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Recap / The Simpsons S 12 E 4 Lisa The Tree Hugger

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Original air date: 11/19/2000

Production code: CABF-01

Lisa's crush on an environmentalist (voiced by Joshua Jackson) leads her to camp out on Springfield's tallest tree in protest over plans to have it felled. Meanwhile, Bart gets a job as a menu delivery boy for a Thai restaurant so he can raise money for a new video game system.

"Lisa the Tree Hugger" contains examples of:

  • Artistic License – Physics: The giant tree with Lisa's head doesn't seem to stop at all in its path throughout the country. It even defies several improbable physics just so it keeps sliding on.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Bart asks for money to buy the new vídeo game system, Marge says she'll help him... by singing a cheesy song about being thrifty.
  • Barbershop Episode: Early in this episode, Bart needs money to buy the GameStation 256 video game console, so he tries to get a job to earn it. The first place he applies to is Jake's Unisex Hair Palace, where he gets a job sweeping hair off the floor. He quits the job when he finds out that Jake pays him in hair.
  • Bland-Name Product: The game system that Bart is trying to get is the latest GameStation.
  • Call-Back:
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Rich Texan.
    • His company's corporate headquarters has a painting of a steamroller happily crushing a scared flower.
    • When the log crushes Hemp City, he celebrates and declares it a point for the bad guys.
    • When Lisa asks him if he has no shame, not only does he says he doesn't, he points to his Rolls-Royce (which has trapped a poor beaver's tail when he parked on it), which literally has as its Vanity License Plate "NO SHAME".
  • Clown Car: When Krusty comes out of a limousine, several other clowns come out the same way clowns are usually seen coming out of clown cars in a circus and Krusty tells them it's only funny when it's a tiny car.
  • Couch Gag:
    • Blackboard Gag: "I am not the acting President". A reference to the 2000 Presidential Election, which was under scrutiny because of Florida.
    • Couch Gag: The Simpsons dress up as the Teletubbies, to Maggie's delight.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Homer strangles Bart for saying grace wrong.
  • Epic Fail: The giant tree with Lisa's head slides into the city and destroys most of the businesses harming animals, but it also ends up destroying Hemp City; the environmentalists' favorite store.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bart is initially angry when he discovers that the barber Jake pays him in hair, but when he sees Jake acting all creepy when he points it out, Bart gets out of the store very nervous.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The plot of Bart getting a job to earn money for a new video game console suddenly switches to Lisa's plot once the Simpsons discover Dirt First on the roof of Krusty Burger.
  • High-Voltage Death: Subverted. When Lisa visits him in prison for a second time, Jesse reveals he convinced the cops to install a solar-powered electric chair. Cut to Snake sitting in said chair, which is barely tingling him.
    Snake: Dude, we've been here all morning! Could you at least remoisten my head sponge?
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The restaurateur is Thai, yet speaks in a pseudo-Japanese accent and trains Bart in menu distribution using a Chinese wooden dummy. Bart in said training wears a Japanese karate gi, and later, hands out menus dressed up as a ninja.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite Marge's worry, Lisa and her family don't get in trouble for lying about her death.
  • Last Request: When Lisa was mistaken for dead, Homer took advantage of this to make Moe believe it was her dying wish that he poured his egg jar's contents down his pants and ripped Homer's tab.
    Lisa: (on tape) Dad, I can't—
    Homer: (on tape) Read it!
  • Pet the Dog: Bart provides Lisa with hot soup from his restaurant job and writes her an encouraging letter to keep her spirits up when she's stuck in the tree.
  • Serendipitous Survival: Lisa leaves the tree to be at home with her family. She goes back the next day only to discover that it's been destroyed by a bolt of lightning (attracted by a bucket she left on the tree) and she's presumed dead.
  • Sleep Cute: Lisa returns home to find her whole family asleep in the living room, including Homer and Bart apparently having fallen asleep while Homer was strangling him with contented smiles on both their faces.
  • Straw Vegetarian: The environmentalist Lisa has a crush on. He's disappointed that Lisa is only a vegetarian, and when Lisa claims that she wants to go vegan, he mentions that he's a level 5 vegan, meaning he won't eat anything that casts a shadow.
  • To the Tune of...: The ending has an offscreen choir singing "This Log is Your Log" to the tune of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" as the Lisa-log goes rolling through America.
    Choir: This log is your log
    This log is my log
    Then lightning struck it
    It kicked the bucket
    Moe: [off-key] I poured some onions
    Inside my trousers
    Choir: This log, it used to be a tree
    Now it spreads love to you and me
    Hey, look! It's heading out to sea!
  • Totally Radical: The GameStation 252 when Bart wants to upgrade to a 256.
  • Trees into Toothpicks: The logging rights for the Oldest Redwood in Springfield are sold for $100,000 to make a drive-through humidor. One of the other bidders is the restaurateur Bart was working for, who wants to turn it into Thai takeout menus.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Bart's storyline about raising money for a new video game system seemed to disappear after Bart is trained Matrix-style in leaving menus behind. It gets two more acknowledgements (the Thai restaurateur bidding for logging rights on the redwood, and Bart's care package including food from the restaurant), but it's never explained if he got his console or why he left a decently-paying job he liked.
    • When the environmentalists get attacked on the roof of Krusty Burger, we only ever see Jesse get arrested.