Lisa, it turns out, is good at a competitive sport.
That sport is the spelling bee.
It’s the first day of school, and to celebrate, Principal Skinner decides to have a school-wide spelling bee. That’s pretty much how Skinner rolls. Bart drops out when asked to spell “imply” and doesn’t get past the laugh from saying the first three letters. Lisa ends up winning when second runner-up Milhouse chokes on the word “choke”. How meta.
But now Lisa is…dare I say it?…popular. She has a cheering section when she goes to the state finals. Homer himself is unimpressed because he’s had one for years. But Homer has other issues. The Krustyburger has a new, addictive sandwich called the Ribwich. He even joins the Ribwich tour with what looks like overweight hippies.
Lisa’s success, meanwhile, gets her into the Spellympics. That is, perhaps ironically, not a word my spellcheck identifies as spelled correctly. Host and moderator George Plimpton is there, being his dignified, droll self while all but asking for a cream pie to the face. That doesn’t happen. What does happen is Lisa is tempted with a bribe to throw the competition for a cute little boy with a lisp to save the sport and its sagging ratings. If Lisa agrees, she can have a free ride to any of the Seven Sisters colleges and a hotplate.
Plimpton really cares about that hotplate.
Lisa is conflicted over all this. Then inspiration to do the right thing comes in the form of Homer showing up for the final day. He had the last Ribwich, but an Italian stereotype’s pronunciation of “lease” reminded him of his daughter, so he actually gave up the sandwich that was guaranteed to cause early death as written right on the box. Factor in also that Krusty reveals the animal it was made of is now extinct. What animal was it? Well, it was smaller than a cow or pig and had a lot more legs. Homer’s probably better off.
An inspired Lisa reveals the bribe to the assembled crowd…then misspells the word she was given anyway. She gets second place.
It turns out that’s good enough for the people of Springfield. That’s the biggest accomplishment in the city’s history after a woman who once dated Charles Grodin. The people even carve Lisa’s face into the side of a mountain.
Wait, that takes a really long time…how long was Lisa gone anyway?