Lisa vs Malibu Stacy
couch gag: A giant foot squashes the family
Director: Jeffery Lynch
Kathleen Turner as Stacy Lovell
Synopsis: When Grampa realises his own mortality, he gives the Simpsons their inheritance so he can see them enjoy it. Lisa buys a new Talking Malibu Stacy doll and is offended by the demeaning things she says. Enlisting the help of the original Stacy designer, Lisa markets her own talking doll. Meanwhile, Grampa gets a job in an effort to feel young again.
Discussion: Whoa, there’s a lot of things to talk about with this episode. Let’s start at the beginning.
Abe realises his own mortality. It’s something we’ll all do one day. His “amusing antidotes” seem boring and tedious, but in fact are quietly hilarious. “Back in those days, turkeys were called walking-birds and we had a walking-bird for Thanksgiving…” Who can argue with old man humour like that?
Secondly we have the doll. Malibu Stacy has been seen before as one of Lisa’s favourite dolls and here she gets her own episode. Everything Stacy stands for is a spot-on satire of children’s toys and their marketing (I wonder why a Malibu Stacy movie has never been explored?) Toys often attempt to cash in on various trends at the time, explaining Achy Breaky Stacy, and with various levels of success.
Then there’s the main plot of the phrases uttered by talking Stacy. They are stereotypical shallow California girl sayings like “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl *giggle*” and “Thinking gives you wrinkles”. Naturally, Lisa takes offense to these sayings as she believes that females are capable of being better people that what Stacy offers, so she enlists the help of the creator of the Malibu Stacy doll, Ms Stacy Lovell, with a plan to offer her own talking doll.
Stacy Lovell, voiced by the awesome Kathleen Turner, is able to get Lisa’s talking doll on the shelf. She’s now an alcoholic recluse with a string of ex-husbands such as Ken and Joe. Brilliant!
Lisa’s new sayings are positive affirmations for young girls, such as “Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything!” The doll also has favourable qualities from history’s most successful and brilliant women, making for a positive role model for girls. This is still relevant for today where media portrayals of “role models” such as Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian may not be sending the right message to girls- as long as you look pretty and party hard, you’ll be successful.
Marketing wins again and ensures the failure of the talking Lisa Lionheart doll. Who can compete with Malibu Stacy with a new hat?
Lastly, Grampa is trying to fit in with the hip, young people and failing. He resigns from his job at Krusty Burger, realising his role as an old person is to complain about “all of God’s creations”.
The overall message of the ep is clear: positive role models are necessary in the world. I do disagree with Lisa’s statement that “you just can’t win against big business”. It may have been true in 1994, but technology has paved the way for all voices to be heard and The Little Guy to be successful.