Episode - 2F05
First Aired - 11/13/1994Due to test scores hitting an all-time low, Principal Skinner instates academic alerts (little slips of paper warning a student that they're failing a subject or subjects)—and Lisa discovers that she's on the academic alert list for failing gym class. After trying and failing at basketball and volleyball, Apu discovers that Lisa has a talent for blocking/parrying objects, and makes her goalie for his pee-wee hockey team...which puts her in direct sibling rivalry with Bart.
This episode contains examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: This episode started the Running Gag of Moe erroneously calling Marge "Midge", despite getting her name right in past episodes (it's also possible that "Midge" is just simply Moe's nickname for her).
- Adults Are Useless: Bart is pummelled by the bullies and ends up getting rescued by Lisa, while Skinner and Mrs. Hoover watch, with Skinner's only comment being that he hardly ever lets his own mother fight battles for himself anymore.
- Ambiguous Syntax: During the penalty shot, Bart's fans yell "Kill, Bart!", whereas Lisa's fans yell "Kill Bart!".
- Bait-and-Switch: Annoyed at how Lisa's doing well in hockey, his area of dominance, Bart decides he should do well in classwork, Lisa's area of dominance. So we see a montage of Bart raising his hand to answer questions, but the montage ends with Ms. Krabappel saying "Bart Simpson, would you stop raising your hand!? You haven't had one right answer all day!"
- After Bart and Lisa make up with each other, ending their game on a tie, Marge tears up over this tender exchange. She sees Homer tearing up too, seemingly moved also, until he says "They're both losers. Losers!"
- The Cameo: The Monsters on Monster Island (the peninsula) are Mothra, Gamera and Rodan.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Attention! This is Principal Skinner, your principal, with a message from the principal's office."
- Disproportionate Retribution: Nelson's reason for beating up Bart? "Wasting teacher's valuable time".
- Lisa's Imagine Spot features her being sent to Monster Island for failing gym class.
- Double Standard: Marge sees Lisa's single academic alert and tells her she's concerned and discusses how to sort this out. Bart brings home a stack of alerts as fat as a phone book and Homer offers to get him a present after signing all of them. When Lisa calls him out on this, he only replies: "Ah, the mysteries of life."
- Embarrassing Rescue: Not only does Lisa one-up Bart at sports, but when she rescues him from the bullies, everyone (including Skinner) laughs at him.Skinner: I hardly ever let Mother fight for me anymore!
- False Reassurance: In Lisa's Imagine Spot, Monster Island is just a name. It's actually a peninsula.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Lisa's scared that an F in gym will ruin her life, even costing her a potential presidency.
- Followed by a lifetime of horror on Monster Island.
- Football Hooligans: Hockey hooligans, but the result is the same. "We came for blood!"
- Gretzky Has the Ball: In real hockey, the clock does not run during penalty shots. The episode's writer (Mike Scully) points this out in the DVD commentary—he's a hockey fan and knows this, but he decided to take some artistic license for the sake of the ending.
- Hockey Fight: Up to Eleven. All the people in the seats go into a full-blown riot, demolishing the place, because they got pissed that the game ended on a tie.
- I Have No Son: Homer's reaction to his children's good sportsmanship and calling the game a tie instead of fighting is to avoid looking at them and call them both losers.
- Ignored Epiphany: Snake is moved to tears by Bart and Lisa's actions, and wonders how his life would have been if they had pee-wee hockey when he was a child. He then shrugs it off and proceeds to destroy the arena.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Before the big game, Chief Wiggum addresses the prisoners:Wiggum: Okay, I'm gonna make a little deal with you mugs. I'm gonna let you out to see my team play the game if you promise to return to your cells.
Snake: Sorry, pig. We can't make that promise.
Wiggum: All right. All right, I'll sweeten the deal. You can see the game, you don't have to come back, but you have to promise not to commit any more crimes, okay?
Wiggum: I'll take that as a yes. (unlocks cells)
- Imagine Spot: Lisa has one where her failing grade will come back to haunt her once she's elected President of the United States.
- Insane Troll Logic: As Jimbo puts it, it's a lucky coincidence Bart happens to be "his sister's brother".
- Insult Backfire: Lisa tricks Bart into running into the front yard in his pajamas.
- I Resemble That Remark!: In the words of Ralph Wiggum, "Me fail English? That's unpossible.". Lisa insists that her failing gym is the stupidest thing she's ever heard, then fails to throw the scrunched-up paper as far as the bin.
- Jerk Ass: Homer really outdoes himself in this episode, switching between treating both of his older children like The Un-Favourite as they struggle to become better than the other at Hockey and then being the first in the stadium to label them both "losers" when they decide to stop playing.
- Loan Shark: Moe has fallen afoul of some, to the tune of being sixty-four thousand dollars in debt.Moe: They're gonna take my thumbs!
- National Anthem: Krusty is brought out to sing The Star-Spangled Banner before the championship game. He sings half of the first line ("O say can you see") before realizing he can't remember the rest of the words. The crowd boos him, and he quickly regrets not using the cue cards he was offered, even though it's been stated in the early episodes that Krusty is functionally illiterate (though most later episodes imply that Krusty is semi-literate)
- Not So Above It All: Before the game, Marge tries to tell Homer it's wrong to be rooting for either Bart or Lisa over the other, but when Bart gets tripped by Jimbo, Marge loses it, yelling "He tripped my boy! I demand vengeance! I WANT VENGEANCE!" Fortunately, Marge gets over it by the end of the game.
- Parental Favoritism: Homer was showing clear favoritism throughout the entire episode to whichever child was better in sports. Bart and Lisa, meanwhile, utterly ignore him and try to curry favor with Marge.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Springfield Elementary's auditorium, the Butthead Memorial Auditorium, was inspired by an incident in Greenwood, South Carolina, where children proposed having a new elementary school named Springfield Elementary School.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Nelson is failing several subjects but doing quite well in Home Economics.Nelson: Hey, keep it down, man. (laughs nervously)
- Running Gag: The first time Moe calls Marge "Midge", despite knowing her name in earlier episodes. And Marge doesn't even correct him.
- Serious Business: All of Springfield takes Bart and Lisa's hockey match seriously. Moe, in particular, risks losing his thumbs depending on the outcome.
- Spiky Hair: Lisa's hair punctures the volleyball team's only ball.
- Strolling Through the Chaos: Bart and Lisa just skate peacefully off the ice while the crowd riots in the stands.
- Take That!: To the Apple Newton (Apple's forefather to the iPhone and iPad) and its terrible diction, as it reads "Beat up Martin" as "Eat up, Martha". The Newton was widely considered Apple's biggest blunder until Apple Maps in 2012.
- Apple workers themselves even admitted that this moment haunted them for a while, with "Eat Up Martha" becoming a nickname for screwing up inputs within the company.
- Tempting Fate: As Marge stops Bart and Lisa fighting, she tells them "You're not in direct competition with each other!" Cue Homer hurrying in, informing everyone that their teams are playing against another ("You're in direct competition with each other!").
- Vandalism Backfire: Bart darkly announces that as vengeance, he tore the head off a stuffed animal named Mr. Honey-Bunny. Lisa then reminds Bart that that was his beloved childhood toy.Bart: Agh! Mr. Honey-Bunny! (places the head back on and kisses it desperately)