Last week we got a surprising amount of solid episodes here on Lifetime of Simpsons. And you know what? That’s kind of repeated this week. Nothing too spectacular, but nothing too objectionable either. And that’s all started off with today’s episode, which was actually a whole lot of fun to me. Let’s get to it.
The episode starts off with the really weird scene of the Simpsons, and basically everyone else in Springfield, going to the Church for the funeral for Homer’s Vegas wife Amber. Yep, Amber’s apparently dead, and people care. But not Bart. He’s being a complete asshole through the whole funeral, making noises and fidgeting around until he takes out one of those paddle-balls, and ends getting the ball stuck in Reverend Lovejoy’s throat, causing an insane gag where people keep getting the Heimlich maneuver and then bouncing right into someone else’s throat. It goes on a long time.
And this behavior really starts to bother Marge, especially when everyone starts judging her parenting skills. But this time she actually wants to do something about Bart, and decides to go to a psychiatrist who specializes in children to get Bart some help. Homer assumes that they’ll just drug the hell out of Bart, but the therapist has a different plan. He’s going to give Bart a drum kit, figuring that this will use the abundant energy he has, while also teaching him the patience he needs.
So Bart starts playing the drums, and almost immediately he gets really great at it. Bart spends all of his time playing the drums, getting increasingly better until we’re treated to a really great sequence. It’s a parody of the White Stripe’s video of Hardest Button to Button, with Bart traveling around town drumming like it’s a stop-motion video, until he runs into the actual White Stripes, who are doing the same thing. They crash into each other, and have a fun chase sequence through drumming. It’s fun.
However, while Bart is having a blast, Homer and Marge are not. They’re slowly being driven mad by the incessant drumming, and are starting to crack. Which Lisa picks up on, so she decides to do them a solid and offers to take Bart with her to some jazz club she goes to. So Lisa and Bart go to some place called Jazzy Goodtime’s, which is some sort of jazz club/restaurant where kids are allowed to go up on stage and play. Because that’s what you want to see, a bunch of suburban white kids playing jazz.
Lisa even encourages Bart to go up onto stage with her and play some music together. They have a great time, and do really great. Which is proven when afterwards two real jazz musicians come up to them to tell them how much they enjoyed their set. But Lisa is completely baffled and crushed when the musicians ask Bart to play with them, and they don’t ask her. Bart accepts, and ends up playing so great with them that they ask him to join their trio, and even give him his own jazz nickname, Tick Tock.
And Lisa is furious. Everyone else seems really proud of Bart, but she’s so profoundly jealous. She even has to teach Bart about the jazz world, which he has now usurped from her. Lisa is so depressed at Bart’s success that Marge decides to do something about it, and takes Lisa to get a new pet. They go to a pound, and Lisa ends up picking some cute little puppy instead of some beat up old dog with a lot of issues.
Which was a bad call, because that night Lisa has a nightmare about the sick dog showing up and telling her that he’s going to die now because she chose the cute dog. So the next day Lisa goes back to the pound, apparently gives back the cute dog, and ends up adopting the sick one. And, sensing a sucker, the pound end up also giving her a little bulldog and a bird that no one else wanted. So now Lisa has a pack of unwanted pets, and she begins wandering the town, picking up more and more sad animals, like a raccoon, a blind guy’s dog, and some sad circus animals.
But Lisa can’t keep this weird menagerie in the regular parts of the house, so instead she brings them all up to the attic, assuming that they’ll be fine there. Which they aren’t. They quickly begin making a bunch of noises, and Lisa heads up to the attic to quiet them. Unfortunately when she gets up there she finds Bart and the other two members of his trio up there, apparently smoking weed, and not paying attention to the animals. Lisa spooks everyone, and a tiger that was up there ends up biting Bart’s arm.
Bart is brought to the hospital, for a tiger bite, and Dr. Hibbert tells him that he’ll never be able to drum again without some massively expensive surgery. Meanwhile, Lisa has to get rid of all of those crazy animals, but she’s told that if she doesn’t get rid of them in 24 hours, they’ll all be put down. So no one is doing particularly well. But Bart is trying to do something about his predicament, by going back to the club and asking his trio members to help him. And they actually have a good idea. Have a benefit concert.
So they quickly set up a benefit concert to get Bart the $78,000 he needs for the surgery, and he’s having a hell of a time being the center of attention. He even ignores Marge’s suggestion that he help out Lisa with her animal project, figuring that his drumming was more important. However, that doesn’t last long, because Bart ends up feeling some empathy towards Lisa, and the night of the concert he announces that he’s not going to get the surgery, and instead is going to give the money to Lisa to form the Lisa Simpsons Home for Abandoned Animals. So everything ended up good, Bart isn’t a drummer anymore, but none of the animals will get put down, and everything goes back to normal.
There are obviously some issues with the episode, such as the ridiculous idea that Lisa kept a tiger in her attic and it attacked a stoned Bart, but overall I enjoy the episode. I really like the idea of Bart focusing all of his assholery into some musical ability, and I think the idea of him becoming a drummer is pretty great. Bart really finds a passion, and I like seeing him do that. I also love the idea of him and Lisa sharing a passion, only for Bart to get more success at her. I love Lisa, and I think one of the defining attributes about her is that she’s a bit of a sad sack. Bad things tend to happen to Lisa, and she rises above them. So I love the idea of Bart getting more success at jazz than she ever did almost immediately. That just seems right. And I also adore that she didn’t then try to get revenge, and spoil Bart’s success, instead she tries to find a new passion, and Bart ends up helping her. That’s just kind of great, all across the board. Makes up for the tiger mauling that they just kind of breeze over.
Take Away: You should just love the things that you’re passionate about, don’t worry so much about how well other people are doing at that passion.
“Jazzy and the Pussycats” was written by Daniel Chun and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2006.