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Thread: Rate & Review: "Girl's in the Band" (YABF11)



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  1. #1
    Chatting Simpsons Since '93 Brad Lascelle's Avatar
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    Rate & Review: "Girl's in the Band" (YABF11)



    Season 30, Episode 19
    Original Airdate: March 31, 2019
    Writer: Nancy Cartwright
    Director: Jennifer Moeller
    Showrunner: Al Jean
    Synopsis: Lisa is scouted by the director of the Capitol City Philharmonic, to her band teacher's dismay. Homer works extra shifts at the plant so Lisa can play, putting strain on the family.

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    R&R Poll Average Score: 3.70 / 5 (as of April 27th / 30 votes)
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    Last edited by Brad Lascelle; 04-27-2019 at 05:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Clupid bloropope Financial Panther's Avatar
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    I liked this one for the most part. The beginning was maybe the most we’ve ever seen of Mr. Largo, and that’s the first time we’ve ever seen his boyfriend. I do think their scenes went on a bit too long, though. The episode synopsis was a big spoiler in this, because throughout the first act, you’re supposed to think it’s Mr. Largo who’s getting the opportunity, but the episode description says it’s Lisa. Victor Kleskow reminded me of a character in another episode, whom I can’t remember. The rest of the episode was a bit of a combination between Lisa’s Pony and Lisa Simpson, This Isn’t Your Life.

    The plot with Lisa and Victor was amusing throughout, although the subplot with Bart and the siblings left something to be desired. It felt a lot like filler. The bit about the Utah Jazz being what makes Homer realize what they’ve done was kind of weird; whenever they make a big plot turn on a joke, it’s pretty jarring, and they’ve done it quite a bit lately. I thought the episode was going to take a really stupid turn when Lloyd of The Shining fame (Hey, look, a movie reference I understood!) confronted Homer in his dream or hallucination or whatever and told him to kill his family; luckily, that didn’t amount to anything. The scene at the end with the family in the car was pretty cute, but the very end where we went back to Mr. Largo and his boyfriend felt unnecessary. While not without its flaws, it was an enjoyable episode. 4/5
    Favorite and least favorite by season
    1. Krusty Gets Busted There’s No Disgrace Like Home 2. Bart Gets an F Dead Putting Society 3. Homer at the Bat Like Father, Like Clown 4. Brother From the Same Planet Krusty Gets Kancelled 5. Cape Feare Lady Bouvier’s Lover 6. Homer Badman Another Simpsons Clip Show 7. King-Size Homer Lisa the Iconoclast 8. Homer’s Enemy El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer 9. Bart Carny The Trouble With Trillions 10. Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo Homer Simpson in: “Kidney Trouble” 11. Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner? Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder 12. HOMЯ Tennis the Menace 13. Tales From the Public Domain She of Little Faith 14. The Dad Who Knew Too Little Helter Shelter 15. I, Annoyed Grunt)-bot Bart-Mangled Banner 16. A Star is Torn On a Clear Day I Can’t See My Sister 17. My Fair Laddy Bonfire of the Manatees 18. The Haw-Hawed Couple You Kent Always Say What You Want 19. Funeral for a Fiend All About Lisa 20. Gone Maggie Gone The Good, the Sad and the Drugly 21. The Bob Next Door The Color Yellow 22. Donnie Fatso Love is a Many Strangled Thing 23. The Falcon and the D’ohman A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again 24. Hardly Kirk-ing Moonshine River 25. The War of Art What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting 26. Sky Police Let’s Go Fly a Coot 27. Halloween of Horror Lisa With an ‘S’ 28. There Will Be Buds Moho House 29. Springfield Splendor Throw Grampa From the Dane


  3. #3
    Junior Camper Frankbags's Avatar
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    One of the most enjoyable episode of this season for me..

    In the 30 seasons this show has been on, I think this is the first time they've spent more than a minute on Mr. Largo.. I can't remember when they made him gay but I think it was fairly recent, not that it matters but it was just weird seeing him be more than just a bitter music teacher. I have to agree that it wasn't the best set up for the rest of the story, it felt a little convoluted. I haven't seen whiplash but I am familiar with the Victor character, the delivery made me think of hank scorpio a bit. I was a bit worried about the shining references and I think the end was a bit much but making jack the head of HR was funny. I thought the Utah Jazz was a good joke , I can see how homer confused the two.

    The subplot with Bart felt like filler, I wanted the group of siblings to band together and do something...

    To me this episode feels like a true simpsons episode, it's not surprising since the person who wrote the episode is Nancy Cartwright, she understands the characters, the ending was really a high point for me, Bart and Lisa acting like brother and sister, Lisa of old, before she became a bummer. Nancy should write more episodes.


  4. #4
    Chatting Simpsons Since '93 Brad Lascelle's Avatar
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    Yeah, it was an especially solid first effort out of Nancy Cartwright. Was sitting in the 3-3.5 range for me until that especially strong 3rd act closed it out in fine style. This episode knew where it wanted to end even if it kind of meandered around with filler-ish sideplots to get to that point.

    We've had exposure to Largo and his love life before. "We're both named, Dewey." Although unlike Flaming Moe and Werking Mom, they got full subplot treatment here.

    I enjoyed how down-to-Earth this episode was with its pacing and storytelling focusing on a real-world issue with relatable challenges... only getting wacky and cartoony in the dream sequences/hallucinations. You know... how the show used to be back in Seasons 1 & 2. I can see why Al Jean was so enthusiastic about this episode before it aired. Hopefully it's enough to encourage Nancy to take a crack at writing another episode should the right idea come along.
    Last edited by Brad Lascelle; 03-31-2019 at 05:47 PM.
    SEASON 31 RANKINGS
    The Winter of Our Monetized Content - 2/5 / Go Big or Go Homer - 2.5/5 / The Fat Blue Line - 3.5/5
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    THANKSGIVING OF HORROR = ?????? - ?/5 / ?????? - ?/5 / ?????? - ?/5


  5. #5
    he/him TenEight's Avatar
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    I actually didn't get the same impression from the opening sequence as Panther because I went into this episode cold (all I knew was the title and that Cartwright wrote it). I thought the focus on Largo was sweet, and I was really rooting for him... but I knew in the back of my mind that because this is The Simpsons, and especially because this is modern-day Simpsons, they were going to pull the rug out from under him. (I was spared the actual fall-out because the browser I was watching on crashed from having too many tabs open. That'll teach me to not fly too close to the 01010011 01110101 01101110, I guess. At least out of all the things I could have missed it was the one that might have made me sad?) Still, though, it was nice to see his character elaborated on (and of COURSE he owns a smart-car). The expedient transition from intro to plot was a pleasant surprise, because that's something that seems like it's become less common during Modern Simpsons.

    Even though I liked the A-Plot of this episode, I felt like the "mean teacher" jokes got old (the prison guard one was especially forced), and him being constantly cruel to the kids was rough to watch (but maybe that's just because I have a soft spot for kids). Not UNBEARABLY old or UNBEARABLY rough, but it did stick out. The parts with Lisa and her family were really good, and I felt like the episode struck the perfect balance between honoring Lisa's wishes (not sure I worded that right?) and showing how it affected the rest of the family, without making any one side seem like the bad guy. The whole plot felt really genuinely emotional in a way I haven't seen in a while, and the scene of the family in the car at the end was especially really heartwarming, and it gave me the warm and fuzzy feelings and I will treasure it forever.

    Usually I'm wary of guest stars, but J.K. Simmons was perfect here (although as a Gravity Falls fan I never really doubted him specifically). [EDIT: Speaking of voices, I forgot about this until I saw the picture in the first post again, but it kinda bugs me how much the other saxophonist sounded like Milhouse.]

    I agree with Panther that the B-Plot with Bart was a bit of a drag, and when it started I could hear the voice in my head going "not this shit, PLEASE not this shit", because I have become Wise to the ways of Modern Simpsons. I think its length, though, saved it, because they knew not to spend too much time on it (any longer might have killed the episode TBH).

    The jokes were... IDK if I wanna say "great", but they were better than just "good". The mean teacher jokes and the extended Breaking Bad exchange (more on the latter later) were the only ones that I can think of that didn't land, and none of them made me want to shoot myself. The night shift scenes were consistently funny, and the Utah Jazz scene made me laugh out loud-- easily one of my favorite modern Simpsons jokes! The bait-and-switch with the Breaking Bad boxsets initially made me groan, but Marge's reaction saved it (it was just funny that they were always on the same wavelength)... and then the joke was ruined again because the references were dragged out for too long. [EDIT: I also appreciated the clarinet in Mel's hair]

    All in all, a pleasant if not stellar episode, and an especially solid output for a first-time writer. Go, Mrs. Cartwright!!

    (I was hoping to get this done quicker, but then again I wasn't expecting to write quite as much as I did.)
    Last edited by TenEight; 03-31-2019 at 06:03 PM.
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  6. #6
    Mmmmmmmm, floor pie
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    3/5 - I liked it better the first time I saw it...when it was called "Lisa's Pony." Right down to Homer working at night, and Lisa making the decision to give up her dream for someone else.

    I know who Daws Butler is, but does anybody have any idea why they ("they" as in Nancy, presumably) would name the Capital City music auditorium after him? I assumed it was a reference to someone else named Butler, but "Butler Hall" turned up nothing.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by That Don Guy View Post
    3/5 - I liked it better the first time I saw it...when it was called "Lisa's Pony." Right down to Homer working at night, and Lisa making the decision to give up her dream for someone else.

    I know who Daws Butler is, but does anybody have any idea why they ("they" as in Nancy, presumably) would name the Capital City music auditorium after him? I assumed it was a reference to someone else named Butler, but "Butler Hall" turned up nothing.
    Prior to his death, Daws Butler was Nancy's mentor - when she first started doing voice acting in the 1980's. Much of it is detailed in her book, My Life as a 10 year-old Boy.

  8. #8
    Grappling with Local Oaf Beggs's Avatar
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    That may be the first time I've felt sorry for Dewey Largo. It was nice to see a different side of him, and to see him get some small victory in the end when he stood up for himself. A really good use of a character that's been around for the longest time, but never really been in the spotlight. We probably don't need to see much more than that on a regular basis, but it helped the episode to feel fresh.

    New wrinkles are certainly welcome, since as already noted, we have seen this plot before in the classic era with "Lisa's Pony", and more recently with "Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life". This one hit some familiar beats, but with that being said, it was still a really good episode. Everyone was sympathetic, which was great to see as it's is something the show has struggled with in the HD era in particular. The story was well-paced, and while the status quo demanded a predictable ending, it wrapped up on a really nice note (no pun intended). It really left me with a good feeling.

    One problem with the ending, however, was Lisa's internal monologue. It felt like a major violation of "show, don't tell", and I think that scene would've been more powerful if her struggle with the decision was conveyed through her expressions and glances at the rest of the family, as well as the music; it was a musically themed episode after all, so having the music convey her thoughts and feelings would've been very appropriate. The internal monologue wasn't terrible and didn't completely ruin the moment or the episode, but it was exposition that would've been more powerful if it had been done in fewer words (or indeed, none at all).

    Bart's subplot wasn't bad, though it did feel like filler. I think if it had been similar to his experiences in the "Leg Up Program" in "You Only Move Twice", it could've been more meaningful and entertaining. As it was though, it had a couple of good moments. I liked him being a bad influence on the other kids, but it would've been funnier if we saw some fallout from that. Still, what we got was better than if he'd only been banging his head on the car throughout the episode, so I appreciated it.

    There were some really good jokes in this one: the Breaking Bad stuff with Homer and Marge, Bumblebee Man's radio show, Bart "helping" Maggie when they're both over the car trips, and Homer at the plant. Victor's character walked the line of being overdone, but it's J.K. Simmons, so he pulled it off. I did enjoy the crack about choosing to be a music teacher over a prison guard because it allowed him to be crueller, even though it was somewhat heavy handed. The jazz/Utah Jazz confusion was a good gag as well, nicely (and subtly) set up during Homer's first conversation with Gil. His hallucination, clueless conversation with Lloyd, and Jack being the head of HR, were also really solid jokes. Story and humour wise, there were a lot of things that wouldn't be too out of place in the classic era.

    Part of me really wants to give this one 5/5, because it really was a gem. However, I also come back to the plot being a bit of a retread, and the violation of "show, don't tell" at the climax that still worked for the story, but is noticeable all the same. I'm going to compromise (and by compromise, I meant cheat) by giving it 4.5/5 and then rounding up to 5 in the poll. I really hope that Nancy Cartwright tries her hand at another episode, possibly a Bart-centric one. If this is her one and only contribution as a writer, however, then she made it a great one.
    A little less Generic than before.


  9. #9
    Getting carried away on you Venomrabbit's Avatar
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    Hm, I liked it alright. I think it's one of those things where I didn't exactly love it but can acknowlege it's still good it just had things like "a Lisa episode" working against it (especially after her showings in a lot of eps this season) and one that heaps a lot of praise and special treatment on her. It just had enough going for it that I still liked it a little bit, probably would have a lot more if it was removed from the rest of the season like in S27 where she overall felt much more likable.

    And hey for a voice actor and a scientologist Nancy actually shows a fair bit of writing chops. We went back to having an enjoyable guest character for one (not the most original or the best written but goddamnit I have yet to see a J.K. Simmons performance I don't like!) and it actually had the rare point of Lisa feeling bad that her happiness and gains come at the cost of the rest of the family's. Maybe Dewey could have been worked into that a little more too, just thinking back to how he'd gotten his hopes up and really tried only to find out he was never the one Simmons' character wanted to see anyway.

    But I think despite his small part, Largo was the highlight in a few ways. Yeah, turns out they can spare some thought and development for minor characters who people say have no potential. Unless that's just a Nancy thing in which case definitely try knocking on her door for some more episodes. Still, it makes guest-star-fests like last week's where there was no real point to the characters, they'd take over the plot and then never get seen again when they could have just cast previously existing characters without much rewriting all the more annoying. It's a double-edged thing, it shows that they can care about minor characters but also that they already could have cared about minor characters. Either way, hey, it's more focus and unlike personalitiy-less guest character number #96 this'll probably stick with his when he appears again because, as Beggs said, this is a different side of him.
    And it probably is the perfect way to give characters this otherwise microscopic in role a little push, not necessarily making them the focus of the plot, or even super important but they still had some thought spared their way, and does open their doors for maybe something a little more later on. Not saying that's how it is definitely going to go but I mean after this episode's moments I think most of us might be open to him being more prominent next time. And hey, it felt fresh for it, despite being a bit of a retreaded plot.

    So I guess if we go with personal enjoyment it'd probably be 3/5 or 4/5 material but trying to be a bit more fair, it's probably a 5... granted I usually don't go with ratings in a solid number but I think this one's important since I'm of two minds with this one and ignoring any lingering negativity from some of the previous eps, I'd probably be on the same level when it comes to quality vs enjoyment. So yeah, hope Cartwright does more, she's definitely got more skill than last week's... and iirc, the other VAs who wrote for episodes.


  10. #10


    The plot was just a Whiplash parody right down to the orchestra leader character and guest star. Only Lisa had more empathy than the actual main character of the source material. Admirable first effprt from Cartwright. They could have used her years ago as a writer.


  11. #11
    Boo! BloodyGhostChibi's Avatar
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    This episode was really good. Much better than last week's episode and I loved the Shining gag.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaine View Post
    I'd imagine patting Lisa on the head would sting, damn kids with their spiky heads.


  12. #12
    don't quite cover all CousinMerl's Avatar
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    I think that this was quite a good episode and one of the season's best efforts. I didn't expect too much but really enjoyed how down to earth and small it felt in scale (with it's simple and straightforward plot of Lisa being selected by the demanding music teacher Victor Kleskow (voiced by J.K. Simmons, again making an appearance on the show) from the Capitol City music academy to be a part of the junior orchestra and this forcing Marge to drive her back and forth from city to city with Bart and Maggie while Homer works extra shifts at the power plant back home) and delievered a very good human tale with good humor, emotional content and maybe most of all a good conflict (with the promising direction Lisa's life has taken putting a strain on the family, making Marge wonder how much they should sacrifice for Lisa to be successful, something Lisa herself becomes aware of). Sometimes there doesn't have to be any high concept plots but rather a simpler tale focusing on the characters and their emotions like this and it really paid off here, creating one of the most enjoyable episodes of the season. Probably wasn't a perfect modern episode but for what it was it was a solid one for sure with a lot to like.

    I really liked the stuff with Dewey Largo at the beginning of the episode, not only with how we got to see him at his home and with his boyfriend (who strangely looks and sounds like Sir Ian McKellen for some reason; also, hadn't forgotten he was confirmed to be gay and it was nice they kept that development) but also how he got really optimistic and became a better teacher once he heard that music Teacher Viktor from Capitol City was coming to give him the chance to become someone bigger and better (as he had always wished and dreamed about; I very much appreciate to see them focusing on an seldom seen supporting character and give him/her some more room and development (and I felt pretty sorry for him when it turned out Viktor came to recruit Lisa instead of him, but nice to see him trying to keep up his good spirit. He surprisingly never returned for the rest of the episode until the very last scene where he was to break up with his boyfriend but gaining a new love for him. It would've been nice to have him involved in the main plot with Lisa and Viktor but with the rest of the episode having so many things going on it was probably for the best (as otherwise there would've been too much going on with the rest of the plotlines the episode gets caught up with), but it was still interesting to get to see another side of him other than this jaded, cynical teacher obsessed with patriotic music. Maybe he'll get his own episode eventually.

    Once the main plot got started with Lisa beginning at the music school it kept a good quality and was interesting; the whole aspect with Viktor and him being an overdemanding hardass who yells at the kids and berates them when doing something wrong in their performances (which explains their nervousness and how Lisa was the odd one out) was obviously a play on Simmon's similar character in 'Whiplash' (haven't seen but fully knows what it's about) and I think it worked well here without coming off as forced or unnatural (And Simmons performance sells it) and it progressed well with Lisa still having a good time and does great, which clashes with Marge having to wait for her day after day and both Bart and Maggie growing bored and restless and just wants to go home (and Bart gets in a room with the other fairly untalnted siblings of the talented musician kids and gives bad advice) and Homer's night shifts and how he grows so tired he starts to hallucinate about an 'The Shining'-like situation with the bartender and dances with one of the radiation suits; it got a little messy with the various plotlines all over the place but they were were balanced well and pulled off nicely (even Bart's little plot which was fairly unnecessary). Something else was that I thought the episode had good use of orchestral music, which suited really well due to it's music theme.

    So anyway, the whole episode was surprisingly really well paced overall (even with the numerous plotlines going on (Lisa's, Homer's, Marge & Bart's and a bit of Maggie) and focused on the right aspects, the animation was really good and had some expressive moments and vibrant colors & the humor worked quite well overall with a lot of good little jokes and gags, such as the 'Breaking Bad' bit between Homer and Marge, Homer's confusion about Utah Jazz, the 'The Shining' moments at the plant with Homer's hallucination and Jack Torrance as the plant's HR head & much with Viktor. As for the characterizations I think that pretty much all of them were more or less spot on, ranging from Lisa to Homer, so it felt obvious that the writer (Cartwright) know these characters really well and had them stay true to themselves; lots of nice litte character moments here, ranging from Lisa's discovery that Marge had completed this whole, thick sudooku book while she waited for Lisa's practicing to be over (that's so Marge) to Bart being so bored he starts doing dumb things like bumping his head against the car and telling the other siblings to misbehave (and then there's of course Homer imagining thinga at work). I also really liked Lisa as the lead here; she was likeable and sympathetic just like the rest of the family. J.K. Simmons did great in his role as already mentioned; he pretty much never disappoints.

    All in all, I think that the episode really clicked in most ways and created an enjoyably entertaining story with several nice plot threads showing what the family were doing while Lisa was practicing in the band and a bit of good drama; sometimes I felt that the family stuff harkened back to scenes from the classic era, such as the scenes in the car which made it more fun (that one scene at the end where Lisa and Bart jokes around and triggers Homer who gets stuck between the seats and the roof and even Marge laughing at it was great; one of my favorite little moments of the season). The only real negatives was that it was maybe a little overwritten, Largo should've played more or a role and the ending was kinda predictable with Lisa feeling bad for the rest of the family (who feel pretty miserable after doing so much for her to keep being in the band) and messes up and gets kicked out by the unrelenting Victor, but that end scene after it made up for the predictability and it was a really good one overall. I don't think that it was an awesome episode, just a very good, down to earth and likeable episode (a kind of episode that I wish there were more of nowadays) and that's all what it needed to be. Hopefully Nancy will get to write more episodes since she did really well here. Two thumbs up.

    4/5
    Last edited by CousinMerl; 04-02-2019 at 08:59 AM.


  13. #13
    SuperFriend Kaine's Avatar
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    I quite like this episode, very solid effort from Nancy Cartwright. Its good to see them do more with Dewey Largo where we see more of his personal life and his husband, alongside his rekindled passion to become a great conductor. And all that for the first act while the rest of the episode focusses on Lisa making it to the big leagues with her saxophone skills while the family suffers trough it. This feels more down to earth and somewhat closer to classic Simpson episodes.

    The first act starts off wel with a flashback of a young Dewey Largo (despite that this young Largo graduated in the class of 1999), then exploring Largo's lifestyle where we first see his partner who seems a lot more laid back and lazy. Really liked the gag where Largo kept the kids singing on a high tone where some of them pass out. Liked the performance where the audience is actually surprised to see Largo being an actual good conductor. Some funny gags like Marge having plugged her ears before the show and both Agnus and Chalmers not wanting Skinner to sit next to them. The way Lisa was being informed of the news and acting so happy to a jealous Largo was a good way to end Largo's arc for now.

    Lisa's plot starts with the family now having to work around having to drive Lisa 30 miles to her destination. They overused the Breaking Bad bits as a joke where Homer somehow had the idea of making enough money to hire a babysitter. I didn't get why they wouldn't try to contact Grampa or Patty & Selma to watch for the kids (though I could see why they wouldn't be up for it every day). The rest of the band felt overly depressed and it didn't help of how harsh Victor keeps acting. Apparently Lisa likes being judged so harsly and actually gets to play better because of that. Lots of the families struggle is what is making the rest of the episode, even making a few small sub plots with Homer making night shifts at the nuclaire power plant (with The Shining references) and Bart meeting up with other siblings while being locked away. I found it a bit lazy to have Gill one of the employers during the night shift, would've been nice to see a whole new crew who don't actually function well. I really liked all The Shining bits (despite that the show has a whole THoH segment for it), I really liked the animation of the power plant transforming into a ballroom and Homer dancing around with a suit. I don't think Bart's plot was as good though. I can see why its a thing to show off the rest of the siblings, but it didn't really go anywhere and felt more like filler.

    Lisa continues to have funny conversations with Victor, and we see more of Marge not being able to hold out of driving the kids. Really like how Maggie was starting to crack down and that Lisa found out that Marge solved all 1.000.001 Kenken puzzles during the short time that Lisa has been performing for her new class. This was a good way to make Lisa understand of what the rest of the family was going trough. Kind of a dick way of Homer to erase Maggie's artistic painting just to avoid dealing with another talented daughter. The episode started to wrap up nicely with Lisa playing a wrong note at the very end on purpose. I liked Victors reaction and how the family started to act nice again as they drive home. We also see more of Largo who apparently wanted to break up.... until his husband decided to keep the name of the dog that Largo wanted, then all was well again.

    This has been quite a good watch all the way trough the episode. The pacing felt nice for most part, not much unnecesary filler while I do think that Bart's plot could've been a bit better. The jokes were mostly fine, The Shining parody had some funny moments despite being similiar in some ways to THoH segment ''The Shinning''. The actual plot is also similiar to Lisa's Pony in a way, but with the whole family suffering trough it rather than just Homer. And Lisa had to find for herself what her family has been going trough and deciding to throw away her career. J.J. Simmons did a great job with Victor who is a great quest character, despite the fact that Simmons also voiced a few other characters from recent episodes. His interactions with Lisa were done really well. I only have very minor complaints with this episode, what I didn't like the most was how they made Victor's band look so depressed and having the lead chair saxophonist fear so much for his position which he quickly loses.

    4.5/5
    Episodes rated best and worst from each season:
    1: Krusty Gets Busted/Homer's Night Out 2: The Way We Was/Bart's Dog Gets an F 3: Colonel Homer/Dog of Death 4: Marge vs. The Monorail/So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show 5: Cape Feare/Bart Gets An Elephant 6: Treehouse of Horror V/Another Simpsons Clip Show 7: Mother Simpson/Homerpalooza 8: You Only Move Twice/The Canine Mutiny 9: Lisa's Sax/The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons 10: Lisa Gets an A/Sunday Cruddy Sunday 11: Behind The Laughter/Beyond Blunderdome 12: Trilogy of Error/The Computer Wore Menace Shoes 13: I Am Furious Yellow/Homer the Moe 14: The Dad Who Knew Too Little/Large Marge 15: The Way We Weren't/Diatribe of a Mad Housewife 16: Thank God Its Doomsday/Mommie Beerest 17: Marge's Son Poisoning/Bonfire of the Manatees 18: Marge Gamer/Revenge is Best Served Three Times 19: Treehouse of Horror XVIII/That 90's Show 20: Gone Maggie Gone/Coming To Homerica 21: O Brother, Where Bart thou?/The Devil Wears Nada 22: Homer Scissorhands/The Fool Monty 23: Holidays of Future Passed/Moe Goes From Rags To Riches 24: Adventures In Baby-Getting/Whiskey Business 25: Brick Like Me/White Christmas Blues 26: Bart's New Friend/The Musk Who Fell to Earth 27: Halloween of Horror/Every Man's Dream 28: There Will Be Buds/Moho House 29: Gone Boy/Throw Grampa from the Dane


  14. #14
    Motorized 3t8yb's Avatar
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    I thought this was decent. It wasn't anything new, or outstanding, but was fairly pleasant throughout. I already knew going in that Largo wouldn't be the focus, but still found his scenes enjoyable, since it's pretty fresh territory, although it did veer a bit into being an "unrelated first act" which I don't care for at all. The Whiplash parody was a little obvious, but I suppose it's funny they actually got J.K. Simmons. Although we've seen this type of plot structure before (everyone seems to have already picked up on the Lisa's Pony comparisons) it moved along pretty briskly, and didn't have any jokes that failed spectacularly, although the Utah Jazz scene was a little confusing. The main thing preventing this episode from top marks was Bart and his plot, which I didn't think added much to the episode, and I got quite sick of the scenes of him bashing his head against the car. I also didn't care for the ending, which, although I can forgive it for being predictable, didn't feel like it was executed with a lot of smoothness. But all in all, this was easily a standout in a pretty dull season thus far.

    3.5/5


  15. #15
    Stonecutter angeldeb82's Avatar
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    Well, it seems that The A.V. Club gave it a B-. Not bad, if I say so myself.

    https://tv.avclub.com/nancy-cartwrig...-he-1833705301

  16. #16
    Junior Camper Mikesuper26's Avatar
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    I am definitely with the majority here when I say that I enjoyed this episode. The pacing, characterizations, and main plot were spot on. I thought it was interesting to get a bit of an extended look at Dewey Largo and his life. He is a character we see very little of other then his short cameos in episodes more often then not. Him getting rejected in favor of Lisa prompted a humorous scene where Lisa unintentionally breaks his spirit even more then the initial rejection did, though her reaction is completely normal for an eight year old. As a side note, I very much enjoy watching Lisa when she isn't acting like a pompous self centered know it all. When she just acts like a young child it is a much more positive viewing experience for me. Victor was definitely a harsh and cruel character, but having Lisa succeed due to his harsh teaching style was amusing and unexpected. I too was left wondering why Homer and Marge didn't get a family member to watch Bart and Maggie, though considering how often Lisa had to go practice they may have not been onboard with the idea. It was nice to see Homer and the family sacrifice so much for Lisa...as others have said, it just felt like a really human and down to Earth episode with good humor. I especially loved some of Bart's actions in this episode, such as repeatedly yelling "let's go home!" or "help! help! I was promised ice cream fifty miles ago!" He acted very much like a child, as did Lisa, and I thought it was adorable and enjoyable. That said, Bart's plot was uninteresting, short lived and unnecessary, but I would prefer it to watching Bart slam his head into the car for the majority of the episode. Homer's experiences during his night shifts added some more humor to the episode, though his hallucination about killing his family was a bit dark. The ending topped off the episode by making me laugh when Homer got stuck in the seat after Bart provoked him into doing so.

    Overall a very solid effort by Nancy Cartwright. I would love to see her write an episode centered around Bart seeing as she has been his voice for all these years. It would be nice to get her take on her own character, especially with the rampant Bart is a loser/sociopath jokes over the past few seasons.

    4/5


  17. #17
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    Damn it, my thumb hit the one when I went to vote. I was going to vote 4 or 5.

    I really enjoyed this episode. It didn't try to prove a point or have some hidden meaning. It was a great episode that let forget for 30 minutes.

    Here's some,points.

    1. Daws Butler auditorium was nice shout out.
    2. Jack Nicholson as a HR employee was perfect since that is what they usually are like. If you have ever dealt with them you understand. I actually almost optioned in MR, my dad gave me this look of utter disappointed.
    3. Ian McKellen's Freddie character was entertaining.
    4. Poor Mr. Largo.
    5. Lisa in band made me remember when I was in band in high school. Although the trombone is a way better instrument than a sax.
    6. Bart teaching the number #2s how to misbehave is Bart at his finest.
    7. At least Homer didn't need a job like the last time in Lisa's Pony.
    8. Dave Matthews? Really?
    9. R.K. Simmons plays asshole real well.
    10. Maggie of course is the coolest.

    I'm sure there is more but that's all I have now.

    4.5
    "Bart, a woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good, and you’d step over your own mother just to get one!"


  18. #18
    Chatting Simpsons Since '93 Brad Lascelle's Avatar
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    This is shaping up to be only our second universally recommended episode of the season after Daddicus Finch. (We had 4 such episodes in Season 29.)
    Shame the IMDB reception for this ep has been rather average, by comparison.

  19. #19
    don't quite cover all CousinMerl's Avatar
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    I don't think that IMDB is a very credible source to go from when looking at the general audience reception (considering how neglected the modern episodes are and how trollish reviews can get there), but as it is probably the only site for reviews that gets a decent number of reviews for the show and modern Simpsons in general it's maybe the only decent pick aside from TV.com.

    But I have to agree that this episode does stand out as one of the best of the season, but personally I would'n't consider it the only recommended episode other than 'Daddicus Finch' as there has been some other pretty good ones.

  20. #20
    Getting carried away on you Venomrabbit's Avatar
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    Thinking back on one thing, I'm not sure if Bart's moments really counted as a sub-plot, more as a supplement to the main one. Namely, being chucked into a closet for the "siblings of talented kids" felt like it hit him where it hurts (particularly keeping Bart Gets An F and Barthood in mind) since if it was just the scenes with the car, he'd probably just come off as being bratty rather than genuinely miserable. I'm just trying to remember if Lisa was there during the time Bart tried to talk about how he felt but Homer was too busy to hear him out. And I think that's another big strength of the episode and something that even a lot of classic era eps didn't do, between that and Homer's subplot, they both had a purpose outside of "give these two main characters something to do" and actually worked to strengthen the main one instead of distracting from it, showing just how unhappy everyone was making themselves just for Lisa. It's pretty clever really, the best kind of use for a subplot.

    Think off the top of my head, the other ones I'd consider recommending aside from this were instead "Baby you can't drive my car" (hey, the opposite of a marriage crisis, how nice!) and possible Werking Mom. DF and E My Sports could have been some too but both buggered it up at the last minute in ways that just spoiled them entirely for me.


  21. #21
    Have Brain, Will Travel Wile E. the Brain's Avatar
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    Season 30 seems to improve a little. After Bart vs. Itchy and Scratchy, that makes a second very good episode in a row, and a great writing debut for Nancy Cartwright. Like I said in my Daddicus Finch review, I always enjoy seeing a good down-to-earth episode and that's exactly what Girl's in the Band is. With this plot that looks like a revival of Lisa's Pony with a bit of You Only Move Twice and Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life sprinkled in, we got something relatable, funny and pretty touching at the same time.

    It was surprising to see how much the episode focused on Mr. Largo at the beginning, and even if we knew it will not focused on him after the first act, I liked seeing him more deepen. Surprisingly, I was touched by his situation. And even if Lisa took his opportunity, it didn't seems like just a way to shit on him, after all it's like a small part of him in some way, and he tries to keep his good spirit; also, he gets a kind of happy ending after all with his boyfriend (guess I wasn't the only one who thinked about Sir Ian McKellen), which is a nice way to end the episode, even if we don't see him between this scene and the one where Lisa took his opportunity. After such a beginning, I think Largo deserves a full episode of his own.

    The rest is a good Lisa-centric episode where the little girl is showed in a more sympathetic aspect than she was in some episodes recently. I liked her Whiplash-like story and her chemistry with Victor Kleskow. As usual, when J.K. Simmons has to have a role in this show, it's always great, and even if his character isn't the most original (basically it's the Simpsons version of his role in Whiplash), he's still a very funny motormouthed guy. I love that line in particular : "I was conflicted once. Band leader or prison guard ? I chose the one where I could be more cruel". The fact Lisa is actually glad of her harsh treatment by her teacher since her first lesson is pretty predictable but amusing.

    It's nice to see Homer and Marge doing so much to allow their child to play to the Philarmonic, in fact, each main character have his moments. Even if Bart's subplot is mostly filler and have no ending, it was pretty good. Homer working at the plant at night provides some very funny moments too. The Shining parody was good and the Jack Torrance lookalike being the head of human resources made me laugh out loud. I liked the ending too but I think it could have been better. The fact Lisa failed on purpose is predictable, and I kept in mind that Lisa maybe gived up a big opportunity of having a great career in music by a solid teaching, which is maybe a little sour. Even if it was obvious that the status quo had to be safe, I think it would have been more satisfying if Lisa played the best of herself but that it wouldn't have been enough for Victor. But that's basically nitpicking, the ending is still sweet and gave me some You Only Move Twice vibes.

    And by the way, I have to mention how neat Jennifer Moeller's directorial debut is. The animation is well done and Moeller know how to use effects to make some scenes more beautifully animated like the first scene with the siblings or the Shining dream. Overall, this is one of the best episodes from this season, and I hope, like you guys said, that Nancy can have the opportunity to write another episode, but if Girl's in the Band has to be her only attempt as a writer, then I'd be fine with it too. 4/5


  22. #22
    don't quite cover all CousinMerl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venomrabbit View Post
    Thinking back on one thing, I'm not sure if Bart's moments really counted as a sub-plot, more as a supplement to the main one. Namely, being chucked into a closet for the "siblings of talented kids" felt like it hit him where it hurts (particularly keeping Bart Gets An F and Barthood in mind) since if it was just the scenes with the car, he'd probably just come off as being bratty rather than genuinely miserable. I'm just trying to remember if Lisa was there during the time Bart tried to talk about how he felt but Homer was too busy to hear him out. And I think that's another big strength of the episode and something that even a lot of classic era eps didn't do, between that and Homer's subplot, they both had a purpose outside of "give these two main characters something to do" and actually worked to strengthen the main one instead of distracting from it, showing just how unhappy everyone was making themselves just for Lisa. It's pretty clever really, the best kind of use for a subplot.

    Think off the top of my head, the other ones I'd consider recommending aside from this were instead "Baby you can't drive my car" (hey, the opposite of a marriage crisis, how nice!) and possible Werking Mom. DF and E My Sports could have been some too but both buggered it up at the last minute in ways that just spoiled them entirely for me.
    I'd still call Bart's side story a subplot, if just a miniature one, but calling a supplement like you say works well too. Also, you've got a good point about Bart and his role as well as Homer's part, with both of their stories complementing Lisa's main plot really well and actually making it work better by adding more nuance (as did Marge's side of things; even though we never saw much of what she was doing just that bit with Lisa finding and flipping through the completed sudooku book was a very clever way of illustrating how Marge was handling the situation. That I found a little unusual as the doesn't tend to be this subtle nowadays in the modern era).

    I'd too pick out 'Baby You Can't Drive My Car' as one of the recommended ones. I also thought 'From Russia Without Love' was another good one that stood out.

  23. #23
    Stonecutter angeldeb82's Avatar
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    Here's Phil Peyton's review on the episode. Wonder what he thinks.



  24. #24
    Getting carried away on you Venomrabbit's Avatar
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    Oh, I forgot the soduku book! That's another good one.

    Y'know, how often is it we're discussing the way a modern simps episode was really cleverly written? Hoping that it's not just a fluke and that Cartwright decides to write a few other times. Obviously not full time because she's already pulling a lot of weight.

  25. #25
    I'm not your friend-o Cartoonnetwork's Avatar
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    The main problem with the episode was that almost everything that happened is recycled from another episode: Bart's subplot was simmilar to You Only Move Twice, the overall premise was simmilar to Lisa's pony, there had been The Shining parodies before...However I quite liked the main 'Whiplash' spoof with the J.K. Simmons character, that was kind of new and I also liked how it wasn't EXTREMELY obvious and didn't copy exact lines or sequences from the movie. He didn't say 'Not quite my tempo' and I kinda liked that he didn't . On the other hand the Breaking Bad gag with Homer was funny at first but it became too obvious by the end.

    The whole thing with Mr. Largo and his boyfriend was ok-ish, it's interesting to see secondary characters being developed and gay couples treated in a more down-to-earth way. It's more up to date than characters being in the closet (like Smithers during the classic era) or stereotypical gays like Julio in past Jean era episodes. Most of the jokes worked (I'm not crazy about gags involving Maggie being a super genius but I did enjoy Homer being kind of a dick about it, in the context of the episode it's kinda justified that he weren't too happy with that situation). I don't like modern Simpsons animation and I find the modern openings pretty weird (sometimes they have long couch gags, other times they don't have an intro, the new animation of the opening and the extra jokes in the logo like the leprechauns here are terrible ideas) but other than that the animation was pretty fluid, especially during The Shining parody. I also noticed that they used Burns and Smithers in a very classic way and I even kind of liked Gil working at the Nuclear Power Plant. The gag with Jack being in Human Resources was hilarious and felt very classic era.

    Overall it's a 3'5/5...Simmilar quality to the previous episode I saw, 'Bart vs Itchy and Scratchy', and I find both quite better in pacing and gags than the last ones I watched (I didn't watch most of seasons 28 or 29). I don't know if his improvement is only temporary (I remember season 25 having atrocious episodes like The Man Who Grew Too Much and some really forgettable or strange ones, like YOLO....The two I have watched from season 30 seem a little better in comparison both in character personalities and the pacing of the gags but I guess there will be the usual inconsistencies. Another thing I liked about these two last episodes is that they included feminism and LGTB representation in a kinda natural way. Maybe they didn't do it perfectly (I mentioned some elements in Bart vs Itchy and Scratchy felt a little contrived) but I believe these are better ways to 'modernize' the series rather than making entire episodes about Homer using apps in his new iPad.
    Last edited by Cartoonnetwork; 04-05-2019 at 04:45 AM.
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  26. #26
    Pin Pal Szyslak100's Avatar
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    Nancy Cartwright and Jennifer Moeller made their debut in an episode that will remain for history, at least, for the statistical, as this was the first in the history of the show written and directed by women debutantes. Bart's voice actress was encouraged to tell a personal story through the Simpson family. And what a commitment she made when she did it. Nancy showed us that even after 30 years of routine, new goals can be achieved. It was an interesting challenge that had the expected result.

    The story developed in a fresh and engaging way. I liked that they gave a bit of prominence to Mr. Largo. I always wanted to see how he or Mrs. Hoover became good teachers to help Lisa achieve her best potential; Now I can cross off this item from the list of things I want to see in the show. This was the first time that they allow us to empathize with the character and that they show us a bit of their background. I liked seeing his transition from a disinterested person / teacher to a passionate one. I must admit that it was hard to see how disappointed he was at not being able to fulfill her dream, but I loved hearing his interaction with Lisa when he saw that she could make progress. From then on, we can see how this affects the lives of the five members of the family. Incredibly, they managed to find a suitable place for each one of them, and managed to maintain a balance so that each one's perspective took up enough time. Lisa faces the typical dilemma of choosing personal satisfaction or that of her environment. I'm glad she made the less selfish decision out of self-conviction. Homer accesses Power Plant's night shift, causing some of the most hilarious scenes about what happens there. Bart proposes to end the situation by joining other less talented children than their respective brothers, this being the most unpleasant part for me. Maggie, as usual, gives a touch of tenderness to the episode with her tantrums, and also demonstrating talent. Finally, Marge is in charge of maintaining control and order of the family. It's great that the five have been able to maintain their essence and charisma. There was an excellent work in the characterizations.

    The mood was another high point here. As I said, the fact that Homer worked night shift gave rise to several effective jokes. As usual, all of Maggie's interventions were sympathetic. Many secondary characters have short, but fun interventions. Milhouse not knowing what instrument he plays, Skinner being rejected by Chalmers and his mother, Bumblebee Man's radio, Gil working on Power Plant and Grampa fearing he will stop talking. Of course, this episode was centered on the Simpson family, and there are good interactions between them, mainly between Marge and Bart, although in reality all the dynamics worked well. The final scene, in which they return home in the car, seemed very familiar and adorable. Victor Kleskov, on the other hand, seemed an incredible character. Hilarious, unpredictable, with a well defined character and good interactions with Lisa. J. K. Simmons did an impeccable job in interpreting it. He will definitely take the prize for the best guest star of the season, not only for what he has done here but also for his work in Daddicus Finch. Returning to the episode, the animation seemed very good in terms of designs and colors, not so much in fluency. The use of music was excellent, and I expected no less from a Whiplash parody. By the way, I have rarely enjoyed as many cultural references as here: Whiplash, Breaking Bad, The Shining and Tweenlight. It is not usual for me to know things before I see them in the series, to be honest.

    A few years ago, I would have given its the perfect note. But my experience in nohomers made me someone more critical and limited that note only to masterpieces. This episode does not reach that rank, but I will recommend it whenever the opportunity arises. A part of me feels that it is little, but a 5/5 maybe it would be a bit exaggerated.

    4/5
    Fan of the Outstanding Animated Show of 2019.

    SEASON 31 - RATINGS
    The Winter of Our Monetized Content: 3/5 / Go Big or Go Homer: 3/5 / The Fat Blue Line 4/5


  27. #27
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    3/5
    Decent enough I got lost with the storyline where Maggie tried to assassinate Ned Flanders it came out of nowhere and was never properly resolved.Loved when Craig told that guy off it was my highlight of the entire episode.I hope Marge ended up getting a good price on those cranberries for that pie she plans on making in the future.

  28. #28
    Pin Pal wiley207's Avatar
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    Nice shortened intro with the blackboard and couch gags.
    So we open with a cheesy pan across Springfield that looks like something out of those 80s Hanna-Barbera cartoons that were digitally colored.
    There they go with rewriting the show's continuity, making Dewey Largo a young man in 1999, even if it was just a nightmare.
    That really long note was amusing; it reminded me of a similar gag on "Tiny Toon Adventures." I also loved the gag about Milhouse's generic horn from the intro.
    Wow, Nancy Cartwright's first writing effort, and one of her characters don't speak until nearly five minutes in (Ralph Wiggum trapped in a base fiddle's "f" hole.)
    I remember the time I was desperate for work during college that I'd even take a night shift job and give up all extracurricular activities and social events...

    Ooooh, the Daws Butler Hall! Nice name! I also thought Bart banging his head on the station wagon was funny.
    Geez, Marge's voice was starting to go bad when she cried out "Maggie! What are you doing?!" I feel bad for Julie Kavner, with FOX not caring about her age and health by constantly renewing the show...
    Heh, so I guess the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant has a Simplex fire alarm system, judging by the T-bar pull station I saw near the vending machine like the ones at Springfield Elementary, and I bet their fire alarm system is also a really old one like Springfield Elementary probably has (most likely a Simplex 4208 from the 1970s or something, like one of my schools used to have.)
    Homer's dream sequence was pretty amusing!
    I also liked how Homer noticed Maggie being talented. I also liked how Lisa intentionally failed her test for the family.

    A pretty fun episode, definitely one of the better ones this season. Nancy Cartwright seems to even be better at writing episodes than Dan Castellaneta!

  29. #29
    SuperFriend Nameless's Avatar
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    Passable, but I'm really hoping for something a bit more engaging. This was fine, not laugh-out-loud funny, but its heart was in the right place and it was a pleasant enough way to spend half an hour. I just wish it was something a bit more. B-
    Season 30 Ratings
    Bart's Not Dead C- Heartbreak Hotel ​D My Way or the Highway to Heaven ​D- Treehouse of Horror XXIX ​C- Baby You Can't Drive My Car ​B+ From Russia Without Love ​B- Werking Mom ​C Krusty the Clown ​B Daddicus Finch B+ 'Tis the 30th Season ​D+ Mad About the Toy ​C+ The Girl on the Bus ​C I'm Dancing as Fat as I Can ​C- The Clown Stays in the Picture ​C- 101 Mitigations C+ I Want You (She's So Heavy) ​C E My Sports ​B- Bart vs. Itchy & Scratchy ​C- Girl's in the Band ​B- I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say D'oh ​B- D'oh Canada ​C- Woo-hoo Dunnit? ​B Crystal Blue-Haired Persuasion ​C+



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