Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lisa the Iconoclast (S07, E16-144)

Wiggum sure knows how to liven up a grave digging.
Plot Summary
Springfield's bicentennial is fast approaching, and a big celebration is planned mostly focused on the town's founder Jebediah Springfield, his iconic phrase "a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man" as cromulent as ever.  Homer earns a spot in the parade as the ever loud Town Choir, while Lisa's 2nd grade class is tasked with writing an essay on Jebediah.  Lisa goes to a historical museum focused on Jebediah and its curator shows her some objects once owned by Jebediah himself.  As the curator takes his leave for a moment, Lisa finds something lodged in Jebediah's flute: a torn parchment detailing Jebediah's confessions: most notably that he was once the pirate Hans Sprungfeld, a secret the townspeople will never learn.

Lisa researches the matter more at home, and she finds that Hans once attempted to kill George Washington, ultimately losing the fight and retreating after Washington is distracted, changing his identity afterwards.  She also finds that Hans had a silver tongue after his real tongue was bitten off in a different scrum.  However, such accusations do not sit well with anybody, though Homer believes Lisa as he is fairly sure Lisa is right about most things.  After Lisa gets an F for her essay calling Jebediah a "super fraud", Homer decides to help Lisa's message get out.  However, everyone she comes across is outraged by the accusation, and soon the town "jubilation" committee summons the two to explain themselves.  Lisa states that she can be proven right or wrong by checking Jebediah's grave to see if his silver tongue is still there.  The committee reluctantly agrees, and alongside the museum curator the group uncovers the grave... to find no tongue.  As punishment, Homer loses his position as Town Choir, which devastates him.

That night, Lisa has a dream where Jebediah tries to haunt her, but is saved by Washington who tells her she's close.  The next day, she's able to figure out the final piece of the puzzle: the parchment the confession is written on is the same parchment that was torn off of what's become the famous 'unfinished' painting of Washington during the fight between George and Hans.  Lisa confronts the curator once more, and makes him reveal that he stole the silver tongue before the dust settled, unwilling to face the fact that his career of researching Jebediah has been a sham.  With the bicentennial celebration now underway, Lisa and the curator find a microphone to allow Lisa to reveal the dark truth.  However, Lisa sees all of patriotic spirit that has embiggened the town, and realizes that the myth of Jebediah still holds substance, and she couldn't possible ruin that with the truth.  Homer forces his way into the Town Choir position anyway (the police unwilling to stop him because "he's too damn good", and he and Lisa march in the parade for all it stands for.

Quick Review
This was another solid episode, an interesting take on the beloved founder of the town and another instance of Lisa realizing that sometimes the beautiful lie helps people more than the cold truth could.  W-wait is that a good message or not, I forget.  Oh well, anyway its not as funny as Season 7's best, but its still a cromulent episode with a few classic moments.

Final Score: 8.4

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