TV Club: Patton Oswalt is Bart’s conscience on a disjointed Simpsons

“The Cad And The Hat” is the first credited Simpsons script from Ron Zimmerman, and, while bringing in new blood to the Simpsons‘ writers room can be energizing, this episode betrays the series’ tone and internal rules to a distracting degree. Which might be interesting if it were bolder, or a lot funnier. As it is, the episode is dispiriting in how disposably it treats its world, while reaching for a pair of emotional epiphanies that fall flat in the execution.

The competing plots see Bart thoughtlessly tossing away Lisa’s beloved new sun hat (she calls it Sunny), and his guilt manifesting as a disgusting, goblin-like version of himself (voiced by returning guest Patton Oswalt.) At the same time, Homer discovers that he is a secret chess prodigy, a heretofore undiscovered talent traced back to his childhood, when his desire to impress his father instead led to their further …

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