Posts Tagged ‘Lisa’s Pony

07
Nov
19

Quote of the Day

“Isn’t there like a pound where you can pick up cheap ponies that ran away from home?” – Homer Simpson
“I sincerely hope not.” – Grateful Gelding Lady

25
Jan
19

Quote of the Day

“Apu? You can take this job and restaff it!” – Homer Simpson

08
Jul
18

Quote of the Day

“Sorry, baby, date’s over.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

28
Dec
17

Quote of the Day

“Oh, my, what is that smell? Oh, it’s you.” – All Creatures Great and Cheap Clerk

10
Nov
17

Quote of the Day

“Dad, I broke my last saxophone reed and I need you to get me a new one.” – Lisa Simpson
“Uh, isn’t this the kind of thing your mother’s better at?” – Homer Simpson
“I called her, she’s not home! I also tried Mr. Flanders, Aunt Patty, Aunt Selma, Dr. Hibbert, Reverend Lovejoy, and that nice man who caught the snake in our basement.” – Lisa Simpson
“Wow. And after them, out of all the people in the world, you chose me.” – Homer Simpson

31
Dec
15

Quote of the Day

AlarmClock

“Homey, how long do you plan to do this?” – Marge Simpson
“I don’t know, how long do horses live?” – Homer Simpson
“Thirty years.” – Marge Simpson
“D’oh.” – Homer Simpson

07
Nov
15

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony24

“What the- . . . you call this melted cheese receptacle clean?  The young man you replaced is rolling over in his grave!” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

26
Sep
15

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Lisa's Pony23

“This is what love costs a month?” – Homer Simpson
“These are standard stable fees, Mr. Simpson.  Plus I’m teaching your daughter riding, grooming, and, at no extra charge, pronunciation.” – Lady at The Grateful Gelding Stables
“Father!  You’ve made me the happiest girl who ever lived!” – Lisa Simpson

NOTE: Sorry for no Reading Digest yesterday.  I realize it’s not graduation season, but my advice to seniors in both high school and college is: never get a job.  Bart was right, working is for chumps.

I’m a big fan of the gleeful nihilism of Rick and Morty, the relentless contrarianism of South Park, the sarcastic hopelessness of Futurama, and plenty of other two word praiseworthy comedies.  But there has never been anything like The Simpsons, and this morning I’m going to cite “Lisa’s Pony” as an example of why.

The first thing to note is the near mathematical precision of the writing.  A line like “The young man you replaced is rolling over in his grave” is eleven words long and contains (depending on how you want to count) something like four or five jokes.  Not only was a young man (who certainly didn’t care about his job enough to roll in his grave about it) killed before he had a chance to really live, but Apu blithely replaced him with a father of three because he considers routinely fatal gunshots an occupational hazard.  But this is Season 3, and lines that evilly good are too numerous to count.

What puts the show above everything else is the way that lines like are justified by characters and situations.  At the end of the first act, Homer says:

Lisa's Pony22

“Maybe I should just cut my losses, give up on Lisa, and make a fresh start with Maggie.”

That’s among the most awful things a parent can say about their child.  In its way, the apathy it implies is even worse than outright abuse.  This is Homer seriously contemplating quitting on an eight-year-old.  And it’s not like he’s clever enough to say this for pity from Marge.  He means it.  Plus, it’s set up perfectly by a very short montage that has happy music over an escalating series of his parenting catastrophes.

As horrific as that is, it’s funny because we the audience never doubt Homer.  We know he loves Lisa.  He loves her deeper and more powerfully than he can even begin to understand; the only reason he’s thinking of quitting on her is because he can’t see any way she would ever love him again.

That’s what compels him to get the pony, to sign the usurious loan from Mr. Burns, to take the high profile yet demanding midnight-to-8am job at the Kwik-E-Mart.  Every crazy and hilarious thing that happens comes from one central idea: Homer loves Lisa.

It’s beautiful, compelling, and wonderful, and building the episode on it makes and justifies every joke, no matter how bleak, cynical or hopeless.  Jebus, this show is good.

25
Aug
15

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony21

“Oh, dear, we’re in serious trouble here.  We’re just going to have to cut down on luxuries.” – Marge Simpson
“You know, we’re always buying Maggie vaccinations for diseases she doesn’t even have.” – Homer Simpson

03
Jan
15

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony20

“Homer!  Are you stealing squishies?” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“No, sir.” – Homer Simpson

05
Apr
14

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony19

“Homer, you are asleep at your post!  Now go change the expiration dates on the dairy products.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

 

19
Aug
13

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony18

“Excuse me, do you sell ponies?” – Homer Simpson
“Uh, sure, pal, right here.” – All Creatures Great and Cheap Guy
“Scottish deer hound, hey, this is a dog!” – Homer Simpson
“Oh, my friend, you’re smarter than I gave you credit for.” – All Creatures Great and Cheap Guy

07
May
13

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony17

“Hurry, Moe, hurry!  I’ve only got five minutes until the music store closes.” – Homer Simpson
“Well, why don’t you go there first?” – Moe
“Hey, do I tell you how to do your job?” – Homer Simpson
“Sorry, Homer.” – Moe
“You know, if you tip the glass there won’t be so much foam on top.” – Homer Simpson
“Sorry, Homer.” – Moe

Happy birthday Mike Reiss!

18
Dec
12

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony16

“I’ll buy her that pony she’s always bugging me for.” – Homer Simpson
“We can’t afford to buy a pony.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, with today’s gasoline prices we can’t afford not to buy a pony.” – Homer Simpson

27
Nov
12

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony15

“Look, Homer, Lisa’s taking her first steps.” – Marge Simpson
“Are you taping it?” – Homer Simpson
“Yes.” – Marge Simpson
“I’ll watch it later.” – Homer Simpson

08
Aug
12

Compare & Contrast: The Simpsons Get a Horse

Lisa's Pony13

“Homer, just where were you planning to keep this horse?” – Marge Simpson
“I’ve got it all figured out.  By day it’ll roam free around the neighborhood, and at night it’ll nestle snugly between the cars in our garage.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, no!” – Lisa Simpson
“That’s illegal!” – Marge Simpson
“That’s for the courts to decide.” – Homer Simpson

As is typical in Season 11, the first act of “Saddlesore Galactica” has basically nothing to do with the rest of the episode.  The twist here is that as the show makes the turn to its main story, the writers have Comic Book Guy show up in a childishly passive aggressive prebuttal to their critics and fans:

Marge: Should the Simpsons get a horse?
Comic Book Guy: Excuse me, but I believe this family already had a horse, and the expense forced Homer to work at the Kwik-E-Mart, with hilarious consequences.
Homer: Anybody care what this guy thinks?
Crowd: No!

This scene is funny on two levels, though I strongly suspect that the second was unintentional.  It’s funny on the surface because, let’s face it, if there is one thing on which the entertainment industry and the public at large agree, it is that the geeks are best ignored.  Below that, however, it’s also funny because it demonstrates how narrow minded and out of touch the writers had become by Season 11.

This, after all, is the Jockey Elves episode, one of the most iconic moments in the fall of the show, something that has spawned an uncountable number of disappointed and angry conversations on-line and off.  By comparison, the repeat of the horse gimmick barely rates a mention.  In other words, the show had become so untethered from what made it great in the first place that the people making it couldn’t even correctly identify the worst failing of their own self-admittedly shoddy work.  For a show that once operated with precision and ease at the beating heart of American culture, that misguided defense bespeaks a terrible fall.

Self Generated Sycophants

Does anyone care what this show thinks?

But since it was a repeat, and since there isn’t much more that can be said about the magical elves, let’s set aside the underground kingdom and take a look at what made one of these horse plots a disaster while the other is a beloved classic.  For starters, “Saddlesore Galactica” suffers from a slew of typical Zombie Simpsons problems: it makes no sense, it relies on Homer concocting multiple zany schemes, and Bart and the rest of the family act as Homer’s enthusiastic accomplices instead of even remotely like real people.  More fundamentally, however, is the way that “Lisa’s Pony” is about the Simpsons, while “Saddlesore Galactica” is just a bunch of stuff that happens to involve a horse.

In “Lisa’s Pony”, the horse comes into the Simpsons’ lives because Homer has once again failed rather miserably as a father.  He inadvertently humiliated Lisa in front of her entire school, and then compounds his error by thinking he can make it up with half assed gestures like ice cream and tea parties.  For her part, Lisa cracks after being let down by Homer one too many times.  Worse than hating him, she gives up on him, which is why she endures all of his pathetic attempts to please him with the resigned affectation of someone who just wants the other person to go away.

Lisa's Pony12

“I forgive you.” – “D’oh!  You didn’t mean that.” – “No.  I didn’t.”

The scenes between apologetic Homer and apathetic Lisa are another example of just how thoroughly well constructed The Simpsons was.  Lisa is treating Homer with the same contemptuous dismissal that she’s always felt from him, which is both funny to watch and perfectly in character for both of them.  When Homer hocks himself further to Mr. Burns to buy her the pony that has always been her fondest desire (all the way back to “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”), his moon shot present so astounds Lisa that her earlier humiliation is instantly forgotten. 

Again, both his actions and her reaction are exactly what you’d expect.  For Homer, Princess is a last gasp shot at saving his relationship with his daughter when he feels he has no other options left.  For Lisa, it’s the ultimate display of affection that every naive eight-year-old (more on this in a second) wants from their parents.  By contrast, in “Saddlesore Galactica”, the Simpsons get a horse because they happened to walk by when it needed a new owner. 

More than any other single factor, that’s the difference between Princess and Duncan.  She’s a complex and meaningful part of the lives of characters that we the audience care about.  He’s a prop that has about as much meaning as a pair of oversized glasses or a bottle of seltzer water.   

Since Duncan has no substance and no story, the only thing the episode can do with him is treat him like the novelty item he is.  They run him through a few goofy scenarios, give him a nose ring (which I’m sure he loved), and try to make him into some kind of bad boy horse in a hapless attempt to get a few shock laughs. 

That same core emptiness is why Bart has basically nothing to do in this episode despite ostensibly being the Simpson closest to the horse.  He rides Duncan, and he goes along with Homer’s idiotic plan, but Bart has no real story here.  He doesn’t care about horses per se, he just feels bad for Duncan, adopts him, and then rides him.  It’s about as interesting as a kid riding one of those mechanical penny horses at the supermarket.  It’s so hollow that I could’ve easily done this post with “Bart Gets An Elephant” instead. 

Compare that sterile, going-through-the-motions non-story to what happens to Lisa in “Lisa’s Pony”.  There, after getting what she always wanted, Lisa finds out how childish it is to prioritize her wildest dreams over everything else when the full implications of what her pony is doing to her father become clear.

Lisa's Pony14

“All the years I’ve lobbied to be treated like an adult have blown up in my face.”

The above scene sets up not only Lisa’s tearful goodbye to her pony, but also her true reconciliation with her father.  It’s a great ending because not only do we get to see Lisa grow up a bit, but we also see her get the one thing that really is more important to her than a pony: the knowledge that her father loves her and cares about her above even himself.  He’s a forgetful, selfish buffoon, but at his core, Homer loves Lisa, and after seeing what he’s willing to put himself through for her, she knows it. 

Princess comes into and out of the Simpsons life in accordance with what’s going on with the family.  Duncan ends his episode checking out horse photos with Homer and Bart before Bill Clinton walks into the living room. 

07
May
12

Bonus Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony11

“I won’t lie to you, in this job, you will be shot at.  Each of these bullet wounds is a badge of honor.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
“Badge of honor.” – Homer Simpson
“Here’s a pointer, try to take it in the shoulder.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Happy Birthday Mike Reiss! 

07
Nov
11

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony10

“Well, you’re in for a whale of a show tonight!  I’d like to point out that the doors are now locked, so you parents can’t sneak out of the show after your own child has performed.  Oh, and let me caution the people in the first five rows: you will get wet.” – Principal Skinner

Happy 20th Anniversary to “Lisa’s Pony”!  Original airdate 7 November 1991.

15
Sep
11

Quote of the Day

Flensing and Rendering Plant

Image shamelessly yoinked from trinidadbay.net (original source: Trinidad Museum Society)

“I suggest you try the pony farm on Route 401, merely take a left at the rendering plant.” – All Creatures Great and Cheap Guy

19
Apr
11

Quote of the Day

Lisa's Pony9

“Although there is no change in my patrician facade, I can assure you, my heart is breaking.” – Lady at The Grateful Gelding Stables




E-Mail

deadhomersociety (at) gmail

Run a Simpsons site or Twitter account? Let us know!

Twitter Updates

The Mob Has Spoken

Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch
Ah Hee Hee Hee on Homeronymus Bosch
Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch
Ezra Estephan on Homeronymus Bosch
Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch
Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch
Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch
Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch
Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch
Anonymous on Homeronymus Bosch

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Reruns

Useful Legal Tidbit

Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.