Hey hey everyone, and look what we have here. Our second episode of Season 22, and our second episode that revolves around Lisa! That’s something I wasn’t anticipating, but it’s actually been pretty fun. I’m a huge Lisa fan, so if this season is chock full of quality Lisa episodes, I’ll be a happy blogger.
The episode starts off with Bart, Lisa, and Maggie watching a truly ridiculous Itchy and Scratchy episode in the car that’s a parody of Up. It’s basically just Scratchy finding another cat that he falls in love with, and then spends his life with. Until she sadly dies when Itchy arrives and kills them both, and then their ghosts. It’s a pretty solid Itchy and Scratchy bit.
But why are they watching cartoons in the car? Why, because they’re headed to the Retirement Castle to spend time with Grandpa and the kids are very uninterested in that. But they deal with it, because apparently Grandpa has some big news for the family. He’s decided that he wants to give the family their inheritance now, so he can see them appreciate it. Which is weird, because he already did this in “Lisa vs Malibu Stacy.” But that was more than fifteen years ago, so maybe he’s gotten more money to have inheritance with.
Anyway! Grandpa has given each member of the family fifty whole dollars, since he’s apparently lost the rest of his savings by investing in a terrible Broadway musical. Which of course means that the Simpsons have to head to the mall and blow their cash, just like they did last time Grandpa gave them their inheritance. And what better way to spend money than to head over to Costington’s department store and buy some crap.
Bart decides to waste his money by paying Gil to walk up the down escalator all day long, which seemed like a wise investment. But besides Bart the only other family member we care about it Marge, who is looking around at all the fancy purses that are for sale, and being shocked at their prices. Until she finds one that seems to only cost $50. Which is perfect! So Marge picks up the bag, and is instantly mocked by several other women in the department, acting shocked that she can afford the bag.
This confuses Marge at first, until she goes to check out and finds that the bag isn’t $50. It’s $500. But because she has so many eyes on her she decides to go with it, and buys the bag, hoping to return it later. And Homer is not pleased. When they get home and he finds out about the purse he’s pretty furious, but when he sees how embarrassed Marge is he decides that while they have the purse for a day they should go out to a fancy dinner and show it off before returning it.
So Homer and Marge get all dressed up and head to some ritzy restaurant, where they’re instantly treated like garbage. They’re put in the worst table in the joint, and are about to resign themselves to a lousy meal when the hostess notices Marge’s purse, and decides to put them somewhere nicer. The two then have a great time together, until Marge becomes paranoid that she’s going to get some sort of stain on the purse, and thus make it impossible to return it. Which of course ends up happening when Homer gets some cocktail sauce on the purse, ruining it.
But hey, what do you think Lisa spent her money on? Well, she didn’t find anything at Costington’s she liked, and instead has decided to donate her money to a charity. And while researching she ends up learning about micro-loans, the small loans that people can give impoverished entrepreneurs to give them a leg up. Lisa begins investigating the different options, and then finds a shocking choice to donate her money to.
Nelson is apparently so poor that he qualifies for one of these loans, and he has a whole pitch to start a job pimping out local bicycles. This really moves Lisa, and she decides to donate to Nelson, giving him the $50 he needs to get his business started. And she then heads over to Nelson’s house to check in on him, and finds that business is booming. People are loving his bikes, and he is completely enthused about the opportunity he’s been given, which of course makes Lisa feel great.
Back over in the Marge plot, she has returned to Costington’s with the slightly stained purse, and is starting to have a panic attack. She’s convinced that she’ll be rejected and have to eat the cost of the purse, but she’s shocked to find that the woman running the return barely examines the purse and just accepts the return. Which gives Homer a great idea. He’s going to start buying all sorts of expensive crap from Costington’s and then return it, so he never has to buy anything.
Meanwhile, Nelson is continuing to a be a huge success, and his business is starting to expand. He’s getting more and more employees and is starting to rake in the cash. Which makes Lisa so proud that she finally has to admit that she was Nelson’s mysterious benefactor. And he’s thrilled! He’s super proud that Lisa had faith in him, and promises to be as successful as he possibly can. However, he then tells Lisa that he’s making so much money that he’s decided to drop out of school and focus on his business full time. Which obviously mortifies Lisa.
Lisa cannot deal with the idea that she’s responsible for Nelson abandoning his education, so she heads to Principal Skinner to see if he will do something about this. But, not surprisingly, Skinner doesn’t really care about Nelson dropping out, and in fact gets far more interested in the fact that Nelson’s paying more than he makes as a principal. But he’s going to have to battle with Superintendent Chalmers, who also wants the job.
Hey, let’s finish off that return plot. Homer begins buying all sorts of needless crap from Constington’s and then returns in a couple days later, living a weird life. He shows off all of his garbage and is thrilled at the minor scam he’s running until it all comes crashing down. Because one day when Homer comes to return his ill-gotten gains he’s stopped by Chris Hansen who is running some sort of show catching serial returners. So that brings an end to Homer’s little scam, and everything returns to normal.
Lisa is still freaking out about Nelson’s decision to leave school, and has one final idea. Springfield is hosting some sort of entrepreneur fair, and Lisa wants to show Nelson that proper education is important. Which backfires horribly after they meet Mark Zuckerberg and he tells Nelson that he dropped out of college. Zuckerberg then tells Nelson that all sorts of successful businesspeople dropped out of college, and that education isn’t necessary. Which isn’t exactly what Lisa was hoping for.
But Lisa finally accepts that this isn’t her decision, and that she should still give Nelson all of the support she can. However, when she heads over to his house she finds that a disaster is brewing. Everyone who got their bikes pimped out are trying to return their bikes, because they’re falling apart. Turns out that Nelson used a water soluble epoxy, because he didn’t know what soluble meant, and when it rained all of the bikes started to fall apart. So Nelson has to refund all of the jobs, and decides that he should stay in school a bit longer so that he can learn enough to run a business better. He then uses what little funds he has left to take Lisa out on a date to the roller-rink to thank her for believing in him.
I actually really liked this episode. I feel like the B-Plot with Homer and Marge learning that they can be sneaky and return slightly-used goods to Costington’s is just kind of fine, and honestly felt like too much time was given toward it. But where the episode shines is the primary plot. I love that Lisa decided to spend her money giving an impoverished person a shot, and the idea that Nelson is the beneficent is great. Nelson and Lisa have such a weird relationship, and seeing Lisa giving Nelson all of the support she can, and then fearing that she maybe ruined his life, is pretty great. There’s really not a lot to this episode, but I like it nonetheless. It’s a simple story about supporting people, and not judging their life decisions, and it worked very well.
Take Away: It’s important to give people support, but don’t try to run their lives.
“Loan-a Lisa” was written by Valentina Garza and directed by Matthew Faughnan, 2010.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons