Blame It On Lisa
Couch gag: The family are marionettes, who get tangled and fall in a heap in front of the couch. It is revealed they are being operated by Matt Groening.
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Synopsis: The Simpsons travel to Brazil to find an orphan Lisa has been sponsoring.
Discussion: Let’s file this episode under all the others which poke fun at a country. It’s unfunny, slightly racist and full of bad cliches and flaming inaccuracies.
Anyhoo… the premise is simple enough. Lisa has been sponsoring Ronaldo, a young orphan who has gone missing. She’s called the orphanage and racked up a $400 phone bill, so the obvious solution is for the family to fly to Brazil to look for him. Of course! Cue every cultural cliche known to man and they call it an episode. Despite Ronaldo being the catalyst for the trip, he only appears for about a minute, and half of that is on a video sent to Lisa when she first started sponsoring him. Ronaldo is a cutie, why isn’t he prominently featured as a plight to draw attention to the slums of Brazil?
Despite my criticisms, there are a couple of good moments. Homer’s scrapbook of his kidnapping is disturbingly poignant, and the TV show Bart is watching, Teleboobies, demonstrates an early form of twerking (go on, watch the ep to spot it). Carnivale is an awesome spectacle and a highlight of the ep; it makes me actually want to see this live and in person.
Overall, however, it’s not a good episode. The writers’ ideas of “poking fun” at other countries is not cool. Every time they air an episode where the Simpsons go overseas, they end up with a lot of complaints about the way the country is portrayed. It’s not funny; some of these things are quite offensive to those living in the country. Other “jokes” are just plain stupid. Keep the family in Springfield where they belong.