I have a soft spot for episodes of The Simpsons that center around the elementary school in some way. Of all the locations in Springfield, it's the elementary school that has the highest concentration of great supporting characters. The nuclear power plant is a close second, but the variety of characters at the school edges them out. And the kids are definitely more fun than the gang at Moe's Tavern. So when "Stealing First Base" established that it was going to be school-centric, it already had a lot going for it. And overall, it didn't disappoint.
The storylines, as can be the case with The Simpsons after so many episodes, were variations of themes we've seen a number of times before. Bart was once again struck by love and the results were quite entertaining. Mrs. Krabappel's absence forced Principal Skinner to combine the two fourth grade classes at Springfield Elementary into one class. The setting gave us a number of great lines from some of our class favorites, including Milhouse, Martin, the twins and Nelson. Nelson had the best minor storyline in the episode after getting paired with a blind student in the other class. Throughout the episode, we returned to the duo and saw how Nelson was taking the kid under his bully wing. And this is precisely why I so enjoy these school-based episodes. There's plenty to work with to fill the episode with extra laughs.
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