Hey everybody, have you ever seen Evita? I did a couple months ago, and it’s a pretty interesting musical. The music is a tad dated, but it’s an interesting story. Did you ever think that we would get an episode of the Simpsons that was a parody of it? I sure didn’t!
The episode starts off with the Simpsons and everyone else in town heading to the Elementary School because they’re having some sort of fundraising casino night. Everyone is pretty excited, especially Marge what with her gambling addiction, and it turns out to be a pretty fun night. Which is going well for Martin, who came up with the whole thing as part of the duties of his role as student body president.
However, it quickly becomes evident that there was a bit of a miscommunication when this event was announced, because no one seems to realize that they aren’t actually winning money. It’s all just for fun, and to give the school money. That seems rather obvious, but the idiots of Springfield use this realization as a justification to have a good old-fashioned riot, tearing the school apart and probably causing much more damage than the fundraiser had raised.
So that didn’t end well. And the aftermath causes Skinner to request that Martin resigns as student president. And that void leaves room for a new election, and Lisa decides that she should sign up as a candidate. Oh, and so does Nelson. That’s right folks, the Simpsons just proposed an election between a brainy woman who can get things done and a loud moron with bad hair. The writers are legitimate soothsayers.
Anyway, the two children begin campaigning and trying to convince the other students to vote for them, culminating in a debate. Lisa is pretty worried about the debate, but decides to go with Marge’s advice to just be herself. Unfortunately the students don’t really like Lisa and her platform of reform and actual goals, and just like Nelson making muscles and avoiding answering any questions. Seriously folks, this is ridiculous.
But in the face of defeat, Lisa decides to throw a hail mary, and begins singing a song to the kids about how great she will be to the school, to the tune of a song from Evita. The kids immediately love the song, and therefore, Lisa, and she’s elected in a landslide, becoming the president of Springfield Elementary. However, this concerns the school establishment (Skinner, the teachers, Willie, and Superintendent Chalmers) and they decide to curb Lisa’s powers, fearing that she’ll actually get things done.
And the best way to do that, they assume, is to get her distracted with a make-over. They bring her to the teacher’s lounge, sing a song, and get her all made-up, becoming Eva Peron. And the kids love it. They start worshipping her, and she adores the admiration. Which works well for the teachers, who decide to keep making Lisa do ridiculous photo-ops instead of actually getting her ideas passed, like bettering the teachers. So their plan is going swimmingly.
But their real master-stroke is when they have Lisa sign some stuff papers that they say gives her access to the study hall whenever she wants, but is actually some sweeping changes that will eliminate art, gym, and music from the school. Which seems crazy. A student body president needs to sign off on this sort of massive change? Whatever, it gave the school establishment a good scapegoat to blame all of these events on when the kids inevitably get pissed that their favorite classes are cut.
So the kids hate Lisa now, and she’s realized that she’s been made a pawn. She gets rid of her fancy clothes and hair, and goes back to being normal, trying to convince the kids that this wasn’t her fault. And she does this by convincing the children to go on a school-wide strike to show everyone how much they hate that these classes got cut. And the strike goes great. It starts getting media attention, Skinner and Chalmers are pissed, and they even get the police to join the strike when they come to break it up.
So that plan backfired. Skinner and Chalmers are pissed about the strike, and they realize that they need to do something about Lisa. She’s just too charismatic. And their best plan is to send Lisa away to a magnate school, because she’s too smart for this school. So Lisa ends the strike, gets on a bus, delivers a sweet song to the children of Springfield Elementary, and heads to the fancy new school. Well, that is until Homer shows up and tells her that this school is too far away, and brings her back. Apparently that fixed everything though, because the episode is over, and a little text epilogue informs us that everything went back to normal.
What a weird episode. I’m kind of shocked that the plot of “Lisa becomes president of the student body” hadn’t been sued before, and I think it’s a great premise. But the idea to take that idea, and make it a weird reference to Evita? That’s just bizarre. The plot of Evita doesn’t even really line up that well! It’s just kind of random. And the ending is nonsense. Lisa leaving the school ends the protest, but then she goes back the school and it doesn’t just keep going? I don’t know. I guess they couldn’t figure out how to end the episode, and just let it end while some text told us that everything ended up okay. But there are some good parts too. The songs were all pretty great, and even though I didn’t talk about him, there were some amazing Willie stuff in this episode. He’s just completely unhinged and steals the art-room to cook food in and is referred to as an escaped serial killer. He’s pretty fun. And then there’s the weird fact that parts of this episode became a pretty fantastic metaphor for the 2016 presidential election, which is insane. But overall the episode just felt too weird to me. It wasn’t bad; it’s just kind of baffling.
Take Away: It’s hard for an intelligent and qualified woman to beat a loud and stupid man.
“The President Wore Pearls” was written by Dana Gould and directed by Mike B Anderson, 2003.