Simpsons Did It!: “Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington”


OK, so here we have an episode entitled…wait a minute…MISTER Lisa.

I sure hope someone got fired for that obvious blunder.

OK, so it isn’t an obvious blunder but an obvious homage.  Mr. Smith Goes To Washington tells the story of a young freshman Congressman who manages to fight corruption and all that stuff while in the halls of government.  That’ll come up again later for the episode featuring He Who Shall Not Yet Be Named.

This one has a free magazine sample improving Homer’s life and then getting Lisa to enter an essay contest on why American is awesome.  Of course Lisa wins.  The episode title would be a lie if she didn’t.  Titles like that don’t lie.  Most of the time.  Besides, she got extra points when the judge spoke to Homer and saw how dumb he was.

Once again, no one considers that Marge might have helped Lisa.

This episode also features the first Simpsons shots fired at the first President Bush.  He’d taken to criticizing the show and the family as part of his efforts to lay claim to the “family values” crowd, and if you can follow the feud, it went back and forth in a rather low key series of ways.  Here we just have Barbara Bush having a bubble bath get interrupted by the family with their special badges.

Lisa, of course, is an idealist.  So, when her ideals are shattered by Springfield’s really sleazy Congressman taking bribes at a (fictional) monument to a (again, fictional) feminist hero, Abe Lincoln has too many requests for advice, and Thomas Jefferson’s petulance scares her away, she has no choice but to rewrite her essay to say what she saw.  This comes after she imagines the Capitol building looking like something out of a 19th century political cartoon.

Of course, this show is a work of fiction and comedy, so the fact that Lisa’s essays somehow prompts a full investigation and expulsion of the Congressman in a matter of hours works much better than the real Congress could ever hope to work.  The system works, and Lisa fixed something.

Bart, meanwhile, knocks out a political humorist who’s inspiration I recognized from my childhood as this guy my parents used to watch on PBS every couple months.

You can only listen to so many songs about the trade gap before you snap.

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