Episode - 9F13
First Aired - 2/11/1993
It's Valentine's Day at Springfield Elementary, and in Ms. Hoover's classroom, all the second-graders are getting tons of cards from each other...everyone, that is, except Ralph Wiggum, who's left empty-handed. Lisa, taking pity on him, gives Ralph one of her Valentines, a card with a train on it saying "I 'Choo-Choo-Choose' You!". Overcome with joy, Ralph gets a crush on Lisa. Meanwhile, Krusty the Clown is holding a 29th Anniversary Show, and Bart and Lisa would do anything to get tickets for it.
Noticing Ralph's feelings, Lisa asks her parents for advice on how to let him down gently. When she tells him she's simply not ready for a relationship, Ralph asks his
dad, Chief Wiggum how to get her to like him, to which he tells him to just be persistent. In his attempts to get Lisa to like him, Ralph not only gets the part of George Washington alongside Lisa'a Martha Washington in the school President's Day pageant (with a little help from his dad and the rest of Springfield's police force), but Ralph also gives Lisa a ticket to Krusty's anniversary special. Reluctantly, Lisa goes along with Ralph to the show. While there, Krusty interviews the audience. When he gets to Ralph, he teasingly asks if Lisa's his girlfriend. Ralph proclaims his love for Lisa, only for Lisa to scream at him that she doesn't like him and only gave him a Valentine out of pity. Ralph is crushed by this, and Bart – playing back said exchange, which had aired on live TV – reminds Lisa of what she did.
Lisa feels terrible about what she said to Ralph and finally understands that she humiliated him in front of a large TV audience. She realizes that, while Ralph – due to his awkward social skills and him being himself – most likely didn't know any better that what he said was out of place, she knew better than to confront him live and on the air especially like that ... and now she has to apologize any way she can. Meanwhile, Ralph cries about the situation, and his father (a little slow on the uptick himself) finally realizes that his son was embarrassed on TV, and he tries to take it out on Homer with a phony traffic stop.
Nevertheless, the President's Day pageant still has to go on, and Lisa and Ralph still have to act alongside each other. As Ralph tells Lisa to go away when she tries to apologize, the prelude to the one-act Washington biography involves typical grade-school fare: a tribute to the "Mediocre Presidents of the U.S.A." and an evening at Ford's Theater with Millhouse as Abraham Lincoln (and recognizing a Bart-as-a-Schwartzenegger-type-John Wilkes Booth).
Filled with bitterness and heartbreak, Ralph delivers an amazing performance as George Washington. The performance is so incredible that Groundskeeper Willie is moved to tears and the bullies are inspired to study up on American history. After the show Lisa apologizes to Ralph with a new card: "Let's 'Bee' Friends"
; this time, Ralph accepts Lisa's apology.
This episode contains examples of:
- The Ahnold: Bart, playing a Terminator-esque John Wilkes Booth. Who then tries to go after Chester A Arthur before Mrs. Hoover restrains him.
- Big "NO!": Lisa, right after Ralph confesses his love for her at the Krusty anniversary show.
- Also, Skinner yelling, "JOHNNY!" after having a 'Nam flashback.
- Bowdlerization: In-universe — Flanders' love song to Maude is a cleaned-up version of Rod Stewart's If You Think I'm Sexy.
- Brick Joke and Book Ends: The episode begins and ends with Bill and Marty from KBBL accidentally playing Monster Mash on both Valentine's Day and President's Day.
- Classically-Trained Extra: Rex, the thespian second-grader, is outraged when Ralph is picked as George Washington. He ends up in a bit part as Washington's servant.
- Don't Explain the Joke: "It says 'Choo-Choo-Choose you', and there's a picture of a train!"
- Dude, Not Funny!: The writers actually got complaints about the part where Principal Skinner has a Vietnam flashback of seeing his best friend shot in Da Nang in 1969 while writing a love letter to his girlfriend back home.
- Hidden Depths: Ralph is revealed to be a very good actor.
- Juggling Loaded Guns: Chief Wiggum using his gun to crack a nut open
- Noodle Incident: Zigzagged. We see the flashback of how Chief Wiggum got tickets from Krusty the Clown (Krusty was at a porno theater, Chief Wiggum walks in to enjoy it as well, and Krusty thinks he's under arrest, even though he's not indecently exposed, with a prostitute, or with anyone under 18 note ) before Lisa cuts off with, "That story isn't suitable for children." However, Chief Wiggum implies that the version he told was where he kept his pants on. We don't see the version where he doesn't keep his pants on, nor do we get any further info as to why he would have his pants off in the first place.
- Ralph Wiggum: This is the first episode to really showcase Ralph being himself (though, as mentioned above, he shows Hidden Depths of being a very good dramatic actor and he wasn't as dumb as he would be in the later episodes. In the early episodes, Ralph was just a little dim and socially awkward).
- The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Krusty shows clips of "classic" episodes, including an incarnation of the show suggesting that he once hosted a Tonight Show knockoff. The clip shown – a urine monkey relieving itself on Krusty's head, while a Joan Embry-type zoologist is a guest – is Springfield's version of a classic incident involving Carson and Embry's marmoset.
- Side Effects Include...: Bart's Krusty collection includes the Krusty Home Pregnancy Test, which "May Cause Birth Defects!"
- Special Guest: Michael Carrington (a writer for The Simpsons and Martin and host of the Nickelodeon game show Think Fast) as Sideshow Raheem
- You Don't Want to Know: Variation, in regards to Bart's plan to make sure Lisa doesn't have to go to the Krusty show with Ralph:
Bart: I'll go, disguised as you.
Lisa: What if he wants to hold hands?
Bart: I'm prepared to make that sacrifice.
Lisa: What if he wants a kiss?
Bart: I'm prepared to make that sacrifice.
Lisa: What if he—