420. All About Lisa

All About Lisa(originally aired May 18, 2008)
We wrap up the season with a curious episode, one I really can’t figure out. A Simpson child becomes Krusty’s assistant, only to soon usurp his own fame for themselves. No, this isn’t “Bart Gets Famous,” though I wish it was. That episode felt like it was about something and had a purpose; this, I think I know what it’s saying… but it makes no sense given the characters it involves. Auditions are being held for a new “Krustketeer,” and Lisa tries to convince Krusty to hire Bart. This only ends up getting herself hired as his new intern, where she puts up with the clown’s demands. There’s even a scene that echoes “Famous” where Bart gets Krusty a bagel, except here it’s Lisa letting him use her necklace string as dental floss. The difference is while with Bart we saw him being run ragged by Krusty, calling him at school in a panic about burying a body, here, Lisa, I guess is working full time and is a great assistant, because nowadays Simpsons are perfect at everything they do. It isn’t long before Lisa takes Krusty’s show, because I guess she wants to be an entertainer now. Oh wait, she got the taste of laughter. That was supposed to be a thing, I suppose.

The episode is told with narration throughout by Sideshow Mel, the only good part of the show, if only because I love Castellaneta’s deliveries as the downtrodden thespian. He explains how Lisa got swept up in show business, neglecting to tell Krusty about an important network meeting so she could take his position. Act three opens and it’s the Lisa Show, with her now performing and managing her own production. Again, I guess she’s taken an extended school leave. This whole section moves so fast, I don’t understand why Lisa would want to do this, or even care about being a TV buffoon. No time for any of those explanations, because we need to cram in a worthless subplot where Homer and Bart collect coins. Very entertaining. Anyway, on the eve of an award night, Mel informs Lisa of the tragic tales of past recipients, himself included, and how far they had sunk for the sake of entertainment. Not wanting to suffer the same fate, Lisa shifts the spotlight back to Krusty and resumes her normal life. There’s nothing really aggravating about this one; it’s just rather confusing and empty.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The coin collecting subplot… okay. Despondent about not getting the Krusty gig, Bart sells all of his Krusty merchandise, in exchange for… an empty book for storing coins. He expresses no interest in it, but takes it anyway. He and Homer go off on a coin collecting spree and fill the whole book, save for one: the immortal double-print “Kissing Lincoln” penny. They discover it on auction, but are easily outbid by Mr. Burns. But of course since Burns is a doddering old buffoon, Homer easily swindles him out of it. And then the plot’s over. Rather than develop the main story and have it make sense, we waste precious minutes on this shit. Great job, guys.
– More bad CG with Krusty driving his car through the backlot. The characters look like they’re cardboard. How can they do 2D-3D integration so well on Futurama, episodes from almost a decade ago, but here it looks like shit?
– Mel ends his tour of the past with Lisa to his portrait. You can tell it’s him, but he ends his dialogue, “But that was before he took the bone…” His shadow casts over the portrait and we can see it matches. I like all that, it works. Then Lisa dusts off the plate, and reads it, “Melvin Van Horne.” Gasp! “Sideshow Mel! That’s you!” No shit. They could have had her just say, “Oh my God, Mel! How could this happen!” But no, let’s kill time and spell it out for the dummies in the audience as much as possible.
– I really don’t have much to say on this one; it may be one of the most innocuous episodes of the entire series. It’s just… nothing.

Season 19 Final Thoughts
One season left. One season left. I’m sorry, I’m sure all of this feels very redundant and repetitive at this point, it’s just there’s not really that much left to say about a lot of these episodes. The series has the same problems, they just keep getting a little bit worse each season. It’s a slight downward curve, but at least I’m almost at the drop-off point.

The Best
“Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind”

The Worst
“The Homer of Seville,” “Husbands and Knives,” “E Pluribus Wiggum,” “Papa Don’t Leech,” “Mona Leaves-a”

17 thoughts on “420. All About Lisa

  1. I have no idea why, but the “Wilbur Mudd” scene made me laugh out loud (mostly for Nelson’s delivery and timing), which is incredibly rare for any ZS episode. Otherwise, I’ve got nothing here.

  2. It’s not a great episode, but it’s a better season finale than “Mona Leaves-a” would have been. My main gripe is that it’s simply not that funny. “Bart Gets Famous” did everything before, and better.

    Best of the season: “Caged Bird”, “Eternal Moonshine”, “Funeral For a Fiend”

    Worst of the season: “That ’90s Show” (BY FAR), “Homer of Seville”, “Husbands and Knives”, “Papa Don’t Leech”, “Apocalypse Cow”.

  3. More bad CG with Krusty driving his car through the backlot. The characters look like they’re cardboard. How can they do 2D-3D integration so well on Futurama, episodes from almost a decade ago, but here it looks like shit?

    Same with Family Guy as well they can do it right… but anyway did that show even require CG couldn’t it have been done standalone i mean it was just him driving to the stage there’s nothing much needed for a simple shot like that…

  4. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, this episode is… well… it has been done before and better. That is all I’m going to say.

    As a whole, I felt 19 was better than anything 14-17 threw at us, but it was no where near as enjoyable as Season 18. It has its moments, but the season is kind of unmemorable. I still stick to what I said that it is still better than any Family Guy or Clevland Show episode.

    1. Time to derail? Time to derail.

      “Better than any Family Guy episode”? No season of Family Guy has ever been as good as The Simpsons at its prime, and the last 3 or 4 seasons have been terrible. My fanboyism lies with The Simpsons. But pre-cancellation, when it was an underdog and Seth MacFarlane had no clout with Fox, FG was a very solid show.

      I’d highly recommend, from seasons 2 and 3: Da Boom, Road to Rhode Island, There’s Something About Paulie, To Love and Die in Dixie, Brian Wallows and Peter’s Swallows (with a very deserved Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics), and Family Guy Viewer Mail #1. (Had to cut that list down from about 15.) Any of those run circles around season 19 of The Simpsons.

      1. I hate Family Guy with a burning passion, and even I’m willing to cop that the show in its “prime” was much more competent than modern-day Simpsons.

      2. See, I think Family Guy only had good episodes when it came back from cancellation. Any episode I watched beforehand was just absolute garbage.

        In fact, the only thing of Family Guy I own are the Star Wars specials, but quite often they will drag a joke out way too long (like the ATT grabbing its leg) or they will kill a really great joke with a terrible continuation.

  5. I forgot a joke I liked in this one: “We now come to our final award, “Entertainer of the Year.” An award so prestigious, that it recently won the “Award of the Year Award” at the 2007 Awardy Awards.” So silly.

    But one of Sideshow Mel’s lines was incredibly dated, even when this aired: “Applause is an addiction, like heroin or checking your e-mail.” Checking your e-mail? Why not say Facebook wall instead? I’d wager it’s more accurate.

    1. How is that out dated? People still check their email. Hell, I have plenty of friends who do not use Facebook. The only reason I have one is because my g/f created me a page and I have friends who are anime voice actors and my friends from back in NY that I only have contact with because of facebook. Oh yeah, and it is the only place I can bitch about something stupid and not having to deal with some nazi moderator not approving of what I say and deleting my post while giving me an infraction.

      1. I don’t have a Facebook account, but it’s hard to deny it’s incredibly popular. And if people I know are any indication, they check it whenever they have a free moment.

        Email is still used, of course, but I’d wager more people are addicted to checking their Facebook page than their email. Hence why I said that line felt dated.

    2. Because by spring of 2008, Facebook wasn’t quite the monolith it is now. It was building up to it, but more people were still using Myspace at that point, and a reference to Myspace would have made this episode even more dated.

      1. That’s just it. I actually never even heard of facebook until that movie came out on it. Hell, I still don’t even know what Twitter is because I don’t use it.

        Besides, this episode would feel even more dated in a couple of years when facebook no longer exists. Email is something that will be around for many many more years than any social media site.

  6. While the title makes it obvious, this episode is a direct parody of the film “All About Eve.” I suppose the only way they could do the parody is with a female lead (Lisa standing in for Eve). Most of the out-of-character and unusual parts of the plot are because they are essentially aping the characterizations and plot points of that movie.

    Like you said in the earlier Evita parody, this is a case where it doesn’t work given how the characters don’t really fit the parts well enough. The stupid penny sideplot doesn’t help any, Though I have to say, Sideshow Mel is a pretty good choice for the George Sanders character. His narration and framing are the most obvious signs (aside from the title) that this is an “All About Eve” parody.

    1. That’s the trouble with randomly selecting a movie or song title, mangling it to force a Simpsons character reference, and then writing your episode to fit the result. (This is the writing staff’s process, as far as i can tell)

      1. That sort of thing also happens in The President Wore Pearls and Elvita-which also stars Lisa Simpson.

  7. The plot may be accurate to, as mentioned, All About Eve, but it basically craps all over Bart for no reason. Yeah, Lisa gave Krusty some good business advice and the joke with Nelson is his mother is almost a prostitute, but didn’t Bart save him from crippling depression after his IRS bust, reunite him with TWO family members, and basically serve as a bulletproof vest for Sideshow Bob after he saved him from being ARRESTED? Hell, if it wasn’t for Bart, he could and WOULD try to kill him again. (THERE’S a good plot, Bart is fed up with Krusty’s ignorance and bribes Bob to fake a plot so he’d respect both of them… except these writers would botch that with precisional intention.) Frankly, there comes a point where it goes from simply forgetting and being busy with work and just being an asshole.

    Where the hell is Miss Pennycandy when you need her?

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