Lisa Goes Gaga
Couch gag: The family are playing a video game but Homer can’t sit on the couch in either the game or in life.
Director: Matthew Schofield
Lady Gaga as herself
Synopsis: Lady Gaga is travelling through Springfield and senses that Lisa needs her help.
Discussion: Despite being a huge Gaga fan, I do not love this episode. It feels like a contrived PR stunt to portray Gaga as a persona she wishes to be known by: the great anti-bullying crusader saving the world from rough childhoods.
Lisa discovers… again… that she has no friends and is in fact the least popular kid at school. I guess this is because everyone’s forgotten about Ralph Wiggum (a joke saying so wouldn’t have gone astray here). At the same time, the Gaga Express is about to pass through Springfield, and Gaga senses that a little girl there needs help.
What follows is an impressive array of costume changes based on Gaga’s real-life outlandish costumes (including the infamous meat dress) while Gaga sings about loving oneself and generally uplifting the town’s spirits. Except for Lisa, of course. Lisa is depressed (again) and despite Gaga’s best efforts, Lisa denounces Gaga for trying to make everything sunshine and rainbows.
Lisa is typical Lisa and it’s boring. We’ve seen, what, three episodes just this season about how Lisa has no friends. Gaga is over the top in a caricature way: not because of her costumes or songs but because she’s campaigning far too hard for self acceptance and love. Don’t get me wrong, this is why I love Gaga, but here she’s a manufactured personality with a one track plot which feels contrived. I’m reminded of the feud between her and Sharon Osbourne over the cyber bullying of Kelly Osbourne by Gaga’s fans. This ep just feels like a massive PR stunt to perpetuate a character.
Having said that, I am glad that Gaga was a dominant character within the episode and not relegated to a cameo appearance as so many other celebrities are. Gaga seems to have taken the role and used it with lots of fun and creativity, adlibbing lines and lyrics in specially written songs (although I would have loved to have seen a rendition of ‘Born This Way’).
It’s not a great episode, but it is a memorable finish to season 23.