128th-Final, Round 13: Lost Our Lisa vs. The Front

128th-final, round 13: 5F17 vs. 9F16.

5F17: “Lost Our Lisa” (Season 9 / May 10, 1998)
Written by Brian Scully. Directed by Pete Michels
Showrunner: Mike Scully

5F17 Lost Our Lisa

Didn’t like it quite as much as last time.

-Lisa: “Can I take the bus to the museum?”
-Homer: “Museum? I don’t like the sound of that.”

9F16: “The Front” (Season 4 / April 15, 1993)
Written by Adam I. Lapidus. Directed by Rich Moore
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

9F16 The Front

Don’t know what I was going on about last time. Brilliant episode.

The winner: 9F16, “The Front.”


Round 36: Make Room for Lisa vs. Krusty Gets Busted

Round 36: AABF12 vs. 7G2.

AABF12: “Make Room for Lisa” (Season 10 / February 28, 1999)
Written by Brian Scully
Directed by Matthew Nastuk
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Lisa and Homer Simpson in an esoteric new age store.

“Other cultures are fine. I’m just saying I can get along in life without a… ‘toothbrush.'”

While I went into last round‘s “Lard of the Dance” with one specific, dreaded image in mind but then was pleasantly surprised by the whole of the episode, this time it was the other way around. “Make Room for Lisa” ends with a touching moment of bonding between Homer and Lisa, and that’s what I fondly remembered about it. But the way there? Boy, it gets rough.

I guess the writers decided that in order to give the final reconciliation between father and daughter more of an impact they had to crank up Homer’s lack of fatherly skills and basically make him World’s Greatest Asshole. And in the end he doesn’t grow or learn anything, it’s only Lisa who has the questionably epiphany of realizing that she really is a pain in the neck sometimes.

  • We do get, as is illustrated above, one of the two all-time great toothbrush jokes of The Simpsons. (The other one will come up in round 97. So any day now.)

7G12: “Krusty Gets Busted” (Season 1 / April 29, 1990)
Written by Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky
Directed by Brad Bird
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

Bart Simpson with a Krusty the Clown doll.

I’m a huge Brad Bird fan (“The Iron Giant” is one of my favorite movies) and it’s great fun to watch this episode and listen to the commentary with him, Matt, Jay & Wallace. The first season can be a bit rough at times, but this is a masterfully written and animated episode.

Full of jokes, both high and low brow, but also there’s real drama going on, and a crime mystery, too! Plus Kelsey Grammer, perfect as Sideshow Bob in this and the many follow-up episodes to come.

The winner: 7G12, “Krusty Gets Busted.”

Round 25: Homer the Heretic vs. Lost Our Lisa

Round 25: 9F01 vs. 5F17.

9F01: “Homer the Heretic” (Season 4 / October 8, 1992)
Written by George Meyer
Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

Homer Simpson having a little talk with five-fingered God.

A beautiful, smart episode, featuring a happy, relatable Homer, great jokes, just the right amount of absurd humor, and a “lesson” that is fun, ambiguous and never preachy.

  • Similar to what happened in “Weekend at Burnsie’s,” Homer has animals land on his shoulders and treat him as their master. But here it is actually funny. And no one gets their eyes pecked out.
  • Nice car chase scene, animation and music are just right.
  • All-time great “Itchy & Scratchy.”
  • “Coming up next: Make Your Own Ladder.”

5F17: “Lost Our Lisa” (Season 9 / May 10, 1998)
Written by Brian Scully
Directed by Pete Michels
Showrunner: Mike Scully

Homer and Lisa Simpson watching the Orb of Isis.

I don’t know why exactly this is, but I enjoy few things more in life than the sight of fathers spending quality time with their daughters. I don’t have a daughter nor am I one, but it just stirs something up inside me and I get all emotional. Many of the Simpsons moments I hold most dear are ones between Homer and Lisa, and we get a handful of beautiful examples in this episode.

Another reason to love “Lost Our Lisa” are the many great observations of being a kid, from super glue accidents to riding the city bus for the first time. Nancy and especially Yeardley are perfect as Bart and Lisa, they bring so much emotion to their performances.

And there’s Homer, of course, happy, adventurous, wise (in his own way) and most of all proud of (and concerned for) his daughter. It’s just wonderful, and a far cry from the angry, careless Homer we get to see these days.

But it’s not all emotion, the episode is actually very funny, too. I imagine I’ll get into some of my favorite quotes when we see “Lost Our Lisa” again in the next phase of the tournament, because…

The winner is: 5F17: “Lost Our Lisa.”