Lifetime of Simpsons

S22 E03 – MoneyBART

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Hey, guess what? It’s the third episode of Season Twenty Two, and it’s also the third episode in a row that’s been about Lisa! What the hell? I don’t know how we got so lucky, and I can’t imagine that this is going to continue much longer, but it’s been a delight seeing a slight Renaissance in Lisa episodes. Plus, we get an episode about Lisa and Bart’s relationship vis a vis sports, which has had a great track record in the past. Oh, and we also start the episode off with an incredibly strange and depressing “couch gag” that in theory was designed by Banksy that’s all about how poorly Fox treats the Korean animators who make the show. It’s really weird, a complete bummer, and creates some insane tonal whiplash. Anyway!

The episode begins with a young woman who seems incredibly successful strolling into Springfield Elementary. And the presence of a person who appears to have made something of themselves and is happy is quite a site in Springfield Elementary, so everyone starts to gawk at her and follow her around the halls as she heads right to Principal Skinner’s office. Bart, Lisa, Nelson, and Milhouse all stalk her to Skinner’s office and listen against the door.

They end up finding out that this woman’s name is Dahlia Brinkley, and she’s the most successful alumni of Springfield Elementary. I’m not sure why she’s here, but Skinner ends up letting the kids in to meet her. Lisa is incredibly impressed by the fact that she’s a Yale graduate, and starts trying to prove that she’ll be just as successful as her. But when Lisa talks about her various extra-curricular activating Dahlia starts to shame her, and point out that she’s really going to need to step things up if she thinks she’ll make it into Yale.

So Lisa obviously takes this advice to heart and starts trying to find as many activities as she possibly can. She briefly thinks about getting into fencing, but when she tries to practice with Maggie she learns that Maggie plays for keeps, and attacks Lisa with everything she’s got, proving to Lisa that she’s going to be unable to get this working.

Meanwhile, Ned comes strolling over to the Simpson’s house to deliver some bad news. Apparently Ned has been coaching Bart’s little league baseball team, and he’s going to have to step down. And because of this, the team will have to shut down. Bart is really bummed about this, and Marge tries to convince Homer that he should step up and become the coach. But Homer refuses, since history has proven that Homer is a bad coach.

So who will coach Bart’s team? Lisa! Yep, because Lisa is so desperate for an extra-curricular she decides that she can coach the team, which will keep it solvent. It’s win-win! The only problem is that Lisa knows absolutely nothing about baseball. Lisa knows that she needs to find someone who actually knows something about baseball, so she heads over to Moe’s to get her father and his drunken buddies to talk about baseball.

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Unfortunately none of them know much about baseball, they just like yelling at athletes. But, Lisa’s in luck, because Moe tells her that there are actually some people in the bar that know things about baseball. Professor Frink and Homer’s college roommates are hanging out in a booth in Moe’s deeply going over the stats of baseball, and focusing on all of the boring math and probability that go into baseball. Lisa becomes fascinated, and they give her some books on the subject.

Lisa dives deep into this new field, and ends up creating a series of algorithms that should perfectly predict baseball plays. The boys on the team make fun of Lisa’s strategy, as do the other teams and the announcer, but when the team starts playing something surprising happens. They start dominating. Lisa’s statistics are spot on, and she ends up creating a perfect baseball team, ripping through the competition and rapidly becoming the best team in the league.

However, as you may have guessed, eventually this starts to grate on Bart. He misses the old way of playing baseball, and decides that he needs to rebel. So during a game when Lisa tells him he needs to be walked, Bart instead swings for the fences and ends up getting a home run, winning the game. Bart gloats and struts around the field, but Lisa is not pleased. It was too risky a move, and even though Bart won them the game she decides that he doesn’t listen to orders, and fires him from the team.

And the rest of the team is not pleased. Lisa takes them out to pizza and everyone makes it clear that they’re mad that Bart was kicked off the team, but at the same time they’re happy that they keep winning. And this animosity spills over into the house, where Bart and Lisa’s feud keeps growing. Which is really bad, because the fight ends up being picked up by Homer and Marge, who pick sides and end up fighting too. Marge takes Bart’s side and Homer takes Lisa’s, and things start to get ugly.

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Bart ends up getting a job as a color commentator for the little league, talking with the announcer during the team’s games. And he just gets more and more depressed when he sees the team continue to win. Eventually the team makes it to championship game, and to take Bart’s mind off of it Marge decides to take him on a fun day to the amusement park while Homer takes Lisa to coach the game.

But while Bart is hanging out on a roller coaster he gets a call from Lisa and it’s insane news. Things have gotten out of control, and they desperately need to him to come and pitch-hit and win the game. Bart doesn’t really want to do this, since he’s still bitter about everything, but he gets a pep-talk from a surprising guest. Mike Scioscia, who previously appeared on “Homer at Bat” as himself getting radiation poisoning, tells Bart that he needs to get rid of his ego and go help win the game.

So Bart and Marge race over to the stadium, and Bart gets ready to hit. However, Bart decides that he should try to steal home, against Lisa’s wishes, and they’re put right back in the same spot as before. Bart ends up getting caught and the team loses the game, but Lisa can’t help but admit that it made the game much more exciting. The two then decide that it’s okay, because they both had a good time. Lisa learned to love baseball, and Bart got to appreciate the maybe math can help sports.

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This episode was a whole lot of fun. I obviously had to compare it about with “Lisa on Ice” which is one of my favorite episodes of all time. This episode wasn’t as good as that one, but it was still a whole lot of fun. I love the idea of Lisa finding out about the Moneyball method of baseball and finding out that she can dominate at it. Having Lisa run Bart’s little league team is a great idea, and the struggle between the two makes a whole lot of sense, and becomes very satisfying at the end. It’s one of those episodes that remind you that while Bart and Lisa are incredibly different people, they still have a deep love for each other and will always have each other’s backs at the end. They both learn the be a little more like each other, since their personalities complement each other so well, and I love that kind of thing. Homer and Marge taking the kids sides in the fight didn’t really pay off in any way, but that shouldn’t distract from the fact that this is a really fun and satisfying episode that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Take Away: While logic is obviously important, sometimes going with your gut can be beneficial.

 

“MoneyBART” was written by Tim Long and directed by Nancy Kruse, 2010.

 

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