Warning; this review contains spoilers.
Well it’s that time again, Simpsons day. Another two week wait between episodes and we are jumping back in with a Lisa themed episode. For all its flaws I have to say that Family Guy has much more interesting female characters when compared to The Simpsons, Futurama does as well but you knew I was going to say that. Maybe it’s the sign of the age of the show but both Lisa and Marge feel a little bit clichéd and they are never given as many jokes as their male counterparts. Having said that, with the exception of Maggie, all The Simpsons characters feel a bit clichéd and that could be down to the fact that they are the basis of these clichés. All clichés must come from one great idea originally. What I’m trying to say is, that like most episodes this season, I don’t really know how I feel about it but let me force my opinion upon you anyway.
Lisa With An ‘S’
Homer loses money and the family have to sacrifice something to fix Homer’s mistake again. Talking about clichés, I feel like I’ve seen this story a hundred times before on The Simpsons and something about a poker game feels a little bit familiar also. The money is lost to an illegal poker game and the “thing” they have to sacrifice this time is Lisa, when the person Homer loses money to, Laney Fontaine barters to take her on the road with her as she treads the boards. There’s also a little Amish side story but we will get to that.
From the beginning, it seemed like this episode was set up to be a musical story, with an opening song and a fictional Broadway star taking centre stage. Instead, the songs were short from then on and there was nothing special about the opening song. As I’ve said before, I have very high standards for music in comedy since I have no time for musicals. I laughed once in the entire two minute song and when you compare that to any Flight Of The Conchords song and you’ve got nothing. Another aspect I always find a little troubling is the fake celebrities that the writers come up with. The recurring celebrities, like Krusty or Troy McClure are great but when they create a celebrity for just one episode I see it as a waste. I mean you are THE SIMPSONS, get a real celebrity for a guest role.
On the humor side of things this episode was pretty darn funny. We got to see how Marge pumps up her hair, which I like to think is a call back to a few weeks ago and the Inside Out parody was ironically not “the worst jammed in parody ever”. Lacey Fontain for all of her uselessness did come up with a brilliant nickname for Homer, “Fat Folds Five” and this episode was overloaded with background jokes. As the show travels to New York City, the writers take every opportunity to write stupid and self-referential signs. Whoever is writing these background jokes must be so grateful for the invention of the internet. Here’s a useless, yet interesting thought; are these signs funny to the characters in the show?
Before I get back to the praise, for some reason it really, really annoyed me that this paper towel dispenser was around the wrong way. Probably a little to much and I know that is my problem but even now it is hurting me a little bit. So now that the disappointment truck has been emptied, praise be with you. This week’s standout was the Amish version of Ned Flanders. The idea that Ned Flanders has an Amish cousin that is even more religious than him and in fact disappointed with Ned’s life choices is wonderful. With the Amish, comes a whole new bunch of Amish jokes and each and everyone is funny. Bart had a few beautiful lines, mocking the child star and spoofing the frustration felt by every single child that has to help their parents with any piece of technology.
Lisa With An ‘S’ is the perfect example of a season twenty-seven Simpsons episode so far, middling. It’s not too great but then again it’s not awful either. Each week I can feel my bright eyed hope dwindling a little bit and I am worried that the popular opinion is right, The Simpsons just isn’t that good anymore. That hope is still there and to be fair, there has only been seven episodes so far but it doesn’t help that they stretch them out. As for the rating, this episode comes down to a two and a half out of five. Hilarious, clichéd in some parts, wonderful Amish plot and a pretty dull main storyline.