There are a pair of moments here when the show references, by name, voice actress Tress MacNeille, longtime cast member. That’s rather cool of them.
Saturday mornings mean the Simpsons children are watching some sort of transforming robot clown show that is demanding children send expensive texts and eat certain cereals to rescue the head clown from a death trap. Setting the TV to a channel that isn’t a toy commercial means golf, which means now the kids want titanium alloy golf clubs. There’s only one cure for that. Lisa can help Marge make banana bread. Bart can go with Homer to Shelbyville to re-bean the bean bag chairs.
OK, one of those kids will enjoy the activity. And it won’t be Bart. But then as the two Simpson men drive through farm country, Bart spots Martin driving a combine harvester and learns about the Four H Club. Bart’s interest in dangerous activities with minimal supervision is peaked, and Homer doesn’t mind since they don’t even encourage parental supervision. Bart makes friends with a girl named Mary (guest star Zooey Deschanel), and is then tasked to raise a cow for a potential blue ribbon. Bart gets stuck with the runt no one else wants, and that includes Ralph Wiggum who chose a sawhorse. Initially named Lulubelle until Bart was informed the cow was male and not peeing from its nipple, Bart’s cow Lou grows into a mighty impressive cow and wins first prize.
First prize being, of course, first one to die at the slaughterhouse.
Bart’s feeling guilty, and though he won’t embrace Lisa’s vegetarianism, he will consent to the small step of no longer stirring his lemonade with a sausage. Lisa and Bart meet Lisa’s environmental activist friends Compost and Solar Power by the stockyard, filled with the sorts of images meant to turn people off beef I am sure, and do manage to find Lou easily and free him with the help of a fork lift. Where can Bart hide Lou? What about Mary’s place? Good idea!
Huh. Mary is Cletus’ daughter.
Huh. Giving a girl a cow is a marriage proposal to hillbillies. Cletus names his kids after what he thinks will be their fates, and he can see the future, so Mary was expected to marry and her brother Stabbed In Prison will see if he doesn’t get the other guy first. Neither kid wants Lou to die or to get married. Oh, what to do?
Lisa goes to Marge for help. Marge has an idea. It involves sewing something. Then when she forces the wedding off, though it makes Mary an old maid by hillbilly standards at the age of 11, Mary can at least take comfort in the fact that her mother Brandine didn’t get married to Cletus until she was 13. Granted, Brandine had been divorced three or four times by then, but that means Lou goes back to the slaughterhouse.
Or it would, but it wasn’t Lou. It was Homer in a cow costume. Lou was taken to the airport, where Apu put him on a plane to India where he’ll be treated very well, and then the others had to rescue Homer from a place that was definitely not the Laughterhouse. Homer missed a letter. And after almost dying in there, Homer can maybe swear off one kind of meat.
So, I guess Lisa made some progress…