Hey hey friends! Wookiee back and at my usual antics post school craziness and here with another episode recap for my favorite readers (no Totbox… it’s not just you and a few… I’m equal opportunity). Of course, that means it’s time to take a break from building my giant snowman and slurping hot squishee to catch up on the latest episodes. Thankfully we’ve done pretty well this season and aren’t too far behind. One of the features we like to have on this site is recaps of new Simpsons episodes for all our friends who can’t watch them immediately or like our silly reviews of them. I love when there are new episodes of the Best. Show. Ever. on TV and this week’s episode was an interesting one. It seems the writers liked the character of Laney Fontaine from “My Fare Lady” (S26:E14) so much they decided she needed a whole episode involving her. No issue on my end, I love the vocal talent of Tress MacNeille (why have they not paid her to voice her characters in our game already?) It’s my privilege to not only watch new episodes, which I would do with or without this awesome site, but then break them down for all of you. I stuck to the stream of consciousness format which most of you should be familiar with by now. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts on Season 27, Episode 7: “Lisa With an ‘S’”.
Just to try something different… here’s IMDb’s synopsis if you’re just curious about what the episode is about and don’t want to read all my rambling.
“When Homer loses $5,000 at a poker game with Broadway legend Laney Fontaine, the only way he is able to settle the bet is if he loans Lisa to Laney for a month. Then, Laney turns Lisa into a show biz kid and Marge and Homer fear they made a mistake letting her go. So they head to New York to get her back.”
Now on with the rambling (you’ve been warned lol)…
– First up… just needs to be said that the title is a great reference to one Liza Minnelli… the Queen of Broadway. Liza had a one woman show in 1972 called “Liza with a Z.” The character of Laney Fontaine is a tribute to Elaine Stritch, another Broadway Legend, who coincidentally appeared in “Elementary School Musical” (S22:E1) as herself sewing wallets at Expressions.
– Ok… now to the episode. It all starts with a truncated opening sequence showing the Tracey Ullman Simpsons in ghost form floating past and a funny Star Trek Couch Gag. I know some of you geeked out hardcore with the closing credits of “The Man Who Came to Be Dinner” (S26:E10) so I guess the writers decided to give you more. I dig the Enterprise donut ship.
– Broadway Theater curtain opening announcing Poker Night… D’oh! Woo Hoo!… and it all opens with a new song parodying the classic West Side Story song “Tonight”. Homer is off to win at cards AND needs a watch extender for his chubby wrists. Lenny has apparatuses to improve his poker face and Carl can’t fit in his jeans. Moe plans on winning by spiking the Buzz Cola, pretzels, and chips. Barney comes in sober and eloquent while Moe writes additions to liquor bottles. GIN-gerale, Butter SCOTCH, and Not RUM lol. “It’s fun to trick a rummy, to put liquor in his tummy.” Barney hits the sauce and is back to his burping drunken self. Love the angel and devil Duffmen. Lisa is excited to post her demo for High Note Band Camp (“Memories, Mosquitos, Mozart!”) and the demo cracks me up with Bart mooning in the background. Bring on the ensemble singing about dreams coming true. Now let’s break the fourth wall as Moe doesn’t rehearse and closes with a rook instead of a Chess Castle to Lisa’s Heart, Homer’s Club and Lenny’s Diamond. Leave it to Moe to confuse a Spade and Chess.
– Homer’s off to poker night as we learn that Marge manages her hairdo by inflating it with air now. He has a book to help with the “super friendly” game. How To Crush Your Friends At Cards. Lisa just asks for a good night hug and the favor of Homer using the money he wins to send her to the best band camp this side of the Mississippi. Who cares that they don’t know which side Springfield is on. Homer is confident, he’s wearing his lucky t-shirt… Snoopy For President. “It was such a shame he lost to President Garfield.” Some may hate this joke but I laughed out loud.
– The game is at Moe’s and they even announce the illegal poker game with a sign. Gotta love Wiggum saying he’ll fix this only to make sure the sign is secured on all corners with tape. Homer, Barney, Carl, Moe, Laney, and Homer are all set for the game. Well, maybe not Lenny… his poker face gear basically makes him blind and he falls through the window. Laney and Moe apparently started dating after they met earlier. He has everything she looks for in a guy… “a current liquor license.” The license and Laney “are the two most precious, wrinkled, yellow things (he) know(s).”
– Homer has a full house and is sure he’s won the pot. Insert Inside/Out parody with Moleman as Sadness, CBG as Disgust, Ned Flanders as Joy, Milhouse as Fear, and Willy as Anger. Not gonna lie… CBG saying “Worst. Jammed In Movie Parody. Ever.” may have made the whole episode for me.
– Homer goes all in but Laney raises him five grand aka an Oscar she won for inventing cinematography when she “invented a new kind of steady cam mounted on a dog.” Homer sticks it out with an I.O.U. and loses to Laney’s four of a kind. Uh oh… he loses everything and being in the hole for 5K wasn’t how the night was supposed to go.
– Homer tries sneaking into the house but Marge recognizes the sounds of a non-successful gambler. The loss makes Marge shriek a whole new noise. Bart taunts Lisa that band camp is not a reality now and plays Lisa’s sax really well. Weird.
– Homer goes to the barflies for a plan. The reverse mortgage commercial probably isn’t a good idea but Moe’s plan to show Laney how crummy he lives with unhappy kids to engender sympathy just might work. “Finally my sucky life pays off.” Apparently Carl thinks the house smells like a basement and Lenny always hated his rugs. “He has such beautiful floors. Why must he hide them? Why?”
– Laney regales the family with Broadway stories at dinner. Homer is flattering ridiculously and trying to get sympathy, Bart is bored, and Lisa is enthralled. Lisa asks her to sing and joins in with her sax. Laney digs her chops. Lisa gushes and admits she has all of Laney’s albums: Laney Sings The Blues, Electric Laney Land, Laney Butchers The Beatles, and Rehab Yourself a Merry Little Christmas which is Lisa’s favorite. Laney offers to wipe the 5K debt clean if Marge lets Laney have Lisa for a month. Marge is not keen on the idea even if Lisa has “all the makings of a star… talent, smarts, and a star-shaped head.” Lisa begs for the chance since she can’t go to band camp and Marge gives in.
– Lisa is off to Hartford (The City Where Howard Stern Met Fred Norris) to stay with Laney in the Deadbolt Inn. Laney doesn’t feel like reading to Lisa and gives her showbiz advice instead. “Every piece of advice someone gives you will be wrong. Particularly wrong are people like me who seem knowledgable.”
– Practice begins at The Brass Spittoon for Laney’s one woman show… Laney Fontaine She’s Still Alive! Call To Confirm. Lisa meets her director, Chazz Busby (you may recognize him from many other episodes including the one with his own Ballet Academy, “Smoke On The Daughter”, S19:E15), “the man who’s ruined more productions than flu season.” Lisa passes her audition and forces a forty-year veteran out of their job. She’s made it in Hartford… Hooray?
– Bart helps Marge Skype Lisa but her daughter isn’t immediately available. Maybe she’s hanging out at all night discotheques? Bart’s learned a lot from Disco Stu… “He’s a resource, use him.” Lisa finally connects and her voice is all craggy from smoke and late-night rehearsals, she’s being watched by band members, and she’s got the munchies. Marge is worried and the family is headed to New York. Bart: “We should get a place there. We go there so often.”
– The Simpson family is off on Highway 202 to “New York City: As Seen On ‘The Today Show’.” We also get a glimpse of Broadway with great shows such as Candy Crush The Musical, Spider Pig Turn Off The Pork, Long Day’s Journey into the M&M Store, Lafayette The Musical, Hedwig and the Furious Foot. Lots of great classic ads from the show too. Lisa can’t believe she’s going to be performing on Broadway. The theater has six balconies and Milhouse already got his ticket in the top one.
Meanwhile, the Simpsons family runs out of gas because Homer didn’t realize their car wasnt an electric car. “Just because it got hit by lightning that one time doesn’t make it electric.” They’re stranded in Amish County (“You Shouldn’t Be Able To Read This Sign At Night” lol). In a weird coincidence, they happen upon the house of a Flanders, who recognizes their Springfield accents. Ned is his “ultra-liberal cousin” who has shamed the family with “his lip hair and two marriages.” Homer shames him more by mentioning Ned’s left-handedness… “Deliver Us From Evil.” Did you know there’s an Amish Grove in Flanders, New Jersey in real life? I bet Alissa did.
– Amish Flanders tows the Simpson car by horse and buggy. We get a bit of a discontinuity error as Lisa can be seen sitting in the back of the car. Seems a dumb mistake to make knowing the whole drive of this is the family going to rescue her from hedonistic Broadway. She’s just there for a second but jarring nonetheless. This episode lost me here btw. Homer asks to stop to “use the little bearded boys room” and rather than just tinkle on the side of the road, the industrious Amish rally to build a port-a-john. With God’s grace, a hole thirty hands deep will be enough.
– Laney, Lisa, and the gang are practicing. Laney is having trouble remembering lines and Chazz Busby laments turning down Transformer The Musical. “I was a Megatron-sized fool.”
– Fade to black and we see more of NYC. Itchy & Scratchy The Revival, Real Massage Parlor Only Sad Endings, Jay-Z Boy Chairs, Donut Hut and my favorite, a giant lighted sign saying Do Your Part To Conserve Energy. The Simpsons are headed to the show via Subway and it’s showtime. Chazz shows up with bad motivation. “Time to see if there’s still a spark left in that smoldering Duraflame Log you call a career.” Moe sweetly pops by with flowers. He’s not good at boosting self esteem but willing to fire his gun if she bombs to draw the attention of the critics. Leave it to Lisa to show up with signs saying “You’ll Be Swell” and “You’ll Be Great”… too bad they’re cue cards and not encouragement.
– Laney starts the show, they cheer for her getting words right, and the Simpson family tries to get in. It’s sold out but once Homer shows his union card, sarcastic Raphael, who works everywhere, has no choice but to be corrupt and let them in. Once inside, they realize Lisa is great and that letting her go with Laney was a good decision. “Letting our daughter go on the road with an 80-year-old diva and some sketchy Jazz guys was the best decision we ever made.” The show is a hit… close curtains and shoot confetti made with Playbills from Don King and I.
– Lisa’s been “bitten by the showbiz bug and when that happens only working with Bruce Willis can extinguish it.” Marge is ready to let Lisa go on with her dream and dejectedly leaves prepared to see Lisa when the show goes to Pittsville. Laney sees how much Marge misses her kiddo and fires Lisa because she got a bigger ovation. “Showbiz Lesson Number 7. Just when things are going great, they pull the rug right from under you.” Lesson proved by Laney’s show getting cancelled for not clearing the rights to one of the songs.
– Lisa goes home with her family. At least Laney still has Moe… $20 a minute Timeless Memories by the Brooklyn Bridge… old-fashioned crate car racing down a circular walkway… eating lunch on a construction beam a la the famous “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” photo… and running from a bunch of purple Elmos in Times Square… now that’s romance.
– Broadway Theater curtain opening announcing Inessential Tag… D’oh! Woo Hoo!… what curiously is my favorite segment of this while episode. Homer showing Amish Flanders how gaudy Ned’s house is. “A brass door knocker. Who lives here? Caligula?” Ned is excited to see his “cousin Jacob from Pennsyl-diddly-vania” and Jacob is disconcerted that Ned still uses “the Devil’s Diddly” and that his house is lit “by Edison’s witch lights.” Ned may over-diddly but is thankful that Homer showed him he committed the sin of Pride.
Ned: “That just makes me love you more.” (Both Flanders hug Homer)
Homer: “Oh God, I’m stuck in a Flanwich.”
Ned: “With side orders of love and forgiveness.”
My duaghter and I have quoted and laughed about this ending for a while now. While not the best Simpsons episode ever created, I enjoyed this one. I liked seeing Lisa get to live out her dreams and the Laney Fontaine character was much funnier given more time. Also nice to see Moe with somebody who matches his grizzle so well. Seeing perfect Ned judged by his Amish relatives is pretty funny too. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments and keep on being the classy tappers I know you to be.
TTFN… Wookiee out!