Airdate: October 19, 1997
Synopsis: Lisa’s saxophone gets destroyed in an accident. While Lisa is mourning her companion cube, Homer recounts the time Lisa got her saxophone. Two stories are then told: the first one connecting to the second one.
In the story, a 5-year old Bart loses his enthusiasm for school because his kindergarten teacher was apathetic and callous. While talking to the school psychologist, Homer and Marge note that Lisa is gifted. With no money to afford private school, Homer and Marge worry about Lisa’s creativity being channeled in the cultural wasteland they live in. Meanwhile, Bart has to deal with his depression. Yes. Depression.
Review: This is going to be a slightly shorter review than normal, partially because there is not a whole lot to talk about. This is also the last episode until season 13 that did not have Mike Scully at the helm. Enjoy it.
Why? This might be the best episode between season 9 and season 13. It actually feels like a classic-era episode, with that sense of cruelty and heart that the show demonstrated during those wicked early years. The development given to Lisa and Bart is not only brilliant, it is also quite sad. Bart was depressed by a teacher, got ignored by his parents, and became America’s Bad Boy because of it. We get to see how Lisa was put down by society and class, and how she got to channel her intelligence in the cultural wasteland called Springfield.
Might I also add that the humor is on par with what one would see during the Oakley-Weinstein Era. A bit sad, given the next episode had Mike Scully take over and launch his reign of terror.
It is truly a brilliant episode with few flaws. If there is only one episode to watch from season 9, make it this one.
Favorite Scene: The All in the Family parody opening. That might be even more hysterical because of the Sheriff Lobo reference.
Least Favorite Scene: Homer and Marge not paying much attention to Bart’s Depression is a bit cold of them. Granted, The Simpsons is not an overtly-sweet sitcom (at least not when this episode aired) but still.
Next Simpsons review… we delve into the Scully Era. Be afraid. Be Very afraid!
Depressing Tribute Time: Last Saturday, Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel, went to the great comedy club in the sky. This is, of course, depressing, and has shaken the show to its core. Al Jean has announced that the character will be retired. Gotta give Jean respect for that.