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September 2, 2015

The Simpsons: Lisa's Rival

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 8th 2006 11:25AM

simpsonsDo not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S06E02) In this episode, actress Winona Ryder guest stars as Alison, a new student in Lisa's class. Actually, "actress" isn't the right word. I think of Winona Ryder less as an actress and more as the one perfect entity through which all of Creation calibrates itself. I totally have a thing for her, that's what I'm saying.

Anyway, the episode starts off with Lisa trying to practice her saxophone but being yelled at everywhere she goes. Bart drives her away by kicking her wall, and when she tries to practice in the garage, Homer tells her to cut it out because he's trying to fix Marge's camera (with a hammer and a drill). Meanwhile, Marge is lost in her smutty book titled Love in the Time of Scurvy, and gets angry when Lisa's playing brings her out of her fantasy. There's a great moment during Marge's fantasy when she asks the rugged yet oddly effeminate sailor if his earring means he's a pirate. Implying he might have tastes that stretch beyond just women, he answers, "kind of." The moment is funny, but what I found especially hilarious about it is that Marge is just as naive in her fantasies as she is in real life.

When Lisa finally gets to school she finds out a new kid named Alison has come to her class. Alison soon proves herself to be Lisa's intellectual equal, and perhaps even smarter than Lisa. Naturally, Lisa becomes jealous, which becomes even more difficult for her when she realizes Alison is actually a decent person who's as much of an outsider as Lisa. When the school announces a diorama competition, she enlists Bart to help her sabotage Alison's project, a representation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Bart is more than qualified for mischief, as he recently got Milhouse on America's Most Wanted, which leads to a hilarious moment where federal agents storm the playground to try and capture Milhouse. Later, the dam scene from The Fugitive is recreated, with Milhouse plunging into the mist below and then moaning, "my glasses!"

Meanwhile, in one of my favorite Simpsons subplots ever, Homer and Bart find an overturned sugar truck on the highway and Homer gets the bright idea to steal the sugar and sell it. He insists his inflated price is worth it, even though real sugar can be purchased at the store and doesn't have metal and broken glass in it. Homer insists those are prizes. Later in the episode, while guarding his sugar pile he goes off on a rant about how the sugar will make him both an object of ridicule and envy in the town of Springfield. The Simpsons is typically rather conservative when it comes to how the characters are animated, but this moment breaks a lot of those rules as Homer twists and jerks and even goes off-model a few times. It's a nice departure, and it fits the moment perfectly.

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Jeremy's...iron. Classic.

June 08 2006 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ahh, a great episode. Contains an line often quoted in my family:
"First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women"

June 08 2006 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode also contains what might just be the best Ralphism ever "I bent my wookie"
And a close runner-up "My cat's breath smells like cat food."

June 08 2006 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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