Monday, November 15, 2010

Episode 5: Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life

What did I ever do to deserve an episode like this? From the title, you know this couldn't possibly be a good episode and it gets no better after seeing the promotional image for this. Heck even the plot seems to be recycled from much better episodes. So yeah, I was not looking forward to this episode one bit and after watching it, I stand by that. So let's see why this episode should have not even been in my life to begin with.

After beginning the episode with an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, we find out that Krusty's sponsor is giving away Happy Little Elves toys as an apology for an oil spill (Wow, it took them this long to make a BP joke, give them a hand everyone. They made the latest and worst BP joke yet *Clapping*). Maggie scratches at the TV when a certain toy is shown as Lisa conveniently comes in to tell Homer that she's missing that one toy from her set (Yeah, bet you didn't know Lisa had teleportation powers did you? Because she was clearly in the room for the I&S cartoon but disappeared right before the toy bit came on and never saw Maggie scratching the TV). So after Homer makes a terrible joke about his kids (This is going to be a long one isn't it?) Homer decides to take the family to go get the toy (And make a bad joke about the gas company. I'm just going to have "Summer of 4 ft 2" playing in the next tab so I don't completely lose my sanity). When they arrive at the gas station (Some distance away I may add... why isn't there a closer one? Oh right, they explained it through a terrible joke, and here I thought it was just shitty writing) they get a box with a toy but it turns out to be the wrong one. The attendant refuses to give them another box unless they buy more gas (Okay, I never got the Hess truck or other gas station promotional items. But what sense does this make? When fast food joints do this, you can usually ask for a specific toy and they'll be happy to oblige). So after Homer drives around recklessly (So he can buy more gas... What can I say about this that isn't already being said by the actions?) he buys another toy but it's wrong again (Hey here's an idea; Jump the counter and just open every box until you get the right one. I mean there's nobody else there with him so it's not like he's honestly going to fight back. Oh wait, logic has no place here, moving on).
Yes, hundreds of dollars in wasted gas for a 50 cent toy. This is a smart idea
So after a LONG sequence (It only goes on for 1 minute but it feels like 5) they decide to leave the gas station, that makes the past 3:30 of this episode, you guessed it; Entirely pointless, good job writers, good job. As the family drives home, they go through the neighborhood where Marge grew up (Great this is going to be one of those stories the original writers never delved into, but these new writers will find a way to fuck it up). So Marge finds her old house and the family's invited in by the new resident. So after Marge reminisces about what she did in the house a little, the owner gives Marge a box of stuff from Marge's childhood labeled "Marge's stuff" (Um, why is that still in the house if clearly her family doesn't live in it anymore? Screw it, I'm asking for logic again). So Marge starts reminiscing through her old stuff as Lisa finds out she won the science fair and that Marge was a very smart student (Much like herself... I see where this plot is going, don't you dare go there writers. I'm warning you). The next day, we see that the playground is soaked and has become a mudfield as Bart uses a skateboard and kite to "parasail" across the field and decides to use this as padding until he gets mud all over Nelson. Nelson confronts Bart as Bart accidentally kicks Nelson in the face causing him to bleed thus making Bart top bully (Oh bull shit! The last time Bart caused Nelson to bleed, Bart had dreams of Nelson killing him). This is probably one of the best scenes to describe just how inept the writers are when it comes to the characters, as in; THEY DON'T KNOW THEM AT ALL! We then see Lisa ask Skinner if Marge was a great student or not, Skinner tells her that she was and she'll probably end up just like her (Yet again bull shit! This scene acts like Skinner has never seen Marge outside of school which we all know is not true).
Oh the horrors! A poorly recycled plot from season 3 *Screams*
Skinner tells Lisa that he's learned that children turn out just like their parents... (I'm just going to grab this paper bag and just scream in it for a while). Yeah if you're a little confused on why I'm angry about this point let me explain.
1. "Lisa The Simpson" already dealt with this issue of Lisa worrying about declining in her intellect. And the way those writers had Lisa deal with it wasn't done that well to be honest
2. Lisa already learned her lesson that she should strive to be the best she can be so many times before. What, did she just forget them all?
3. There is no way this can end well based on how Lisa views academics above everything else
Moving on, Lisa gets depressed after seeing how Marge ended up and we could have ended it on that note, but the writers thought it would be funnier if the segment ended on an unfunny padded out discussion between Skinner and Chalmers (Simpsons writers: Can't even understand the concept of emotion). We then cut back to Lisa going over Marge's grades to figure out where it all went wrong and she pinpoints it to be when Marge was a senior in High School (Anyone who's watched this show for more than 2 episodes knows that's when Marge met Homer. I'm going to hate this more aren't I?) So Lisa looks through Marge's scrapbook and finds a picture of Marge and Homer together in High School (Along with an inappropriate music cue. Did I say I was going to hate this, what I really meant to say was I'M GOING TO TAKE A PEN AND SHOVE IT UP THE WRITER'S ASS!!! *Gets dragged aside by RBY*) I have been given enough happy pills so that I can continue with the review, so let's continue.
Drat! Marge has been foiled by the power of love!
So Lisa decides to talk to Homer as he tells her that some boy will distract Lisa when she meets him. Lisa doesn't believe that (*Bites tongue* Must not rage about this, must not rage about this) and she says she's going to make sure nothing ever distract her... Yeah I'm just going to go off a short list of things that can distract her from academics;
1. Boys (She's had what, 4 BF give or take in the series so far)
2. Ponies (Need I say anything about this one?)
3. Saxophone (Now this is like street performing, not professional)
4. Weird friend (I'd rather not go into this one, but friendship has distracted her before)
5. Random hobby (Take your pick with this one)
So yeah nothing could possibly distract her eh writers? So we cut to Bart as Nelson's trying to get revenge from yesterday, but ends up hurting himself even more (Wow, that had so much purpose, I'm glad this subplot was put in to distract us from that Lisa story we're supposed to be following). We then see Lisa pack away all her toys and other "distractions" (I need booze) as she decides that her saxophone is also a distraction... (Do I need to say anything about how stupid this is? I really hate this episode). Marge notices Lisa's sax on the lawn as Homer tells Marge that Lisa doesn't want to end up like Marge as Marge is saddened by the fact that her own daughter doesn't want to be like her. The next morning, Marge vents her frustration as Lisa tells Marge that her lifestyle just isn't for her. Lisa notices that Marge is giving Lisa the cold shoulder as we see this in many ways (Okay, let's add the plot to "Marge be Not Proud" to the list of plots they're stealing from). At school, Lisa's trying to study while walking in the hallway as she bitches about how school isn't a good learning environment either (Hey, bit of advice; You've been able to succeed in the past with the same conditions. Why is it all of a sudden now you can't concentrate. And really, you HAVE to study every waking minute? I'm speechless at the stupidity of this writing).
If I can't study in a loud, crowded hallway. Where can I study?
After an annoying scene in the library, Nelson yet again threatens Bart (You know, these "Nelson-Bart" scenes are all the same, save the dialogue. It's nice to know that the ending will feel so rushed because of all these important repetitive scenes). We then see Lisa trying to study on the bus (No, I'm not letting this go. WHY DOES SHE FEEL THE NEED TO STUDY ON THE BUS?! I mean she gets straight A's already, what does she hope to accomplish from this? Straight A++'s?) but right as she's about to give up, our macguffin arrives in the form of a fancy bus for a high-end elementary school. After Lisa wishes to go to that school (With an unfunny joke) we see Marge and Homer talking to the dean of the Academy as Lisa begs them to go there. Marge tells Lisa that they can't afford to enroll her there (That's a ripoff from the "Lisa's Sax") but gets angry when the Dean tells Lisa that she'll probably underachieve at Springfield Elementary. So after another bit of padding (I honestly am getting sick of using that word) it turns out that Marge persuaded the Dean to allow Lisa in on a "Full Scholarship". The family then celebrates after leaving the campus (Because it wouldn't be nearly as funny if they celebrated before leaving). Oh yeah, we're at the 16:31 mark when Lisa actually start attending the school. Compare that to when Lisa got her pony in "Lisa's Pony" we were at the 12 minute mark and a lot of the time building up to that there was good plot development of Homer fearing about losing Lisa's love. This is why these newer episodes suck, they have no conception of a well paced plot.
I don't look ridiculous in this outfit right?
So after Lisa gets off the bus (And is giddy at the idea of attending an academy. Dude, you took college courses, you can tone it down) she meets other overachievers and she thinks that she'll fit in just nicely. We then cut to Marge and Bart as Bart tells Marge that he's afraid that Nelson's going to kill him (Gee I wonder where I've heard that before? That makes 5 unoriginal plot ideas so far). After Marge comforts him, she tells him to try to compliment him to calm Nelson down (And there's a joke about Marge not seeing Nelson as a bully type... Do I even need to say anything? That is without a doubt, the most retarded line I've ever heard in an episode). So we then cut to a scene of Lisa being introduced to her personal teacher as we see Lisa's just so happy (Say Lisa, have you ever thought about what your family is giving up to send you there? Didn't think so). So at recess Bart is left behind as the sky turns an ominous gray (See Bart, even God hates how you wont let the show die). Bart then is confronted by Nelson as Bart compliments him 3 times, but the third time, Nelson calms down and they become friends (Goody, and to think, I thought this plot was going to be pointless. Clearly this plot was necessary to the episode). We then cut to Homer tucking Lisa into bed as Lisa talks about just how great the school is (Well it's a good thing that you've been allowed to keep everything you've ever gotten in this show). Later that night, Lisa is awoken by a sound at 4:12 AM, as she goes to investigate it, she finds out that Marge is still up doing laundry for the academy so that Lisa can go there.
Marge: So what did you learn from this experience Lisa?
Lisa: Absolutely nothing 
After Lisa tries to tell Marge that she cannot continue living with this knowledge, Marge tells Lisa that she doesn't want Lisa to turn out like her. Lisa thinks about that and she tells Marge that she doesn't want to go to the school anymore because... the Kool-aid man is red? (Seriously, she just makes up a fake excuse to appease Marge.) Yeah I hate to go down the "Lisa's Pony" path again, but when you compare what Lisa did after finding out about Homer's job and what she did after this, she genuinely cared about Homer's health and well being. In this one, you don't get that same feeling, you get the feeling that she just doesn't want to have the guilt over her head rather than she cares about Marge. After a fake emotional scene (Sorry but Lisa's eye movements ruined that scene. She seemed to hate the idea of turning out like Marge, thus depleting any character arc she may have accomplished) Bart and Nelson barge in "Drunk" thanking Marge. The episode ends with Homer coming in showing Marge that he got Maggie the toy she wanted as we find out he got it by breaking into the gas station (How cute, the writers think we care about that shitty subplot).

Final Verdict: This episode is bad, the main story is just a bunch of recycled plots smushed together into a mess of an episode. The B plot was just stupid and nothing but filler as it resulted in nothing. And the C plot was utterly pointless as all that accomplished was wasting our time. The jokes were either terrible or tried way too hard. And above all, this is just a terrible lesson as Lisa learns nothing from this.

Final Grade: 3.1 Just another example of why Joel Cohen shouldn't be writing for this show

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the plot summary. I had hit the mute button when the commercials came on -- after Lisa threw out her sax -- and forgot to go back until the show was over. I really wanted to know what happened to Lisa.
    Here's a question for you: If you think the writer is so stupid, why do you watch? I stopped watching years ago (decades?) and just tuned in for some mind-numbing after watching 60 min.