Smart & Smarter

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"Smart and Smarter"
The Simpsons episode
Smart and Smarter.png
A jealous Lisa sees Maggie's new T-shirt.
Episode no. 326
Prod. code FABF09
Orig. airdate February 22, 2004
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Written by Carolyn Omine
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Couch gag The living room is a moving rack seen in dry cleaning shops, with the Simpsons in five dry-cleaning bags.
Guest star(s) Simon Cowell as Henry
DVD
commentary
Al Jean
Carolyn Omine
Matt Selman
Tim Long
Tom Gammill
Max Pross
Joel H. Cohen
Steven Dean Moore

"Smart and Smarter" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' fifteenth season, and originally aired on February 22, 2004.[1] When Maggie takes an IQ test, she is informed that she may be smarter than Lisa, who worries that her life will go nowhere.[1] The episode was written by Carolyn Omine and directed by Steven Dean Moore.[1] Simon Cowell also has a guest-voice appearance, playing the role of a brutally honest judge.[1]

Plot[edit]

The family visits Wickerbottom's Pre-Nursery School, where Apu and Manjula are sending two of their octuplets. Homer and Marge have a talk with Dr. Hibbert about getting in, and decide to have Maggie go in. However, Maggie fails the initial screening because she cannot talk, until Lisa discovers some traits of intelligence. Maggie makes another screening. The results show that not only is Maggie brilliant, but her IQ of 167 is higher than Lisa's IQ of 159. Lisa is no longer considered "the smart one" of the Simpson family. Her attempts to find a new identity, including a goth girl named "Raven Crow Neversmiles", a cheerleader, a rapper, a soccer player, a cowgirl, and even a stand-up comedian, do not work out well.

At home, Lisa, in an attempt to prove everyone that she is smarter than Maggie, teaches Maggie false information. Marge, realizing this, scolds her for trying to sabotage her sister's education and that if that is how she really feels, then she should not be her sister's rolemodel. Heartbroken, she leaves the house and hides in the Natural History Museum, where there is no chance of Homer and Marge finding her, until Chief Wiggum, Lou and Eddie find her belongings in there. The family goes into the human body exhibit, but Maggie accidentally presses the swallow button, swallowing Homer, Marge and Bart. Maggie presses many buttons until she finally presses the evacuate button, following a visual cue from Lisa as to its color.

Ironically, after Maggie saves Homer, Marge, and Bart, she no longer has a secret to her intelligence — Henry (the owner of Wickerbottom's Pre-Nursery School) reveals a video tape of Maggie's audition and it turns out Lisa was showing her answers. Henry starts criticizing Maggie which leads an angry Homer to start punching him (while Henry criticizes his punches). However, Maggie plays Lisa's saxophone in the end and puts her pacifier into Maggie's mouth, showing another sign of intelligence. (A shocked Lisa reclaims her saxophone and tells her that "it is not for babies").

Cultural references[edit]

The episode's title is a reference to the film, Dumb and Dumber.[2] In this episode, Henry quotes, "She's as common as an angry woman in an Ibsen play," perhaps referencing Nora in A Doll's House. The revelation that Maggie is only smart because she is watching Lisa is similar to the case of Clever Hans at the turn of the century.[2] Maggie as a genius talking through the phonics frog perhaps is a reference to Stephen Hawking communicating through his computer.

Marge's line "All our children are smart. Some are just smarter than others" is a reference to Animal Farm's "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Marge giving Lisa the paper quoting "You are Lisa Simpson" is a reference to the season two episode, "Lisa's Substitute", where the character Mr. Bergstrom gave her a similar paper - which Lisa shows framed next to her bed.[2] Lisa's black and white nightmare of her pushing Maggie down the stairs in a wheelchair is a reference to the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.[2]

Lisa staying in the Natural History Museum is a reference to the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, in which kids ran away from home and lived in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.[2] The song playing during these moments is "Moon River". During the second interview, Henry calls Maggie "my quiet American", referring to a novel by Graham Greene titled The Quiet American. Lisa's goth name could be a reference to Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Simon Cowell Guest Stars on "Simpsons"". About. 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Smart & Smarter" at TV.com