"Girly Edition" is the twenty-first episode of the ninth season of the animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired in the United States on April 19, 1998, and received a Nielsen rating of 8.7. In the episode, Lisa and Bart Simpson must co-anchor a new news program, though when Bart is seen as a more successful news anchor, Lisa becomes jealous and seeks revenge. Meanwhile, in the subplot, Homer Simpson gets a monkey helper because of his laziness. "Girly Edition" was the first episode written by Larry Doyle and was directed by Mark Kirkland, with much of the subplot being inspired by the film Monkey Shines. Critics gave the episode positive reviews and it was well received by Lisa's voice actress Yeardley Smith.
After Groundskeeper Willie takes away Bart's skateboard for destroying his leaf pile, Bart fills up Willie's shack with creamed corn as he is sleeping, causing the shack to explode. As Willie is being taken away for medical attention, he swears revenge on Bart. Meanwhile, Krusty the Clown's show comes under criticism by the FCC for not being educational enough for children. The Channel 6 female executive proposes that Krusty cut ten minutes from his three-hour show to make room for a kids' news program, Kidz News, where children deliver and report news items. Lisa is recruited as a news anchor along with other Springfield Elementary School children. Bart is not chosen at first, but is made sportscaster after he complains to Marge.
Lisa is deemed to be boring by the channel's staff, though they are impressed by Bart's performance. Bart is then promoted to be the co-anchor, which leads to jealousy by Lisa. However, after Bart hears Lisa talking behind his back, he tries to improve being an anchor. After failing to read an article concerning a U.S. Supreme Court decision, he goes to Kent Brockman for advice, who teaches him about the power of human interest stories. Bart becomes successful after creating a segment called "Bart's People", which Lisa immediately disapproves of due to its sappy, emotionally manipulative content. Out of jealousy, Lisa makes many attempts to copy it, but her filming is twice hampered by an insane woman who throws cats at Lisa. She eventually sends a letter acting as an immigrant who lives in a landfill who pleads to be on Bart's People, which causes Bart to rush to the landfill to do a live Bart's People. However, he learns that the immigrant was Groundskeeper Willie, who wants to get revenge on Bart. Lisa sees that what she did was wrong, and rushes off to save him. She is able to reach him, and is able to change Willie's mind about killing him, using the similar techniques Bart used in his stories to stir up emotions. The two decide from then on to make a good educational news program, but Kidz News gets canceled and replaced by The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour, an action cartoon which advertises toys and chocolate.
In the subplot, Homer obtains a monkey helper named "Mojo" after learning Apu has gotten one following the latest robbery at the Kwik-E-Mart, which has left him in a wheelchair. Homer is initially refused one after openly admitting to the animal shelter clerk that he needs a helper monkey because he is lazy, but is able to use Grampa to get one. Homer initially uses the monkey to do housework, which frightens and disgusts Marge (after she drinks the orange juice Mojo made), but then uses the monkey to steal doughnuts from Lard Lad Donut Shop. Eventually, Mojo becomes tired, weak, and overfed from eating junk food and drinking beer with Homer. Marge pleads with Homer to take the monkey back to the shelter so it can be rehabilitated. Homer leaves Mojo on the doorstep, where the sickly simian is only able to type "Pray for Mojo" on a special computer the animal shelter clerk gives him.
"Girly Edition" was the first episode Larry Doyle wrote for the show. He conceived both the main plot and the subplot. The subplot about Mojo was inspired by the film Monkey Shines; show runner Mike Scully asked the staff to reference to the film when they were making the episode. The animators also studied the behavior of monkeys from other resources, looking at their movements and how they react to humans. Eric Stefani, a former animator for the show who had left and now was part of the band No Doubt, was called back by episode director Mark Kirkland to animate the scenes with Homer and Mojo. This was the final work Stefani did for The Simpsons. At the end of the episode, an incapacitated Mojo is only able to type "Pray for Mojo" into a computer; this line was written by George Meyer, who cited it as his favorite personal contribution to The Simpsons. The Crazy Cat Lady was first introduced on The Simpsons in this episode.
In his book Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality, Jonathan Gray analyses a scene from the episode in which it is announced that Kidz News has been replaced by the children's cartoon The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour (a reference to the Mattel toys and the Mars chocolate bar). He says this mocks "how many children's programs have become little more than the ad to the merchandise." Gray also writes that The Simpsons "illustrates how the ad as genre has itself already invaded many, if not all, genres. Ads and marketing do not limit themselves to the space between programs; rather, they are themselves textual invaders, and part of The Simpsons' parodic attack on ads involves revealing their hiding places in other texts."
A real-life journalist named Reid, who Gray interviewed for his book, states that "Girly Edition" mirrors well how some journalists actually work. She said the episode shows "the ludicrous nature of, you know, what we do in a lot of things. The kids news with Bart and Lisa: I mean, you see them do really stupid stories about the news, and 'news you can use,' and 'how to get rid of your sheets when you wet them.' I mean, people really do stories like that." Steven Keslowitz writes in his book The World According to the Simpsons that the episode showcases the fact that "the viewing of attractive newscasters and the use of persuasive tones of voice often do have an impact on the minds of many intelligent members of American society."
The episode originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 19, 1998. It finished 26th in the ratings for the week of April 13–19, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 8.7, translating to around 8.5 million viewing households. The episode was the third highest rated show on Fox that week, following The X-Files and King of the Hill. The Fox network's ratings average for the week was 6.6.
"Girly Edition" was well received by critics. It was named the fifth best episode of the show with a sports theme by Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel. The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, thought well of the episode, calling it "a great episode, full of more than the normal quota of good jokes, but best of all is Lisa's revenge on Bart, and the mad cat-lady who goes around chucking her cats at people." Ryan Keefer of DVD Verdict gave the episode a B rating and stated that he enjoyed the subplot with Mojo more than the main plot. Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide commented that "Girly Edition" takes "a clever concept and turns into something more than expected as it digs into the usual Bart/Lisa rivalry. I’m not quite sure why Bart reacts so sadly to Lisa’s comments about his stupidity when 'Lisa the Simpson' just delved into the dumbness of the male Simpsons. There’s enough to like here to make the episode fun, though."
This episode is one of Yeardley Smith's favorite episodes. Smith provides the voice for Lisa on the show. She says that "I don't actually remember a lot of the episodes because they all blend in together for me, and I don't have a really good memory anyway, but I do remember this one and thinking that it was terrific."
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Girly Edition". BBC. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- Gimple, Scott (1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 0-06-098763-4.
- Mike Scully (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Girly Edition" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Mark Kirkland (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Girly Edition" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "George Meyer". The Believer. September 2004. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
- Gray, Jonathan (2006). Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality. Taylor & Francis. pp. 84, 136. ISBN 978-0-415-36202-3.
- Keslowitz, Steven (2006). The World According to the Simpsons: What Our Favorite TV Family Says about Life, Love, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Donut. Sourcebooks. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-4022-0655-9.
- "How they rate". St. Petersburg Times. 1988-04-28. p. 14. Retrieved on April 20, 2008.
- Greene, Jerry (April 7, 2004). "D'oh! The end may be near for The Simpsons". Orlando Sentinel. p. D2.
- Keefer, Ryan (2007-01-22). "The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- Jacobson, Colin (2007-01-13). "The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season (1997)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- Smith, Yeardley (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Girly Edition" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
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- "Girly Edition" at The Simpsons.com
- "Girly Edition" episode capsule at The Simpsons Archive
- "Girly Edition" at TV.com
- "Girly Edition" at the Internet Movie Database