Moe'N'a Lisa

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"Moe'N'a Lisa"
The Simpsons episode
Moe'n'aLisa.png
The episode's promotional image featuring Michael Chabon, Jonathan Franzen, Tom Wolfe and Gore Vidal.
Episode no. 384
Production code HABF19
Original air date November 19, 2006
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Written by Matt Warburton
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Couch gag the family is dragged and dropped onto the couch like in a computer window, but eventually all of them, including the couch, are dropped into the recycle bin
Guest star(s) J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
Tom Wolfe as himself
Gore Vidal as himself
Michael Chabon as himself
Jonathan Franzen as himself

"Moe'N'a Lisa"[1] is the sixth episode of the The Simpsons' eighteenth season, and first aired on November 19, 2006. Lisa aides Moe in discovering his inner-poet and he gains swift popularity and recognition from a group of successful American authors, when Lisa helps to get his poetry published. However, Lisa is crushed when Moe enjoys his newfound success with famous writers and deliberately refuses to credit Lisa for her assistance in his poetry.[1] It was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Mark Kirkland.[1] The episode guest stars J. K. Simmons as the voice of J. Jonah Jameson, while Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal, Michael Chabon, and Jonathan Franzen make cameos as themselves.[1] During its first airing, the episode gained 9.31 million viewers, beating the previous episode.[2]

Plot[edit]

Homer awakens to find numerous reminders of "Don't Forget" all over the house (written on his stomach, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II's flanks and in Maggie's alphabet cereal.) Marge reminds the family they are to watch Grampa in the Senior Olympics, and Homer groans about it, thinking that this is what he was supposed to remember. Right after the family leaves, Moe leaves a message on the answering machine reminding Homer that today is the day for Moe's big birthday fishing trip. At the Senior Olympics, in the stands, Lisa feverishly writes in a book explaining that she has a dilemma; she must interview a "Fascinating Springfielder" and write a report, yet she has not found a suitable person to interview. A while later, the Simpsons have grown weary of not seeing Grampa win any events, but after mistaking Groundskeeper Willie as the Grim Reaper, Grampa wins the hurdles race. Arriving home, Homer spots a sullen Moe on his doorstep, and remembers the fishing trip. Homer and the family successfully manage to sneak inside the house, avoiding Moe. But several hours later, Moe still waits for Homer outside and while the family tries to hide.

A brick with a painfully emotional note from Moe attached suddenly smashes through the window. Lisa comments on what a tormented soul Moe must be, and suddenly she realizes that he would be a great subject for her "Fascinating Springfielder" assignment. Moe tries to hitchhike a ride home in the rain outside the Simpson house, as Lisa approaches him and asks if she can write her report about him. Moe is taken aback by the idea of someone is actually interested in his life and he cheerfully agrees to Lisa's request. Moe questions why Lisa would want to interview him and she explains that she suspects somewhere deep inside of Moe is an artist's soul. Over Moe's walls are sticky notes which all contain Moe's many emotions, and Lisa realizes that if they were all put together, they could become a work of poetry. Lisa arranges some of the notes and fragments into a coherent structure and Moe marvels at Lisa's creation, which she titles: "Howling at a Concrete Moon."

Despite receiving a poor grade on her report, Lisa sends Moe's poem in to American Poetry Perspectives, a publication for notable American poetry. Editor J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons) approves Moe's poem, and places it on the cover of the next issue. Author Tom Wolfe calls Moe, inviting him to the fictional Wordloaf Literary Conference in Vermont, to honor his writing abilities. Moe agrees to go, as long as Lisa accompanies him. Arriving at the Wordloaf, Wolfe approaches Moe and proclaims his awe and respect of Moe's poetry, and asks where he came up with the brilliant title of his poem. Moe, about to explain that Lisa helped him, is interrupted by author Gore Vidal, who explains that the titles for 1876 and Burr were derived from the price of gas and an Eskimo Pie advertisement respectively. Members of Wordloaf immediately shun Vidal. Wolfe asks Moe the question a second time as Lisa eagerly awaits to hear her recognition from Moe. However, upon seeing what happened to Vidal, Moe recants and ditches Lisa by explaining that he came up with the title of the poem himself. Lisa is crushed, but Moe, Wolfe and the other authors head outside for a hay ride, while laughing and cheering, causing Lisa further emotional pain.

The next day, Moe joins authors Tom Wolfe, Jonathan Franzen, and Michael Chabon, as members of a panel, to answer questions in front of fans. An audience member asks the panel where their inspiration came from for being writers. After the other members of the panel address the question, Moe says the only book he has ever read is "Superhounds," a book on greyhound betting. The audience takes this as a joke. However, Lisa, who is in the audience, raises her hand and presses the question again, insisting that there must be someone who believed in him when no one else did. Moe hesitates before answering the question and then deliberately tells everyone that anyone, including Lisa, did not inspire him. Lisa is upset that Moe will not give her recognition, and despite her protests, Tom Wolfe ends the panel discussion, letting Moe off the hook. A depressed Lisa walks out of the discussion hall, rejecting a family tour of Vermont. As the family takes off for their tour, a somber Lisa sits alone on a park bench. Moe approaches Lisa, and asks her to write a poem for speech at the Festival's farewell dinner, also telling her to step away while Moe takes all the credit. Lisa denies his request, calling him a jerk and she leaves him standing alone. For this, Moe pulls out some scrap notes from his hotel room home, and tries to construct a poem himself.

Homer and Bart spot Lisa sitting alone on the porch of an old cabin. While sobbing, Lisa explains to them what Moe has done, and Bart and Homer quickly run off to exact revenge for her. That night, at the dinner honoring Moe, Moe begins reading his poems. However, the crowd begins to murmur, as they realize that the new poems that Moe is reading are just the information from an elevator warning sign and a channel guide. The door opens in the back of the dining hall and Moe stops in mid-sentence as he sees a sad and bitter Lisa walk through. Moe suddenly comes to his senses and, in an original poem of his own, he credits Lisa for her influence and friendship. Lisa is touched by Moe's words and she forgives him. Just then, Homer calls out from a catwalk above Moe, telling him that he never should have made Lisa cry. Homer and Bart tip over a giant drum of maple syrup intended for Moe, but the extremely thick syrup flows so slowly out of the drum that Moe has plenty of time to get away before the syrup reaches him. The episode ends with Moe and Lisa walk out of the dining hall, hand in hand.[1]

Meanwhile, J. Jonah Jameson watches this from a small TV, immediately denounces it as "too sweet", and orders an intern to find photos and poems about Spider-Man.

The credits roll as a scene plays out, featuring Homer taste-testing maple syrup at a roadside stand in the same fashion as a wine taster would taste wine.[1]

Production[edit]

The writers of the episode first started with the idea of Moe as Charles Bukowski and then teamed him with Lisa. The episode guest stars authors Tom Wolfe, who says The Simpsons "is the only show of any sort that I watch on television"; Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon, who recorded their lines together; and Gore Vidal, who admitted that he was not a regular watcher of the show. In one version of the script, Wolfe, Chabon and Franzen were all killed by a giant boulder. Although the guest stars recorded lines for this part of the episode, the scene was cut from the final version.[3] The Wordloaf conference is based on the real life Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont.

Reception[edit]

Dan Iverson of IGN rates it a 7.3. He quotes this episode made up for the previous one.[1] He praises all the guest voices in their appearances, though mainly Tom Wolfe's.[1]

References[edit]