Saturday Morning Cartoons

“Young lady, cow hearts belong in a butcher’s window, not the classroom. Well, maybe in an older student’s biology classroom. But that’s none of my business. Elementary school is where I wound up and it’s too late to do anything about that!” – Principal Skinner

The above is yet another example of how The Simpsons was able to cram jokes into every conceivable place in its episodes. It comes right as Lisa has set up Allison for failure at Diorama-Rama. For the middle of it, the sound even fades out on Skinner as the camera pushes in on Lisa, revealing her growing horror at what she’s done.

The music darkens as Lisa is racked with guilt and Allison begins to crack, but we can still hear Skinner’s latest rant, again revealing the bitterness and rage that he barely masks with his store bought haircut and excellent posture. It’s a hilarious self-own, with Skinner revealing how desperately unhappy he is, just as he does when he flashes back to Vietnam, or laments how awful the talent show is backstage before instantly switching gears and praising it on-stage.

At the same time, the episode itself is chugging along toward its emotional climax, which is also a running Edgar Allen Poe parody. That’s a lot of elements to have going on all at once, and The Simpsons handles them so deftly that you can enjoy each one without stopping any of the others. And, of course, the whole thing is simultaneously acting as setup for the bigger punchline when both Lisa and Allison lose to Ralph because the diorama contest they care so much about is less important to the adults than Miss Hoover’s desire to go to lunch.

Zombie Simpsons (which often struggles to handle one thing at a time) doesn’t even attempt densely layered jokes and storytelling like this. The Simpsons did it routinely.

3 Responses to “Saturday Morning Cartoons”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    8 October 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Looking at that gif, you can get an idea of just what it is that makes Lisa crack. It’s not just the guilt, although that’s a large part of it. Allison is nearly in tears. How many times has Lisa found herself on the verge of tears because she’s upset by something? It’s usually other kids (or her family members) that cause it because she doesn’t get lectured much by adults, but I think she can picture herself in Allison’s shoes right now and it’s being able to relate that’s making her snap just as much as the guilt over doing something wrong.

  2. 2 Anonymous
    10 October 2017 at 1:37 pm

    i love that weird thing that’s happening with her eyelashes as she’s blinking. don’t think it was intentional, but it’s kinda hypnotic…

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