Monday, November 5, 2012

Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy (S05, E14-095)

"Hello. Smithers. You're. Quite. Good. At. Turning. Me. On."
Plot Summary
The episode starts off with the old folks overwhelming Matlock.  Comedy gold already.  Afterwards, though, Grampa begins to worry about his old age, and decides to give his family their inheritance gifts now.  Among them are a batch of silver quarters that the family decides to spend at a toy store.  Money well spent, I'd say.  There, Lisa buys the newest Barbie Malibu Stacy doll, one that actually talks!  The family returns home, having become sick of Grampa's inane anecdotes.  No longer willing to cope with his feebleness, Abe decides to start acting young again, though initial efforts to do so go awry.

Meanwhile, Lisa is disappointed, then angered, when she learns that the talking Malibu Stacy doll can only spout sexist lines that clearly settle within defined gender roles.  With none of it uplifting or inspiration, Lisa decides to take a stand against the company, but finds their attitudes about the same as the doll.  Lisa then decides to talk to Malibu Stacy herself: the original creator of the doll who has since become a shut-in: Stacy Lovell.  With the help of owner of the world's largest Malibu Stacy collection, Wayland Smithers, Lisa is able to track Stacy down.  Lisa earns Stacy's attention by revealing to the recluse the nonsense that doll is spouting out.  Although too drunk to do anything about it at first, the next day she agrees with Lisa's proposal to develop an all-new doll, one that sends positive words to young girls.

Meanwhile, Abe's attempts to go young land him a job at a Krusty Burger.  Abe is terrible at the job, being unable to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of a fast food worker.  One day, Abe is fielding complaints from other elders when he realizes that his place should be with them, that his purpose in getting old is to point out the failures of the world and get on others about it.  The elderly crowd celebrates Abe's revelation by lifting him up, which just ends in disaster.

Stacy and Lisa quickly develop a new doll, naming it Lisa Lionheart.  It goes on sale and gets a boost by a lengthy news report by Kent Brockman (his daughter having convinced him to "because she was right about the Berlin Wall").  Hype and anticipation for the doll rises exponentially, until the worst case scenario happens: a new Malibu Stacy doll is on sale, which is the same as the talking doll just with a new hat.  That doll is the one that sells like hotcakes, and Lisa's doll is left mostly untouched.  However, seeing one girl buy and subsequently use the doll uplifts Lisa's spirits, glad that at least one girl will benefit from her efforts.

Quick Review
Those of you whose experiences with the show mostly consist of the newer episodes, you may see this, an episode where Lisa takes up a cause, and look upon it with instant disdain.  Indeed, Lisa's character has developed the past couple of seasons into not just a brainy social outcast, but also a know-it-all type who tries to push her views onto others.  Such is the case here, but that doesn't make a bad episode on its own.  In fact, this episode turns out quite well.

Grampa's sidestory, which was a big focus early on but died down as the episode shifted focus to Lisa, had its moments but had little going for it at the end.  The family's overall reaction and demeanor to Lisa's complaints and efforts was pretty funny, though, and the use of Smithers in his role this episode was excellent as well.

Final Score: 8.6

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