Crazy Noises: The Secret War of Lisa Simpson

The Secret War of Lisa Simpson2

“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.

Dave: http://smartcanucks.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/eating-the-baby-sandwich.jpg

Charlie Sweatpants: Hee hee, California Cheeseburger indeed.

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

Dave: Here’s another: http://boingboing.net/images/iateababyadkfjgnakdjfgn.jpg

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: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0032219/filmoseries#tt0096697

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-“


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