Hi there, and welcome to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. And folks, it’s a weird one. First of all, I’m only doing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, because things were a little busy around here and I wasn’t able to get all five episodes taken care of. But hopefully that gets overshadowed by the fact that tomorrow we’re going to be discussing the 500th episode of the Simpsons. Oh, and Friday will mark the second year that I’ve been doing this project. But none of that has to do with today’s episode, which is incredibly forgettable.
The episode starts off with Bart and Milhouse hanging out together in the Simpson’s living room, checking out the haul of Valentine’s Day cards that they got at school that day. However, it’s pretty sad, since Milhouse really only got one, so Bart quickly changes the topic, and decides to put on Itchy and Scratchy. Which is of course a Valentine’s Day themed episode featuring Itchy ripping Scratchy’s heart out and giving it to him like a gift.
However, when that episode is over they have to find something new to watch. And they end up coming across a show called MythCrackers, that’s exactly what it sounds like. The boys watch a bit of the show until Marge shows up and turns it off. She doesn’t really have an issue with the show; she just thinks the boys have watched too much television. Unfortunately Marge isn’t prepared for just how many platforms the boys are able to watch TV on, and they eventually manage to watch the show at a gas station. And this convinces the boys that they need to start cracking some myths!
Meanwhile, Homer is panicking about Valentine’s Day, trying to get everything ready for the big day. He also explains that men have to do everything on Valentine’s Day so that women let them blow things up on the Fourth of July, which sure, why not. However, he’s in for a surprise, because despite coming up with some actually romantic ideas Marge is going to throw it all apart. She believes that Homer and her express their love every day, so she wants to give Homer the gift of not being romantic, and tells him to just spend the night hanging out with Bart. Homer and Bart are super down with this, and head off to play at a batting cage and arcade, having a blast.
But that leaves Marge and Lisa without anything to do. So they decide to spend the night together as well, and head off to a Valentine’s Day buffet for dinner. Marge is having an okay time, but Lisa quickly becomes a little bored. That is until she notices that there’s a boy in the booth next to theirs who is reading Hemingway. The two make eye contact, and agree to go chat by the dessert table. So Lisa heads over and meets Nick, a very pretentious young man who Lisa instantly starts crushing on, despite the fact that he’s kind of a tool from moment one.
Lisa and Nick really hit it off, and despite the fact that it leaves Marge by herself, Lisa ends up hanging out with him all night at the buffet. And it’s not just one date, because they agree to meet up at some sort of child-bistro the next day. Lisa goes and has a great time with Nick, even though it means that she ends up late to some sort of date with Marge where they were supposed to make a quilt together. So their relationship isn’t doing that great.
Hey, before we get into that though let’s check back in on Bart and Milhouse. Because they’ve started cracking myths, and people love it. They of course specialize on the Elementary School, and start working their way through all of the school-yard myths. One day they test the idea that pressing some of the numbers on the lunchroom snack machine will electrocute you, but all it does is spit out candy cigarettes. Next up they test what happens if you manage to swing all the way around the swing set, which they accomplish with fire-works. But the only thing that happens is getting Milhouse injured. That’s it for now.
Lisa has still been seeing Nick regularly, and they’re really starting to fall in little-kid puppy love. Hell, it even reaches the point that Lisa tells Marge all about Nick and her massive crush. Marge wants to be supportive, so she suggests that they invite Nick over for dinner some night. That night then arrives, and Nick shows up ready to schmooze everyone. Hell, he even brings Homer some wine. And they end up having an okay evening.
But Marge is worried. She doesn’t seem to like Nick very much, and decides that Lisa shouldn’t spend so much time with him. They don’t really give her much justification for this move, but she tells Lisa to stop seeing him as much as she is. So, Lisa decides to rebel. But she doesn’t have any good idea on how to do this, and goes to ask Grandpa for advice. And, he doesn’t really have any. But he does tell Lisa the fable of Pyramus and Thisbe, which is a Greek myth that inspired Romeo and Juliet, that ends with the two lovers turning into a mulberry tree. And for some reason this story makes Lisa decide that she and Nick are destined to be together, and have to cement their relationship by kissing under a mulberry tree.
But before we see how that pans out, let’s finish that Bart story. Because they’re still cracking myths. They manage to prove that there is no haunted restroom in the building, and realize something horrible. They’ve now solved all of their myths, and made everything real. Which bums the kids out. They wanted some myths and mystery, and now are mad at Bart and Milhouse. So the two decide that the only way to fix things is to make up a new myth. Which they easily accomplish by convincing Willie to pretend to be a werewolf from here on out. And, since he’s down with this, they manage to bring some mystery back to the walls of Springfield Elementary.
Anyway, Lisa has decided that she and Nick need to go kiss for the first time on a small island known as Mulberry Island, and they’re convinced Grandpa to help drive them there. They do run into a snag when the police arrive though to tack Grandpa down, since he accidentally stole the TV remote from the Retirement Castle. So Grandpa drops them off so that he can drive off with a high-speed chase with the cops.
But they’re close to the island, so Lisa and Nick start heading that way. However, as they get onto a little canoe and begin sailing to the island Lisa starts to notice how timid and annoying Nick is, seemingly for the first time. Which is made even more awkward when we see that the rest of the family have gotten a hold of Grandpa and head off to stop Lisa from going through with this.
However, she doesn’t need Marge there to break things up, because as they’re standing there on the little island under the mulberry tree she starts to get second thoughts about Nick. Especially when she’s visited by the ghosts of Hemingway’s first two wives, who tell Lisa that tortured writers make for terrible husbands. So Lisa lets Nick down, and he just peaces out, since he’s kind of a turd. But it’s okay, because Lisa is ready to have a pretty sweet moment with Marge. Because apparently whoever you kiss under a mulberry tree is someone you will love forever. So Marge kisses Lisa on the top of the head. Aw.
This episode is fine. But overall I wasn’t that blown away by it, and I feel like it’s going to be one of those episodes that I’ll forget about in about two weeks. And I think there’s two big problems with it. First, the idea of Lisa having her first crush is something that we’ve seen so many goddamn times already, making the entire premise of this episode just feel tired. It’s all been there, done that, and this episode doesn’t really give us anything new about the idea, other than the weird decision of make Lisa attracted to a weird pretentious jerk. And second, there’s the fact that Marge doesn’t seem to have any reason to try keeping them apart. Really the only justification that’s there is that Lisa keeps blowing her off to be with the boy, which is super petty and weird. Having a real conflict would have made this much more interesting, instead of just kind of progressing the plot so that the episode could end. The myth cracking stuff was fun. But that was about it.
Take Away: Don’t date douche bags.
“The Daughter Also Rises” was written by Rob LaZebnik and directed by Chuck Sheetz, 2012.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons