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Posts tagged ‘Lisa Simpson’

No one cares what the shuttle driver thinks

How Lisa Got Her Marge Back

Billboard: Kirk Van Houten holding up his jumper; “Punch me in the stomach for $5, cash only”

Never lose a bet to Bart Simpson (Skinner is writing)

Couch gag: The Simpsons wake up in space from their pods and Homer is only a skeleton.

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voice:
Andrew Rannells as himself

Synopsis: Marge admits she doesn’t like Lisa’s jazz playing. Meanwhile, Bart feels he has lost part of his identity when no one falls for his pranks.

Discussion: Firstly, what the hell are Archie characters doing there?!?

Secondly, yawn! How many episodes have we seen where someone finally admits they don’t like something another family member does and that family member tries to make things right? (Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical.)

Annnd cue the flashback. Sigh.

This is just lazy writing and lazier execution. It’s like the writers have gathered all the thrown-out “jokes” and ideas deemed not good enough, sticky-taped them to a script and sent it to the voice actors. At one point, Lisa lets out a long sigh (when viewing the Broadway-style shows in Capital City); that’s exactly my sentiments when viewing this rubbish.

In the loooooooooooooooong history of the show, there are stellar episodes, terrible episodes and episodes like this: the absolute bottom of the barrel.

Never mind the terrible Marge-Lisa plot and the worse Bart-Maggie plotline, the Bad News Bears scene is possibly the most painful scene ever in any single episode of the show. Yikes! I just… ergh, just make it stop.

My personal recommendation is: instead of watching this episode, a more enjoyable experience would be to walk barefoot over red-hot coals then over a floor full of strewn Lego pieces.

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It’s time for Operation Crazy Plan

Image

Smoke on the Daughter

Couch gag: Wile E Coyote paints the couch, the family crash into it and Maggie “meep-meeps” like the Road Runner

Director: Lance Kramer

Synopsis: Marge encourages Lisa to become a ballet dancer, while Homer takes revenge on raccoons who have stolen his secret jerky business.

Discussion: If I start snoring, just poke me gently in the ribs.

We begin today’s train wreck of an episode with the Simpsons lining up for the last book of the Angelica Button series, a parody of the Harry Potter series, along with the midnight releases of new books. This sequence is dead on the mark, but unfortunately the ep declines quickly after it. Marge sees an ad for a new ballet school and auditions, but finds she’s a bit long in the tooth to be a ballerina, however Lisa has perfect posture and is accepted as a paying student.

Firstly, we’ve seen Lisa-as-dancer before. Tap-a, tap-a, tap-a! Secondly, the main plot of Lisa becoming addicted to cigarette smoke (although she’s never actually seen smoking one) doesn’t really execute the point it’s trying to make. In ye olden days before it was public knowledge that cigarettes would kill you (although the cigarette companies and doctors knew), ciggies were marketed to women to keep their bodies trim. If you’re smoking, you can’t be putting sweets in your mouth and sweets make you fat. So there’s some precedent to the young ballerinas smoking.

However, Lisa’s addiction begins with her believing that smoking is making her a better dancer. It’s a premise I just can’t buy into, and smoking is such an emotive issue as well. I feel like the writers were heavily censored in the making of this episode and can’t really say all the things they wanted to. As a result, the episode feels half-arsed.

Then we have Homer’s subplot. He’s secretly making beef jerky but the business model collapses when his basement is raided by raccoons. Eventually the raccoon saves the ballerinas from their smoking addiction… but otherwise it’s a pointless subplot which adds nothing to the ep. There’s nothing remotely entertaining about this subplot although it does serve as a cute little bonding session between Homer and Bart.

I didn’t like the episode. It’s a rehash of previous episodes (i.e. Lisa dancing and Marge being a stage mother) with an extra stupid plot of childhood cigarette addiction. Maybe it is a big problem in the US, but in Australia cigarettes are tightly regulated and heavily taxed which makes smoking unattractive to children in Lisa’s age group. But above all, I just don’t buy the premise that smoking is making the dancers dance better. Without believing the premise, you can’t believe anything else about it.

A great big sunshine hello to you

Last Tap Dance in Springfield

I will not dance on anyone’s grave

Couch gag: The family swing in on vines but Homer hits the wall.

Director: Nancy Kruse

Synopsis: After seeing a movie, Lisa decides she wants to start tap dancing classes. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse are trapped in the mall after close.

Discussion: Another rubbish episode from season 11. Lisa has no rhythm for dancing, and enlists the help of Professor Frink to get shoes that keep her time. What? The subplot of Bart and Milhouse locked in the mall is really the plot that holds potential but even that gets on the nose when Chief Wiggum suspects a giant rat is the culprit for the mess.

Little Vicki is based on Shirley Temple, who declined the role. Little Vicki is perfect: she’s the perfect balance of jaded, successful and delightfully bitchy. I don’t think Shirley Temple would be nearly as perfect, or unbelievably bitchy anyway.

The movie that inspires Lisa is reminiscent of Strictly Ballroom and let me just say, Laura Mulvey would be so proud of this depiction- the Gaze is alive and well.

What I find most disappointing about this ep is that Lisa’s failure at dancing doesn’t faze her at all. We’ve seen Lisa be disappointed before; has she learned that she’s not good at everything? This somewhat contradicts narrative convention whereby characters are supposed to be tested but they don’t really change fundamentally.

Oh Marge, grow up

Mr Lisa Goes to Washington

Spitwads are not free speech

couch gag: Homer sits on Santa’s Little Helper

Director: Wes Archer

Synopsis: Lisa enters an essay writing contest and wins a trip to Washington with her family. Whilst there, she witnesses a bribe to allow logging of Springfield Forest. In anger, she writes a new essay about the rampant corruption in America.

Discussion: Personally, I’ve never been a fan of this episode. The title and plot are references to Mr Smith Goes to Washington, which was a love letter to America with low morale during the WWII, part of their “yay America!” movement. But that’s another discussion.

This episode is very political, which The Simpsons doesn’t shy away from, but the rampant corruption within the political giants of the country isn’t really a Simpsons issue. This is an animated sitcom and although I feel the ep is bordering on satire, trying to make a statement, it falls short. Lisa’s voice is wasted on an elementary school essay. Give her a juicy role, make her protest among the peaceful activists with signs proclaiming “Everything is OK!” Get her arrested for standing up for her beliefs, just like her feminine heroines.

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