The Secret War of Lisa Simpson

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"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 8
Episode 25
Directed by Mike B. Anderson [1]
Written by Richard Appel [1]
Production code4F21
Original air dateMay 18, 1997 [2]
Guest appearance(s)

Willem Dafoe as the Commandant [2]

Episode features
Couch gag The living room is shown upside down. The Simpsons sit down, but fall to the floor (the true ceiling). [1]
Commentary Matt Groening
Josh Weinstein
Yeardley Smith
Mike B. Anderson
Episode chronology
 Previous
"The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"
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"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson"
The Simpsons (season 8)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" is the twenty-fifth and final episode of The Simpsons ' eighth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 18, 1997. [2] Bart gets sent to a military academy as punishment for bad behavior. While visiting the academy, Lisa sees that the school is far more challenging than hers and she decides that she wants to attend as well. It was directed by Mike B. Anderson, written by Richard Appel and featured Willem Dafoe in a guest spot as the school's commandant. [1]

<i>The Simpsons</i> American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of working-class life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.

<i>The Simpsons</i> (season 8) Episode list for season of animated series

The Simpsons' eighth season originally aired on the Fox network between October 27, 1996, and May 18, 1997, beginning with "Treehouse of Horror VII". The showrunners for the eighth production season were Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. The aired season contained two episodes that were hold-over episodes from season seven, which Oakley and Weinstein also ran. It also contained two episodes for which Al Jean and Mike Reiss were the show runners.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American free-to-air television network that is a flagship property of the Fox Corporation. The network is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, with additional offices at the Fox Broadcasting Center and at the Fox Television Center in Los Angeles.

Contents

Plot

After a day watching mind-numbing videos in class, Lisa becomes concerned that her education is not challenging enough. Meanwhile, Bart's class goes on a field trip to the Springfield Police Department, where Bart finds a room with several megaphones. After placing them end to end and increasing their amplification, he inadvertently creates a sonic shockwave that shatters all the glass in Springfield. Chief Wiggum suggests sending Bart to military school to correct his behavior. Homer and Marge drive the kids to Rommelwood Military school to force Bart to attend (under the false pretense that they are going to Disneyland); while there, Lisa decides she wants to go there as well. Homer and Marge reluctantly agree and ignore Bart's protests that he wants to go home.

Lisa Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Lisa Marie Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She is the middle child and most intelligent of the Simpson family. Voiced by Yeardley Smith, Lisa was born as a character in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed her while waiting to meet James L. Brooks. Groening had been invited to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the elder Simpson daughter after his younger sister Lisa Groening Bartlett. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family were moved to their own series on Fox, which debuted on December 17, 1989.

Bart Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed Bart while waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip, Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name is an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received its own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

Megaphone

A megaphone, speaking-trumpet, bullhorn, blowhorn, or loudhailer is usually a portable or hand-held, cone-shaped acoustic horn used to amplify a person's voice or other sounds and direct it in a given direction. The sound is introduced into the narrow end of the megaphone, by holding it up to the face and speaking into it, and the sound waves radiate out the wide end. A megaphone increases the volume of sound by increasing the acoustic impedance seen by the vocal cords, matching the impedance of the vocal cords to the air, so that more sound power is radiated. It also serves to direct the sound waves in the direction the horn is pointing. It somewhat distorts the sound of the voice because the frequency response of the megaphone is greater at higher sound frequencies.

Lisa stirs discontent among the students, as she is the first female student and gets her own barracks. She and Bart are subjected to hazing; Bart is eventually accepted and distances himself from his sister. Lonely, Lisa considers going home, but decides to see it through. As the school year comes to a close, the Commandant reveals the final test for the students: the "Eliminator", a hand-over-hand crawl across a rope suspended high above thorn bushes. Lisa fears she will not be able to complete the task, but Bart helps her train in secret.

Hazing Rituals of humiliation used to initiate someone into a group

Hazing, initiation ceremonies, bastardisation, ragging, or deposition, refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team, or club.

On the day of the test, Lisa is the last to cross the Eliminator. She is about to fall and the students jeer, but Bart cheers her on and she makes it across safely. The other students vow to make the rest of the semester a living hell for him, but realize that they graduate in three hours. The Commandant awards Lisa a special medal "For Satisfactory Completion of the Second Grade". After the ceremony, Homer and Marge declare that they will visit Disneyland "for real", but instead drive them – to their amusement and the kids' horror – to a dentist's office.

Dentist Healthcare occupation

A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a surgeon who specializes in dentistry, the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services. The dental team includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and sometimes dental therapists.

Production

Richard Appel wrote the episode. Richard Appel by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Richard Appel wrote the episode.

The episode was written by Richard Appel, but the idea of Bart and Lisa attending a military academy had previously been pitched, and had been floating around since 1991. [3] The idea had not yet been used as an episode plot, because the writers had not felt comfortable with taking Bart and Lisa to a strange place early in the series.

Richard Appel American writer and producer

Richard James Appel is an American writer, producer and former attorney. Since 2012, he has served as an Executive Producer and co-showrunner of Family Guy on Fox. He attended Harvard University and wrote for the Harvard Lampoon.

During the scene where the Commandant is talking, there is a brief shot of Lisa blinking. As there had been an error in the final print of the episode, the shot was animated, painted and shot on May 16, 1997, the Friday before the episode's airdate. [4] The spiky blond-haired boy, who runs towards the Eliminator while screaming, is a caricature of director Mike B. Anderson. [4]

Mike B. Anderson director

Mike B. Anderson, sometimes credited as Mikel B. Anderson, is an American television director who works on The Simpsons and has directed numerous episodes of the show, and was animated in "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" as cadet Anderson. While a college student, he directed the live action feature films Alone in the T-Shirt Zone (1986) and Kamillions (1989). Since 1990, he has worked primarily in animation including being a consulting producer on the series, "The Oblongs", and story consultant on "Tripping the Rift".

Reception

The episode originally aired on May 18, 1997, as the season finale, along with a rerun of "The Springfield Files." [5] The episode was mistakenly anticipated by some as being about Lisa launching "a legal battle" to enroll at the military school. [5] In its original broadcast, "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" finished 47th in ratings for the week of May 12–18, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 8.3, equivalent to approximately 8.1 million viewing households. It was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files . [6]

Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, disliked the episode, writing that it was "very dull" and that Dafoe was not used well. [1] However, Dafoe is one of show runner Josh Weinstein's favorite guest stars. [3] Ian Johnson argued Dafoe's casting was "rare" and "somewhat offbeat". [7]

Journalist Raju Mudhar also wrote that in this episode, "The Simpsons have succinctly laid out our eventual future." This referred to the rise of robots (such as combat drones) in the real world and the quote from this episode:

"The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots." [8]

Merchandise

The episode was one of four in 1999 released on a VHS (Re-released on DVD in 2005) called Bart Wars focused on crosses between The Simpsons and Star Wars . However, one critic wrote that with this episode and "Marge Be Not Proud" and "Dog of Death," both of which are also on the DVD, the "Star Wars connection" is "tangential at best." [9]

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Marjorie Jacqueline "Marge" Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. She is voiced by Julie Kavner and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Marge was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his mother Margaret Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, the Simpson family received their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

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Springfield is a fictional town in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, which serves as its main setting. A mid-sized town in an undetermined state of the United States, Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society. The geography of the town and its surroundings are flexible, changing to address whatever an episode's plot calls for.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
  2. 1 2 3 "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  3. 1 2 Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  4. 1 2 Anderson, Mike B. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. 1 2 Richard Helm, "TV gets spring refresher; From myth to mobsters, sweeps give TV four- week tweek," Edmonton Journal , April 27, 1997, pg. C.2.
  6. Associated Press (May 22, 1997). "Super Mario gives CBS ratings edge". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
  7. Ian Johnston, "TV's great cameo cavalcade! The sitcoms are pulling out the big (and old) guns to get you watching this sweeps week," Daily News, Halifax, Nova Scotia: April 27, 1997, pg. 40.
  8. Raju Mudhar, "Even robots need to let off steam; Homemade bots get in the ring Sumo challenge an annual event," Toronto Star , March 11, 2006, pg. H.03.
  9. "Mark Hamill advises Homer to 'use the forks' in new Simpsons release," National Post , May 14, 2005, pg. TO.32.