As Christmas approaches… Marge treats Bart like an adult after he is caught shoplifting.
Bart watches a television commercial for a violent new video game called BoneStorm and decides he must have it immediately. When his all his attempts to purchase, rent or borrow the game prove futile, Bart enters a local Try-N-Save discount store. As Bart longingly admires the object of his desire, locked inside a plastic case, Nelson and Jimbo walk by and show off items they are in the process of shoplifting. When a store clerk opens the case for a customer— and then forgets to lock it—Bart steals a Bonestorm game and sneeks out of the store. But a security detective, Don Brodka, catches him in the act and detains him.
Brodka escorts Bart to a darkened back room where he warns the boy never to enter the store again. The detective phones the Simpson home and leaves a message on the answering machine describing how Bart shoplifted from the store. When Bart is released, he races home and hides the answering machine tape. But he’s horrified when Marge announces the family is going to the Try-N-Save for the family’s annual Christmas picture. Inside the store, Bart tries to escape detection. But just as the family is being photographed, Brodka spots the boy and yanks him out of frame, ruining the portrait. The detective then shows Homer and Marge security tape footage of their son stealing the Bonestorm game.
Bart grows concerned when Marge fails to yell at him for stealing, and even moreso when she begins treating him differently. Marge tells Homer she may have been mothering her little boy too long, and that it may be time for a change. Fearing Marge no longer loves him, Bart hangs out with Mrs. Van Houten for some surrogate mothering. But when the family builds snowmen without him, Bart decides he’s had enough. He walks back to the Try-N-Save, then comes home with something hidden beneath his jacket. Marge, fearing the worst, demands to know what her son is hiding from her. Bart produces the mystery object: a beautiful photograph of himself smiling, along with a receipt that says “paid in full.”
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