Lifetime of Simpsons

S27 E07 – Lisa with an “S”

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Hi there everyone, and welcome back for another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. After our little Thanksgiving week-off, it’s time to dive back into Season 27. And it’s a more or less fine week. Nothing too special, but nothing too bad either. Which is today’s episode in a nutshell. It’s perfectly adequate.

Today’s episode starts off as if it’s a play, with a curtain rising. We then jump straight into some songs. We hop around town seeing what people are doing that night. Mostly it’s Homer singing about how it’s poker night with the guys, and he’s planning on winning big, while also seeing how the guys are preparing to win and/or cheat. But, we also see Lisa singing about how she’s going to submit a demo to a prestigious band camp.

Once the song is over we see Homer head downstairs and lie to Marge, telling her that he promises to be a responsible gambler that night. Marge is quite reasonably worried that Homer will blow all of their money gambling, but he swears he’ll take it easy. But, before he can leave, Lisa also wants a word. Apparently, she’s already heard back from this camp, and they’ve accepted her demo. There’s only one problem. It’s very expensive. So, Lisa is hoping that Homer will win big that night, and pay for her to go to the camp. And, he agrees.

Homer then heads over to Moe’s, and meets up with the guys to start playing poker. And, they have a surprise guest. Broadway legend Laney Fontaine! You know, that old lady that Moe tried to sleep with a couple episodes ago? Apparently, they’ve still been seeing each other since that episode, and Laney has come to gamble with the guys. The night starts to go pretty well, and Homer begins to start winning a good amount of money.

But, as the night wears down, Homer reaches the point where he thinks he may have hit the jackpot. He has an incredibly solid hand, and we get a silly Inside Out reference where we see the emotions that control Homer agree he should go all in. There’s just one problem. Laney also goes all in, and even raises him her Oscar, which she says is $5,000. So, thinking he has it in the bag, Homer writes an IOU for five grand.

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And, as I’m sure you can guess, he loses. Laney has an even better hand, and now Homer not only doesn’t have the money for Lisa’s camp, he’s down more than five thousand dollars. Homer is crushed and has to slink home to tell Marge the truth. She’s obviously furious, and the two begin fighting, which the kids end up hearing. Lisa realizes that she won’t be going to the camp after all, and gets very depressed.

The next day Homer goes back to Moe’s to commiserate with the guys about his debt. He has no idea how he’s going to pay his IOU, and he asks for advice. Moe tells Homer that he should invite Laney over for dinner, because if she sees how sad his life is she’ll take pity on him and not demand the debt be repaid.

Homer gives it a shot, and the Simpsons host Laney for dinner. It’s kind of an awkward meal, since Homer starts acting as pathetically as possible, really trying to milk it. But Laney doesn’t seem to care, she’s more interested in telling her stories. And Lisa is fascinated. She’s apparently a huge fan of Laney’s and she’s hanging on her every word, and even convinces her to sing some songs. So, Laney posts up at the piano and begins crooning while Lisa accompanies her on her sax.

But, when the songs are over, Laney’s impressed. She loves Lisa’s sax skills, and ends up having an idea. She tells Homer and Marge that she’ll wipe the debt clean if they let her have Lisa for a while. This raises some red flags, but she explains that she just wants Lisa to play for a tour with her. Homer instantly agrees, seeing a perfect way to clear his debt. But Marge is not down with it. She refuses to let Lisa go on tour.

Lisa’s crushed though. She thinks that this sounds like an amazing opportunity, and since she won’t be going to camp this would be the perfect replacement. So, she talks to Marge, and ends up wearing her down, gaining her blessing. Lisa and Laney then immediately leave, and start planning their tour. They meet up with Chazz the director, and he starts planning an extravagant show that Laney will lead, and Lisa will accompany.

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The tour seems to be going very well, and we see Lisa having the time of her life. But Marge still isn’t pleased. She’s very concerned that Laney is a bad influence on Lisa, and she decides that the family need to head to New York to take Lisa home after her big Broadway show. The Simpsons hop in their car and begin driving to New York, but unfortunately have a break down when they’re in Pennsylvania. Luckily though they meet an Amish relative of Ned Flanders, and he’s able to tow them the rest of the way.

Lisa and Laney also arrive in New York, and get to work preparing for the show. We briefly get the impression that Laney may be suffering from some nerves, because she’s having troubles with the lines of the song, but that doesn’t really seem to have any consequences. Because, when the actual show begins, she nails it.

The Simpsons finally arrive in New York, and manage to buy some tickets to the show even though it’s begun. They sneak into the theater just in time to see Lisa absolutely killing it. She’s doing a fantastic saxophone solo, and the whole crowd loves it. Marge then realizes that Lisa should live her dream. So, after the show, the Simpsons come tell Lisa that they’re fine letting her continue the tour, and start this new life. However, Laney notices how sad Marge is, and decides to fire Lisa so that she can return to Springfield and have a normal childhood. So, the Simpsons return home, while Lisa’s dreams are crushed?

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This episode is very odd. I feel like it has enough problems with it that I would normally dislike it, but it’s just so inoffensively bland that I can’t really muster that much feeling towards it. The whole story just seems like of slap-dash. They don’t really explain why Marge doesn’t think this is a good idea, other than the idea that she doesn’t want Lisa to be like Laney. Which is weird, since Laney is a massive success, and the family was immediately charmed by her. But it’s not just that. We also have the weird moment where it’s implied that Laney may be losing it, only to immediately push that aside. I’m also really confused by the end of this episode, having Lisa crush Lisa’s dreams to make Marge happy? I feel like there could have be so many other ways to complete this plot without Lisa being told that her dream of being an entertainer is unobtainable. It’s just kind of a mean-spirited ending to this otherwise bland and fluffy episode. I don’t know, it just didn’t all gel for me, but in a way that made for an episode that I’m going to forget in a week.

Take Away: Don’t let successful diva’s take your child?

 

“Lisa with an “S”” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Bob Anderson, 2015.

 

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