rated show of the night.
- Perkins, Dennis (2017-03-19). ""A Father's Watch" · The Simpsons · TV Review Everyone gets a trophy on a sweetly well-crafted Simpsons · TV Club · The A.V. Club". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
- Tony Sokol (2017-03-19). "The Simpsons Season 28 Episode 18 Review: A Father's Watch". Denofgeek.com. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
- Porter, Rick (March 21, 2017). "'Little Big Shots' adjusts up, 'NCIS: LA' adjusts down: Sunday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 21, 2017.