The Simpsons s1e6: Moaning Lisa

Air Date: February 11, 1990

Rating: 8/10

Lisa is suffering from an existential depression and meets Bleeding-Gums Murphy, a fellow sax player who helps her get out of her funk. Meanwhile, Homer tries to beat Bart in a video game.

A much more emotional episode than the typical funny stuff we’ve seen up to this point. I was four when this came out originally. I remember not really liking it, probably because I was too young to understand sadness on this existential level. Depression is probably what we’d call it today. Now that I’ve grown up, I appreciate these themes and the use of music to a much greater degree. I only mention the music because I remember at 4, this being my first introduction to jazz, not liking it very much. This episode shows how one can, in a way, celebrate said sadness in the blues.

Sorry, I think I got a bit nostalgic there. Anyway, this was a fine episode, the side story with Bart and Homer supplied a bit of comedy between the more serious stuff with Lisa. And Lisa’s storyline is very well done and we take a look into who she is and how she asks these deeper philosophical questions.

But this feels more like it’s the first act of a movie. It asks these questions but the payoff is summed up in “Just sing the blues,” essentially. This setup feels too great for it’s payoff. I really like the scene when Marge pulls Lisa away from the school to tell her to just be herself. That part feels more powerful than anything to do with Bleeding-Gums’ character and his moral for the story. I mean, this is essentially Lisa being sad but then meets a cool homeless man? Life doesn’t get better, so just sing the blues, I guess.

Also, I wanted to point out that this episode came out only two months into the 1990s and the kid Homer meets in the arcade is one of the most stereotypical 90s things I’ve ever seen.

SCORING:

+8: This episode isn’t bad by any means

-1: …but the moral, or whatever, isn’t really very good

+1: I like the jazz/blues in this episode and Marge, just as a person

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