A Star Is Torn
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|"A Star Is Torn"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Directed by||Nancy Kruse|
|Written by||Carolyn Omine|
|Original air date||May 8, 2005|
|Couch gag||In a parody of the opening of the 1960s sitcom, Get Smart, Homer goes through many futuristic doors and passageways until he reaches the phone booth, falls through the floor, and lands on the couch (with the rest of the family already seated).|
Joel H. Cohen
Fantasia Barrino as Clarissa Wellington
"A Star Is Torn" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' sixteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 8, 2005. Fantasia Barrino guest stars as Clarissa Wellington.
After being unable to shop at the Kwik-E-Mart because it is being held up, Lisa suggests the Simpsons have a vegetarian meal with ingredients purchased from a nearby stall, which they enjoy until Bart, Homer, Marge, and Maggie feel queasy and begin vomiting. Because she is a vegetarian, Lisa is immune to the "vitamins, minerals, and trace amounts of bug feces". Lisa points out that the rest of them are so used to processed foods that their bodies were not prepared for organic foods. As the family sits on the couch, wrapped in blankets, Lisa feeds them dry toast, and gently sings them to sleep with the "Hush, Little Baby" song. The next morning, the family is feeling better, eating fried chicken while watching TV. They see Krusty make an endorsement for his "Li'l Starmaker" competition, a children's American Idol-style competition. Bart convinces Lisa to enter because he believes she has a great voice.
At the competition, another child (played by guest star Fantasia Barrino) sings a perfect version of Lisa's planned song, "Hush, Little Baby" which is declared by Bart to sound like "Whitney Houston brought to life". Lisa starts to panic, but Homer comes to her rescue by going to the nearby music store and writing a song for her to sing. She sings the song "I'm Talking Springfield", which praises Springfield (except Ned Flanders), delighting the crowd. Soon, the competition enters its knockout stages. Homer, now Lisa's manager, starts using every means at his disposal to make Lisa feel comfortable. He even gets her the right spotlight by beating up the technician.
The competition progresses and contestants are eliminated, leaving just fan favorites Cameron and Lisa in the final to take place the next day. However, Homer's aggressive treatment of staff at the competition makes Lisa mad. As a result, Lisa fires him as her manager, causing him to be upset. Later that night, as the rest of the family eat dinner, Homer enters to announce that he has become Cameron's manager. Lisa is sad that Homer is upset with her.
During the competition final, Lisa sings a song that she has written herself, called "Always My Dad", dedicated to Homer. The song expresses how much she loves her dad, and how sorry she is for hurting him. After she finishes, everyone loves it. Cameron, now restyled by Homer as "Johnny Rainbow", then goes up, and sings a rather condescending song called "Privileged Boy" that Homer wrote. The lyrics say how much better he is than the audience. Cameron is booed off the stage, with a few rotten vegetables as an accompaniment. Lisa is thrilled that Homer sabotaged Cameron in order to help her gain the prize. He tells her that he will always be there for her.
- Li'l Starmaker is a parody of American Idol, although the ad claims to have never heard of the latter.
- This episode draws heavily from Al Jolson's The Jazz Singer and the Broadway musical Gypsy.
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