Monday, October 4, 2010

Episode 2: Loan-A-Lisa

While this episode is an improvement from last week's episode, that's like saying a broken pinky is better than busted knees, it's still painful. This episode doesn't quite anger me entirely but it didn't reach it's full potential that older writers could have done. With that out of the way, let's review this together and see why we shouldn't get a loan from Lisa.

After a long Itchy and Scratchy cartoon our plot begins at the 2:40 mark. I mean wow, I don't care that your running time has been cut down, there is no excuse for that much padding at the beginning of the episode, my opinion is immediately soured. So after that, the family goes to Grampa where he announces that he's giving his fortune to his family now instead of when he dies, which turns out to be $50 a piece (Say why does this sound familiar?) At Costington's, we see Bart pay Ol' Gil to walk up the down escalator (Okay that is funny) and we see that Marge decides to buy a purse which she thinks is $50 but turns out it's $500. She decides to buy it because the gossips just happened to be around and saw her eying up the purse, pressuring her to buy it (By the way, As much as I hate Julio, what is up with his character design in this episode? I mistook him for someone else until we saw his name). Homer then berates Marge for buying a $500 bag because they can't afford it (This coming from the guy who routinely dries up their savings account on frivolous objects. Hypocrite much?) After Marge decides to return it, Homer allows her to keep it until she needs to return it and then will return it (At first I thought this plot resembled Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield but as it would turn out, that would have been a much better idea for this B plot).
Next time, I'm keeping my quarter
Homer then takes Marge to a fancy restaurant named "Asia de Cuba of Springfield" where they are initially seated next to the bathrooms (Heard this joke too often to care) but after the waitress sees Marge's handbag, she sits them in a much better table (Seeing the resemblance yet?).
Okay, this is something that has bothered me for a long time in the recent seasons and I will address in depth later but what is up with the minor female character's faces? It seems like the animators decided to try to go for a more realistic look which just contrasts with the Simpsons world and sticks out like a sore thumb.
Moving on, we cut back to Lisa on her Mac (No, I'm not letting that joke go, she clearly owns a Mac, not a Dell) as she decides to donate her money to charity. While searching she comes across a website that explains microfinancing to her in a short video (Where the writers were too lazy to replace a female goat's voice with a female. I know they lampshade this, but it seems like this was caught in post production rather than on purpose). Back at the restaurant, Homer invites Marge to the buffet line but Marge is hesitant because she doesn't want to get anything on the bag that would prevent her from returning it (If you can't predict what will happen next, stop reading, you clearly don't know a cliche when it's right in front of you, smacking you around). After Marge goes through some hijinks to protect her purse, Homer eats 1 shrimp in front of it and gets some sauce on the purse ruining it (And the cliche is complete). In fairness, the restaurant scene is somewhat redeemable because of the Wiggum-Lou conversations.
I'm Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and now doing a cameo for this episode. I need to fire my agent
Back home we see Lisa continue to find someone to finance when we get our Muhammad Yunus cameo who leads Lisa to people who need micro-loans (Nobel peace prize winner reduced down to comic relief via internet, nice to know you use your cameos SO well). Lisa then finds out that Nelson needs a loan for his bike company (Which includes a Nelson Mandela joke, LAZY!!) Lisa then decides to lend him the $50 because... no reason but I'm going with because they used to date, it comes back in this episode (Oh yeah Nelson's mom takes the computer to pawn it for money to get food which is funny, but will come back to bite the writers in the ass later, more on that in a moment). The next day, Lisa walks by Nelson's and sees that his business is better after her loan and he gets his first customer (This is pretty funny here and pretty nice). Later, Marge goes to return the purse to Costington's as she gets away with the stain and gets her refund. This is where Homer stops being a character and loving husband and begins to be comic relief for the rest of the episode and I'm starting to HATE Homer now because of this writing (Yeah, I shouldn't hate him, but seriously he's slowly turning into Rob Schneider, where his soul purpose is to try to get cheap laughs while talking in the most awkward dialogue possible).
Homer, remember when you used to be a real character and not played just for laughs?
Homer then suggests to Marge that they exploit the refund system and buy all sorts of items they can't afford but return them right before the return policy says so (Yeah this plot is so overused and ridiculous it's retarded). Lisa then gets a message from Nelson via a V-log saying that his business is booming and he owes it all to her. This is what I was hinting at before, now the joke earlier was that his computer was pawned for money for food (Which the money would be gone) but now, not only does Nelson have his computer back, but apparently he has a video camera as well. The problem is that we never see his camera or computer. I know I'm nitpicking here but this bothered me when I saw the V-log because they set up the joke as he lost his computer. I probably wouldn't have cared if they just dropped a token line such as "With the money from my business, I was able to buy back my computer AND get this camera to update my status" just saying. Later that night, we see Homer being the biggest douche in all of Springfield and he shows Lenny and Carl all the stuff he's "Bought" (That scene was *Entirely pointless*).
Behold, the rare douchicoust maximus
Lisa then confronts Nelson and admits she was the one who financed him (Despite the not so subtle screenname of L_Simpson_Jazz_Girl) I like this scene because it further lampshades the relationship between them from "Lisa's Date with Density", God I loved that episode, in fact *Leaves for a while to go watch that instead*. Nelson then tells Lisa that he's dropping school so that he can fully invest his time in his bike company which upsets Lisa (I like the book burning joke). The next day, Lisa tells Skinner about Nelson's plan to drop school but Skinner only hears about the business and how it would pay nicely as a part time job (Yet again, I have to give credit for a good joke here between Skinner and Chalmers). We then see Homer return a lot of merchandise when suddenly, Chris Hansen appears and does his "To Catch a Predator" bit except with Homer it's "To Catch a Credit Whore". *Bangs head on table* This plot is fucking retarded. This quite honestly, without hyperbole, one of the WORST endings to a plot on this show EVER. I HATED it when it aired and I still hate it, it's just so poorly written and reinforces my theory of Homer being a cardboard cutout. Moving on, Lisa takes Nelson to an entrepreneur expo where she is going to show him that successful entrepreneurs all finished college. After meeting up with Mark Zuckerberg he reveals to Nelson and Lisa that he dropped out of Harvard as well as Bill Gates and Dan Schulman dropped out of college. This is a stupid argument, all those CEO's at least have a high school diploma and went to college, Nelson is trying to drop out of elementary school, it's like saying that jumping off a 15 foot ledge is the same as jumping off a 300 foot ledge, there's a huge difference.
I love a happy ending
Later we see Grampa try to comfort Lisa about investing in Nelson by saying that money can't change people. Lisa decides to accept Nelson's decision as she sees his business fall apart because he used faulty materials to build the bikes. After shutting down the business, Nelson decides to make it up to Lisa by going skating with her. The episode ends with them holding hands as "Friends" and accidentally knocking down 3 people. I honestly love this ending and find it as a pretty sweet way to end this episode.

Final Judgment: This episode is a mixture, it's not good, but it's not bad either. The main plot was up and down for me but left a good feeling for me at the end knowing that Nelson and Lisa agreed that he should go back and they should be "friends". The subplot was horrible, predictable and unoriginal with more angry moments than laughter. This continues the shitty supporting plots to 9 episodes with bad subplots.

Final Grade: 6.2/10 I'd be lying if I said I never wanted to watch this again

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