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The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an animated comedy about a family in the fictional town of Springfield. The family is made up of selfish father Homer, fretting mother Marge, precocious daughter Lisa, rebellious son Bart and silent daughter Maggie. FOX 1989-???


Episode 10 - Lisa's First Word

23 June 2011

Synopsis: Maggie will not speak despite encouragement from the whole family. Lisa asks what her first word was and so Marge tells the story of her first year. We flashback to 1984 where a young Bart terrorises poor Homer and won't call him Daddy. He is confused and resentful of the arrival of a new sibling. Lisa however adores her brother and her first word ends up being "Bart." Following Bart's prompting she calls Homer "Homer" instead of Daddy leaving Maggie's first word to be appropriately sweet.

The Good: The story built up to the final line very nicely. You can easily imagine a cheeky young Bart frustrating Homer by refusing to call him Daddy. Yet that was never the focus of the story, it was just a part of it. Lisa is then so enamoured of Bart that she too picks up on this trick. It means when Maggie's first un-heard word is "Daddy" it's a very sweet moment. The writers built that moment in the short term too by reminding us that now they are ten and eight Bart and Lisa fight all the time adding another layer to the important step that a first word can be. Elizabeth Taylor was brought in to give Maggie's voice identity a bit of star power.

The story of young Bart's confusion and anxiety over Lisa's arrival was well told. His actions were believably selfish throughout and the loss of his bed and his family's attention was understandably disconcerting. The arrival of the Flanders family was well portrayed too with their relentless Christian enthusiasm. The jokes about Krusty and the 1984 Olympics were a nice running gag. I did like the idea of Marge choosing to read "Fretting Mother Magazine" which included the headline "Is your baby too cute?"

The Bad: However none of the jokes were laugh out loud funny. There is something unpleasant of course about Bart when he is allowed free rein. His selfish actions are entirely destructive and his endless abuse of Homer isn't always fun to watch. There's also that moment when the whole family laughs at how Grandpa gave up his home to allow Homer and Marge to buy theirs and in exchange they shipped him off to the Old Peoples Home. There's edgy and then there's cruel, you choose.

Best Joke: I did like Homer's decision to make Bart his own Clown bed. It was such a believable decision because Homer was prescient enough to know that Bart liked Krusty but ended up creating a terrifying structure that Bart didn't want to go near.

The Bottom Line: An enjoyable flashback with a very sweet ending.



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  • Thanks again. It's very nice to hear someone else's opinion in full. You are right that it's very sweet and it probably is a question of how much statistical weight you give that. I don't disagree with anything you said.

    I have given high scores to other sentiment heavy episodes so far (109, 211, 312).

    Posted by The TV Critic, 25/06/2011 10:26am (9 years ago)

  • Sorry for the angry rant. I guess we just look for different things in The Simpsons. You seem to look for a funny and well though out plot. And while those two things are obviously very important, I also look for emotion. I'm not saying you don't either, I just feel like I put more weight on that.
    So while it is far from the funniest the series has to offer, it is amongst the sweetest and has some create characterization, particularly with Bart. That said, I still felt there were plenty of laughs and it supplied an amusing take on the 1980's. There's something about Homer prancing down the street singing "Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun" that cracks me up each time I see it.
    As for the Grandpa joke, I could see what you mean by it being very harsh, but conisering how mean he was to Homer when growing up I can see it being justified (at least more so than everyone hating Meg in Family Guy for no reason).

    Posted by RJ, 24/06/2011 9:58pm (9 years ago)

  • Hey,

    Thanks for posting, I really appreciate all feedback.

    However I wouldn't call 61 mediocre. Over 60 means it is a good episode and I did say positive things about it. I do have to point out the difference between episodes which are really funny and those which aren't.

    If you already think something is classic then of course you are going to find it difficult to read a critical response to it.

    I should also point out that I watched these episodes at the time live and felt similarly about them then. So I am not seeing them for the first time and 'missing' what made them good.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 24/06/2011 10:35am (9 years ago)

  • An episode doesn't always have to be "laugh out loud funny" to be great. Season four of The Simpsons is one the greatest seasons of television history and I'm finding it increasingly frustrating to see you continuously giveclassic episodes mediocre reviews. There's being criticsl and then there's being snotty. You chose.

    Posted by RJ, 23/06/2011 10:43pm (9 years ago)

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