Ariel Ponywether has been a fan of The Simpsons since the first time Bart was ten.View all articles by Ariel Ponywether
Kredit Kookies:Short Open: Flyby: Bart climbing down the beanstalk with a goose and harp. Couch Gag: The Simpsons play with their Miis in a knock-off version of Wii Tennis – and Homer, naturally, can’t quite figure out how to compete with his kids.
Lady Gaga’s touring company descends on Springfield for a concert, and Gaga tries to help out Lisa when she discovers the young girl’s suffering from depression stemming from a recent spike in her unpopularity.
Lisa Goes Gaga has some good points- there are some funny scenes, like Gaga arranging a flash mob to cheer up Lisa, and anything lampooning the silly excess of Gaga’s touring company.But even though it has its heart in the right place, Lisa goes Gaga fails in its execution, and ultimately goes against the lessons the show has been preaching for years.
Remember when the Simpsons was boldly unafraid to teach you that it was okay to be sad, as long as you had people willing to support you when you were down?And that it's okay to fail sometimes, as long as you're willing to apologize to the person you wronged? We've gone from that moral in 1991 to "FIND A WAY TO BE HAPPY OR YOU'LL MAKE A POP STAR CRY" in 2012. Yay, creative evolution!
First of all, WHY were there no consequences for Bart's ruining Lisa's social life by revealing she was anonymously propping herself up on that message board? Not only does he get off scot-free with a sad, downcast look, THE PLOT POINT IS NEVER RETURNED TO AGAIN. Bart and Gaga using their combined popularity to say hey, Lisa is awesome, come be her friends (and perhaps failing spectacularly) would've made more sense and a more compelling plot, as well as making Bart’s being a jerk to Lisa more relevant to the plot.The plot should be about their conflict, not the none between Gaga and Lisa.
Secondly, they ruined a GORGEOUS, beautifully acted, emotive Gaga and Marge scene, not by having Marge kiss Gaga, but by turning the moment into a revoltingly cheap joke (it turned her on so much she immediately had sex with Homer, who declared that Marge hadn’t been so frisky in bed since Hilary Clinton won a primary). That kiss would've been beautiful and sweet - if they didn't immediately ruin the moment with a joke.
What IS it with the show’s obsession with Marge kissing women the last couple of seasons? After trying to tell a coming out story with her sister Patty (and, I should add, failing only to some degree), they’ve turned toward cheap fanservice with this ridiculous one-off gags. While I'd love to see them explore the idea of Marge's bisexuality, I don’t trust them to deliver on it.
Don't get me going on the fact that Lisa reached the conclusion that she needed to help Gaga by ENTIRELY TUNING HOMER OUT. Homer gently comforting Lisa used to be a hallmark of this show - now it's funny because she doesn't need his support, ho ho ho ho.
And in the end, the moral of the story presented in the episode is: Lisa was ungrateful for the good parts of her life, so she had no right to be depressed when HER ENTIRE SCHOOL SHUNNED AND BULLIED HER. So if you're depressed kids, just swallow down your sadness and love the good parts of you, because you were gosh-darn-it born this way and rocking the boat with your sadness is a bad thing. A massively irresponsible thing to preach when we live in a world where seven-year-olds commit suicide, THIS SORT OF LESSON IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS SHOW TOOK A STAND AGAINST IN ITS FIRST SEASON. And that’s what this episode was missing; the sort of guts that allowed them to tell kids processing their depression is a healthy part of life - and that in the end you had the love of yourself and others to fall back on.Instead, Lisa learns nothing because she suddenly sprouts a case of self-esteem; it’s proof that we additionally live in a world where it’s no longer okay for Lisa Simpson to be sad, because sadness is a dangerous emotion – and it’s better to turn to shallow egotism for self-salvation.
As for Gaga's VA work...she tries.In the first part of the episode she sounds wooden, but she got better as time went along. The songs were a proper lampoon of her own world milieu and thus fun but….
…speaking of those songs: let me make special note of poor Yeardley Smith.What were they thinking of when they published that version of her vocal track as part of the final song?She was far out of key, and every note was delivered in a reedy whisper. We've heard her sing "Jazzman"; we know she can deliver big and bold vocals when she wants to; instead she was embarrassedly cringing her way through the song and could barely be heard over the drum machine on the soundtrack. Retake. City.
This episode could've been improved with a couple of rewrites, easily.Without them, we’re left with a severely flawed, average segment.The Simpsons, like Gaga, went all out for this one – but in the end,
LETTER GRADE: D
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