Episode Recap: How Lisa Got Her Marge Back

Hey hey friends! Wookiee here and up to my usual antics with another episode recap for my favorite Addicts. This episode recap will cover Season 27, Episode 18: “How Lisa Got Her Marge Back”. 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. 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 apologize for the delay with all of these but consider it some fun for the break where there are no new episodes. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts. If you’re not used to the style, it’s basically stream of consciousness style while I watch the episode live. Paragraph breaks usually indicate new scenes. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing about it.


To start this off for accidental clickers who just prefer the synopsis, here’s what my DVR describes this one as: “When Marge takes Lisa to Capital City for a musical, the star tells Lisa how lucky she is to have a great mom; Bart comes up with a new plan to trick people.”  Now on with the recap.

Oooh… Homer is in The Homer which now can fly and Kirk Van Houten is advertising “Punch Me in the Stomach for $5 – Cash Only. In a fun role reversal, Skinner is writing “Never Lose a Bet to Bart Simpson” on the chalkboard and the couch gag is our favorite family coming out of astronaut hibernation pods in space. Seems it didn’t turn out too well for Homer.


The show starts in Guangdong Province, China where child assembly workers are slowly applying stickers to money grabbers. One in particular is running out of saliva and is prompted to use his tears instead. Of course that box proclaiming a million laughs courtesy of one Yoink! winds up in the hands of none other than Bart Simpson. A money grabber is basically just a string you attach to a dollar to trick people. “Oh China, is there nothing that can’t be made in you?” Bart is ready for some hijinks in the town square but unfortunately for him, the folks of Springfield are wise to the gag. I blame the tears. Moleman notices the trick after his glasses fall off. He doesn’t need them. Cletus says even a “backwoods, no account, inbred, lead paint eating, kerosene huffing, roadkill chomping, ummm, what was my point” sort of person can identify a “fishing line on a dollar bill prank.” Kirk Van Houten also recognizes it even if he really could use the dollar and/or fishing line. Funny that he’d rather be punched in the stomach. Bart’s prank fails and Milhouse is off to get new school clothes but it’s not a total waste as Bart thinks he’s found a quarter only to be pranked by Jughead and the Archie gang from Riverdale sans Archie. Archie is dead and the group mourns him.


It’s Thursday night and Homer is watching football. There’s a fun send up of the NFL being in London with Heathrow Airport, traffic to Wembley Stadium, Mary Poppins and Bert meeting Cleatus the NFL Football Robot, Paddington Bear and Pooh watching Da Bears amorously, and a coach being doused with hot tea. “If these U.K. clichés are any indication, we’re in for one gob smacking match.” Bart goes to his dad worried about no one falling for his pranks but Homer can only let his son know to prepare for a life of disappointments before going back to watching.

The next day, Homer has missed breakfast courtesy of his late night football watching. He makes his own by pouring Krusty’s Maple Syrup into a box of Krusty’s Pancake Mix and the microwaving it. It’s one of those cartoon science things you just don’t question. Lisa appears excited that she’s been “working on a new solo jazz piece.” Marge offers to listen but Homer runs off to work but not before leaving a new superfan to hear her “lay down your licks.” Snowball in a beret and beatnik glasses is funny. 12 minutes later, Lisa gets the encouragement she wanted from her mom but it doesn’t seem Marge is too into it. Even Maggie plugged her ears with pacifiers.

Bart meanwhile is in the lunchroom at school determined to get his pranking mojo back but even Ralph doesn’t fall for the old salt in the napkin dispenser routine. There may be “a Ralph born every minute” but this Ralph is only interested in running through walls and eating wall licorice.

Homer comes home from work with flowers. “Nothing says I’m sorry better than flowers except for fundamental behavioral change but you can’t buy that at the supermarket.” Lisa has added some variations to her solo. While she’s off to fix her bent reed, Marge tells Homer how she can’t stand jazz, even when Lisa plays it. Unfortunately, Lisa overhears this. Santa’s Little Helper blows on the saxamaphone only to get encouragement from Marge. Poor Lisa, she’s a sad little horn blower.

Marge is enjoying a glass of wine in bed with Homer. He didn’t realize they had so much in common by both disliking jazz. Marge doesn’t like scat singing either. Lisa is outside the door to their bedroom hearing it all. Lisa confronts her mom for the years of lying. It doesn’t get any better when Marge admits she didn’t even know Lisa was playing “My Funny Valentine” that morning. “Wouldn’t expect you to get it. So busy juggling three children that you don’t even notice when one is hanging by a thread. A THREAD YOU JUST CUT FOREVER!” Marge is very sorry but Lisa is so mad she doesn’t willingly take her mom’s hug and calls her Marjorie. Ouch. Homer tries to make her feel better by pointing out that Bart calls him Homer but she replies that is out of disrespect. “Dis-respect? Is that a word?” Marge is lamenting the rift between them and flashes back to giving Lisa her pearls on the first day of school. What if they aren’t friends anymore? Homer replies that it’s his job to be friends with the kids and gets permission to take Bart to an R-rated movie with elf boobs. Homer texts Bart to let him know “Genghis Mom said ‘Yes’!!!”

Bart is sad and throwing the pranks from his Box o’ Fun away including his whoopee cushion and a can of Peanut Brittle with “coiled wire spring(s) covered by a snake-patterned vinyl sheath” inside.

Marge and Lisa are out front heading off for a weekend of fun in Capital City to make them friends again. Lisa is so mad at her mom, she didn’t even bring her sax. Marge send sher off to get it while the Airport Shuttle arrives driven by none other than Raphael. Lisa and Marge are off to Capital City and Homer is left with Bart and Maggie at home. Bart is sad but Homer attempts to cheer him up by having him watch Maggie. Homer then runs off to chase an ice cream truck, errr, the spay and neuter van. Only Jebus knows why it was playing a melodic version of “How Much is that Doggie in the Window.”

Bart discovers that having a little sister (“it helps that you don’t say anything”) is fun. He can do yoyo tricks with her, dress together in clothes to ride a rollercoaster at Krustyland, keep Baby Gerald from stealing her rabbit, and even use her to prank Rod and Todd Flanders by dangling her as an angel. Bart the prankster is back!

Lisa and Marge are off on a Dream Tour of Capital City. The Crime Tour leaves twenty minutes later btw. In Cap City, even the hot dog vendors are anything but ordinary. The tour guides wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up in one of the city’s Broadway caliber shows like “Stinky Boots”, “You’re a Good Witch, Broomhilda”, “Cheney, Get Your Gun”, “Riddler on the Roof”, or “Jesus Christ Supercar”. Marge is off to search for a show to “calm down that little yellow pill. Other plays seen are “Rats”, “Guys Guys”, “Monty Python Spamilton”, “Paul Blart Mall Cop The Musical”, “G.I. Jane The Musical”, and “Men in Black The Musical.” Also some jokes at the expense of contestants on American Idol. Sanjaya plays an alien in one of them. Marge ends up picking a musical version of “The Bad News Bears.” Lisa isn’t too thrilled. “Is there nothing so beautiful that they won’t keep exploiting til it’s worthless.” This said while the screen flashes “Simpsons Season 17 DVDs Still on Sale!!!” LMBO. Marge states the tickets were expensive so Lisa is taking her even if Marge is dead and gives her some beatnik cucumber earrings that are playing saxes. Lisa claims she really isn’t in to jewelry and we notice she’s no longer wearing her pearls. Uh oh. Lisa is really hurt about her mom lying about liking her thing (jazz). Marge and Lisa are crying and neither consoles the other. Sad.


Bart is pranking at the Rich Texans Quinceañera Store. Gil is doing well in the quinceañera game but while Bart checks out the tiaras, he leaves Maggie with Gil. Maggie gets dropped and shatters on the florr because it was just a ceramic replica. We now know that every time Gil gets a job he drops a baby. Makes sense to me.

Lisa and Marge are at the Bad News Bears Musical Starring Andrew Rannells (Google Him! You’ll Be Impressed). The divide between mother and daughter is still present. The show is appropriately awful but amazing in a Simpsons sort of way. Marge loves the musical but Lisa is unimpressed. Wonder what this says about society?


Lisa has to admit her mom has the bad taste of a mom. After daydreaming about mothering herself in which an older version of herself tells her to quit complaining and pretend she likes it, she takes the advice. I love the end with the giant Walter Matthau and the ensemble being trapped in a giant baseball glove as set pieces for “Avenue Q”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, the “Ziegfeld Follies of 1936”, and “King Kong Live from Skull Island” fall down instead of the stagehand releasing them. As Lisa and Marge exit the theater, they encounter none other than Andrew Rannells (from “The Book of Mormon, not the fat guy). He invites himself to join them for an “after show gnosh at the Penny Loafer.”


Bart is giving Maggie a haircut just like his. She looks so cute. It’s all part of a prank on Homer. Maggie’s bottle is glued to the floor and Homey can’t help Bart Junior. He falls and catches his head on fire. Thankfully Bart keep his dad from strangling Maggie. Bart gets strangled instead for turning the sweet little baby into a YOU. “Bart, you’re a great kid but if I had another one like you I’d hang myself from a highway overpass. Please give your sister the precious gift of not being you.” Bart agrees and the haircut is fixed easily by fluffing Maggie’s Hair. Bart’s hair can also be changed with fluffing into Maggie’s style as well as Sideshow Bob’s. I recommend watching this scene just for the nice touch of the fire slowly going out on Homer’s head. It’s that attention to detail which sometimes amazes me in this show.

Lisa, Marge and Andrew are at The Penny Loafer (If you stole our giant penny please return it). I really would love this restaurant in TSTO. It’s a tourist trap without celebrities but there’s plenty of pics on the wall just like the real life Brown Derby. Lisa admits her mom keeps trying to fix things between them even if it illustrates their differences and always sees the best in everything which is amazing considering she “has a husband who randomly shows up to work, a son who God bless him is probably heading for the chair,” and as Andrew Rannells points out, “an ungrateful little girl who ignores her mother’s frantic attempts at reconciliation and tells family secrets to a total stranger. A total stranger ‘The New York Times’ calls a charming presence.” Lisa doesn’t think Andrew knows her at all but realizes hardly anyone likes jazz, so why should her mom, and daydream adult Lisa agrees with seeing the other side which makes you wrong. Lisa hugs her mom, puts back on her pearls (which were hidden in her hair), and Marge apologizes for expressing her sincere feelings. The three head outside and Andrew pays a grifter twenty bucks for the use of his sax. We’re then treated to an amazing Lisa solo of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl.” There’s more musical and cinematic appearances, the city has a Statue of Liberty-esque monument featuring the Goofball, “That little turd can play” and sing, and Marge and Lisa hug at the end of it. Life is again the way it should be.

The last little scene is Marge and Lisa on the Crime Tour. There’s a liquor store that was the epicenter of riots that never stopped and a high rise where a senator was shot mid-air as he plummeted to his death. Best. Trip. Ever. and the two hug again. Next we see Lisa (sax), Martin (cello), Database (xylophone), and Milhouse (kid’s piano thingy) head into Bart’s treehouse to play some jazz. While the music plays, Homer takes three recycle bins full of empty Duff bottles to the curb along with Grampa in a recliner and Marge takes away Maggie’s toy sax, tosses it into a fourth bin of bottles Homer is lugging, while seeming to actually enjoy the music. The end.

This episode was one of those ones I didn’t dig a lot on the first watch but really enjoyed the second time. I think it had to do with being upset over the disintegration of the relationship between Lisa and Marge. I’ve said it before, but I like seeing them in the forefront of an episode. I’m a big fan of musicals so I really liked all the jokes in this one. I’m not sure what final grade this one gets but the story was heartfelt and enjoyable. If you don’t know who Andrew Rannells is, definitely google him if you like musicals. He’s very talented and now has a Simpsons credit on his idmb page. What did you think of the episode? Anything in particular that struck your fancy? Sound off in the comments. I’ll be back with more recaps soon.

TTFN… Wookiee out!

5 responses to “Episode Recap: How Lisa Got Her Marge Back

  1. Who are these people filming us without our permission?! Marge, someone’s filming our kids!!! And it’s not Moe

  2. Your catching up Wookie! Thanks for the recap 🙂 I am excited for Season 28. Fat Tony is to return or Fit Fat Tony for all you nit-pickers!

  3. Reading your post was better then watching the actual episode.

  4. (Copy and pasted from my comment in the Episode Reminder)

    1. I found myself not so much enjoying the episode as much as I was scrutinizing it for new characters and (nonTapped-Out) regulars. Lots of building and items they can use in the game, almost thought they were created not so much for the show and the episode, as they were for the game.

    2. Broadway event seems Very plausible because of this Capitol City Theater district.

    3. G.I.Jane musical was funny because I’ve been hunting for Army/Millitary stuff for a Muse event idea but I am going to wave the white flag and leave that up to Wookie (his ideas and personal experiance would be so much better than my reluctancy to wish for things that might be cool, but I don’t really want so much anymore)

    4. The picture of the “celebrity” I originally thought it was a Simpsonized Chris Colfer ( the kid from GLEE). (In all honesty that might have been a better approach).

    5. Sherry Bobbins (or actress portrayal) cameo, the number of UK jokes (I kept thinking “OMG, too bad Lee and Brooders can’t see this right now”), and Maggie getting some added screen time were the highlights (with Raphael as an honorable mention)…. [I wrote this before the United Kingdom turned into the Divided Kingdom, welcome to the club just like the U.S.A. has been the Divided States of America] :p

    6. Wonder if Gil will ever get to be a full character in the game and have a “Drop Baby” task, which is his explination as to why he always gets fired (and here I thought he was just lousy at his job).

    7. Yet the Lisa/Marge story just seemed Meh (I almost want to cry and whine about it like Lisa did in this episode) and Bart failing at pranking felt sad and weak (can’t say “meh” more like “umm, maybe next episode he’ll have a decent storyline”)

    8. In Summary all the Buildings/decorations and fresh character appearances were better than both the plot and sub plot. So not sure if this was an episode fail or an ADHD win.

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