Posts Tagged ‘Lisa’s Substitute


Saturday Morning Cartoons

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“Mr. Bergstrom!” – Lisa Simpson
“Hi, Lisa!” – Mr. Bergstrom
“Hey! You don’t have to pay! Read the sign!” – Homer Simpson
“And this must be your father.” – Mr. Bergstrom

When people talk about “Lisa’s Substitute”, it’s usually to praise the emotionally pitch perfect ending. First, there’s Mr. Bergstrom’s devastating departure (“That’s the problem with being middle class, anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more.”); and then there’s Homer’s bumbling but ultimately successful attempt to explain to Lisa that he does love her even if they both know she’s a lot smarter than him (“You’ll have lots of special people in your life, Lisa. There’s probably someplace where they all get together and the food is real good and guys like me are serving drinks.”). Like the rest of Season 2, however, there’s a lot more to that episode, and today I want to briefly highlight the way this one uses wordplay.

The opening scene provides a couple of great examples. As soon as Miss Hoover walks in crying, Lisa remarks to herself, “My God, she’s been dumped again.” From there it moves right into Skinner frankly explaining what Lyme disease is, blithely unaware that he’s traumatizing Hoover:

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Skinner: Lyme disease is spread by small parasites called ticks. When a diseased tick attaches itself to you and begins sucking your blood…
Hoover: Oh…
Skinner: …malignant spirochetes infest your bloodstream eventually spreading to your spinal fluid and on into the brain.
Hoover: The brain, oh, dear God!

The episode is full of exchanges that are just as fast. Here’s Bergstrom and Lisa two scenes later:

Lisa: Three, you seem to be of the Jewish faith.
Bergstrom: Are you sure I’m Jewish?
Lisa: Or Italian.
Bergstrom: I’m Jewish.

And here’s Bergstrom and Homer later at the museum:

Homer: Well, if she’s so wonderful, give her and A!
Bergstrom: I am giving her an A!
Homer: Great, but don’t tell her it was a favor to me. Tell her she earned it.
Bergstrom: Mr. Simpson, she did earn it!
Homer: You are smooth, I’ll give you that.

Repartee like that – witty, two sided, and very fast – was one of the many comedy tools that The Simpsons could use that other shows of the time simply couldn’t. Exchanges like the ones above, even Lisa’s little aside about Hoover getting dumped, don’t work with a laughtrack.

Beyond that, animation also allows rapid fire cuts that augment the dialogue without becoming disorienting. There are five lines between Homer and Bergstrom above, but the scene actually has seven cuts, including a reaction shot from Lisa that takes less than a second. The scene would still work without that, but it works better with the imagery reinforcing the banter.


They were smooth, I’ll give them that.


Quote of the

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“Now, Bart, do you really think you can win?” – Homer Simpson
“Sure, why not?” – Bart Simpson
“Woo-woo! Alright! I always knew you had personality! The doctor said it was hyperactivity, but I knew better!” – Homer Simpson


Reading Digest: Perfectly Timed Door Slam Edition

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“I’m glad I’m not crying, because I would hate for you think that what I’m about to say is based on emotion.  But you, sir, are a baboon!” – Lisa Simpson
“Me?” – Homer Simpson
“Yes, you!  Baboon!  Baboon!  Baboon!  Baboon!” – Lisa Simpson
“I don’t think you realize what you’re saying.” – Homer Simpson
“Baboon!” – Lisa Simpson

First off, sorry for the lack of Compare & Contrast this week.  I’m still in the thick of it at work and didn’t have time.  (Things will – he typed hopefully – ease off starting next week.)  In regular news, we’ve got some great links this week, including outstanding fan art (there’s a whole exhibition of the stuff!), a brand new Simpsons blog, some excellent usage, and an on-point article about one of those perfect little subtleties in “Lisa’s Substitute” (which, coincidentally enough, aired for the first time twenty four years ago tomorrow).


The Timing of a Door Slam on The Simpsons – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this fantastic observation about the end of “Lisa’s Substitute”.  It’s one of those things you don’t notice because it’s so flawlessly done.  Well worth a click.

Simpsons-inspired art exhibition opens in Liverpool – With lots and lots of pics!  The Marge mirror and the Thrillhouse thing are outstanding.

The Simpsons’ top 30 movie references – Great list (although it bafflingly leaves out The Shining) at Den of Geek.  Two unsurprising things deserve note: 1) none of the entries are from Zombie Simpsons and 2) they don’t mention that at all because nobody wants the hassle.

Ted Cruz loves ‘The Simpsons,’ but he botched his favorite quote – He was close enough for moderate usage.

A Trap Music-Style Remix of Homer Simpson’s ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Meltdown – Pretty good.

10 Simpsons Characters As Real Humans – A decent collection of comparisons that have mostly been done before.

Cocktail Recipe: The Marge Simpson – I’d probably go with gin over vodka, but that’s just me.

MR. BURNS: A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY to Run 5/13-6/7 at Portland Playhouse – And the play goes to Portland.

The Character Files: Rafael – He’ll always be the Sarcastic Guy to me.

The Character Files: Very Tall Man – I do find him comic while driving his automobile, but I probably wouldn’t say that to his face.

Catch-23 No. 27 ‘Big Other’ Part 8 – Heh.

Instagram Crush: @madnails – Great set of Simpsons nail art.

5 ‘Simpsons’ Characters You Didn’t Know Were Voiced By Hank Azaria – Uproxx must do good pageviews on their endless array of Simpsons posts.  I’m certainly in favor of them keeping it up.

‘Simpsons’ Photos To Describe Losing Your Virginity – What about that Stock Footage Festival the kids went to?

Moving Away from Evergreen Terrace – For anyone wondering why the DVDs got canned, this, from a longtime fan, should explain things:

When the season 17 set was released last December, I held off on buying it because it didn’t feel worth the week-of-release sale price. We have to have it someday because Sideshow Bob is on the cover, but perhaps we can wait for Black Friday pricing. No hurry. We haven’t even cracked open the season 16 set.

Habit buying ain’t gonna pay the freight.

Top 5: Television Cartoon Dogs – Santa’s Little Helper comes in at #3, though I can’t really argue with Scooby at #1.

The Classic Simpsons Battle Royale! – Another site is going through the episodes, tournament style.

Round 1, Battle 1 – Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy VS I Married Marge – That’s a tough one.

Round 1 Battle 2 – Old Money vs Like Father Like Clown – Also a tough one.

Round 1 Battle 3 – (S. 12, Ep.6) The Computer Wore Menace Shoes vs (S. 10, Ep. 23) Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo – Whereas here I can just go with Season 10.

Crack open a virtual Duff with Homer Simpson on his legendary couch – Someone created a virtual Simpson home you can wander about if you happen to be wearing one of those VR headsets.

This episode of Mad Men felt like a spinoff – Excellent reference:

Todd VanDerWerff: Do you guys remember that one episode of The Simpsons “The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase”? Airing in season eight, it purported to show three separate proposed spinoffs from the series, including a cop show, a stupid gimmick sitcom, and a variety show. The terribleness of the ideas was the point — this is what television networks do when left to their own devices, the episode seemed to snark.
Well, I feel roughly similarly about “New Business,” which feels for much of its running time like “The Mad Men Spinoff Showcase.”

All shows must die — even Game of Thrones – Excellent usage:

In The Simpsons episode “Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie” — which, by virtue of being a Simpsons episode about the internal machinations of television, makes it one of our best excoriations about how stupid the internal machinations of television are — Homer is drafted to provide the voice of Poochie, a hip dog brought in to revitalize the flagging cat-and-mouse cartoon show. For his first voice session, he’s understandably nervous: “Is this episode going on the air live?” he asks. “Very few cartoons are broadcast live,” an old hand reassures him. “It’s a terrible strain on the animators’ wrists.”

New trending GIF tagged the simpsons homer simpson… – a deer, a female deer!

New trending GIF tagged simpsons weed homer simpson… – Homer disappearing into marijuana instead of a hedge.

CMW 2015 Preview: First You Get The Sugar – “Foreign Lands” – We’ve got another band named after a Simpsons quote.  I do so enjoy these.

“A Star Is Burns” – The Simpsons Season 6 episode review – A little love for one of Season 6’s many gems.

Ten funny gene names – part 2 – I learned something today:

2. Maggie – Fruit flies with a mutated Maggie gene results in arrested development, like Maggie Simpsons from the cartoon series The Simpsons.

Trial and Error – And finally, I get to end with some academic types who agree with us:

For the group survey and interview assignment my group and I have decided to look at how families are represented in television sitcoms and if it has changed over time, with specific reference to The Simpsons (pre 2000) and Modern Family.

No point going beyond that.


Quote of the Day

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“He says there aren’t any easy answers.  I say: he’s not looking hard enough!” – Bart Simpson


Quote of the Day

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“I think he’s taking the next train to Capital City.” – Apartment Woman
“The train, how like him: traditional yet environmentally sound.” – Lisa Simpson
“Yes, and it’s been the backbone of our country since Leland Stanford drove that golden spike at Promontory Point!” – Apartment Woman
“I see he touched you too.” – Lisa Simpson

Happy birthday Jo Ann Harris!  

Quote of the Day

How Kittens Are Born

“And here comes Snowball II, this is the one we kept.” – Bart Simpson
“Eww.” – Fourth Grade
“We were gonna keep the gray one, but the mother ate her.” – Bart Simpson
“Eww.” – Fourth Grade
“Mrs. Krabappel, he’s traumatizing the children.” – Martin Prince
“As usual, I agree with you, Martin.  Bart, shut that off and take your seat immediately!” – Mrs. Krabappel
“Oh, look, this is really cool.  When I hit reverse, I can make ’em go back in!” – Bart Simpson


Reading Digest: Personal Inspiration Edition

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“You’ll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator.” – Lisa Simpson
“You’re going to miss your brother’s antics.” – Mr. Bergstrom
“When?” – Lisa Simpson
“When?  When your life takes you places the rest of us have only heard about.” – Mr. Bergstrom
“Places where my intelligence will be an asset and not a liability?” – Lisa Simpson
“Yes, there is such a place.” – Mr. Bergstrom

[Quick Note: Sorry for the erratic posting this week.  I actually have three concurrent excuses: work, weather and illness, feel free to accept or disregard any or all of them.  I’m just glad it’s over.]

This week we’ve got two links to young women who love them some Lisa Simpson for all the usual reasons that everyone loves Lisa, plus we’ve got another way in which life has imitated The Simpsons, a revisit with the fake dead girlfriend story, an awesome Simpsons sculpture made out of snow, some love for the Simpsons comics, a couple of people who agree with us, and a new Simpsons podcast.


Snapshot Into My Childhood: Simpsons Quizzo at Drinker’s – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this Q&A with some guys who put together a Simpsons podcast by a guy lady [note to self: always check your gendered pronouns] they met at yet another classic Simpsons trivia night, this one in Philadelphia:

Circling back, a friend who works at Drinker’s sent out the official Facebook invite in November for an impending Simpsons Quizzo event. The questions would be from seasons one through 10, and it. was. on.

The podcast, which is called “The Jerks from Tower One” and of which there are so far five episodes (none of which I’ve listened to due to above mentioned excuses) can be found here.

My 5 Favorite Simpsons Episodes – A great list from a blog that’s almost named after an episode:

I am absolutely obsessed with The Simpsons. I have been for about five months straight. Usually I’ll become bored with a show after maybe a month of hardcore obsession, but I truly believe Homer and the clan are here (I’m pointing to my heart) to stay. No characters are more perfect, well-developed, hilarious, or yellow than these guys. By no means are these five episodes my only favorites: I have so many more, but it’s almost 1 a.m. on this side of the world and I’m a tad delirious.

No shame in that, and no Zombie Simpsons episodes make the list.  Well done.

Welshman’s stunning snow sculptures of The Simpsons and Gandalf draw the crowds – He made the whole family on the couch out of snow.  That’s damned impressive.

Lisa Simpson: Teacher’s Pet Icon [Saturday Flashback] – Everybody loves “Summer of 4ft 2”:

The episode is one of my favorites now, because it’s presents an always timely question about any generation’s youth: Why is acting indifferent toward everything cool? It was my favorite at seven years old because, although I wasn’t a teacher’s pet, I was quite the overachiever and knowing “big words,” having cultural references and trivial knowledge wasn’t exactly winning over my peers who were  more interested in Barbie dolls than writing horror stories.

How Lisa Simpson Taught Me To Be Myself – More love for Lisa:

But she’s also cripplingly self-conscious, shy, and unsure of herself. The fact that she can be both sure of herself and terribly insecure shows that she is just a little girl. But the point is, she inspired me. She literally gave me the courage to say that I wouldn’t ever fit in but never mind. She made me sure that voicing my opinion might not make me popular, but that if it was necessary, I should do it anyway. She taught me to find my principles and stand on them no matter what people say, she taught me that something you believe in is something worth fighting for. All this from a little cartoon girl in an orange dress. That’s a lot to absorb. But Lisa Simpsons, thank you for making my life a little easier every day.

Real Life Imitates The Simpsons – First it was the trillion dollar coin, now it’s Whacking Day down in America’s Wang.  Next week Tom Jones will probably disappear and then the world’s largest cubic zirconia will vanish.

Duffman Runner – A guy running a marathon in a kick ass homemade Duffman costume complete with Duff Beer cans.  Bravo.

More Simpsons – More recreations of Simpsons frames as animation practice, including a link through to Reddit where they’re all stored.

Top Ten Thursday #2: Simpsons Episodes That Spring To Mind – Good list:

I’ve been watching The Simpsons for as long as I can remember, and am STILL planning to one day write the biggest blog post in the history of the world about what it means to me/what it’s taught me etc. :)

I can’t decide on ten definitive episodes that summarise the show (not attempting it today, anyway), but I’d like to have a think about the top ten episodes that spring to mind…because there are some that definitely just pop up in my brain (whether because of frequency of broadcast, frequency of viewing, funniest jokes etc).

And there’s nothing past Season 11.  Bravo.

GeekIt! Top 5 Defining Kids’ Shows – I watched a lot of TV and I turned out TV:

The writers of the show continuously pokes fun at the American lifestyle, culture and human condition, and this is mainly epitomized via the Simpsons family and the Springfield neighbourhood. According to Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe, we learn approximately 90% about life from just watching Simpsons.

She’s a little easier on Zombie Simpsons than we are, but that’s okay.

Top 5 Cartoons On TV – The show comes in at #5 here, more or less entirely because of what it used to do rather than what it does now.  Sounds about right.

comics: yeah! – Nice reference:

I love Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. It was the first comic I ever read. Like millions of others I was sucked in when Batman Begins came out. This was followed by Year One, Killing Joke, Long Halloween and all the other Batman collected edition listed on Amazon’s top 100 graphic novels.

After I finished TDR I felt like I had unlocked a new media, comics! Before then, comics were things that cartoon characters talked about. I’m thinking of Bart and Milhouse reading Radioactive Man in the treehouse before Samantha Stanky came along to ignite Milhouse’s interest in girls (remember that episode? It’s the one that starts with the amazing Raiders of the Lost Ark parody).

I never got past issue two of Bonnie Crane: Girl Attorney.

Snowy Pentlands – Scroll to the bottom for a look at a Mr. Plow windshield cover.  I’m honestly not sure if it’s homemade or not.

Downton Abbey Review: “Episode Three” (Episode 3.03) – A little aside that agrees with us:

In a long-running American show, it’s usually a treat when an old supporting character returns and we get to see how they’re doing with their lives. Sideshow Bob was a longtime favorite until he went the way of the rest of The Simpsons, and it’s easy to see why.

It was pretty depressing when even the Sideshow Bob episodes weren’t any fun any longer.

COFFEE TABLE fourth fix – Want to see some Simpsons soccer figurines and the Comic Book Guy comic book cover that’s the same as the first one for the Fantastic Four?   Here you go.

The Simpsons @ Universal Studios Hollywood – Just some pictures of exactly what the title says.

Death of a Saleswoman – Interviewing for jobs sucks:

I thought all of the best things to say as I was driving away. It’s like I was insulted and 10 minutes later I came up with a comeback. I hate being nervous, but once on the floor, I can sell.

I know they’re hesitant because I am a girl, but I’ve sold everything but cars. I’ve been Al Bundy, climbed up ladders in skirts, and now it seems like I’m gonna be ol Gil from the Simpsons.

This will be the death of me.

Congratulations.  Don’t forget to push the rust proofing.

Is That You, Martin? – MLK clip art that kinda looks like Lisa Simpson is standing behind him.

DVD: Simpsons Season 15 – This is much more generous to Zombie Simpsons than we are here, but it’s pointed in the right direction:

I think by this point in the seasons DVD releases only the truly obsessed fans will still be buying, so of course I received it as a Christmas gift. While the series began to decline a few seasons back it still has its moments, and is generally funnier than Family Guy.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Friday 11th January 2013 – A nice reference for an image where the feet don’t quite fit the slippers:

This just reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Lisa and Bart figure out that Krusty was framed by Sideshow Bob

At least you’ve got little feet like all good hearted people.

Trolling the media down under: Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? – This is that picture with monorail comments from The Newcastle Herald I linked a few weeks ago.  This one comes with bonus quotes:

And that was the only folly the people of Sydney ever took on… Except for the popsicle stick skyscraper, and that 50 ft magnifying glass, and the escalator to nowhere.

Double bonus points because the tagline of the blog is “You know me, and I’m a superstar at the cracker factory”.  Well done.

The Last Stand…In 10 Words – Maria, my mighty heart is breaking.  I’ll be in the Humvee.

Manti Te’o’s Imaginary Girlfriend…In 10 Words – When I read your tweets, I feel as if you are right here watching me.

The Simpsons is Weird Now – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who agrees with us:

I don’t really watch The Simpsons any more. I have it favorited on Hulu, so the episodes pop into my queue, and generally they pop out again when they expire without me having watched them. I think I watched a couple episodes last season. I haven’t watched it regularly since I was in college, probably, in the early aughts.

Yet, I had a spare 20 minutes recently, and so I watched an episode called “The Day the Earth Stood Cool.” It was the episode that had the cameo from The Onion and Onion AV Club in it, and featured hipster characters voiced by Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. I watched the episode and I was so creeped out by it that it sent shivers down my spine.

Zombie Simpsons will do that.  The whole thing is worth a look.


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