The premise: A massive wind storm in Springfield causes a whale to become beached onto shore. Lisa of course takes a vested interest, but any effort to move the creature comes up short. When the whale dies, Lisa is crestfallen, before realizing there are baby whales to protect, currently being hunted by a troupe of sharks.
The reaction: As usual, there’s so little plot here. We don’t even get to the whale until literally the halfway mark, once we get through the show’s take/promotion of wind powered energy. The joke? Once there’s no more wind, there’s no more power! There really just isn’t anything here. They try to move the whale, it dies, we see Lisa is sad over a long montage, then she sees the baby whales. Homer inexplicably appears from nowhere to help Lisa, then some environmentalists block them, also coming from nowhere, looking to protect the sharks, because all sea creatures’ lives are equal. This one piece of dialogue causes Lisa to have a random change of heart, as illustrated by a push-in on her face during said dialogue. Then some stupid shit with Homer in danger, and a gigantic fucking whale picking him up out of the water and safely back in his own boat with no one acknowledging how fucking bizarre and crazy that is. Just another wacky day in Springfield!
Three items of note:
– The Energy Expo at the beginning is so sad. This is the kind of set piece you would relish in the early years, full of joke after joke after joke. I remember the similar energy convention from “Last Temptation of Homer,” with Hans Moleman’s solar energy booth being ransacked by big oil, and the subtitle of SNPP’s booth, “As Seen on 60 Minutes.” What jokes do we have here? Kid power by Ralph? Burp power by Barney? Really, guys? That’s the best you could come up with?
– Even with the main story as compressed as it is, we get so much useless time filler: Lisa’s dream of the whale being free, the town blowing up the whale and harvesting it for profit, and Lisa’s montage of being sad about the whale, in case you forgot that she was, I guess.
– I think Dead Homers pointed this out when it aired, but it’s pretty extraordinary. Homer’s being encircled by sharks, this is our “drama” portion of the show. Then in the next shot, Lisa and the environmentalists shout some stuff to him, and we see the sharks start swimming away. Yeah, they’re just leaving. What? And why is no one acknowledging this? Then Homer gets hit with a bucket and starts bleeding and the sharks come back. Couldn’t they have made this into a coherent gag? Like the sharks notice something else and start to leave, they try and throw Homer something to hold onto, he gets hit and starts bleeding, which attract the sharks back. Instead, it’s like no one’s even paying attention to the show they’re making. It’s really bizarre…
One good line/moment: Lisa pushes away Homer’s harpoon at the last moment, causing it to strike a seagull in the distance. It doesn’t just get killed, it literally explodes into a puff of feathers. It’s so quick and bizarrely violent, that it’s kinda great.