So many episodes of The Simpsons often depict Marge and Homer’s marriage being in jeopardy before they somehow reconcile. Others tend to have Bart and Lisa fight in such a way that Lisa (it is almost always Lisa) retaliates until Bart does something sweet.
This episode is mostly like the latter. Mostly.
Springfield Elementary is off on a field trip to Springfield Glacier. It’s 3 AM, only Lisa is awake and excited, and Principal Skinner is making awkward attempts to win Mrs. Krabappel back (no luck there for the Skin-man). Bart, on the other hand, is pranking his sister by tripping her, etching “Lisa stinks” into a rock, and finally making some farting noises come out of her backpack as Lisa lectures everyone within earshot that the glacier should not be a small chunk of ice in the middle of a pond and despite what the park ranger is saying on behalf of the American government, climate change is real.
It’s been so long since this episode aired that we have gone from a president that denied global warming, went through eight years of one who didn’t, and are now back to one who has called global warming a Chinese hoax. Ah, progress.
But Lisa really loses it when she falls into the lake and comes out with a frog on her head. A quick joke about a frog with a nerd on its butt gets everyone, including the park ranger, laughing at Lisa. Now she needs to get back at Bart bad.
Meanwhile, Marge and Homer go to the local Sprawl-Mart (not a parody of Wal-Mart, we are assured) and find Grampa working there as a greeter. There’s an accident and Grampa’s hurt, so Homer fills in and does a good enough job to get hired full time to a position with no room for advancement. That pleases Homer since there’s no pressure to get ahead.
But what does Lisa do to get back at Bart? Simple. She gets Chief Wiggum to issue a restraining order of twenty feet on Bart. And when Bart decides to ignore it, he gets put in jail alongside Snake for kidnapping the president and Lou for getting Wiggum’s coffee order wrong.
Bart doesn’t stay in jail long, so Wiggum pops in a videotape explaining how restraining orders work as explained by Gary Busey. He tends to laugh insanely from time to time. Good hosting choice, video producers.
Homer, for his part, makes a twenty foot pole out of stuff he bought at his new job so Lisa can poke Bart to keep him away. Did Homer have to put a screwdriver on the end? No, but he did anyway.
Actually, this is where the episode somewhat loses me. Who do we sympathize with here? Lisa’s got some legitimate gripes about how Bart treats her, but she doesn’t exactly respond in kind. She seems fit to ruin everything for Bart, and her restraining order means Bart can’t even be in the school the same time as Lisa, so he’s getting math lessons from Groundskeeper Willy in the Scotsman’s smelly shack. That stinks! That literally stinks!
A court date to try to get the thing lifted even backfires when Bart insults Jane Kaczmarek’s Judge Harm and she pushes the order back to 200 feet. Now Bart can’t even be in the house with his sister. Instead, he’s left in a tent on the edge of the Simpson property where a never before seen forest is. And we’ll never see it again either, because that’s how season sixteen rolls.
Bart suspects the family misses him. He’s actually wrong.
Marge does eventually get Lisa to admit Bart has done some nice things for Lisa. Two to be precise. When Lisa sees Bart building a wicker statue of her, she assumes its a third thing and goes out to forgive her brother who has since been running with a pack of feral dogs. Sure, she soon finds out the thing was an effigy for burning, but Bart tells a lie about the fire representing her musical passion, and she decides she misses the lies and burns the image herself along with the poking pole and the restraining order. Cue the music again.
Wait, how did Homer do at the Sprawl-Mart? Well, he was forcibly locked in one night by his heartless manager who threatened to deport him to Mexico. Then he learned the other employees steal from the store when that happens and swiped a bunch of plasma TVs with a forklift.
I guess he went back to the Nuclear Plant after that.
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