E. Pluribus Wiggum
Teacher did not pay too much for her condo
Couch gag: A medieval tapestry shows a battle between the Simpsons and the Flanders, with the Simpsons being victorious.
Director: Michael Polcino
Dan Rather as himself
Jon Stewart as himself
Synopsis: With the whole country looking at Springfield for the 2008 Presidential Primary, Homer puts forth a motion for Ralph Wiggum to become US President.
Discussion: Yes boys and girls, you read correctly: Ralph Wiggum is up for Presidential nomination.
This episode has some biting satire about the nature of US elections and former Presidents, but it’s also one of the silliest episodes I have seen. Lisa correctly points out that Ralph is only 8 while the Constitution requires Presidents to be at least 35 years old. Bart and Homer follow that with some stupid remark, leaving the valid point unresolved.
But, that’s not my only issue with this ep. I found it extremely boring; I’m just not into politics, especially those of another country (I’m in Australia, remember?) whose system is much more complicated than ours. But really, voting for Ralph Wiggum to be President is just not a good idea. Maybe the writers could have turned that satire into something more relevant to Ralph: what about school President? We’ve seen Lisa become an Eva Peron-type and her battles with being Prez of Springfield Elementary, why not Ralph? It’s much, much more believable than Ralph running for US President.
And for that reason, I’m giving this episode a big fat fail.
This Little Wiggy
I was not told to do this
couch gag: Bart checks to see if anyone’s looking then graffitis his family onto the couch.
Director: Neil Affleck
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure
Synopsis: Bart is forced on a play date with Ralph Wiggum, who suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when Bart finds the police master key which opens every door in Springfield.
Discussion: Arguably, Ralph Wiggum has the best lines in the show and doesn’t disappoint in this episode either. Bart is having another trademark guilt trip between wanting to be cool and exploring the old state prison, and being friend to the hapless Ralph.
I like this ep. Poor Ralph only wants a friend who doesn’t tell him to burn things. Bart just wants to have fun. Together, they can cause mayhem when armed with nothing but a master key.
The ending chooses to be a feel-good ending where Ralph is applauded for having a pretty good idea… even though Lisa came up with the idea that actually saved the mayor. Even though it’s a bit weak, it still works because the audience loves Ralph and he does deserve his moment of appreciation. I’m sure Lisa is disappointed at her lack of credit but hey, she’ll make it up again tomorrow at school or something…
I Love Lisa
I will not call the principal “Spud head”
Couch gag: the family dance and are joined by a circus
Director: Wes Archer
Synopsis: The second grade are making Valentines and Lisa drops one in Ralph’s basket because he had no others. Ralph mistakes this as being a real romantic interest and gives Lisa everything she wants.
Discussion: This is one of those episodes that thrive off a single quote: I choo-choo-choose you. As soon as you say it, everyone knows what you’re talking about and the pain of Ralph’s rejection at the Krusty anniversary special. Of course, the latter is heightened by Bart who has taped the show and can pinpoint the exact moment when Ralph’s heart is ripped in two…
Most of us have had a crush on someone and some of us had little presents delivered to our door by people who had a crush on us. Ask my sister about the kid who left presents at our door and rode up and down the street waiting to see if we’d found it yet. It was so cute! Anyhoo, this ep explores Ralph Wiggum as a full character. He was introduced in Moaning Lisa but his relationship to Chief Wiggum was not established til now. He’s also seen as a “magnificent” actor (according to Selma, or is it Patty?) but lacks intelligence; he isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. This is probably the most depth we see to Ralph, from here on in he’s just a dimwitted ploy to get cheap jokes (but I’m not complaining, he’s hilarious).
This is a cutesy episode where one is gunning for Lisa to speak her truth that she doesn’t really like Ralph, but yet gunning for Ralph because he’s going to be crushed. Bart pausing the tape is sadly funny and both emotions are captured separately on screen by Bart (amusement) and Lisa (sadness and empathy).