Marge: Revenge never solves anything!
Homer: Then what's America doing in Iraq?
It was time for a Simpsons mainstay: an episode divided into three parts, with three separate stories. Usually, this format is used in the Halloween episodes, but the last few years have had a Spring time counterpart to this Fall tradition. "Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Three Times" is such an episode, with Marge, Lisa and Bart trying to convince Homer that revenge isn't the way to go when The Rich Texan cuts him off in traffic.
"The Count of Monte Fatso" is a Simpsonian take on the classic revenge story "The Count of Monte Cristo". Like the Hamlet parody they did a while back, Moe eliminates Homer from the rest of his family. While in jail, Homer plots his revenge and kills Moe when he escapes. The twist is, even though he got his revenge, Homer's family rejects him. That's the plot, now the fun jokes: Homer and Marge snoring in French, Moe only has a door in his name, Homer's escape, and his Uncle Scrooge-like swimming in his new riches. This opening stanza had me in laughter and started the episode off great.
Unfortunately, the next tale, Lisa' "Revenge of the Geeks" was poor. It was the standard story about absolute power corrupting, with Milhouse seeking revenge on the bullies with a glove that grants him power. Milhouse then turns his powers on his friends, finally getting punished by Nelson with Nelson's own use of the glove. There really wasn't anything I found particularly funny in this second act, save for maybe a cardboard cutout of Hitler urging the kids to read and Bart's brief cameo in Lisa's story.
Luckily, the last revenge saga, Bart's "Bartman Begins" perfectly made up for Lisa's section. "Bartman Begins" is the reimagining of Batman's origins and adventures with Bart in the lead role. He seeks revenge against Snake, who killed Homer and Marge. He trains with Grandpa with old-timey activities (throwing a medicine ball, the classic vibrating belt) and dons the Bartman costume.
To get to Snake he has to go through visual and puny villains like The Toker (Otto as The Joker), The Diddler (Flanders as The Riddler) and Poison Lenny (Lenny as a transvestite Poison Ivy). By this point, I'm in stitches. When he finally gets Snake, now called The Serpent, he actually feels good about his revenge. Bart's moral? Revenge is certainly sweet.
Of course, by this time, Homer has caught up the Texan and they find they have a lot in common. The episode ends with a completely random memorial for all those who died in the Star Wars movie. This cracked me up, if only because it basically came out of nowhere. And yes, I understand the connection the episode's theme of "revenge."