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Recap / The Simpsons S 29 E 17 Lisa Gets The Blues

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After Lisa is told she should just give up on playing the saxophone, she loses her ability to play altogether. Marge suggests that the family take a trip to Gainesville, Florida to help ease her mind, but Homer's shenanigans results in the plane being diverted to New Orleans instead.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Milhouse interprets Bart saying he should give up on Lisa and wait for Maggie as Maggie being interested in him. Cue Milhouse acting like a Stalker with a Crush to a baby. Understandably, Maggie decides to harm him with a voodoo doll.
  • Abusive Parents: Or Abusive Uncle in Bleeding Gums Murphy's case. "Bleeding Gums" Murphy turns out to have been very passive-aggressive to his nephew — to the point that praising Lisa was a very serious (backhanded) insult directed at him.
  • Anything but That!:
    • Bart's reaction to the idea of being forced to dress like Annie.
    • Bart suggests to Milhouse he may have a better chance with Maggie than with Lisa. When Milhouse interprets that as Maggie liking him, Maggie is seen pantomiming against it.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Skinner overhears Mr. Largo tell Lisa that she's completely worthless as a jazz player and there's already people who are better than her, so why bother, and approaches showing concern... only to (very gleefully) tag-team with Largo once he finds out what's happening, even dragging Lisa to his office to show her a Power Point presentation with examples.
  • Big Eater: While unsuccessfully trying to make Lisa happy, Homer goes on an "eating binge" throughout the city's numerous restaurants, eventually barfing at New Orleans' "vomitoriums".
  • Bully Brutality: Bart's sub-plot begins because, in response to him doodling on Jimbo's forehead while he was sleeping, they force him to dress like Annie and get pelted by the other students' food at lunch hour (even letting some land on his mouth so he'll choke) before blinding his pupils with white-out.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Bart decides to pull a simple prank against Jimbo and gets caught in the act by Kearney and Dolph. The threat of retaliation should have been obvious to Bart before he did anything.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Lisa loses her confidence in playing the saxophone after being told not to pursue music. When Marge tries to encourage her to play again she looks down at her instrument and given a Vertigo Effect, exaggerating the number of valves on it. Then Homer has his own Vertigo Effect on his beer, which only makes him happy because that makes it seem like more of it.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Turns out that having a Faberge Egg obsession (that somehow was similar to alcoholism or drug addiction) wasn't the only dark thing about "Bleeding Gums" Murphy. And it's hard to tell how good or bad it is that his nephew is enough over the old man's abuse that he thinks it's a good idea to drop the bomb in the middle of some casual conversation, while praising the little girl that was the centerpiece of every single Backhanded Compliment he got from his uncle regarding his own musical aspirations.
  • Couch Gag: The opening sequence played out almost like normal, but Lisa playing her way out of music class segues right into the episode itself, leaving the rest of the family hanging on finishing the couch gag. The family were all dressed as Lumberjacks and were going to carve the couch out of a giant log. Marge openly questions how lumberjacks were supposed to be funny.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Homer's Long List of New Orleans foods includes Cajun crawfish twice, as the first and 17th items on the list.
  • Description Cut: Upon being informed that they're landing in New Orleans instead of Gainesville, Homer declares it as everyone winning. The next scene shows the relative the Simpsons were supposed to meet in Gainesville with no one to celebrate her birthday with her.
  • Dragged into Drag: The bullies do this to Bart.
  • Food Porn: You might want to try out New Orleans' cuisines after watching a long montage of Homer eating them. They're very detailed too.
  • Groin Attack: Bart creates voodoo dolls of the bullies, who at the time are playing hacky-sack with each other. Just learning that Bart is in New Orleans is enough to make them lose control of their legs and start kicking each other in the groin.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the episode revolves around Lisa being sent into a depressive funk and Marge attempting to help her out. However, after the Simpsons get to New Orleans, Marge abruptly gives up and the plot instead has Homer attempting to get Lisa out of her funk instead.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Bart and Maggie purchase voodoo dolls to bring pain upon the people who are tormenting them. While Bart's dolls seem to work solely because the bullies believe they should (and thus hurt themselves believing Bart is making it happen), Maggie's doll of Milhouse does work as is normal of this trope.
  • Hope Crusher: All of the conflict of the episode happens because (for no good reason) Mr. Largo the music teacher decides to convince Lisa that she has absolutely no future as a saxophone player (or pursuing any other dream of any kind whatsoever) and when Skinner comes close to see what is the issue and Lisa asks him if Mr. Largo is wrong, Skinner not only agrees (and thanks Largo for starting this conversation) but he shows Lisa a montage of examples of Always Someone Better that completely demolishes her.
  • In Memoriam: "In loving memory of R. Lee Ermey."
  • Jerkass:
    • Both Mr. Largo and Skinner. The main plot of the episode happens because they decide, for no damn good reason at all (Mr. Largo may be fed up with Lisa playing jazz in class, but Skinner has no excuse), to become a Hope Crusher tag-team and place one of their best students in a depressive funk.
    • Thanks to a Cerebus Retcon, it turns out that Lisa's long-deceased musical mentor "Bleeding Gums" Murphy was a serious case of this.
    • While the city of Gainesville, Florida is presented as a Place Worse Than Death, a member of the Simpson family still lives there and they are going there to celebrate her birthday. Homer decides to cause a riot on the plane and calls it a win when that means the family gets to visit New Orleans and leaves the poor family member to celebrate her birthday alone.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Homer causes a riot on a plane (which is a federal crime), which forces the plane to divert to New Orleans (which is actually something he, and everyone else on the plane, deems beneficial). He is not arrested for this.
    • Neither Skinner or Largo get called out for driving Lisa into her funk.
  • Milestone Celebration: Discussed at the end with the show passing Gunsmoke as of the next episode. Bart asks about the radio episodes before Homer shuts him up by shoving a Beignet into his mouth.
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: Homer forges an ID for Lisa to let her into a jazz club. The bouncer notes that her ID is more convincing than his official one.
  • No Fourth Wall: The episode starts right in the middle of the opening when Lisa is stopped on her way out of class by Mr. Largo (causing the family to wait for her in vain as her absence holds up the Couch Gag) and ends with Homer chatting with the kids about how the next episode will surpass Gunsmoke's Long Runner record.
  • Nothing Is Funnier: Lisa goes online to try to find out what's wrong with her, rejecting ADHD ("No, that's Bart") and OCD ("No, that's Mom"). She then scrolls through four more potential diagnoses we don't see while repeating "This one's Dad."
  • Off with His Head!: Bart has an Imagine Spot of it happening to the bullies. Maggie rips off the head of Milhouse's voodoo doll. The viewers never get to learn if Milhouse was affected by it or not.
  • Oh, Crap!: The bullies when they learn Bart has voodoo dolls of them.
  • Overly Long Gag: Homer indulges himself in all of New Orleans' famous foods. The montage lasts over a minute.
  • Place Worse Than Death: Gainesville, Florida. When Marge is buying plane tickets, all flights going to there only cost $19. All flights going out cost $999. The family complains about going there. The TSA attendant is sympathetic to Homer's plight when he hands him the plane tickets. Homer incites a riot on the plane because none of the other passengers want to go. In the end, the plane lands in New Orleans instead.
  • Product Placement: Every single restaurant Homer and Lisa visit during the eating montage is a real New Orleans restaurant (at least the ones whose logos are visible). Gene's Po-Boy, where Homer bought a chicken sausage po' boy, closed in the summer of 2019. Also, Homer and Lisa stop by the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
  • Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: "The Yips" (Lisa's depression-fueled block) is shown as her struggling to close her fingers right to grasp something at all, let alone use a musical instrument.
  • Running Gagged: The part of the opening montage where Lisa walks out of Mr. Largo's classroom while playing some jazz (which became a more notable Couch Gag of its own over time) is interrupted by Mr. Largo, who then goes to convince her that her that she must stop being a musician with Skinner's help.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Largo seems to go out of his way to convince Lisa to give up playing music altogether, insisting that she is not as talented as she thinks she is and the odds of success are minimal. When Skinner questions what is going on, he sides with Mr. Largo.
  • Settle for Sibling: Fed up with having Milhouse ask him about Lisa, Bart suggests that he give up and wait for Maggie. Milhouse is a little too open to this.
  • Shout-Out: The bullies force Bart to dress like Annie.
  • Stock "Yuck!": Lisa has a Disapproving Look towards Homer during the entire Gluttony Montage, but the only time she covers her eyes is when he's about to eat frogs' legs.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Bart sits next to an empty glass and the waiter, assuming it to be his, offers a refill. Bart decides to play along.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Marge openly questions how the Couch Gag that didn't happened because of the plot (that being of the Simpsons carving out a couch out of a big piece of wood while dressed like lumberjacks) is supposed to be funny.
  • Would Hurt a Child: According to this episode's billboard gag, there are people wanting Maggie to be arrested for shooting Mr. Burns.
  • Writer's Block: The "Yips" are a psychosomatically depressive version of this. The moment Lisa is brought down by Skinner and Mr. Largo, she no longer is able to move her fingers in the necessary way to play her sax.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Once the bullies back at Springfield catch wind that Bart is in New Orleans and has purchased voodoo dolls of them, they completely freak out believing that Bart will use Hollywood Voodoo on them and even start hurting themselves while thinking that it's Bart making them do it.


Video Example(s):


Homer Simpson in New Orleans

Homer falls in love with the city because of the exquisite and varied local cuisine. Bonus points to every location mentioned being an actual restaurant that specializes in those particular dishes.

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