We’ve had a very uneven week here on Lifetime of Simpsons. It’s basically alternated between pretty solid episodes and more or less garbage episodes. But yesterday we had some garbage, so that means we get to end the week on a high note. Relatively speaking, at least.
The episode starts off with Homer waking up and noticing a string around his finger, trying to remind him that he needs to remember something. But he has no idea what he’s supposed to remember. Although that seems to be solves when Marge marches in and tells him that he needs to get ready for some sort of senior citizen Olympics that Grandpa is participating in. Homer seems aghast that this is something he has to do, but he goes along with it. And just as he leaves he misses a phone-call from Moe, trying to remind him that it’s his birthday and they’re supposed to go fishing. Whoops.
So the family head down to the Senior Olympics and hang out with Grandpa before the events begin, where Grandpa reveals that he participated in the 1936 Olympics where he tried, and failed, to assassinate Hitler. We also learn that Lisa is trying, and failing, to write some sort of school report on an interesting citizen in Springfield, and she’s hoping that she’ll find one here. But she doesn’t, because we mainly just get a bunch of goofy sight-gags from old people.
We get to see weird things like the Crazy Old Jewish Man jumping off the high-dive and gliding down to the water like a flying squirrel. We also get to see Moleman absolutely dominating every event because he’s gotten some sort of robotic prosthetic legs. But the really important event is a race, which Grandpa ends up winning because Willie tries to return Grandpa’s dentures to him, and ends up resembling the Grim Reaper, giving Grandpa more initiative to run faster. Huzzah!
Once the Olympics are over the family head back home, proud of Grandpa’s accomplishments, when they realize what Homer forgot. Because Moe is sitting in front of their house, depressed. So they sneak into the house, and spend the rest of the day trying to avoid Moe, until Moe just gives up and throws a brick through their window with a note. The note is super depressing, but when Lisa reads it she decides that it’s really poetic and beautiful.
So Lisa runs out of the house to catch Moe before he leaves, and tells him that he has a deep soul, and that she wants to make him the subject of her “interesting person” paper. Moe is pretty shocked about that, but he’s down for it, and invites Homer and Lisa over to his depressing apartment in a disgusting hotel. They head into Moe’s apartment, and find that he’s littered the walls with random sticky notes of angry and depressing thoughts. Lisa decides that this is poetry, and helps Moe arrange all of the notes to make a powerful poem that she titles “Howling at a Concrete Moon.”
Lisa assumes that this will make the perfect cap to her essay, and she even asks Moe to come into class with her when she turns in the paper. Moe reads the poem to the kids, and they are completely baffled. Lisa even gets a bad grade for her paper, which seems harsh. But Lisa doesn’t care, she’s convinced that she’s found a talented new poet, and she convinces Moe to submit his poem to some sort of quarterly poetry magazine.
We then get to see the editor of the poetry magazine, who is just J Jonah Jameson, and who decides to put Moe’s poem on the cover. So Moe’s a published poet now, and instantly becomes a huge deal. So much so in fact that Moe gets a call from Tom Wolfe, inviting him to some prestigious literary festival in Vermont called WordLoaf. Lisa is shocked that Moe got invited to the conference, and Moe decides to go, as long as she accompanies him.
So Moe and the Simpsons drive up to Vermont just in time for the swanky literary festival to begin. And they’re instant hits. Moe gets to meet Tom Wolfe, and ends up getting a lot of people to listen to him during a cocktail party. They even find him witty and charming, when he’s not trying to be. However, he runs into a speed bump when he intimates that he got help creating his title. And the authors are horrified. Even though Gore Vidal explained that he stole all of his titles. So Moe decides to lie and say that he completely created his poem, cutting the credit from Lisa.
We then cut to some sort of panel discussion moderated by Tom Wolfe, which is comprised of Jonathan Franzen, Michael Chabon, and Moe. We get to see Chabon and Franzen have a squabble that devolves into a fistfight, when Lisa decides to take down Moe. She asks a question to him about any help he received from other people. But Moe just doubles down, and insists that he’s a genius who did everything himself, further twisting the knife in her back.
So Lisa’s pissed and she heads back to the cabin that the family is staying in to mope. But while she’s being depressed Moe shows up, and asks her to help him write a new poem for the keynote lecture he’s giving. But Lisa remains steadfast and refuses to help him. Moe storms off to try and write his own poem, which is eaten by geese, and Lisa continues to be in a funk. Which is when Homer and Bart show up, and decide that they need to get revenge on Moe for treating Lisa poorly.
The final night of the conference then appears, and Moe gets up to give the closing speech, where he recites his poem. Which turns out to just be random things he read in his hotel room. And people are not pleased. So Moe decides to do the right thing, and quickly comes up with a little poem about how much he appreciates Lisa. She’s deeply moved, and forgives Moe, just in time for Homer and Bart to spring their revenge. Fortunately it’s dumping a bunch of maple syrup on Moe, and it moves so slowly that they just get out of the way. So Moe and the Simpsons leave the festival, never to discuss poetry again as Chabon and Franzen continue to beat the hell out of each other.
There’s something about this episode that I like quite a bit. I’m typically a fan of Moe, and while I wasn’t really on board with that episode that was about Moe bonding with Maggie, I really liked Moe bonding with Lisa. I was a fan of Moe becoming a poet, because that dude has a pretty rough life, and I truly believe that art helps suffering, so I think it stands to reason that Moe has some art in his soul. And I think it’s a fantastic idea that Moe needed Lisa’s help to discover his abilities. They make a hell of a team. And another thing that I really like about the episode is that it’s basically one of those episodes full of cameos, but they decided to do literary icons that most people probably wouldn’t know the voices of. Hearing Tom Wolfe, Jonathan Franzen, and Michael Chabon on the Simpsons was actually a lot of fun. Too bad they didn’t get the possibly real voice of Thomas Pynchon to pop in.
Take Away: Expressing yourself artistically is a good way to help the pain in your soul, but if you get help from someone, you should credit them.
“Moe’N’a Lisa” was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Matt Kirkland, 2006.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons