Lard of the Dance
Couch gag: The Simpsons go to sit down on the couch but Nelson pulls it away.
Director: Dominic Polcino
Lisa Kudrow as Alex Whitney
Synopsis: Lisa befriends the new girl in school, who is in a desperate hurry to grow up. Meanwhile, Bart and Homer develop a new business collecting grease.
Discussion: Welcome to Season 10! We begin the school year with a new student, Alex Whitney, a Valley-girl type who has her own credit card and cell phone. Sure, Lisa’s struggle with a new girl isn’t new, but it’s done very differently. Don’t be a Phoebe and compare the two episodes.
Alex Whitney is a tween (although I don’t think that was a term back in 1998?), a Valley-girl type with blonde hair, the latest accessories and a credit card. Springfield Elementary is so, like you know, totes craptacular. Alex is a cool kid and brings that coolness to the school while Lisa just wants to be a kid for a bit longer.
It’s something every little girl goes through, although now there’s a name for it: tween. Girls want to grow up but they don’t realise just how much fun being a kid is. Trust me on this one: being an adult is full of something called “responsibility”. People expect a lot of you when you’re an adult, so enjoy getting away with stuff when you’re a kid.
Anyhoo, I digress. This episode is fantastic and a welcome distraction from the various shockers contained in season 9. Homer has a new get-rich-quick scheme: who knew stealing grease would be so profitable? And more to the point, how the heck did Marge not find out? There’s a golden opportunity for Marge to wonder why her back seat smells like week-old Krusty burgers but I guess they ran out of time.
It’s episodes like these where Homer is at his best. It’s not exactly a stupid idea to make money from stolen grease, just not well executed in classic Homer-style. His stupidity isn’t blatant, just his naivety and willingness to take Bart out of school on this adventure is just brilliant.
Highlights include: Alex and the girls at a fashionable store, Homer’s lie of being an exchange student from North Kilt-Town, Scotland and the final scene where the kids are being kids.