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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