Why would Homer ever think he could do double shifts? He hardly ever works at all.
Lisa has been offered a chance to join the Capitol City Philharmonic, and just like anytime she gains an opportunity such as this, the whole family has to pay. Marge is left trying to navigate Lisa’s new position into the family. Bart is reaming with jealousy and acting out because of it. And, Homer is forced to work a double shift at the power plant, which damn near kills him. Especially when he discovers that Lisa is in a band and didn’t sign an exclusive NBA contract with the Utah Jazz. Even Lisa’s band teacher, Mr. Largo, is impacted when he is tormented by his days as an up-and-coming music composer. When Lisa realizes how much strain she has been putting on the family, she does what she needs to do and sabotages her position in the orchestra.
This is a special episode tonight for the writer that is behind its creation, Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson. This marks the third main cast member to write an episode for the series. She is also the first female cast member to be given a writing credit. This adds to a certain debate that I have seen bounced around the social media lately. There are some that believe that this season of The Simpsons is centered around an idea that Lisa is trying to destroy Bart’s life, and distance herself. Some go as far to say this is the creator’s intention in order to help get the show cancelled. The latter theory is not something I would prescribe to at all. Why would they ever want their baby to die, why wouldn’t they want this creation live on forever? But, I do love the idea of Lisa secretly trying to bring her dumb brother down after the years of torture. She is that clever, and it adds some depth to her character just to think about.
Lisa being a jazz superstar has been an ongoing theme since the glory days of The Simpsons. Her skills have taken her to some shady places with some questionable characters. But, it has also opened doors for her like when she got to jam out with Paul McCartney. So, it is a bit surprising that nobody has approached this prodigal child before about performing professionally. Sure, Lisa is the type to shoot an opportunity down so that she could focus on her studies. However, it would be expected that the chances would be knocking at her door over the last thirty years.
It was strange to see an episode feature the character, Mr. Largo. The music teacher is not someone that the Simpsons universe has explored very much. He is usually one of the random faces in a crowd full of people, and may, on an off chance, add a single line to the conversation. I am all down for pulling out some of the more random citizens of Springfield and exploring their characters a little bit. We are even introduced to Mr. Largo’s husband in this episode. I cannot be sure if this was the first time that the show ever confirmed his sexual preference, but it was a good addition.
There was also a couple of great guest stars in this episode that deserve mentioning in Dave Matthews and J.K. Simmons. The first of which plays a bartender much in the same vein of The Shining. But, it is J.K. Simmons reprisal of the character from Whiplash that steals the show. He plays the same badass mentor that we came to love and doesn’t show Lisa a break. Especially when she sabotages herself on purpose.
This was an interesting look at a story that we have seen presented in many different fashions. On more than one occasion Lisa is forced to make sacrifices to help her family maintain the status quo. Remember when this little girl was forced to give up her pony? This time Lisa is given an opportunity that could benefit her entire life, which makes the pill a little harder to swallow. The execution of her sabotaging herself instead of explaining the situation to her mentor was also a bit off character. Though, with the show ending on the note that only the kids know what happened and the parents were oblivious was a thoughtful touch from the writer who knows these kids almost better than anyone.