Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Episode 6: Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words

Lisa obsessed with crossword puzzles and Homer being the compulsive dumb father that he is do not make for a good episode. This is another one of those episodes that had potential but ultimately fell flat on its face. With that out of the way let's dive into this episode.

We begin our episode with Bart and Lisa selling lemonade with no success until Bart puts a dollar in the jar, which causes masses of people to arrive (Fun fact, some restaurants and bars do the same thing to their tip jar to encourage tipping). Homer smells the lemonade but is turned away because he doesn't have cash. Homer decides to go to Moe's instead but has to use Lisa's bike to get there (I swear this is familiar but I can't place my finger on it). When Homer gets to Moe's we see Mrs. Krabappel trying to break up with Seymour to no avail. Homer goes in (after Edna offers a beer) and breaks them up himself. After the breakup, Lenny and Carl praise Homer for being able to break them up and make Skinner feel good (I know I discussed this but this still pisses me off). Lenny asks Homer to help him break up with his girlfriend to which Homer does successfully and thus he is now a genius at this too (For those of you keeping count at home this makes... I don't know 1,000 things Homer is good at?)
As a lawyer I have nothing better to do than shut down children's lemonade stands. Damn I love my job
Back to the kids, we see Blue-Haired Lawyer shut down the lemonade stand because they don't have a vendor's license... Do I really need to say anything about this? At the Bureau of Licenses and Permits, Bart and Lisa are held up in line because Wise-guy cannot do a crossword puzzle. The holdup enrages Lisa, causing her to cut the line and finish it herself. After finishing it, she gets praise from the people in line and she loves it (I'm a Sudoku man myself, never really good with words)(Jumble FTW!). Homer gets a call from Grady (Three Gays and a Condo callback, SMH) as Grady asks Homer to help him break up with Julio since he is dating Duffman (When did Duffman go gay?) because he heard how good Homer is at breaking up couples (Where did he hear this? Is there such little news that this makes the news?)(Gossip?) Bart finds Lisa doing about a hundred crossword puzzles at night because she's now addicted to them (Soon she will start getting high off the newspaper ink).
It's finally happened, Lisa has taken over as the show's main writer
We then cut to Homer at a gay club breaking up Grady and Julio (Okay now I know who that annoying fucktard is that I always want to strangle) as Julio is okay with it despite Homer giving him no words of comfort (Now I know why he's a breakup artist, his clients are emotionless androids, it makes perfect sense). The next day Lisa decides to proclaim her love of crossword puzzles to Marge and Grampa, being very condescending towards Grampa in the process (Good to know all this considering she'll forget all this in a week and never touch a crossword puzzle again). Later, Lisa gets on the bus as she sees the words in her life turn into a small crossword puzzle (Okay, who left the PCP next to Lisa's cereal this morning? Mark?) We then see Homer at his job as he takes appointments with people to breakup some couples and it's followed up by a crappy montage (No I'm not letting this go, HOW THE FUCK DO PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT HIS BREAKUP SKILLS AND WHEN WAS IT EVER ESTABLISHED HE COULD DO THIS... EVER?! There's suspension of disbelief that Homer's had this all his life, and then there's character development solely for the purpose of the plot. It really bothers me.)
In just 30 easy minutes, you too can have a half-assed home business
Afterwards, we see Lisa creating a crossword with the hopscotch course and it makes Chalmers raise his voice to ask what she's doing (Huh, I was expecting him to approach her with a fisherman's outfit). After finding out that she loves crosswords, he gives her a flier about a crossword tournament (Why thank you Mr. Plot device, nice to know your presence was needed). Later Marge tells Homer that what he's doing is wrong and leaves him with the thought of someone being able to break them up after every fight. Homer stays awake pondering this until the spirits of all the relationships he broke up come to haunt him (Back to the booze). After he wakes up, he decides to leave the "Business" and goes to sleep immediately afterwards pointing out how pointless this plot was (Yes it's meant to establish where he gets the money to bet later on but really Homer's character is impulsive enough to gamble his retirement funds on the tournament, we didn't need all that padding to set that up). The next day, Lisa enters the crossword tournament and Homer goes off to the bar where he discovers that people are betting on the matches. Homer being the greedy good father that he is always bets on Lisa and wins as demonstrated in a montage (My count is two but I'm borderline on another).
My daughter's on TV, who'd have thunk it?
As Lisa reaches the finals, she lampshades how the writers always take away everything from her and how she probably won't win the tournament (Wow, I'm gonna go hang myself, this is that depressing)(Even in a good episode, that it's depressing because it's TRUE). Homer takes this information and bets against his daughter, shocking all the gamblers (Come on I've seen more shameless acts in Vegas). After showing us some words that have been removed from the dictionary (Too bad filler wasn't removed), Ol' Gil exposits about why he entered this tournament to Lisa. The round starts, and Gil loses his glasses, prompting Lisa to pick them up. She realizes they're fake, but the brief distraction is enough for Gil to solve his crossword in a record 10 seconds (Even if he didn't fake the glasses he probably would have won with how fast he was able to solve it). Homer wins the bet and is a little irritated about how the bookie is judgmental about his bet. The next day Lisa discovers Homer's bet against her and she bottles up her emotions against him throughout the next few days (Even misses school as she went inside after the first confrontation. Sure why not?). At school Lisa expresses her frustration by changing her last name to Bouvier (Marge's maiden name) for betting against her (Considering how inconsiderate she was to Homer after showing her that Simpson women can be smart and restoring her confidence, she... oh wait I forgot, these writers aren't smart enough to think about that).
Considering how Lisa Simpson's character left years ago, this makes sense
Homer gets some advice from Moe and Carl to do something nice for Lisa to win her back. We then cut to Lisa on the couch with a white "Lisa B" shirt and a watch which will come in play soon (Seriously, does anyone wear a watch just for the sake of wearing a watch anymore?). Marge offers Lisa the NY Times puzzle to pass the time as she belittles Marge as well (Seriously, who's writing this shit? Lisa really comes off as a prick a lot post season 13). After Lisa finishes the puzzle she notices a hidden message from Homer apologizing for the bet. After looking at her toys for a bit (Because they can provide insight and don't make you look like you've lost your mind) she goes to confront Homer about the puzzle. Homer explains that he got Merl Reagle and Will Shortz (Hooray for pointless cameos!) to help him plant two messages for Lisa. Lisa forgives him and our episode ends with Homer and Lisa sharing a long hug.

Final Verdict: This episode is bad. The ending feels tacked on, and the rest of the episode is stupid. The writing is awful, the characters aren't what we're used to and seem to be written by people who have little information about them and the padding in this episode is just beyond idiotic. Really this ranks very low for me on Homer-Lisa episodes and doesn't really work well as a Lisa episode either.

Final Grade: 3.8/10 It's a rather stupid episode that yet again, failed to reach its potential

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