(originally aired April 17, 2005)
As I mentioned with “Bart to the Future,” “Lisa’s Wedding” is like this humungous shadow that looms over any time the writers decide to make another future show. It may not seem fair to have to be compared to one of the greatest episodes of the series, but if this is the topic you want to delve into, it comes with the territory, and while this one is certainly nowhere near the abortion that “Future” was, it ultimately comes up a little short. Unease sets in for me early when we first see our future, featuring Bart and Lisa heading to the prom. Marge takes a Polaroid photo of them, which morphs into a cake with the picture on it, commenting how great the world is now that scientists have invented magic. While I appreciate the lampshade hanging to some degree, it just feels like their lazy excuse for them to make outlandish future jokes, with human cloning and sentient vomit being around in such a short time from the present. Now think back to “Wedding,” which took place even further in the future, where all the technological advancements seemed logical as far as the direction society appears to be going. Video phones, overstuffed schools, the Rolling Stones still being on tour, these are all things that basically have happened by 2010. In this show we get flying unicorn clams.
To be fair, the episode is more focused on the plot than future gags, featuring Bart needing to find direction in his life so his girlfriend Jenda will take him back. He inadvertently thwarts a robbery at Burns’ mansion, who in returns offers him a Yale scholarship, the one that Lisa is already slated to receive. Now Bart must choose between continuing to impress Jenda with his impromptu Yale admission, or saving Lisa from a fate worse than death: settling for Milhouse. It’s a simple enough story, and there’s nothing really wrong with the characterization or situations. Mainly, the episode just wasn’t very interesting, and neither is this future, for the most part. Like I said earlier, positing what could actually happen in the future is a lot more entertaining than just making stuff up, like having the police be cyborgs or that fucking clam thing. There’s a few choice gags that work, and the core of the story is somewhat sweet, but in the end, it just ends up in the ether, smack dab in the middle of the phenomenal “Wedding” and the abysmal “Future.”
Tidbits and Quotes
– The framing device of Professor Frink’s time machine is alright. He’s a lonely man desperate for a chance to wow others with his invention, which definitely makes more sense than the owner of the Indian casino taking time out of his day to give some kid a twenty minute vision of his future (with ads!)
– There’s a few minor callbacks in this show that I like: Bart’s retro tux is reminiscent of his father’s from “The Way We Was,” and Homer’s underwater condo echoes his dreams of living under the sea in “Homer Badman.”
– The hand wave for Maggie is to show her on a video postcard from Alaska, which now has sandy beaches presumably due to global warming. Why is a nine-year-old across the country? Is this part of a school program? Never mentioned, doesn’t matter.
– I’m a bit conflicted, but I really do like the roided out teenage Milhouse. Him wanting to man up by buffing himself out, but still remaining the same insecure wuss, makes sense to me. Asserting how Lisa being with him would be a dead end also works, with a future vision of their horrible potential future to boot. Then the future episode last season they had them married with children, which felt kind of lazy and sad. I’m not covering that one since I only watched it after the unusually large amount of positive response it got on No Homers, and while it wasn’t awful, I wasn’t as won over by it as everyone else was.
– Not as terrible as “Future,” but still present are designs and voices for older characters still stuck as kids. A lot of the people at the prom, like Wendell, Lewis and Ralph, just look like they took the kid head and put it on an adult body. Same with the voices, many of them still sound like ten-year-olds. But the few new designs and changes that are there do work. Nelson knocking up Sherri and Terri? I totally buy that.
– Some restraint is shown in this future world in having Homer splurge on one of the first hover cars, which doesn’t fully work yet. Going through the Quantum Tunnel, he and Bart get a surprise visit by Bender (“Alright! You guys are my new best friends!”) Seeing Homer toss him out and fall apart on the road as he laughs is a little disconcerting; it was all done in love, surely, but at this point in time, Futurama had vanished from the airwaves, and this shit show was still going strong.
– Oh God… I hate the “joke” with Smithers and his heterosexuality injections. I’m sure Harry Shearer was thrilled to record the wonderful line, “I love boobies!”
– Seeing the hanging Frink skeleton is a bit disturbing, but I don’t see it as entirely unrealistic as to what would happen to him.
– The animation at the end with the flying car dodging and zooming up between the two trees looked really good. Don’t know why, but it stuck out to me.