Posts Tagged ‘The Secret War of Lisa Simpson


Quote of the Day

“The Moon. For several years, she has fascinated many. But will Man ever walk on her fertile surface? Democratic hopeful Adlai Stevenson says so.” – Moon of Earth Filmstrip Narrator
“I have no objection to Man walking on the Moon.” – Adlai Stevenson


Quote of the Day

“The Moon belongs to America, and anxiously awaits the arrival of our Astromen.” – U.S. Department of Moon, 1952


Quote of the Day

“Truth is beauty! Beauty truth, sir!” – Rommelwood Cadet
“They’re discussing poetry! Oh, we never do that at my school.” – Lisa Simpson
“But the truth can be harsh and disturbing! How can that be considered beautiful?” – Rommelwood Teacher
“He sure sucked the fun out of that poem.” – Marge Simpson

Happy 20th Anniversary to “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson!” Original airdate 18May 1997.


Quote of the Day

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“What about military school? It set my brother straight. Now he owns and operates a famous cave.” – Chief Wiggum


Behind Us Forever: Paths of Glory


“Well, Bart, uh, did you make sure to return all the guns?” – Homer Simpson
“Sir, yes, sir!  Luckily I am now trained in six additional forms of unarmed combat, sir!” – Bart Simpson
“Well, he’s got more confidence.” – Marge Simpson
“Uh, yeah, I’ve always said the boy could use more confidence.” – Homer Simpson

Paths of Glory is a terribly underrated Kubrick movie staring Kirk Douglas as a French colonel in World War I.  This episode, which shares its title for some unaccountable reason, should in no way be held against that fine film.  In one of the plots, Lisa goes looking for a long lost invention by a forgotten female inventor.  In another one, Marge and Homer start thinking Bart is a sociopath so he gets recruited to join the Air Force, or something.  I tuned out by then for reasons that will become clear should you be bored enough to read the rest of this.

– The “couch” gag didn’t involve a couch, but at least it was short.

– We’re off to a bad start here as each kid at a kind of science go-kart race spends time explaining what kind of car we’re seeing as we see it.

– And Lisa loses the race because Duffman swooped in driving the Duff blimp, then Martin, Uter, and Database (who just appeared from nowhere and wasn’t even racing) start teasing her for being a girl for some reason. Okay.

– Huh, there’s Kearney and Dolph ragging on liberal arts colleges because, you know, that’s the kind of thing they would do, know or care about.

– Now the Old Jewish Guy appeared for no reason to exposit this:

OJG: “Don’t you worry kid, they also laughed at Amelia Vanderbuckle.”
Lisa: “Amelia Vanderbuckle, who’s she?”

Guess what happens next? Go on, guess.

– Some guy just got his head cut off. Carry on.

– Lisa is reading a fake Wikipedia article out loud. I have nothing to add to that, but it’s been going on for a full minute.

– Lisa is now explaining that “if we can find those inventions, we can prove that Amelia was scientifically significant”. So, so much exposition.

– Bart and Lisa are now wandering around an abandoned asylum, where Jimbo and Shauna are making out and expositing how they feel.

– Lisa is reading names that are also printed on the screen. Fillertastic!


You heard her say them!  Now watch them on screen!

– Lisa found a wax cylinder, then she found a player for it, now the exposition is playing from it. Hooray.  Oh, then it caught fire and now she’s using it as a torch.  Weird.

– Holy shit, they’re doing it again. Lisa is reading labels that are also on screen.

– Bart found a maniac’s diary, then declared, “Look at me, I’m enjoying reading”. They do know characters are allowed to display their feelings instead of say them out loud, right? I would think they would know that, but I’ve been wrong before.

– Look at this collection of kids:


File this as yet another example of how characterless they’ve made all their characters. Ralph and Nelson are just there because, well, shutup that’s why.

– Chief Wiggum just pulled up in a bowtie to tell us, “Ralphie, come on, we got daddy-son tap class. Tap class!” Did repeating “tap class” get a laugh at the read through? If so, has anyone checked to see if there’s a gas leak?

– You’ll never believe it, but Wiggum goes on to exposit about tap class before shouting “tap class” two more times.

– Now Wiggum is talking to Marge because he has pages from the diary. Wiggum thinks Bart wrote them because keep shutting up, that’s why.

– Marge is now declaring how she feels out loud.

– Homer got home, so Marge is explaining what we just saw.

– Now Lisa is talking to Milhouse. Is their conversation reductive and repetitive? You know it!

Milhouse: “Wow, this is a surprise, I’m usually sweating when we talk, but not this time.”
Lisa: “It’s amazing how you can charm and disgust me at the same time.”

– Now Milhouse is helping Lisa track down the missing invention and . . . nope, can’t care anymore.

– Marge just told us she printed out a “Sociopath Test” for Bart as we saw her do it, Homer then declared that they can’t just give that to him. Marge then says they need him to think the test is for something else. This episode is just people talking to each other about what they’re going to do.

– Bart is now reading out loud. And now he’s realized they’re giving him the “sociopath test”. Then he tells us what he’s going to do, “Fine, I’ll pretend to be the biggest sociopath in the world.”

– Homer and Marge are expositing at the kitchen table, and I’m done. Let’s fast forward!

– One minute later (and I think missed a montage) there’s this:


Avert your eyes, children, he may have taken on another form!

– One minute more and Homer and Marge are in the treehouse still talking about what they’re going to do. More fast forwarding!

– Bart is in a bouncy castle driving down the highway. One more minute, please.

– Bart is in a mental institute where he’s apparently getting inducted into the Air Force or something.

– One minute after that, Homer and Marge are back at the kitchen table talking about Bart again. This is about the fifth scene like this, and that’s just in the parts I’ve bothered to watch.

– One minute later and Lisa must’ve found whatever it was she was looking for in the other plot. She is, naturally, explaining what we’re looking at.

– One minute more and Bart’s still in the military. He’s wearing his regular clothes, but whatevs.

– One minute after that and the general is speaking, “Son, the simulators we told you weren’t simulators, were simulators.” This is apparently a shocking revelation. Moving on.

– And things end with Marge saying, “What a day! What a day!” while they all hug.  Huh.

– Nevermind, Lisa is at a museum with the thing she discovered.

– During the credits, Homer is looking at loom porn. Don’t worry, that didn’t make any more sense in the episode than it does in text here.

So, that was a mess.  The ratings are also a bit of a mess this week because of both a football overrun and the President (who is a Demeecrat, according to Grampa) going on TV last night. Right now, “Presidential address/The Simpsons” is listed as having 8.20 million viewers, which is huge for Zombie Simpsons, but will probably change significantly once they get things sorted out.


Quote of the Day

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“Now, everyone follow me to my chair, where I just need to get off my feet for a few minutes. . . . Aww, oh, I won’t be getting up soon.” – Chief Wiggum


Reading Digest: Xi’an Bart Edition

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“Look at how disciplined they are.  They’re just like the terra-cotta warriors of Xi’an.” – Lisa Simpson
“They sure are.” – Homer Simpson

First off, apologies for no Compare & Contrast this week.  I’ve got an unfinished draft that I promise I will finish next week, but this week my stupid real job got in the way.  For links this week, we’ve got a terra-cotta Bart Simpson, a Bonestorm blanket, some excellent references, a teaser for a Weinstein interview, a couple of lists, quite a bit of YouTube, and a chance to win a copy of the Mr. Burns play.


This Is What Happens When The Terra-Cotta Warriors Meet Pop Culture – Oh, cool.  That Bart Simpson one is fantastic.

The Simpsons spinoff was once planned, reveals ex-showrunner – Twitter seems to be treating this as news, but I thought everyone already knew this:

A spinoff show from The Simpsons was once considered, according to former showrunner Josh Weinstein.  Springfield would have focused on the fictional town’s other inhabitants and was conceived in the mid-’90s.

The better news is that they’ll have a full interview on Monday.  Bonus: this is a nice backhanded slap at Zombie Simpsons:

“We felt at that time – around season seven – that we all knew the family so well, so let’s start exploring all these great side-characters,” he explained.

Two scientific journals accepted a study by Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel – This was making the rounds this week:

“I wanted first and foremost to come up with something that gives out the fake immediately,” the actual author of the paper, Alex Smolyanitsky, told Vox. “My only regret is that the second author isn’t Ralph Wiggum.”

Me fail science?  That’s unpossible to within a probability of 5%

Naming Rites: A Team Name and Mascot Blog – Destination Springfield: Celebrating Some Perfectly Cromulent Team Names – An exhaustive look at fake and real sports teams that have popped up in the show and on Zombie Simpsons.  (Thanks to @TeamNicknames for sending it in.)

Dan Shaughnessy vs. MLS: To Troll or To Ignore, That Is the Question – I’m with Paul & Lisa:

Petke’s retort is fun and makes for good blog headlines, no doubt, but the best course of action here is to ignore commentary for an columnist stuck in a 1987 world view about sports. Lisa Simpson’s and Paul Anka’s “Just Don’t Look” song from an old Halloween episode of The Simpsons often feels quite applicable under the premise if you don’t pay attention eventually (hopefully) they’ll go away.

Excellent reference.  (Shaughnessy is like 60 Minutes, his keen days are far in the past and he mostly exists to outrage old people.)

15 Best Comic Book Guy Quotes From ‘The Simpsons’ – There are far too many Zombie Simpsons quotes here, especially when things like “I have a master’s degree in Folklore & Mythology!”, “No groaning in my store.”, and “We’re racing for the title of the champion of the universe.” didn’t make the cut.

Every Christmas Episode Of ‘The Simpsons,’ Ranked – They did have the good sense to put “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” at #1.  And this may be the understatement of the week:

Oh, and the bit with Katy Perry and the Muppet Simpsons at the end was just a bad idea.

I still think that needs to be considered the “Star Wars Holiday Special” of Zombie Simpsons.  It’s that bad.

15 Homemade Gifts For the TV Fan In Your Life – #11 is a pretty awesome Bonestorm blanket.

The Animated Sitcom – A look at how animated comedies fit into the wider world of them.

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons homer simpson… – He’s getting a pretty good sound out of that guy.

Cyclocross: the Groin Punch of Cycling Disciplines – Heh:

I am Hans Moleman. See my masterpiece, my finest production, it is me getting hit in the groin by a football. It is never not funny. In fact, the more it happens, the funnier it gets. It is pure parallax. High art medium, low art content. The two are not reconciled, and the impact could not had any other way. I am Hans Moleman, and I am racing cyclocross.

With YouTube.

The pointless Twitter accounts that will make you laugh every time – Our friends over at @simpsonsgreats make the list.

The Ten Greatest Songs of All Time: #9 – Rock Me Amadeus – A trip down memory lane, complete with Troy McClure YouTube.

Celebrities Who Look Like Cartoon Characters If You Add Variations To Their Face – I guess Jim Belushi could pass for Milhouse.

I Love Lazy Saturdays – We all sleep in sometimes.

Win A Copy of Anne Washburn’s Mr Burns! – The question isn’t the least bit difficult, but it would be cool to own a copy of that play that I swear I will see someday.

My 2nd Favorite Simpsons Gag – YouTube of the longest church hymn ever.

These Absurd Chinese Cop Cars Look Like Homer Simpson’s Designs – Photoshopping it in with Homer was a nice touch.

Long-lost teddies: The joy of being reunited with a beloved bear – And finally, here’s your “aww” usage for the week:

While in the car travelling down the M6 near Cannock, Staffordshire, recently, four-year-old Daisy Jewkes’s favourite bear, Old Teddy, flew out the car window. Distraught, she cried all the way home.
But there is a happy ending. After Daisy’s mother emailed the Highways Agency, the little girl was reunited with her toy bear last week.
David Smith, a manager for construction company Carillion, said: “I got the email and asked the guys to look out for the teddy and within days we found him in the central reservation. The look on the girl’s face was absolutely fantastic when she got him back.”
The hold a beloved bear can have on a young mind is quite remarkable. Just think of The Simpsons’ mean-spirited Mr Burns, whose otherwise concealed humanity is revealed in the episode “Rosebud” in which he reminisces about the stuffed teddy Bobo that he gave away as a child. He is overjoyed when he is eventually reunited with the raggedy toy through Homer’s daughter Maggie.



Quote of the Day

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“Hooray!” – Principal Skinner
“Yaaaay!  You dream about this day for so long, then when it comes, you don’t know what to say.” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Edna, your tears say more than words ever could.” – Principal Skinner
“Military school?” – Bart Simpson

Marcia Wallace would’ve been 72 today.  Happy birthday.


“Invasion of the 60 Foot Homer Simpson Easter Rabbit”

“Okay, that was the sand movie.  Now it’ll just take me a second to set up our next movie.” – Miss Hoover 

A couple of weeks ago, the guy in Britain who does the giant Simpsons drawings in sand e-mailed in with some pictures of his latest creation: a giant Homer Easter Bunny on the banks of the Thames.  Behold:

Martin Artman Easter Homer

You can see more pictures at his site. including a completely different giant Easter Homer and one of Bender.  Thanks, Martin!


Quote of the Day

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“Hello?  Hello?  We’re here for the field trip.” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Sorry.  Sorry.  Boy, it’s getting harder and harder to make it here by ten.” – Chief Wiggum


Quote of the Day

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“So, the next time you’re walking on the beach, enjoying an hourglass, or making cheap, low grade windshields, think where we’d be without sand.” – Sand Movie Narrator
“Sand.  Sand.  Sand!” – Chorus


Quote of the Day

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“And that’s how we’ll mold your boy into a productive member of society through an intensive program of pushups and formation marching.” – Rommelwood Commandant


Quote of the Day

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“You know, you do have options.  For example, there are behavior modifying drugs.  How wedded are you to the Bart you know?” – Chief Wiggum
“Not very.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“It’s not my nature to complain, but so far today we’ve have three movies, two filmstrips, and an hour and a half of magazine time.  I just don’t feel challenged.” – Lisa Simpson
“Of course we could make things more challenging, Lisa.  But then the stupider students would be in here complaining, furrowing their brows in a vain attempt to understand the situation.” – Principal Skinner


Quote of the Day

“That’s right. She’s got the ‘munchies’ for a California cheeseburger.” – Chief Clancy Wiggum


Reading Digest: High Horse Edition

I laugh at you pitiful, low-life commoners

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user FaceMePLS.

“Get to work!  I want to see my face in that horse’s ass!” – Cadet Leader

I tend to think of myself as a pretty cheerful guy.  It’s certainly possible that I’m actually a bitter, resentful individual, though I genuinely don’t think so.  However, this week’s links lend some credence to the bitter/resentful argument.  This week I make fun of not one, but two Zombie Simpsons writers, look down my nose at Lost, strenuously object to a passing mention of Simpsons on a blog I linked to last Sunday, and publicly shame someone for plagiarizing.  On the happier side of the ledger we’ve got some excellent usage, several short and enjoyable video clips, and a great fan art link.  So it’s not all me being a sourpuss. 


Pilot season: First look at ABC’s 2010 comedy pilots – Remember Dana Gould, the bitter Zombie Simpsons writer who couldn’t form a coherent sentence?  He wrote a pilot, and if he’s really lucky it might get canceled after a few episodes next season:

"The Simpsons" scribe Dana Gould has written an untitled multi-camera comedy he will star in. He plays a high school guidance counselor and father of two who is caught between his conservative upbringing and his progressive wife’s ideals. One plus: Brian Dennehy plays his father.

Obviously I object to him being called a Simpsons “scribe” when he never wrote a damn thing before Season 12, but the more interesting thing here is the utter banality of the premise.  Ohhh, a high school guidance counselor with a liberal wife and a right wing dad, it’s Political Mismatch Comedy #644!  And think of how topical they can be!  I hope it has all the wit and sparkle of Murphy Brown

Retro Review: War of the Simpsons – Someone else is reviewing old Simpsons episodes too.  It’s an epidemic! 

First Time. – Sigh.  This seems to happen every few months; I come across some new blog that’s talking about a Simpsons episode or something similar and just by reading it I can tell: it’s been plagiarized from Wikipedia.  I hate doing this because I’m 100% in favor of people going on line to express themselves and all that technovangelist jazz, yet I can’t very well let plagiarizing Wikipedia slide, can I? 

In this case we have a new blog called “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Sam”.  Here’s the earnest introductory post that makes the second post all the sadder:

Hi Blogosphere.

My name is XXXXXXXXXX and this is a blog for philosophy Units 1 & 2

My main goal is to post about “Metaphysics regarding Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”

(If you want to see the name you can just click over to the site.  I’ve left it out here in case s/he either deletes this blog or, hopefully, elects to see the error of his/her ways and continue without plagiarizing Wikipedia.  In either case I don’t want our archives shaming him/her for Google to see forever.) 

Here’s the opening of the second post:

I was first introduced to “Eternal Sunshine” via The Simpsons parody, “Eternal Moonshine Of The Simpson Mind”

I found the episode to be thoroughly entertaining, despite it’s deviation from normal Simpson protocol.

The plot (of the episode) is as follows:

From there on out it’s virtually word for word from the Wikipedia article about that Zombie Simpsons episode.  There’s no link, no indication that it’s anything other than the author’s work.  Wikipedia:

During winter, Homer wakes up in a pile of snow and does not remember the events of the previous day, commenting that he must have drunk heavily the night before. Homer goes home and finds his family absent. Santa’s Little Helper attacks him. Homer travels to Moe’s, where Moe informs him that he was there the previous night and wanted to forget an unpleasant memory.

Blog post:

During winter, Homer wakes up in a pile of snow and does not remember the events of the previous day, commenting that he must have drunk heavily the night before. Homer goes home and finds his family absent. Santa’s Little Helper attacks him. Homer travels to Moe’s, where Moe informs him that he was there the previous night and wanted to forget an unpleasant memory.

In the next sentence Wikipedia describes the various alcohols that are in the shot (Jager, gin, Absolut) while the blog omits them, which makes me think this was written either by a high school student or by someone at a Jebus college that frowns on booze.  In any case the copy and paste goes on from there for four paragraphs.  Where something does get left out it’s glaringly ham handed.  Wikipedia:

When Moe offers the Forget-Me-Shot (Which Moe spat in), Homer predicts exactly what is going to happen

Blog post:

Moe then offers Homer the Forget-Me-Shot.   Homer predicts exactly what is going to happen

Notice the extra spaces where “(Which Moe spat in)” has been cut out.  This is plagiarism. 

And if you’re reading this, author of this post, please don’t get discouraged.  You fucked up, it happens.  Keep going (it’s not a bad project idea), just don’t do this again. 

ART – Misc Stuff – On a vastly more pleasant topic, here’s some really cool fan art.  You’re going to have to click your mouse twice to see what I’m linking here (and I know that’s a lot to ask), but it’s worth it.  First you’ve got to click the link, then you’ll see two images, click the one on the right (it’s in color).  There’re fan made drawings of Homer & Marge, the kids, Burns & Smithers, Lenny & Carl and Sideshow Bob and they’re really well done.  (There’s also some Futurama stuff.)

LOST Provides a Catchphrase to Replace “A Wizard Did It” – This is patently absurd.  There was another plot twist on Lost recently and somebody thinks that it will replace “A wizard did it” as the catchall for lazy storytelling.  I think not.  Lost has more plot twists than it does characters, in a year nobody’s going to remember this one. 

LOST SEASON 6, EPISODE 5 RECAP: Clairey Monsters – This says it contains spoilers if you give a shit about Lost, but I think I can quote the Simpsons part without spoiling anything:

Jacob instructs him to write a novel’s worth of instructions on his arm — I couldn’t think of how to shoehorn-in the Simpsons joke “I am tired of these jokes about my giant hand. The first such incident occurred in 1956 when…” so I just wrote this sentence

That’s perfectly quoted, excellent usage. 

Bart Simpson Monkey – Bali – A real life tale of a monkey trying to eat someone’s shorts. 

Wallflower Words: Koan (n.) – Want to explain an obscure word?  Let The Simpsons do it for you.  The quote is very slightly off but this is still powerfully excellent usage. 

The Simpsons: Accident In Class – This is just a Hulu clip of Homer’s encounter with the proton accelerator in “Homer Goes to College”. 

Cheaters Everywhere – This is a list of people who cheated on their spouse and/or girl/boyfriend on television or in movies.  There’s a Simpsons part that is further proof that Zombie Simpsons sucks ass:

Homer and Marge have had some ups and downs in their relationship.  Some mentions of cheating are fun, like Homer taking a ham (dressed up like a woman) to a hotel room to eat it.  He was on a diet.  Don’t judge.  But others, like Marge being wooed by someone who definitely looks better on paper than Homer or Apu cheating on his wife and getting kicked out of the house, are too much to bear.  Read the episode summaries before watching.  If there are any doubts, catch the episode by yourself on Hulu.

Marge being “wooed” in this case doesn’t sound like Jacques, I’ve never heard of the ham thing, and there was an episode where Apu got thrown out of the house?  Glad I haven’t seen that one. 

Beloved Mosi Tatupu left indelible imprint – Mosi Tatupu was an NFL player who died this week.  He also had a very quick mention in “Treehouse of Horror III” and at least one obituary noted it. 

Best of The Simpsons Season Four Quotes – A bunch of quotes from Season 4. 

Recapturing Greatness – This is from the same No Pun Intended blog that’s reviewing the occasional Simpsons classic.  In this post (by a different guy than the one who writes the Simpsons reviews) we learn that Will Arnett (a/k/a Gob Bluth) may star in a pilot for FOX produced by some other Arrested Development alums.  His character is “a right Beverly Hills jackass”.  Sounds good, right? 

The point of the post is that it’s hard to, as the title says, recapture greatness and that we might not want to get our hopes up.  This was all well and good until I got near the end.  In discussing how in different contexts people go from fantastically funny to utterly boring he drops this piece of dumb:

The writers of the early episodes of The Simpsons are often the same as the writers of the later episodes of The Simpsons.

Other than Al Jean (and to a lesser extent Mike Reiss) when was the last time you recall seeing someone from the good years with their name on the credits?  The epically prolific John Swartzwelder slowed way, way down before he finally called it quits, Jon Vitti stopped in 1995 and only worked on the bad seasons a handful of times, Bill Oakley, Jay Kogen, David M. Stern, Greg Daniels, David S/X. Cohen all left either before things went to hell or as they were going to hell, never to return.  I could go on; I could also list the numerous current writers that have no credits from the early years (paging Dana Gould), but I think I’ve proved my point.  So no, the writers of Zombie Simpsons are not “often the same” as from The Simpsons

On the (H1) wagon – No discussion of the demise of the Hummer is complete without The Simpsons and the Canyonero. 

Why Not Professor Frink… – It’s a defense of nerdiness as it relates to image projection.  But forget all that because there’s YouTube of Frink teaching kindergarten in “The PTA Disbands”!

“Hello My Name Is Mr Snrub…” – More YouTube!  (Also, this blog is called “All My Friends are Dead Because I Shot Them”.  Cool.) 

Nuclear association learns from Homer – Joel H. Cohen (first listed credit: Season 13) gave a talk to a bunch of nuclear industry people in Canada.  According to the story he was very funny and charming.  However, he also apparently did this:

He [Cohen] had real advice for the audience, like the lesson learned from the episode in which Homer gets so fat he goes on disability leave from the nuclear plant and, presumably, sits around the house being miserable — a prospect that didn’t thrill the writing team. "Then somebody says, ‘what if he loves it? What if he enjoys being fat and is loving every minute of it?’ And you could feel the energy spread across the room, because that is a much more creative, much more fun, more exciting way to go."

Shenanigans!  I call Shenanigans!  That episode is from Season 7, Cohen didn’t start working on the show until six years later.  This is second hand information, so there are some plausible explanations (maybe he was an intern during Season 7, maybe he was relating a story someone else told him), but as the story is written he’s presenting it like he was there. 

(Note: Some of the text at that link repeats, but I think the whole story is there.)

20 Years of The Simpsons – This guy was laughing at a top ten episode list we’ve mentioned before.  It’s a very good list because it has nothing past Season 7.  Though he gets confused in places (Homer’s fat guy dress is from a different episode than the the subliminal weight loss tapes) he outrights praises the show without ever once mentioning Zombie Simpsons or citing any Zombie Simpson episodes.  Well done.


Crazy Noises: The Secret War of Lisa Simpson

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“The wars of the future will not be fought on a battlefield or at sea.  They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain.  In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots.  And as you go forth today, remember always, your duty is clear: to build and maintain those robots.” – Rommelwood Commandant

In an attempt to fill the summer with love, hate and pointless Simpsons commentary we at the Dead Homer Society are going to spend some time overthinking Season 8.  Why Season 8?  Because Season 8 is when The Simpsonsreally began to deteriorate into Zombie Simpsons.  That’s why.  Because we’re cutting edge and ultra-modern we’re using a newfangled, information-superhighway fad called a “chatroom” to conduct our conversation.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “ridiculously”).

Today’s episode is 825 “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson“, yesterday’s was 819 “Grade School Confidential“.

Charlie Sweatpants: On to Secret War of Lisa Simpson?

Mad Jon: Oh sure

Dave: This isn’t a terribly funny episode either

Charlie Sweatpants: The first segment is, then it goes downhill.

Mad Jon: The opening of the episode is very good, I may even say Wiggum is at his best. But then, as you have pointed out, it becomes most unpleasant.

Dave: California cheeseburger is pretty awesome

Charlie Sweatpants: Plus the movies Hoover has them watching.

Mad Jon: yeah that was funny and a tad reminiscent of my 2nd grade public school years.


Charlie Sweatpants: Hee hee, California Cheeseburger indeed.

Mad Jon: You think he wouldn’t start at the poopy end.

Dave: Here’s another:

I will concede the first segment is solid

Charlie Sweatpants: Did you just do a Google image search for baby sandwich or something?

Mad Jon: You will get no arguments from me on the rest of the episode’s suckiness.

Dave: That’s actually me as a child.

Mad Jon: You’re Asian?

Charlie Sweatpants: You were a baby once?

Dave: Apparently.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, so once they get to military school, was anyone else besides me ever kinda bothered by the fact that all the other kids seem to be older than Bart and Lisa?

Dave: (Yeah Pants, I googled “california cheeseburger”)

Mad Jon: No, I was bothered by the lack of entertainment.

Dave: Yeah, fuck all happens

Mad Jon: Except for the drill instructor’s speeches, those were funny enough.

Like his one about the Eliminator, or his graduation address.

Dave: Do we assume that larger kids = older?

Mad Jon: Or hungrier.

Dave: Slow down tubby.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh the commandant’s graduation address is one of the best parts, especially since the thing about robots doing the fighting is slowly coming true.

Mad Jon: “Slow down tubby, you’re not on the moon yet!”

Beat me to it

A futuristic commentary indeed.

Dave: Eerily prescient.

Charlie Sweatpants: What I was getting at about the older kids thing is that it feels like the episode has its fire trained on the wrong target. It’s this “overcoming adversity” tale for Lisa when there’s an eminently mockable subject like a military academy for 2nd graders.

They make a few jokes about it, (prison for children) but on the whole it feels like they missed the target.

Mad Jon: I think that may be a little deep for a bunch of coddled 22 year old writers who knew someone who got them a gig writing for The Simpsons.

Who wrote this one anyway?

Dave: Richard Appel

Charlie Sweatpants: He wrote these:

Dave: And Willem Dafoe guest starred. I learned something today!

Mad Jon: Hmm, came a long way down didn’t he.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, he had the good sense to leave too.

Mad Jon: That list has some knockouts on it.

Dave: It surely does

Mad Jon: With a blister factor of 12.

Dave: It’s interesting – as he goes up the ranks, the episodes get worse

Charlie Sweatpants: Well he’s not the primary writer on all of those, but he was for Mother Simpson, Bart on the Road and Bart After Dark, that’s not a bad list.

Dave: He’s co-exec producer for a bunch of stinkers

Mad Jon: I was watching Bart after Dark the other day. I definitely don’t watch that one enough. It really is good.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve always thought the producer credits just kinda mean he was in the writers room while they were hashing it out. But I really don’t know.

Mad Jon: Or he bought them lunch one day or something

Dave: Me either. I’m just making a baseless assumption as usual.

Charlie Sweatpants: We’re on the internet you know, there’s very high standards.

Dave: Of course.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anyway, any other high or low parts that deserve to be singled out?

Dave: No real highs. The bees bit is a mid-level laugh at best

Mad Jon: The ending almost seemed purposefully shitty

Charlie Sweatpants: I like Skinner’s line about the stupider children furrowing their brows in a vain effort to understand things.

Mad Jon: That was a good one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the end is weak, Lisa’s eliminator climb takes for-ev-er.

Mad Jon: A trip to the dentist? Come on you bastards. Even bad endings have dancing.

Dave: And Journey.

Mad Jon: True that.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is a minor point, but also, this was the second season finale in a row where they got out of school.

Mad Jon: hmm, yeah, I don’t care about that. But I can almost kinda see the point you might be making.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s happened a lot, so I don’t really care, but there’s a much larger gap between Bart of Darkness and 4 ft 2 than there is between 4 ft 2 and this one.

Kamp Krusty was also two seasons ahead of Bart of Darkness.

Dave: I see what you’re doing.

Mad Jon: Well, they don’t call them crutches because they make it harder to walk around.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, it’s minor, but I think it’s indicative of the overall decline in quality that is so very pronounced in Season 8.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that this was a disappointing season finale for a disappointing season.

Dave: That’s fair. It didn’t exactly make me cheer for more

Mad Jon: Yeah, like getting blue-balls after going at it to an issue of Good Housekeeping.

Charlie Sweatpants: Finish with the sofas, that’s the trick to spanking it with home magazines.

Mad Jon: You are a twisted bastard.

Dave: I can’t unread that. Fuck.

Charlie Sweatpants: So, any final thoughts/general ratings?

Mad Jon: Yeah, if it weren’t for the first part of the first act this might have been the worst episode of the season. But even Wiggum’s laziness couldn’t save it from being in the shallow end of the toilet.

Charlie Sweatpants: I agree, but it feels like I want to give every one of these the same middle-low type rating.

Though that probably has more to do with which episodes we’ve watched than anything else.

Dave: What would you prefer to give it?

Mad Jon: That just lowers the value of that said rating, which means it’s ok.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know.

Dave: We’ve picked the losers to watch for a reason.

Mad Jon: Like when Skinner rounded up the losers for Supernintendo’s vist

Charlie Sweatpants: It still kinda sucks and there are some genuinely good episodes in 8 so I guess middle to low makes sense.

Dave: To remind us of how far we’ve fallen, and how good it once was.

Mad Jon: Or when Smithers but the less gifted employees in charge of watching the bee

Charlie Sweatpants: Sorry, I should stop thinking with my keyboard.

I guess I don’t really hate this episode because there isn’t anything in it that really pisses me off. Lisa and the machine gun and them on the propellers is kinda dumb, but it’s not terrible or anything.

Mad Jon: This season reminds me of the summer I spent watching my great uncle’s Alzheimer’s move into stage two. I know I loved the man, but he wasn’t the same. And at the same time I couldn’t abandon him in the alley yet, as there was still a gleam of recognition in his tired grey eyes.

Charlie Sweatpants: You know, Alzheimer’s really is a decent way to explain it.

Dave: Would it be helpful to stop framing this episode as part of Season 8? If we look at the first 8 seasons as a single body of work, this episode ranks much lower.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s a good point.

Because if this had dropped in the middle of 7 or earlier I would’ve hated it a lot more.

Dave: Exactly.

Mad Jon: It really seems as they didn’t mean for this to happen, but it did. And we had to watch.

But it didn’t drop in mid 7 because they were still doing ok back then.

Charlie Sweatpants: True.

Mad Jon: “Just leave the bag closed and I’ll give you a C-“


Quote of the Day

The Secret War of Lisa Simpson1

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