Crazy Noises: Lisa Gets an “A”

Lisa Gets an A1

“I know a liquor store where we can cash this right now!” – Principal Skinner

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “tetherball”).

Today’s episode is 1007, “Lisa Gets an A”, Tomorrow will be 1008, “Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, let’s get going before Jon drops again.

I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this, despite its many flaws.

Mad Jon: Are we starting with "Lisa gets an A?"

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes.

Mad Jon: Ah

Charlie Sweatpants: The other one I hate, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Mad Jon: I think I agree with you

Dave: This is the less shitty of the two.

Mad Jon: I feel it starts poorly, but gets better.

Charlie Sweatpants: The scene in the grocery store isn’t the best.

They run the toothpick joke into the ground and there’s far too much Jerkass Homer, but I do have a soft spot for Gavin and his terrible mother.

Mad Jon: Meh, he reminds me of the one bad episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: True, but I always thought he was one of the bright spots.

Dave: He is brief and fleeting. Which is good.

Mad Jon: Also the church scene is along the same lines as far as jokes running too long.

Dave: There was a real opportunity there to run a gag for 2.5 minutes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Definitely, Lovejoy’s "May we burn in painful and foul smelling fire forever and ever" is funny, and then it continues.

This entire episode suffers from what can be modestly described as poor pacing.

Lisa cheats out of desperation, feels guilty, tries to turn herself in, and has the school authorities be less scrupulous than she is I like all over.

Mad Jon: I am not understanding

Charlie Sweatpants: The problem arises in the way too many things get dragged out and in between that is improbable crap.

I get that Lisa would cheat, her dream of Harvard denied is classic her, I get that she would want to turn herself in, I further get that Chalmers and Skinner are far less honest than she is.

Mad Jon: I am with you so far…

Dave: As am I

Charlie Sweatpants: The problem is the way they have to keep patching holes they created themselves. Otto impersonating the comptroller, Bart just happening to be out of class to steer Lisa to Nelson, the whole "A+++" thing on a minor little test becoming super important.

The giant ceremony is the culmination of it, where they take something that doesn’t quite make sense, and turn it into a major plot point.

Mad Jon: Ok.

Dave: So it feels hollow to you then, despite some good gags and normal character trends?

Charlie Sweatpants: What I’m trying to get at is that they had a rational and relatively calm story to work with, and they turned it up to 11 for no real reason in a lot of places.

Mad Jon: I can see that. A lot of those types of transitions would have been unnoticeable a few years ago. Instead of trying to make a joke everywhere, and sometimes getting too crazy, they just would have kept going.

But that being said, there were plenty of good things at which to chuckle.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed. Like I said, I don’t hate this episode, I just think you can see their give-a-shit level falling in it. The little sequence where Chalmers shows Lisa how bad the school is, the cinderblock tetherball, the Oscar Meyer periodic table, and, of course, Super Nintendo Chalmers, are all great.

Mad Jon: Yep, it’s the little things. The employees must wash hands sign in Nelson’s stall, Captain McAllister asking for change at the last second, planning on taking the 250K check to a liquor store. All good.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. But there are plenty of dire portents of Zombie Simpsons in Gil just happening to be there. Ditto Willie and Nelson in the bathroom with their funny but lazy exposition.

It feels like they’ve stopped caring about the little things, figuring that the occasional brilliant line will make everyone forget them.

Dave: I routinely forget that this was the episode that gave us Super Nintendo Chalmers.

Which is, in fact, brilliant.

Charlie Sweatpants: Absolutely, the entire B-plot functions the same way (though I think it’s worse than the A). It has a couple of great moments, but to get there you have to overlook a ton of crap.

For example, at the very end when Homer says Pinchy’s in a place with no more pain, and then snapping his neck. That’s good, but the payoff wasn’t worth all that build up.

Mad Jon: Agreed.

There are a few scenes that point to the future of Zombie Simpsons, such as the salt in the fish tank.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was less than good.

Dave: No, to get to that we had to suffer through the fish tank, cartoon Pinchy, realistic Pinchy, and that whole stupid beach scene

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer calling Pinchy a mammal can’t make up for all of it. However, it does bring a quick smile to my face and I kinda like Captain McAllister’s little rant.

Mad Jon: Me too, especially when he ends it by asking for spare change.

Charlie Sweatpants: It suffers from the usual "Hey, there’s one of our characters!" problem that Zombie Simpsons has refined into a television war crime, but his speech is kinda funny.

Mad Jon: That’s going to keep happening.

Charlie Sweatpants: No shit.

I could list some of the other things I like about this one, Hoover spilling booze while grading papers, Bart not being able to differentiate between cheating and honest work, and the fact that the entire thing was over a "basic assistance grant" among them, but I don’t have much more to add in terms of description.

This episode isn’t spectacular, but it’s grounded enough and contains enough good things that I don’t hate it. In fact, I rather like it.

Mad Jon: It is one of the most watchable of this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, you good with that? If so, we can move on to the renal episode that can’t be expunged with a thousand bladder evacuations.

Dave: Yep, let’s be done.

Charlie Sweatpants: Alright then, let’s flip up the toilet seat.

8 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Lisa Gets an “A””

  1. 1 Nick
    28 June 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I think this is one of the better ones in 10. The Dash Dingo parody (“You must find and devour all seven crystal babies”) actually convinced me to play Crash Bandicoot as a kid. I also quite liked Bart’s line “It’s nothing you didn’t see when Dad boycotted pants.”

    The next episode, apart from the fact that I now say “F. Murray Abraham” the same way Homer does, really gets on my nerves.

  2. 2 RCreed
    29 June 2011 at 3:01 am

    Cannot wait to hear what you have to say about Kidney Trouble. Lurking through NoHomers, everybody seems to hate it becaus Homer was too afraid to get the surgery, and thought he was a jerkass. I literally can’t see where they’re coming from, since obviously surgery is a frightening thing for a lot of people (myself especially, I admit). I’ve known of many incidents where people have denied surgery to save somebody else just out of complete fear, so it kind of annoyed me to see people attack Homer just for that. Especially considering he REALLY wanted to go through with the surgery – it’s not like he was purposely avoiding it just to be mean.

    Still, will see what you have to say.

  3. 5 Shane
    29 June 2011 at 8:01 am

    The fatal thing with Kidney Trouble is that not only is Homer a jerk, but that the plot takes some bizarre twists and there’s a major lack of good jokes throughout. As for Lisa Gets An ‘A’, I’ve always been fond of the comptroller:

    “Wait! How dare you condemn this girl. Who among =you= can honestly say you’ve never cheated … on your wives … or
    your husbands? “

    • 6 Charlie Sweatpants
      29 June 2011 at 6:30 pm

      I love that line. It’s one of those great gags they’d do where the implication is huge (everyone fucks around!), but it’s treated like a minor thing.

  4. 7 Joe C.
    29 June 2011 at 10:48 am

    I’ve always enjoyed this episode a lot. It’s definitely the season 10 stand-out, and I would go as far to say that it’s better than some of the Golden Age episodes like “Dancin’ Homer” and “Krusty Gets Kancelled.”

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