Episode 4 - Lisa The Beauty Queen
23 February 2012
Synopsis: At a school fair a caricaturist draws Lisa in an unflattering way and her self confidence plunges. At the same fair Homer wins a ride on the Duff blimp. He soon trades this in for money in order to enter Lisa into the Little Miss Springfield Beauty Pageant. She works hard and performs well but still comes second to Amber Dempsey. Amber is soon struck by lightning and Lisa is called in to take over. However she refuses to be a spokesperson for the company behind the pageant - Laramie Cigarettes. She begins speaking out on social issues and Laramie scramble to get rid of her.
The Good: This was quite an involved story which had two strands, the attack on Laramie and the raising of Lisa's self esteem. Both were solid and there were more than enough jokes to keep things moving along nicely.
Homer's love for Lisa was consistently and sweetly demonstrated throughout. Even though he acknowledges that his belief in Lisa's beauty is parental he never wavers. His decision to enter her in the beauty pageant was excellent writing. On the one hand it was so kind of him to sacrifice his own happiness for hers but at the same time it was a complete misunderstanding of what she wanted. Lisa is sweet too, deciding not to throw away Homer's investment in her and working hard to come a creditable second place. She then of course stands up to the corrupt Laramie Corporation, maintaining her beliefs even if it costs her her vanity crown.
The jokes started early with the Laramie spokesperson explaining (on the Pageant commercial) "You see government regulations prohibit us from advertising on TV" then taking a drag and saying "Ah that sweet Carolina smoke." Marge then amusingly fantasises about golfer Jack Nicklaus while Bart shows an alarming amount of beauty pageant knowledge. The Pageant itself was satirised thoroughly with disinterested host Krusty asking testing questions like "Do you think the Bill of Rights is a good thing or a bad thing?" Somehow it seemed even funnier that he then added sincerely "Take your time dear." In an episode full of satire I particularly liked the ending where the Laramie President disqualified Lisa because on her application Homer had written "Ok" in the section marked "Do not write in this space." So flimsy.
The Bad: It seemed a bit out of character for Lisa to sing an upbeat musical number at the pageant. I suppose it would have been more believable if Bart had persuaded her that that was the best way to win. Bob Hope's cameo was fleeting. Skinner beating up a lawyer won't help him in court.
Best Joke: Homer explains to Bart that women love compliments and can't get enough. When Lisa and Marge return from the salon they both lavish them with compliments and get a warm reception and promises of a special dinner in return. Bart is thrilled with this life lesson and excitedly asks Homer "Do you know anything else about women?" to which Homer of course responds "No, that's it."
The Bottom Line: A fun story with plenty to enjoy and a heavy dose of satire for everyone involved.
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