OK, for whatever reason, I generally like the time travel episodes.
This time around, it’s Lisa’s college essay to Harvard, and she’s reflecting on how her life was rough and survivable because of her family.
For her infant years, Homer realized she was really smart in a way that made Bart mad.
For her seventh birthday, everyone forgot. You know, except her classmate Herbert Wong. He had the same birthday. Her first grade teacher, Ms. Miles (once again in a different role, Valerie Harper), didn’t care. But then Homer remembered as he drove her home and she got birthday candles in a bowl of cereal. No one forgot again.
Heck, when we skip to her 14th birthday, one thing Lisa looks like she’d like someone to forget is Bart apparently keeps bringing Leon Kompowski back to sing that “Michael Jackson” birthday song song. Who voiced Leon Kompowski? Guest star Kipp Lennon, the guy who did Michael Jackson’s singing voice way back when. Homer also remembered, though the cake read it was for her 12th. Lisa is doing OK from the looks of things. Then she finds Marge packed a bag and was going to leave Homer for Artie Ziff (still Jon Lovitz). Lisa is smart. She can eventually go down to Moe’s and convince Homer to give up drinking, which he does with help from his AA sponsor Ned Flanders and by breezing through the 12 steps in, like, a minute and a half. And Moe kept pouring drinks the entire time.
As it is, Homer does give up drinking.
Anyway, Lisa’s essay (with her transcripts) is enough to get her into Harvard, and that means the family is taking her to Boston. Bart was still living at home, leaving Homer to change his strangling warning from “Why you little…!” to “Why you disappointing…!” but now Bart can strangle Homer back and Homer is turning into Grampa, so there’s no need to visit the old man anymore. Cue sad Grampa on a breathing machine in the hospital for a very dark joke. But it looks like Lisa is getting along very well with her new roommate Valerie (guest star Kat Dennings), even giving a hint of the sexual experimentation Lisa seems to have gone through in some future episodes. Plus, Bart got to make out a little with some Harvard girls who were looking to rebel against their fathers. He doesn’t mind. He even tells them they can say he has two kids somewhere and it isn’t a lie. He’s enjoying Boston more this time.
So, that’s that. Maybe Ralph finally graduated from the second grade, though he didn’t seem to mind being there. And then, in the end, Marge, Homer, and Baby Lisa do a late 90s version of the All in the Family theme, prompting final guest star Norman Lear to walk in and threaten a lawsuit.
There sure were a lot of guest stars in this one…