Lifetime of Simpsons

S11 E20 – Last Tap Dance in Springfield

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Hey everybody, are you ready to check out one of the rarest types of episodes there are? A Lisa episode that’s not about her being depressed or angry at her parents! Crazy!

The story starts off with the really lame joke of Homer watching some terrible TV show called the Cyborganizer, about a robotic administrative assistant. I guess it’s a Robocop joke? In 2000? Whatever, the story gets going when Marge comes in and notices that Homer’s sitting too close to the TV, and tells him that they’re going to the mall to get his eyes checked.

So the family head down to the mall and all split up. Homer goes to the optometrist and opts to just immediately get Lasik instead of getting glasses. Bart ditches Marge, since he was supposed to be getting camping supplies for some summer camp thing. And Marge and Lisa go watch some weird movie about sexy Tango dancing, along with every other single lady in Springfield.

And the movie really gets to Lisa. It’s about some sultry Latin dancer who has to find and train a beautiful woman to be his Tango partner. And he shockingly picks a bookish librarian named Lisabella, and teaches her to dance and be beautiful, which really clicks for Lisa, to the point that she leaves the movie wanting to learn how to dance.

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So they obviously take Lisa to a dance studio run by a woman named Lil’ Vicki Valentine, a Shirley Temple riff who used to be a child star in terrible movies. Marge and Lisa go into Vicki’s studio, and find that she isn’t offering anything as interesting as tango, just square dancing, ballroom dancing, and tap. And when Lisa says that she doesn’t want any of them, Vicki decides Lisa needs to be in tap, and signs her up.

And before we see how Lisa does at tap dancing, we check in on the Bart B-Plot. He and Milhouse get on the school bus, ready to go to summer camp, until Nelson announces he’s going to beat them up all week. So the two ditch the bus, and decide that instead of going home they should spend a week by themselves in the mall. Yeah, sure, let’s go with that. So they go to the mall, and when it’s ready to close they hide in the air vents, realizing that they have access to every store. They run around, eating candy and cookies and playing with toys, while leaving a huge mess of garbage in their wake. Which starts a weird Jaws parody, since the owner of the mall freaks out and calls the police, who think a giant rat is terrorizing the mall on President’s Day weekend.

But before we get back to mall-shenanigans, we go back to Lisa, and things aren’t going well. Because while all of the other girls, and Ralph, are doing great, Lisa’s doing terribly. She just can’t do it, keeps falling, and is getting incredibly frustrated, while Lil’ Vicki has no advice for her. Which makes Lisa decide she’s going to just give up and quit. Until she comes home and Homer and Marge start fawning over her. They’re apparently really proud that she’s doing something girly, and guilt her into keeping it up. Which is pretty shitty.

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Hey, let’s just finish off the Bart plot folks. We learn that the police have decided the only thing to do about the “rat” is to release a mountain lion into the mall to eat it. And after the first lion is killed immediately by a Loony Tunes anvil trap, they release a second one. And the lion quickly finds Bart and Milhouse, and begins chasing them around the mall, until they’re cornered. But Bart saves the day when he throws a ball of yarn at the lion, distracting it long enough for them to escape. And when the cops see the lion with a pink string in its mouth, they decide it found the rat, and call it a day.

But back to Lisa! She’s decided that Lil’ Vicki is a terrible teacher, and the only way to learn is to watch her old movies for pointers. Which also doesn’t work, and she continues to do terribly. To the point that Vicki won’t even let her participate in the recital, and makes her be the curtain puller. So Lisa’s depressed. Until Professor Frink shows up and tells her he has an invention that can help her. He’s taken a dancing beer can from the airport, and has designed some sort of self-dancing shoes that respond to sound. So Lisa can dance! Kind of!

So Lisa head back to the dance studio to tell Vicki she knows how to dance, but Vicki wants no part in it. She even goes so far as to participate in the recital herself when Ralph gets sick instead of letting Lisa dance. That’s cold. Anyway, the recital starts, and Homer and Marge are bummed that Lisa doesn’t seem to be dancing.

But as the recital begins, Lisa makes a discovery. The dancing shoes are still on, and she’s unable to control them! And as the other kid’s dancing gets louder, she ends up dancing onto the stage, copying them without trying. Which becomes a problem when Lil’ Vicki gets intimidated and starts a crazy dance-off. And when it’s over and everyone starts applauding, she just keeps going, her feet getting crazier and crazier. Until Homer’s a hero and trips her. There’s then a little wrap up where Professor Frink explains what he did, and they talk about believing in yourself. The end.

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This episode was certainly better than yesterday’s one, but it’s still not that great. I love Lisa episodes, but this one didn’t really do much for me. And I’m not really sure why. It’s like a lot of Lisa episode I love, where she’s kind of coming to terms with her limitations and trying to break them, but something about it just doesn’t click for me. Maybe it’s because she cheated with Frink’s little gadget? I don’t know. And it feels really strange that Marge and Homer make such a big deal about loving Lisa dancing, since it’s a girly thing to do. That’s weird. They’ve always been proud of her mind, and it just seems weird that they want Lisa to stop reading and dance. Plus, that Bart plot it dumb. Having it be a Jaws parody is kind of funny, but it was super half-baked and didn’t really even have that many jokes. I didn’t audibly groan during this episode, so it’s the best of the week so far! But it’s not one I really like.

Take Away: Don’t make your kids do stuff if they really don’t want to.

 

“Last Tap Dance in Springfield” was written by Julie Thacker and directed by Nancy Kruse, 2000.

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