Round 98: The Old Man and the Lisa vs. ‘Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky

Round 98: 4F17 vs. EABF11.

4F17: “The Old Man and the Lisa” (Season 8 / April 20, 1997)
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Lenny in charge of the Springfield nuclear power plant Charles Montgomery Burns all alone in Mr. Smithers' kitchen

Such a wonderful episode. A terrific Burns and Lisa story with emotional heft and a clever twist at the end. And the animation’s just beautiful, full of cinematic angles and lighting. I especially enjoyed the “Night of the Living Dead” thing at the end.

Also: bonus points for Burns’ usage of “Egad!,” my favorite minced oath.

  • -Bart: “Oh, recycling is useless, Lis. Once the sun burns out, this planet is doomed. You’re just making sure we spend our last days using inferior products.”

EABF11: “‘Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky” (Season 14 / March 30, 2003)
Written by Dan Greaney, Allen Grazier
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Showrunner: Al Jean

Bart Simpson and Milhouse van Houten stealing Fat Tony's Emmy hood ornament wearing fake mustaches

I remember liking this episode when it first aired, but it really doesn’t hold up. Compared to “The Old Man and the Lisa” the script’s flaws and gaping plot holes become obvious, and the few jokes and gimmicks that might have made you chuckle at first don’t offer anything worth revisiting.

The winner: 4F17, “The Old Man and the Lisa.”


Round 72: I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot vs. Simpson and Delilah

Round 72: FABF04 vs. 7F02.

FABF04: “I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot” (Season 15 / January 11, 2004)
Written by Dan Greaney & Allen Glazier
Directed by Lauren MacMullan
Showrunner: Al Jean

Lisa's cat, Snowball III, about to die in an aquarium

I have now seen this episode four times. Once on TV, once when the DVD came out, once with commentary, and now for this tournament. That’s enough. I don’t ever want to watch it again.

The writers love torturing Homer, and sometimes, with a little restraint and focus, that can make a good episode (“The Homer They Fall,” “Homerpalooza“), but this is season 15, and restraint and focus are long gone.

7F02: “Simpson and Delilah” (Season 2 / October 18, 1990)
Written by Jon Vitti
Directed by Rich Moore
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Karl buying Homer (with hair) a new suit

Fun(?) fact: At the start of the episode, when they’re watching the Grade School Challenge and Homer yells out “Hitler!,” Bart’s response (“Hitler?”) was, for some reason, slightly expanded in the German dubbing, where he incredulously says “Hitler? Was denn noch?” To this day, when someone answers a questions with “Hitler,” I’ll try to respond with that, even if it’s only under my breath.

Anyway, terrific episode.

The winner: 7F02, “Simpson and Delilah.”