The premise: When the school’s two fourth grade classes are joined, Bart meets Nikki, a spunky fellow skateboarder he develops a liking to. When he kisses her, she freaks out, causing her litigious parents to come down on the school, which institutes a strict “no touching” policy. Meanwhile, Lisa feels discouraged for being mocked for her overachieving nature, which is resolved from a random appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The reaction: Another thin, confusing outing. It’s another Bart-gets-a-celebrity-girlfriend episode, but this one doesn’t seem to even want to bother to try. Sarah Silverman voices Nikki, who goes back and forth whether she likes Bart or not, for no other reason or joke other than them girls be craaaazzzy! As with other girls in the past, we barely know anything about her character, and once again we get twenty minutes of confused, whiny Bart, which seems to be a favorite of this season. As barebones as this feels, we get a B “plot,” which is really only like three scenes. Lisa gets an “F” and is discouraged. Then she’s on the playground and kids inexplicably think she’s cool because of her failing grade, but it snaps right back to resentment when Miss Hoover confirms she actually did get an A. Then Michelle Obama appears for a three minute scene to give a speech about treating smart kids nicely with no jokes in it. At one time, the Simpsons were an unfortunate lot of losers; things would never quite go their way, but they would always find a way to make peace with their lot in life and find some form of happiness. Now, if Lisa’s feeling down, the fucking First Lady appears out of nowhere to cheer her up! Lady Gaga too! Jesus.
Three items of note:
– Both plots are still so very short on content, we get three fucking montages. We see Bart and Nikki skateboard in an elaborate fashion, which I guess is them bonding? Or something? Then we see another extending Itchy & Scratchy, this time “parodying” Koyannisquatsi. Itchy & Scratchy shorts are meant to be… short, just these ridiculously violent bursts of energy, and if they are long, they better have a damn good payoff. Between this and the House “parody” from last episode, it’s clear it’s nothing but filler. But the most egregious example, the most pointless montage in the show’s history, is at the end; Nikki gives Bart mouth-to-mouth, and we’re treated to Simpson-ized recreations of famous kisses in movie history. From Here to Eternity. Lady and the Tramp. Spider-Man. WALL-E. There’s no jokes here, they just animated these sequences, except for the Xenomorph alien tongue kissing the girl’s cheek, which is ripped from The Critic. What the fuck is this? Why waste a minute of screentime on this montage, which adds nothing to the story? Ugggh…
– The assembly scene is pretty disturbing, where Skinner and Willie at first are forced to make out in front of the students, but then over time appear to be enjoying themselves? So we’re treated to seeing a shot of them behind Chalmers appearing to be very passionately sucking face. Dude… what?
– I don’t understand the Michelle Obama thing… it’d be one thing if they actually were able to get her to do the voice, by all means, if the First Lady is willing to do your show, book her. But here, like with all celebrity appearances nowadays, it’s just an extended ass kissing session. She makes a grand entrance, totes how smart and accomplished she is, emasculates her bodyguards with her muscular arms (which is really our only “joke”), and leaves. I’m not saying you have to rip on her, and I’m certainly not looking to get political with this, but if you’re going to put the First Lady on your comedy show, maybe it’d be a good idea to include some… comedy. Novel concept, yeah?
One good line/moment: Quick line at the beginning from Skinner on the whereabouts of Edna (“Mrs. Krabappel had to go to Portland; apparently the people she hired to reprogram her sister from that cult ended up being an even worse cult.”)