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Recap / The Simpsons S 17 E 21 The Monkey Suit

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When Ned Flanders and Reverend Lovejoy manage to force the schools to teach creationism, Lisa faces jail time for teaching evolution. Her only hope lands in Marge, who comes up with a solution to save her daughter.

"The Monkey Tropes":

  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: Parodied with "Grease 2: The Musical Based On the Sequel To the Movie Based On the Musical". invoked
  • Amoral Attorney: Wallace Brady, the pro-creationist lawyer, goes for weird manipulative tactics like pretending a baby deer (which he claims is none other than Bambi himself) is telling him Science Is Bad. He almost succeeds in putting a little girl in jail if not for Marge's own weird manipulative tactic.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Lisa's lawyer asks Ned if he honestly thinks that Homer couldn't be related to an ape, Ned reluctantly admits that he can't.
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  • Artistic License – Law: McLean vs Arkansas Board of Education in 1981 established that teaching creationism in schools is against the Constitution, so it should have been easy for Lisa to force the issue, though you do hear about states like Kansas trying to replace evolution with creationism and considering how everyone in Springfield is backwards and anti-intellectual (they once tried to burn Principal Skinner at the stake because of his claims that the Earth revolves around the sun), the writers probably thought it would be best just to forget that piece of Supreme Court history.
  • Badass Bookworm: Marge. She's the one that thinks up the idea of allowing Homer to do his "missing link" act in court for the sake of Lisa's defense.
  • Batman Gambit: Marge is able to help Lisa win the case by giving her husband a beer without opening it. Homer being Homer his desperation to open it causes him to start acting like an ape, and Ned being Ned gets so feed up with his neighbour acting like that in a courtroom and calls him a "Monkey Faced Gorilla.".
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  • Blatant Lies: The documentary comparing religion and evolution claims to be unbiased, but shows the Theory of Evolution as being written in blood and Darwin as a “cowardly drunk” dancing with Satan.
  • Book Burning: Implied with the dramatic collection of evolution-based books at school.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Ned when he yells at Homer to shut up and stop acting like a chimpanzee. Usually it's Homer who orders Ned to shut up.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Homer tests one with multiple shots to his torso. The vest protects him but a Reveal Shot shows the damage he caused to the surrounding.
  • Chewbacca Defense: In the end, both sides use this. Brady uses a baby deer (Bambi, apparently) at one point as a "witness" of Lisa's "evil", and Lisa's defense is to have Homer thrash part of the courtroom with his drunken antics and say that Homer acting like a mad ape is clear evidence of evolution.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Flanders covers his kids' eyes at the Evolution exhibition.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Even after Lisa ultimately triumphed against Ned, she makes it clear to him that there are no hard feelings toward him. Ned, impressed by her determination, offers to take her out for ice cream along with his sons.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Grandpa's "Be First White Man In Negro League" entry on his to-do list.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Let us mention once again that Lisa Simpson, an eight-year-old-girl, is arrested, put on trial and almost sent to jail because she believes in the Theory of Evolution.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite the fact that Ned caused her so much trouble and almost had her sent to jail so religion could be taught at schools in place of science, Lisa doesn't really hold a grudge against him. In turn, Ned offers to take her out for some ice cream with his sons, likely as an apology.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Reverend Lovejoy is the very first man to tell Ned that the Bible is not a text that should be taken 100% accurately and that going all the way to taking legal action because he thinks evolution is wrong is overkill.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Wallace Brady, guest-starred by Larry Hagman, is an overweight southern lawyer in a white suit on Ned's side, who is constantly waving a hand fan by his side. He opposes Lisa and greatly supports creationism, calling evolution a load of "Hollywood hooey", not to mention he's not afraid of manipulating the audience at the courtroom with a cute baby deer (Bambi apparently) by claiming evolution is what allowed humans to kill his mother, with the intent of siding people against Lisa. Brady also sees no problem whatsoever with sending an eight-year old girl straight to jail if it means teaching religion at schools.
  • First Kiss: Bart has his first kiss in this episode.
  • A God Am I: Snake Jailbird's implied train of though during his killing spree:
    Snake: You live... you die!! (rifle burst)... you live... you die!! (rifle burst)
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Bart realizes that it's the last day of summer, and there's a lot that he still has to do. After winning a baseball game, doing an otivation at the end of a play, and having his First Kiss, he visits the museum with his family. There, they mess around in the weapons exhibit, while Flanders goes into the evolution exhibit that starts the main plot.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Marge is not interested when Homer tries to seduce her in bed.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: At the dinner table, Homer claims to always be open to new ideas. Cue him throwing a fit when seeing onions in the peas.
  • Impossible Pickle Jar: Homer trying to open the beer bottle at court.
  • Kangaroo Court: Parodied with Kent Brockman reporting from the courthouse while also being part of the Jury.
  • La Résistance: Lisa's secret gathering with "Viva la Evolution" written on the blackboard.
  • Latex Perfection: Nelson, twice. The first time, he looks like Milhouse poorly disguised as Lisa. The second time, he's impersonating one of Ned's sons, Todd. Both instances are parodying old spy TV shows such as Mission: Impossible.
  • Limited Animation: When Homer picks up and throws his dinner plate, the food remains completely static while his facial expression twitches rapidly.
  • The Lopsided Arm of the Law: Wiggum enforces the law by bringing a SWAT Team to deal with an eight-year-old girl. Lisa herself lampshades it.
    Lisa (while she's being handcuffed): There are so many worse crimes being committed out there, why do you pursue me?! (and to prove her right, Snake starts a killing spree ten seconds later... which Wiggum tries to ignore).
    • Wiggum does attempt to justify it by saying the police force is so undermanned that they are only able to enforce the three most recent laws and flat out admits it's the worst legal system you can get.
  • Mama Bear: Marge doesn't stands back and allows her daughter to be run over rough-shod by a corrupt law system.
  • Manipulative Editing: The "Unbiased Comparison of Evolution and Creationism" video has The Bible underscored with an Ethereal Choir and Darvin's "The Origin of Species" underscored with Heavy Metal music.
  • invokedMemetic Mutation: Referenced when Bart watches a Men in Black-like movie where the Jay expy exclaims, "Get outta my face, you raggedy maggots!" This causes Bart to comment, "Oh, so that's why everyone's been saying that all summer."
  • Mishmash Museum: Springfield Museum of Natural History has the Women's Weaving Show next to the History of Weapons and an exhibition on Darwin's theories.
  • Noodle Incident: Homer's summer to-do list includes "Find, destroy Atlantis."
  • Nuclear Option: Homer being ape-like when trying to open a beer bottle, of course.
  • Overly Long Gag: The Tour Guide Gag with the device in the bin goes on for quite some time.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: As part of a plan to help Lisa to escape, Bart brings Milhouse wearing Lisa's clothes and wearing a Lisa wig. Subverted when "Milhouse" takes off his mask, revealing himself to be Nelson.
  • Parental Neglect: Apparent by Homer's entry "Fake Interest in Son" on his to-do list.
  • Persecuted Intellectuals: The whole drama of the episode involves Springfield (once again) doing this to people and Lisa becoming a target just because she believes in evolution.
  • Police Are Useless: Chief Wiggum uses overkill while having Lisa arrested (i.e. bringing in a SWAT Team) and on the meanwhile Snake gets off scot-free with shooting people since they are only able to enforce the last three laws past. He does apologize to her during the case and admits that it's the worst legal system you can get. Snake's shooting is happening right across the street, visible right outside the window, and Wiggum can only say to (try to) Just Ignore It.
  • Preacher Man: Ned Flanders and Reverend Lovejoy both enforce creationism, but Flanders (as is typical of him by now) is the one who goes all the way to legal action for the sake of his fundamentalism.
  • Run for the Border: Bart suggests for Lisa to leave for Mexico as she is seemingly losing her trial.
  • Scenery Censor: We see Marge reading "The Origin of Species" in the shower with the book and her hair covering her bust.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The episode is a reference to the Scopes Trial of 1925, where John Thomas Scopes was charged for teaching evolution at a state-funded school. Theater aficionados will recognize the trial for having previously been the basis for Inherit the Wind in 1955; the 1960 film adaptation was used as reference material for the episode.
    • The baseball coach is a reference to The Bad News Bears; the summer stock play is Grease 2; and the summer blockbuster is basically Men in Black.
    • Old spy shows like Mission: Impossible and The Saint are referenced, when Nelson randomly shows up in a Latex Perfection disguise followed by a puzzle piece transition.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": The sound when Bart stretches Milhouse on The Rack.
  • Spree Killer: Snake acts like one of these in his brief appearance, shooting up random passerby from a rooftop.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Flanders wants to enforce creationism after a bad trip at a museum. Even Lovejoy tells him that the Bible should be taken lightly in this regard.
  • Tour Guide Gag: The audio tour for the museum is narrated by Melanie Griffith, but all she ever says is, "This room's nice", and "This room's nice, too", never once giving a specific detail about anything people are seeing.
  • Watching the Sunset: Bart and his summer love do this before sharing a kiss.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Does anyone know why Snake was shooting people or caught doing so?
    • Brady, the southern lawyer, pretty much vanishes into thin air mere seconds after Ned's defeat.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Springfield Police Department has no problem treating an eight-year-old girl like a hostile assailant, Wallace Brady has no problem with going full-bore in court to paint said girl as a vile fiend in the hopes that the jury will find her guilty and Ned Flanders, who is the more sympathetic of the bunch to the point he invites Lisa to some ice cream when she wins the case, never seems to have a problem with the fact his own actions have caused all of this and would have sent her to prison had things gone differently.

 
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Nelson, Master of Disguise

Done as an intentional reference to "Mission: Impossible," no less!

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