|What kind of prospector lets himself be named "Cookie"?|
The family goes out to sing Christmas carols, where Homer gets the idea that he can write his own Christmas song. He attempts to do so later, but is interrupted by Flanders and Homer kicks him out. Angry over that, Homer is suddenly inspired and decides to write a song about Flanders, or how much he sucks, anyway. It becomes a popular song at the bar, and soon a record producer helps make the song popular town-wide. It plays non-stop on TV and radio, that's how popular it gets. Homer and the family soon despise the song, and decide to take a vacation until the song runs its course. Bart suggests going to a old west-style ranch (a 'dude ranch' as it were), one with no TV or radio, and the family agrees.
Lisa quickly hates the ranch, what with the animal killing and all, but soon becomes infatuated with a young boy named Luke who shares her love for most things, and the two spend plenty of time together. Meanwhile, Homer decides to help out a tribe of Native Americans who have had their homes flooded due to the machinations of some nearby beavers. He and Bart try to shoo the beavers away, but that plan doesn't work out. Later, however, Homer and Bart are able to distract the beavers and they go disassemble the dam, letting the river flow and the natives recover their soaked homes.
One night, Lisa overhears Luke talking to a girl whom he's invited to the dance, Clara, whom Lisa believes to be his actual girlfriend. The next day, Lisa sees Clara coming into town, recognizing her from all the "Clara" jewelry she's wearing, and intentionally sends Clara down a dangerous, misleading path to keep her out of the way. At the dance, though, Lisa learns to her horror that Clara is actually Luke's sister. Lisa grabs Bart and the two go out to find Clara. They find her stuck on a rock in the river now formed following the demise of the dam, and Bart is able to find a way to help her escape, using the beavers that are mad at him to bring down a tree which acts as a bridge. Lisa reveals her motivations to Clara, who is less than pleased.
The day comes when the family has to go back home. Luke visits Lisa one last time, who was told by Clara that Lisa saved her after she 'got lost'. Lisa decides to tell Luke the real truth, which only makes Luke despise her. With that happy ending, the family decides to confirm if Homer's song has actually stopped playing. It has, but now its been replaced with a worse song sung by Moe, so its time for another week at the dude ranch.
I've been saying this a lot lately, but this episode wasn't funny. It started going downhill right about when Homer decided to make his song about "stupid Flanders", a phrase which has gotten a little too 'catch-phrasey' for my liking the past season or so. The 'jokes' which take place at the ranch weren't that funny either aside from a few exceptions, making this mostly a throwaway episode.
Final Score: 5.9