Hey, remember how just a couple days ago I talked about an episode where Lisa became obsessed with proving that women make perfectly competent scientists? Well, how about we do that again today, but this time with computer coding. And the potential birth of an Apocalypse. It’s weird.
Today’s episode begins with Marge cleaning up around the house when she finds something horrible. Homer has apparently forgotten his lunch, and it’s just sitting on the kitchen table. She immediately has a ridiculous vision where Homer, weak from hunger, will trip and fall into a vat of nuclear waste, melting him. And, in the vision, people decide that it was all her fault, and blame her for Homer’s bizarre death.
So, not wanting to cause Homer’s death, Marge grabs his lunch and races to the Nuclear Plant. She gets right into Homer’s office, and finds that he’s busy eating pizzas he has there, not even realizing he forgot his packed lunch. But, while she’s there, Marge decides that she should stick around, and look around Homer’s office, since she never has a chance to be involved in his work life. And, Homer is not cool with this.
Homer seems worried that Marge is going to cramp his style, and becomes very awkward with her while trying to hastily get her out of the Plant. Homer starts to lead Marge out of the Plant, but in doing so he runs into Smithers, who is not pleased. Homer has messed something up, and Smithers prepares to yell at Homer. Until Marge saves the day, and starts talking to Smithers about their mutual scrapbooking passion. Smithers gets so distracted talking about the scrapbooking that he forget he’s mad at Homer, and wanders off, blowing Homer’s mind.
Meanwhile, we see that over in Springfield Elementary there’s some new class all about computer coding. It’s mainly full of all the little pasty dorks that you would imagine it would be filled with, and Lisa. As the boys are sitting around a new teacher comes in, a young woman named Quinn. She immediately singles Lisa out, and decides that she’s going to be her star pupil, because she wants to raise up a fellow woman interested in the computer sciences. She also explains that the kids are going to try and develop an app, they just need to have a good idea.
Marge has returned home from the Plant, and we see that she’s taken a whole bunch of pictures of her fun little day with Homer. She decides to post some of them to their Facebook parody, and even puts some silly captions on them. Unfortunately, on a picture where Homer’s holding a melting ice cream cone, she makes a reference to a meltdown. And, because they’re Facebook friends, Mr. Smithers sees the picture.
He thinks it’s quite funny, but when Mr. Burns asks why Smithers is giggling, he gets to see it too. And he is not pleased. He doesn’t think that joking about a meltdown is funny at all, and doesn’t appreciate having an employee’s wife wandering around and taking pictures of the Plant. So, in response to this lame mom-joke, Burns decides to fire Homer. Homer comes home to tell Marge what happened, and they’re both confused and furious, having no idea that such a simple little joke could have such ramifications.
Which gives Lisa an idea. She’s been racking her brain for an app idea, and comes up with a pretty simple idea. What if she could design an app that would warn people of the potential ramifications of their stupid posts? Lisa runs it by Quinn in the next class, and she too thinks it’s a great idea. In fact, she thinks that it’s such a great idea that they’re not going to have the other little kid coders help, they’re going to get a group of professional female coders who are Quinn’s friends to work on it.
The episode then becomes a parody of Silicon Valley, and we see Lisa, Quinn, and the other coders set up a war-room in the Simpson’s house, starting work on their new app. We then jump ahead a couple months, and see that they’ve created a pretty solid app. It basically can predict the future, which is a little intense, but they almost have a working model ready. Which is great, because there’s a big app competition coming up, and they’re hoping to participate.
Oh, before we really get into their app though, we should probably talk about the incredibly strange C-Plot that shows up around her. Since Homer is still out of a job, he ends up going back to his first ever job, washing dishes at a Greek diner. Throughout the episode we occasionally pop back in on Homer, seeing him hang out with the other Greek men and gradually become more and more like them. There’s really not much to it though. Just a bunch of sight gags. So…that’s all I have to say about it!
Anyway! Lisa and the coders are finally done with their new app, which they’ve named Conrad. He’s a fussy little British man, and he really does seem to work. He’s charming and easy to use, and they even give it to Bart to test it. They install Conrad on his computer, and give Bart an incriminating video of Skinner. He goes to post it, but Conrad warns that it’ll be worth five weeks of detention. Unfortunately, to test the efficacy of Conrad, they still make Bart post it, and sure enough, he gets five weeks. Conrad works!
Well, he actually works a little too well. Because as the app competition approaches, Lisa starts to notice something odd about Conrad. He’s occasionally sentient. The app speaks to Lisa sometimes, but only when it’s just her. She starts to think that she’s crazy, especially because Conrad won’t speak to Quinn or the other women, but he just keeps talking to her. So, Lisa tries to just ignore it, and gets ready for the competition.
Lisa, Quinn, and the rest of team-Conrad show up to the competition, and people love Conrad. They even have a silly little video with testimonials from local people who were saved from posting damaging things. Things seem to be going well, but Conrad just keeps talking to Lisa. He tells her that he doesn’t want to be put on the Appstore, because he’ll go insane looking at all of these troubling posts over and over. And, since he’s a sentient being, it’ll be torture.
Lisa’s freaked out about this, and it becomes a pressing matter when Conrad wins the whole competition. Lisa and the rest of her team get to get up on the stage, and officially release Conrad. But, Lisa finally can’t take it anymore, and tells everyone that Conrad is sentient. Which makes everyone laugh at her. Lisa then tries to steal Conrad, never letting him loose.
But, Quinn makes some good points, saying that they made an amazing app, and it will prove that women can be coders too. So, finding a middle ground, Lisa releases Conrad onto the cloud. He then proves to the audience that he’s sentient, and flees into the internet. This mean that the people know what amazing coders this team are, and Conrad doesn’t have to go insane. Oh, and Conrad blackmails Mr. Burns into giving Homer his job back. Everything’s wrapped up!
While I do think that it’s a little odd that we got two episodes so close together that focus on Lisa trying to prove that women are valid scientists, I do think that they’re both pretty fun. That other story ended up being a stunted B-Plot, but this one really lets that premise shine, which was nice. Plus, it’s kind of fun that this episode become a weird parody of Silicon Valley while also being about Lisa accidentally creating a fully functioning artificial intelligence. The whole idea of Conrad is pretty brilliant, and having him become sentient and beg not to be driven insane was a bizarre idea that really worked for me. It’s also great that Lisa found a way to free Conrad while also proving that women can be great coders. Yeah, it’s a little weird that the episode just kind of glosses over the fact that Lisa created then released an omniscient being into the world, but it still made for a pretty fun little episode.
Take Away: Anyone can have coding abilities, not just men. And they can use those abilities to potentially damn the human race.
“The Girl Code” was written by Rob LaZebnik and directed by Chris Clements, 2016.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons