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Recap / The Simpsons S 20 E 9 Lisa The Drama Queen

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In this parody of Heavenly Creatures (minus the murder), Lisa and an imaginative fellow student invent their own fantasy world, Equalia, but Lisa begins to worry that her new friend may love fantasy more than reality.

Tropes featured:

  • Abusive Parents: Juliet's, of the "so disconnected with what their daughter desires and obsessed with a routine that she hates that she does anything to escape" type.
  • Anti-Escapism Aesop: The more that Juliet and Lisa work on Equalia, the less connected to reality they are (and Juliet becomes crazier as the episode goes on). Marge comes concerned about this and tries to prevent Lisa from being dragged down with Juliet.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Through Equalia, Lisa and Juliet watch Kearney beat up Jimbo and Dolph after entertaining Kearney with their world. In the real world, Kearney is actually getting beaten while he's still imagining Equalia.
  • Bound and Gagged: Just the former in this instance but this is what Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney do to Lisa and Juliet after discovering them using their hideout.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Lisa threatens to sneak out to see Juliet when Marge bars her; Marge bluntly points out that, being the mother of Bart, she has a particularly keen eye if she needs to watch out for troublemakers. Sure enough, when Lisa tries to slide down a tree near her window, Marge is ready with a laundry basket, pointing out Bart tried exactly that at 7 years old. In other words, she has the misfortune of being the kid to follow Bart, meaning anything he did, Marge and Homer would protect Lisa from doing... for better or worse.
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  • Captain Oblivious: Homer thinks Principal Skinner is expressing concern about Bart even after Skinner and Marge repeatedly remind him they're talking about Lisa.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Juliet likes roleplaying and has overactive imagination preferring live in her fantasy world than the real.
  • End of an Age: This was the last episode to air in 4:3 standard definition and feature the classic opening sequence used since Season 2, before switching to high definition and introducing a brand new opening sequence. (Appropriately, this was a rare case of the full opening sequence being used.)
  • Fangirl: Juliet is this to the singer Josh Groban as she is introduced while drawing him like a Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Juliet and Lisa. In their fantasy world, they're the two queens who rule over the land of Equalia. And then they run away together when Marge, fearing that their friendship is having a bad effect on Lisa, attempts to separate them. Fittingly, the episode is based on the plot of Heavenly Creatures where the girls WERE budding baby lesbians.
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  • Sanity Slippage: Juliet. She eventually becomes so attached to Equalia that even Lisa starts to feel nervous around her. It ends with Juliet ditching Lisa because she wants to live in the real world and that's something Juliet criticizes as for people who "can't imagine any better" (though Lisa recognizes she's insane).
  • Shown Their Work: Juliet's John Grisham-loving dad puts on the album of James Horner's score for The Pelican Brief - track 3 is indeed called "Researching The Brief."
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Equalia.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: When Lisa threatens to sneak out, Marge reminds her that thanks to Bart, she's perfectly aware of any escape routes in the house. Sure enough, Lisa immediately tries to slide down a tree near her window... and Marge is ready with a laundry basket to trap her, pointing out Bart did that at seven years old.
    • The "castle" is really an old seafood restaurant that failed, most likely, due to poor location (specifically, in the middle of a forest) and shoddy food (according to Jimbo, the clams tasted like soap.) However, when reached, it also makes a perfectly unsuspecting area to imagine in... assuming nobody follows you.
    • When Lisa sends her manuscript in to a publisher, she receives a letter politely declining; however talented she is, she's still eight years old and outright admitted this was her first attempt, plus not much non-children's publishers typically pick up novels written by a kid.