Well apparently we have a little series of Homer having emotional moments with his kids this week, since yesterday we got one all about him and Bart, and today we get some great Homer/Lisa stuff. No love for Maggie I guess. As usual.
And since this is an episode with Lisa in the title it of course opens on Bart and Milhouse wandering the town. They apparently have the day off from school for teacher conferences, which here means them getting drunk and riding roller coasters. Bart and Milhouse marvel at how weird Springfield is on a weekday morning, like seeing a sober Barney. But they actually start doing something when they come across a local joke shop, and pop in to look at the wares. Bart, for some reason, then asks the clerk for some stupid stuff to stick to his face to make him look goofy. He then buys a punch of plastic garbage, and starts sticking it to his face, only to find that it keeps falling off.
So this leaves Bart with no choice other than to head to the Nuclear Plant to ask Homer for help, I guess assuming that he would have glue? Well it was a good call, because Homer happens to have some amazing epoxy in his drawer. So Bart decks his face out and head home to show Marge, who will surely be psyched. Meanwhile, Marge and Lisa are getting ready to head to the museum to check out their special exhibit of Egyptian artifacts called the Treasures of Isis. But that plan is ruined when Bart shows up, and Marge finds the stupid stuff is stuck to Bart’s skin. And matters are just made worse when she reads the bottle of glue and finds that its warning reads “In case of ingestion, consult a mortician.”
Marge then races off with Bart to the doctor, desperate to get this glue off of him, while Lisa is left alone, her plans crushed. She tries to ask Marge to let her take the bus and go to the museum by herself, but Marge says that’s not okay with her. So logically Lisa does what every kid does, and calls Homer to see if she can get him to say yes instead. Homer’s pretty hesitant at first, but Lisa is able to trick him into saying yes when she presents the only other alternative as taking a limo. So Lisa heads out and hops on a city bus, receiving quite a culture shock. The driver is rude, the people riding are weird and don’t let her sit with them, and she’s just kind of ignored. But who cares, she’s on her way!
Unfortunately, as the bus continues its trek, she starts to notice something concerning. She isn’t recognizing anything. And the bus is getting progressively farther from Springfield. She finally asks the bus driver, and he lets her know that because of complicated bus schedules, she’s gotten on the wrong bus. He then for some reasons makes this lost little girl get out of the bus and strands her in the middle of goddamn nowhere. She then starts trying to make her way back to Springfield, and things don’t go well. She sees geese fighting and not showing her where north is, she sees Cleetus scooping up roadkill and only giving her a ride home if she sits with skunks, and comes across Area 51A.
Meanwhile, Marge and Bart are in the waiting room at Dr. Hibbert’s waiting to get the glue taken off when they see another boy with a faucet stuck through his head. But it turns out he was involved in a plumbing explosion, not playing with glue. Although it does lead to Marge’s amazing line, “That’s the kind of faucets I want for your bathroom.” But when that kid is gone Hibbert brings Bart and Marge in to let them know the only way to get it off is a series of painful injections into Bart’s spine. Except not really, turns out terror sweat is what was needed, so Bart’s fine now.
We also check in on Homer, who is having lunch with Lenny and Carl while ignoring the fact that Carl is wearing a pyramid hat. He apparently went to that Treasures of Isis exhibit, and thought it was awesome. Homer mentions that Lisa took the bus down there, and Lenny and Carl freak out, telling him that’s a terrible plan. Homer finally realizes that himself, and runs off to go save Lisa. Unfortunately that’s not going to go well, because she still hasn’t made it to the museum, and is now wandering around Little Russia, being confused at how violent the language is. Lisa finally gives up on the whole independence thing, and calls Homer for help, only to find him gone.
And that’s because he’s already made it to the museum, and has run through the whole exhibit, getting souvenirs and ice cream. But no Lisa. Homer then decides he needs to get a bird’s eye view of the city, which he accomplishes by bribing a guy with a cherry picker with balloons. Homer then raises the picker up as high as it can go, looking for his lost daughter. And it turns out Lisa has managed to get extremely close to the museum all by herself, because she’s just down the street. Homer tries to signal Lisa, but as soon as they’re aware of each other, Homer breaks something on the picker, and goes racing down a hill, unable to stop the machine.
Lisa chases after Homer, trying to figure out a way to save him while Homer’s busy with this amazing prayer: “I’m not normally a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save my Superman.” Luckily Homer is then saved, because the cherry picker ends up running into a nearby river, where his head is trapped between two parts of a bridge. So Homer is safe, and he and Lisa start making their way home. Lisa is immediately upset about the whole day, and tells Homer that she will never take another stupid risk in her life. Which makes Homer slam on the brakes, because he loves doing stupid risks, and he makes it his mission to teach Lisa about how great that can be.
And before seeing what stupid thing Homer wants Lisa to do, we briefly pop over to the house too see what Marge and Bart are up to and it’s great. Marge makes Bart go up and apologize to Lisa, who is of course not there, so Bart just talks to Lisa’s closed door, and ends up getting in an even bigger feud with her somehow. But after that we cut over to the museum, because it turns out Homer’s plan is to have them break into the museum to check out the Treasures of Isis. Which they easily do, letting them check out the artifacts. They look at everything, and take special notice of the Orb of Isis, a mysterious artifact no one knows anything about. Which of course leads to Homer knocking it off its pedicel, causing it to fall to the floor. But it turns out that’s a good thing, because the Orb is actually a music box that needed that little fall to activate. So the father/daughter pair listen to the music, put it back so no one will find out about their discovery, and head home, newly bonded while singing the Old Spice song.
I really like this episode, even though it’s a tad uneven. It kind of feels like two different episodes, Lisa thinking she can do something on her own and getting lost, and Homer teaching Lisa the importance of living her life. It’s not like they don’t gel at all, but when Homer shows up in the end of the second act it just kind of feels like it becomes a different episode. Yet both are good. I love seeing Lisa doing her best to prove that she’s a grownup, and can do things on her own, even though it leads to disaster. Plus everything that happens to her between getting booted off the bus and her finding Homer is amazing. And once Homer shows up the episode becomes really great. More often than not episodes that revolve around Lisa and Homer have Lisa teaching Homer something. But this is a rarity, because it’s all about Homer teaching Lisa a lesson. And kind of an important one. Lisa lives so much in her head, and plans everything out. But this episode teaches her that sometimes the real world is going to mess with your plans, and you’re going to have to fly by the seat of your pants. Something Lisa is not good at. And Homer actually teaches her that it’s a skill she needs to learn. Which was really sweet,
Take Away: You need to learn to do things on your own, and also learn to make stupid decisions and enjoy life. Oh, and don’t eat glue.
“Lost Our Lisa” was written by Brian Scully and directed by Pete Michels, 1998.