Howdy everyone, and welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And it’s a very mediocre week ahead of us. We’re going to get to Season 21, but other than that it’s pretty unremarkable. And we start off with today’s episode, a largely forgettable episode that does feature an obnoxious song that has been stuck in my head for days. Things are getting dire.
The episode starts off with Mage going out for a jog, when she’s stopped by a guy handing out a new drink called Science Water. It’s just Vitamin Water, but the Simpsons clearly thought that it wasn’t going to be a successful enterprise, so it’s just a lot of mockery. And once Marge has chugged several bottles she realizes she has to pee, and begins racing around town, desperate to find a bathroom she can use that doesn’t require being a customer.
Marge has several failed attempts, but finally finds a viable bathroom when she passes the Elementary School. She runs in, pees, and decides to just wander around and check out the school. And she is not pleased. The school is rundown, every classroom seems incredibly over-crowded, Mrs. Krabappel is straight up asleep, and Ms. Hoover is having Ralph teach the class because she reached tenure and can’t be bothered anymore.
So Marge of course storms into Principal Skinner’s office to yell at him about how crappy the school is. And Skinner doesn’t really care, he’s too busy drinking scotch. He ensures her that since it’s a crappy public school in a bad part of the district, there really isn’t anything that will change. So Marge just has to head home, still fuming about this revelation.
However, that night they find a solution. Because while Milhouse is staying over for dinner he mentions that he has a cousin who goes to another school in the district, but in the rich part of town called Waverly Hills, and it’s amazing. So, seeing no other solution, Homer and Marge decide that they should rent a small apartment in the Waverly Hills area so that Bart and Lisa could start going to school there instead of at Springfield Elementary.
Homer then goes to wander around Waverly Hills with Cookie Kwan, trying to find the absolute worst and cheapest apartment that Waverly Hills has to offer. They see several terrible ones, but end up settling on a miniscule studio apartment that has a Murphy bed that won’t fully pull out and no bathroom. So, Homer signs the paperwork, and he and Marge head over to the Waverly Hills city hall to fill out the necessary paperwork to get Bart and Lisa enrolled.
But they hit a slight snag. Because they find out that people try this scam a lot, so at some random time they’re going to be visited by an inspector to ensure that Bart and Lisa are actually living in the area. And to make matters worse the inspector is apparently Anton Chigurh. So, until the inspector actually shows up, they decide to have Homer live in the terrible apartment, ready to spring into action whenever he shows up.
That doesn’t really affect Bart and Lisa though, who get to go to their new school. And it’s intense. It’s got everything the kids could want, including stables and real meat in the cafeteria. They do run into a slight problem when Principal Skinner arrives, trying to convince Lisa to come back so that their average test scores won’t plummet. But that doesn’t really cause a big issue. What does cause an issue is that these new schoolgirls are horrible.
Lisa finds that the girls at the school are incredibly cliquey and are all obsessed about a teenaged singer named Alaska Nebraska. And when Lisa admits she has no idea who that is, she becomes the butt of ridicule. She also gets her first B+ on an assignment, and realizes that she’s not popular and she’s not a brain here, and thus has no identity. Which really starts to make her panic and realize that she has no idea what to do.
Meanwhile, Bart has decided that the best way to survive in this new school is to make himself the coolest kid in school. Which he does by striking a bargain with Chief Wiggum where Bart will attend Ralph’s birthday party if Wiggum fake arrests Bart. This goes down, and all of the kids in the school assume that Bart is the baddest mother-fucker in town. And with that power, he decides to do something to help Lisa out.
And while all of this school drama is going on there’s also a weird little B-Plot developing. Because back at Homer’s terrible apartment he’s realized that all of his neighbors are stupid college students. And Homer fits right in. He begins partying with the students, and even calls Marge over to hang out with him. And, shockingly, Marge isn’t disgusted by this new life he’s leading. Instead, she has fun with it, and the two have a weird evening where they pretend that they’re college students having a one-night stand, and really seem to have a great time together.
But before we finish out this little apartment plot, let’s see what Bart’s plan to get Lisa popular was. Because it’s not great. He goes to all of the popular kids, and tells them that Lisa is actually best friends with Alaska Nebraska, and has just been lying to keep her privacy. The girls then become obsessed with Lisa, even the teachers, and she’s suddenly the most popular girl in school, all while not really knowing why.
Eh, let’s just finish the Marge and Homer plot. The two begin living a weird little life together, pretending that they’re in college and dating. Homer gives Marge a key to the apartment, and she responds by decorating the place so that it actually resembles a place for humans to live in. And this of course irritates dumb Homer, and they have a little squabble about personal space. Which is stopped when Anton Chigurh shows up. Homer and Marge then have to pretend that Homer and the kids live here, and they shockingly do a great job. Chigurh is pleased, and he signs off on the Simpsons attending the new school.
Which may be a little premature, because guess what? Lisa’s popularity is about to burst. Because the girls are done being friendly to her, and now expect some backstage passes to Alaska Nebraska’s concert. And, left with no other alternatives, Lisa sneaks backstage at the venue to beg Alaska Nebraska for tickets. She tries giving an impassioned speech, but this pop star is just here for money, and flatly rejects Lisa’s request. So she has to tell the girls the truth, and they promptly attack her. So Bart and Lisa rush to Homer’s apartment, and tell them that they’re sick of this new school, and want to go back to normal. Which they do, but they also turn Bart’s treehouse into a little apartment so that Homer and Marge can continue their roleplay.
This episode is fine. And really nothing more than that. There are some good things, some weird things, and some bad things, but they all just kind of come out in the wash to just a bland and fine episode. We’ve seen Bart and Lisa try to go to new schools, and we’ve seen them try and pretend to be other people to win over new students. What we haven’t seen was Homer pretending to be a dumb college kid and living in a shitty apartment. Honestly, that B plot was more interesting to me than anything going on in the main story. It’s nice that Bart tried to help Lisa, even though he did it in the dumbest and more short-sighted way possible, but it’s all fine. I have literally no idea why they thought to put Anton Chigurh in this episode, especially being two years after that movie came out, but whatever, I can dig it. Really, it all just boils down to the fact that this episode focuses on something we’ve seen before, and doesn’t do anything special with, while keeping something fresh and weird relegated to a B story.
Take Away: Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t to win over people, and sometimes your marriage needs something to spice it up.
“Waverly Hills, 9-0-2-1-D’oh” was written by J Stewart Burns and directed by Michael Polcino, 2009.