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Recap / The Simpsons S11 E10 "Little Big Mom"

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Original air date: 1/9/2000 (produced in 1999)

Production code: BABF-04

The Simpsons are forced to go to a ski resort to make use of the skis they bought, but never used. While Homer gets hit in the groin by moguls after being distracted by the mental image of Flanders' butt in a skintight ski suit and Lisa nearly gets attacked by deer, Marge ends up the one being injured when a cuckoo clock falls on her leg. While Marge is laid up in the hospital, Lisa steps in as her replacement — and realizes that it's a lot of work in cleaning up after the slovenly Homer and Bart.



  • Actor Allusion: The virtual doctor is voiced by Elwood Edwards, aka the "you've got mail" voice. "You've got leprosy."
  • Anything but That!: According to Lisa, the only cure for leprosy is to clean their home. So clean house or beg Ned Flanders for help (and eventually being sent to a resort where they endure, in Homer's words, "two hours of blinding pain" a day)? Not only Homer doesn't hesitate but Bart tells him that they should hurry while Lisa is away fetching cleaning supplies.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Lisa uses green paint and oatmeal to simulate leprosy scars, even though the skin-rotting lesions on a leper would actually be red and brown. Leprosy also takes at least six weeks to develop.
  • The Bore: Marge spends the entire ski trip in the lodge drinking hot chocolate and then while she's in hospital, initially tries to clean until the nurse gets her to stop.
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  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Lisa quotes "Excellent" like Homer's boss, Mr. Burns, when Homer and Bart are convinced they have leprosy, even tenting her fingers while saying it as Burns does.
  • The Casanova: Disco Stu is apparently trying to hit on Edna Krabappel at the ski lodge before Marge catches his eye, but he backs off trying to make a move on her when Bart and Lisa appear.
  • Couch Gag: The family are crash test dummies, and the couch slides forward and slams into the TV. It then pulls back into place, and Homer's head falls off.
  • Domestic Abuse: Homer and Bart are watching I Love Lucy. All of a sudden, we hear smacking noises and Lucy crying.
    Fred: You hit her pretty hard there, Rick.
  • Foreshadowing: The family watching I Love Lucy earlier in the episode foreshadows the appearance of Lucille Ball's ghost in the third act.
  • For Want of a Nail: The plot only goes ahead because Homer, Bart, and Lisa catch Marge after having cleaned up the attic.
  • Groin Attack: Homer is skiing with his legs spread out, whining that "This is the worst pain ever!" before repeatedly getting hit in the crotch by moguls.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Maggie, who has one of her most well-known (and occasionally frustrating) characteristics as being mute, motions Lisa to shut up when she tries to talk to her while she's watching TV.
  • Induced Hypochondria: The climax involves Lisa making Homer and Bart believe that they have leprosy so she can convince them to clean the house (because supposedly that is the only cure). It backfires — they absolutely refuse to do it even if their lives are supposedly in danger and run away searching for an alternative cure when she is not looking.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Or guy, in this case, with Ned and his stupid Sensual Spandex.
  • Irony: Marge was the only one who refused to go outdoors while at the ski resort and she was the only Simpson to break a leg.
  • Kick the Dog: When Homer and Bart are watching TV late at night and Lisa is trying to sleep, she yells for them to turn it down. Homer responds with this: "Sweetie, if we didn't turn it down for the cops, what chance do you have?"
    • The Jerkass park ranger also qualifies for telling Lisa to leave the deer alone instead of them to leave Lisa alone.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Lisa gets a bit too big for her britches thinking she can run the household and tame Homer and Bart's rowdy behavior when not even her mother can do everything...and it backfires in a very quick fashion.
  • Lazy Bum: Homer and Bart, as usual. Homer even implies on the first morning without Marge that Marge dresses him, after he turns up in the kitchen in nothing but his underwear. After only a few days without Marge, the house is a squalid mess, and when Homer and Bart do any chores, they do them very poorly or ineffectively. This eventually causes Lisa to try cajoling them into doing some cleaning up by convincing them they have leprosy. It backfires, since instead they go to Ned Flanders, who convinces them to go to a lepers' colony in Hawaii, leaving Lisa to tidy up the house by herself.
  • Logo Joke: This was one of the episodes that repeated characters' lines for the Gracie Films logo. In this case, it was a character from a Show Within a Show.
    "You hit her pretty hard there, Rick!"
  • Men Can't Keep House: Homer and Bart make Lisa do all the cooking and cleaning for them with Marge gone.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lisa when she discovers Homer and Bart have gotten sent to a leprosy treatment facility by the Flanderses.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Bart asks if he can go to the bathroom during a snowboarding session. Otto replies he has to "say it in snowboard" first, and after he does ("I gotta blast a dookie."), Otto lets him go.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Inverted. Homer squirts interferon into Hibbert's mouth when he catches Homer and Bart playing with it. Hibbert immediately spits it out, then realises to his surprise that it cured his canker sores.
  • Noodle Incident: Ned and Maude broke up at one point, during which time, she saw Ben-Hur.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Homer has one when he starts sliding down the snowy hill after Ned shows off his ski suit.
    • Lisa has one when the deer she approach growl at her and poise themselves to attack.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: This is the reaction of the ski lodge staff after the clock falls and breaks Marge's leg, as can be told by one of them saying: "Oh, man. Another clock accident."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Done in the "Virtual Doctor" software after diagnosing Homer and Bart with (fake) leprosy. Homer gets on his knees and asks the computer to help them, but the virtual doctor says the signature America Online "Goodbye," and runs out of his virtual office.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Marge's leg is broken by a fallen cuckoo clock, the lodge staffers are more concerned about the clock than about Marge.
  • Ski-Resort Episode: The first act, including the now-memetic scene where Ned Flanders skis in Sensual Spandex (ok, spandex that Homer finds "sensual").
  • Special Guest: Elwood Edwards (the "you've got mail" voice) as the virtual doctor.
  • Spirit Advisor: The ghost of Lucille Ball is the one that provides Lisa with the idea of faking leprosy, explicitly saying that, hey, it worked for her in an episode of I Love Lucy.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: The Trope Namer line is the result of Homer being unable to remember his ski instructor's safety lesson because Ned wiggling his well-toned Spandex-clad butt while saying "Feels like I'm wearing nothing at all!" is stuck in Homer's head.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: An eight-year-old, prodigy or otherwise, cannot run a household and rein in her father and brother, a task that even her mother (whose had over a decade's worth of experience on that front) can't fully handle.
  • Third-Person Person: Disco Stu's habit backfires while hitting on Marge.
    Disco Stu: Disco Stu wants you to be comfortable while he does his thang.
    Marge: Who's Disco Stu?
  • Take That!: A rather subtle one; after Marge hurts her leg and Homer orders the paramedics to take her to a hospital with the best care, their initial choice was "Beth Israel"note , which he protests as being too expensive which causes them to downgrade to "St. Mary's"note  and finally, after he insists on something better and in between, "Springfield Presbyterian".
  • Too Clever by Half: Lisa's attempt at causing an Induced Hypochondria scare on the Simpson males so they will help her clean up instead ends with her having to do all of the chores by herself because they literally would rather die (or seek help from someone they loathe) than do that.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Lisa tricking Homer and Bart into thinking they had leprosy, just so they would clean up after themselves. Granted, Homer and Bart were being obnoxious, but that's a bit harsh.
  • Trash of the Titans: The Simpson house is, once again, trashed while Marge is away. Lisa tries to get Bart and Homer to clean up after themselves, but they refuse (even after thinking they've caught leprosy).
  • Wasn't That Fun?: After enduring a painful slide down the mountain, Homer ends up at the bottom of the ski lift and asks the attendant for another go.
  • Worth It: At some point after their arrival, Homer and Bart realized they didn't have leprosy because one of Homer's lesions fell off, and they found out what it really was. However, they opted to stay at the clinic and endure the painful needles because it meant a Hawaiian vacation.
    Homer: All we have to do is endure two hours of blinding pain, then it's nothing but sun, surfing and shopping!
    Bart: Tonight, we're gonna put our fake sores back on, then jump the fence at Club Med and scare the normals!
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Downplayed with Bart; while he also received the same painfully protracted needle treatment as Homer (as evidenced by the bloody gauze on his back), it's not shown or heard onscreen.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The ghost of Lucille Ball herself gives Lisa the idea of faking leprosy, saying that she did it in an episode of I Love Lucy and it worked fine there. Unfortunately Homer and Bart Simpson are as far from Ricky Ricardo as you can get and they decide to skedaddle and seek an alternative cure the very second Lisa leaves them alone.
  • You Monster!: Homer says this to Marge at the beginning for attempting to throw out his, Bart's and Lisa's junk without telling them, after clearing out the attic. She points out that a lot of the things she was going to throw out they don't use any more, such as a pair of skis. This inspires the trip to the ski resort.