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Recap / The Simpsons S 21 E 13 The Color Yellow

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While writing a paper on an ancestor in her family who wasn't a total embarrassment, Lisa discovers a diary written by one of her father's ancestors, detailing how she took in a black slave named Virgil (who looks like Homer if he was black, or Cleveland Brown if he were drawn Simpsons-style), but Milhouse also finds a diary from his ancestors, who have a different take on how Virgil was treated by the Simpson family.


  • Artistic License – History: Mabel says that she is taking Virgil to Canada. The story is set in 1860, 2 years before Canada was named.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In Eliza's story.
    Eliza: Follow me north to freedom.
    Virgil: I don't think so.
    Eliza: Why, because I'm a woman?
    Virgil: No, because you're pointing south.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mabel and Virgil managed to escape to Canada, Lisa finds out that she does have noble ancestors and might not even be related to many of the horrible ones, but Eliza was left behind by her mother with her father and lived the rest of her life regretting her act of cowardice.
  • Break the Cutie: Milhouse humiliates Lisa in front of the entire school by pointing out the single decent ancestor she has allowed a slave to be recaptured.
  • Exact Words: After witnessing Eliza Simpson backing off when her father told Colonel Burns where Virgil was hidden, Milford Van Houten said he couldn't look her in the eye again. The next day, he lost his sight after drinking tainted water. A vídeo of Eliza in an old age shows she married Milford.
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  • Generation Xerox: Monty Burns looks like Col. Burns used to during Virgil's tale, and the Simpson ancestors are depicted as looking exactly like their modern-day counterparts, albeit with different hairstyles. (Mabel even looks exactly like Marge, despite being Homer's ancestor, not Marge's. Perhaps the Simpson men all have a type.)
  • Genius Bonus: Like his descendant Homer, Virgil shares his name with a classical epic poet.
  • I Gave My Word: Hiram Simpson told about his oath to make Col. Burns stop trying to beat Virgil's whereabouts out of him. Col. Burns then decided to bribe Hiram.
  • Improbable Age: Mr. Burns reacts to mentions of the Civil War era Col. Burns with "I haven't heard my father's name in years."
  • Noodle Incident: Grampa is implied to have spilled secrets about the D-Day landings to the Germans during the war.
  • Series Continuity Error: The Simpsons didn't arrive in America until the early 1900s when Abe was a child, as seen in "Much Apu About Nothing" (although Abe's ancestors are shown living in Canada at the end of the episode, not the U.S.) Granted, Abe's stories aren't the most reliable of sources.
    • Also, Lisa should have known that not everyone on Homer's side of the family is an idiot, a criminal, a freak, a sexual deviant, or a failure, as seen in "Lisa the Simpson," when she learns that all the women on Homer's side of the family (save for Homer's half-brother, Herb, who, despite going broke twice, was a fairly successful businessman) are smart, emotionally mature, and are in high-paying, respectable careers. And why didn't she think to look into Marge's side of the family for good family members, or Mona's side of the family before she married Abe?
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Milhouse, from all the people of Springfield, tells his ancestor's version of the story with the only intent of humiliating his crush.
  • Underground Railroad: Or, as Bart believes it should be called, "Aboveground Normalroad".

Example of: