couch gag: A hand spins the scene, leaving the picture blurred
Director: Mark Kirkland
First appearance of:
Crazy Cat Lady
Synopsis: Lisa anchors a kids’ news show and is jealous when Bart’s human interest stories are popular, so she exacts revenge. Meanwhile, Homer gets a helper monkey.
Discussion: There are many layers to this episode. Superficially, it’s Lisa vs Bart at a news desk where they try to outshine each other. And Homer has a helper monkey because he’s lazy.
There’s also the parody of the Chocobot Hour, where the show has become the advertising. Australia was heading this way before legislation banned it, and indeed, has banned junk food advertising in children’s programming altogether. However, established brands such as Barbie have been making movies for some time, which negates the legislation and is allowed to be shown. After watching the latest Barbie-is-a-princess movie, you can rush out and buy the doll. Not sure she comes with a chocolate bar though…
Then there’s the journalism angle. Regular readers will know that I’m doing a Communications degree and studying many journalism units (although that’s not my major). Lisa’s integrity to bring “real news” to the masses is a noble one. But do kids really care about chalk shortages? (Well, not anymore since schools switched to whiteboards!) Turns out kids identify with human interest stories… well, sort of. The popularity of Bart’s People is measured by the mail he receives from people wanting to be on the segment, rather than fan mail. Anyhoo, Bart is popular and Lisa’s hard news isn’t. As for Milhouse’s “Newz You Can Uze”, which deals with getting rid of the evidence that you’ve wet the bed, well, he’s right. It is news you can use and seems to be a popular real-life form of news. Put a different spin on the news, have it read by a panel of comedians and suddenly people will want to watch. I do have a bit of a rant about the sheer amount of news saturation, but this really isn’t the place for that 🙂
Lastly, this is a good episode. Homer gets a helper monkey. What can be better than that?