Das Bus

Das Bus

"Das Bus" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season and originally aired on the Fox network on February 15, 1998. Bart, Lisa and other children from Springfield Elementary School are stranded on an island and are forced to work together. Meanwhile, Homer founds his own internet company. It was written by David S. Cohen and directed by Pete Michels and guest starred James Earl Jones who narrated the final scene of the episode.


The Springfield Elementary School Model United Nations club is going on a field trip. On the bus, Bart, Nelson, and Milhouse are playing a game by rolling fruit to the front. Milhouse rolls a grapefruit that gets stuck under the brakes. When bus driver Otto attempts to press down on the pedal, it squishes the fruit, and juice squirts into his eyes, causing him to lose control and crash the bus off a bridge into the water.

Otto leaves the kids behind in an attempt to get help but ends up being washed away by the current. It is later revealed Otto is picked up by a Chinese fishing boat. The students, however, swim to a nearby tropical island. Bart tries to tell the kids that being stranded on an island is just like TV where life is easy and cocktails are plentiful, comparing it to the Swiss Family Robinson, only with more cursing. Reality soon sets in when the island is largely barren and the kids lack survival skills. With no food and no adult supervision, the kids rely on snack food retrieved from the sunken bus by Bart. They awaken the next morning to find the snacks are missing. Suspecting Milhouse because of his pot-belly and nacho cheese breath, the students put him on trial and he blames the loss on a mysterious island "monster".

Back at home, Homer, launches Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net, an Internet business. He does so after finding out Ned Flanders has his own home-based Internet business, Flancrest Enterprises, and is making money out of it. Homer claims to Marge that everyone except the Simpson family are getting rich due to the Internet, and he wants a piece of the action, despite knowing nothing about the Internet. His business is later 'bought out' by Bill Gates and his goons, who sweep Homer's possessions off the desk and snap his pencils.

During the mock trial held by the students, there is insufficient evidence to prove Milhouse ate all the food. Because of this Bart, acting as judge, acquits Milhouse at the trial. The other students are not happy by this verdict and attempt to kill Milhouse. Lisa tries to stop this, but gets pushed by Nelson. Bart, angered by this, tells everyone to leave Lisa alone. Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse get chased by the other students that are trying to kill them. This is thwarted only when the monster is proved real. The monster is actually a wild boar. On one of the boar's tusks was an empty bag of chips. The students apologize to Milhouse for blaming him, and Milhouse accepts, indignantly replying that he ate only two sandwiches and a bag of Doritos. They then kill the boar and eat it with the exception of Lisa, who adheres to her vegetarianism and consumes slime from a rock instead. The episode ends with the announcer saying the kids have learned to function as a society and are eventually rescued by "...oh, let's say, Moe".


The couch gag was suggested by Dan Castellaneta's niece. The movie True Lies was the inspiration for the bus crashing against the bridge. To get the fisherman's Chinese correct, Cohen called his friend. When the Chinese actors came, the actors felt Cantonese would be more appropriate for the fisherman instead of Mandarin, so it was changed. Moe was picked to rescue the kids, because the writers thought it was funny. A deleted scene had Homer buying anti-stress instruments. He uses them all and gets stressed. According to Mike Scully, this scene was deleted due to the episode being too long.

Cultural references

Most of the episode about being on the island is a reference to the classic novel Lord of the Flies. When the kids are squabbling in the classroom, Principal Skinner restores orders by banging his shoe on the desk. Skinner's actions are a reference to the shoe-banging incident by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at the UN. The title comes from the 1981 film Das Boot, although it would be "Der Bus" in German. Near the end when the other students are trying to kill Milhouse, Bart, and Lisa, we see that Ralph's face paint is identical to that of Peter Criss's.


In a 2006 article in USA Today, "Das Bus" was highlighted among the six best episodes of The Simpsons season 9, along with others including "Trash of the Titans," "The Last Temptation of Krust," "The Cartridge Family," "Dumbbell Indemnity," and "The Joy of Sect". The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "A fantastic episode. Ignore the Internet business side, and wallow in the cleverness of the kids trapped on the island. Bart has never been cleverer, Nelson more menacing, and Milhouse more geekish. Great stuff with a delightful ending that is so witty and obvious, that it's annoying you never imagined they'd get away with it".


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