Couch gag: A cursor places each Simpson on the couch before moving them to trash.
Director: Mark Kirkland
J.K. Simmons as Jonah Jameson
Tom Wolfe as himself
Gore Vidal as himself
Jonathon Franzen as himself
Michael Chabon as himself
Synopsis: Lisa discovers Moe’s poetic ability and he’s invited to a prestigious writing event, where he takes all the credit and leaves Lisa feeling dejected.
Discussion: Finally, an episode with a real plot! Moe, upset that Homer forgot to take him fishing for his birthday, scrambles his thoughts into a poetic view of the world, which Lisa finds endearing and enters him into a poetry magazine. Moe’s poem is published and he’s invited to a writing conference in Vermont, where he takes all the credit and Lisa’s not happy.
We’ve seen Moe do this before- remember when Homer invented the Flaming Homer and Moe took all the credit? Lisa, being this episode’s moral conscience, tries to make Moe feel bad but he would rather be accepted into the prestigious writing group rather than be Lisa’s friend. Strangely, this doesn’t seem to bother Homer or Marge, who go “Vermonting”, leaving Lisa to work out her own problems. This is probably wise as anything Marge said would just be cliched and Lisa already knows how to get past this. On the other hand, Homer might promise to Lisa not to drink at Moe’s anymore but turn around and promise Moe that he’ll disown Lisa… or something.
There are weak spots in the ep though: the senior Olympics at the beginning is as slow as Grampa’s race, while the fighting between Jonathon Franzen and Michael Chabon is childish. I’d also like to have seen some female authors at the event; maybe Lisa could turn to one of them for advice- female authors have long suffered the pains of not being able to take credit for their work. Or maybe Lisa could have a dream in which she meets the Bronte sisters, who each had to publish under male pseudonyms (Currer Bell was acknowledged as the author in the first printing of Jane Eyre).
Overall, this episode is much, much better than yesterday’s travesty, and shows that the show isn’t quite dead yet. It’s not brilliant or original, but the guest authors lift the episode into something greater than it would have been without them. And, as always, I love a celebrity who can poke fun at themselves.