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Recap / The Simpsons S3 E8 "Lisa's Pony"

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Original air date: 11/7/1991

Production code: 8F06

After missing out on getting Lisa's saxophone reed to her before a talent show, Homer decides to make it up to his daughter by getting her the one thing she wants most: a pony, which puts the family in financial crisis yet again and drives Homer to take a second job as a Kwik-E-Mart clerk.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Bleeding Gums considered Bart's insulting impersonations of Skinner and Lunch Lady Doris to be amusing and gives him a perfect 10.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Apu gives us this example when Homer resigns:
    "He slept, he stole, he was rude to the customers. Still, there goes the best damned employee a convenience store ever had."
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Homer gets to King Toot's Music Store, with five minutes left before the store closes. And then he sees Moe's bar right next to it...
  • The Atoner: After failing to get Lisa’s saxophone fixed, Homer adopts a pony to gain the former’s forgiveness.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When Marge says that Lisa is the only one who can decide whether to keep her pony:
    Lisa: All the years in which I have lobbied to be treated as an adult have blown up in my face.
  • Blatant Lies: As a bleary-eyed Homer staggers out the door to work his night job, he sleepily tells Bart that he's going for "an eight hour walk."
  • Body Wipe: With Homer, as he chases down Bart and Milhouse after he notices them laughing at Homer as he plays tea party with Lisa.
  • Call-Back: During the montage where Homer tries to make up to Lisa, one scene has them in the bathroom with Homer using a hairdryer in her face, just like he did to Bart in a similar situation in "Bart the General". Even the animation of Lisa's face against the hairdryer is similar.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When explaining that she gave up her pony, Lisa says there's a "big dumb animal" she loves even more than it.
    Homer: Oh no, what is it? A hippopotamus?
    Lisa: I mean you, you dummy.
  • Couch Gag: Homer lies on the couch and is sat upon by the rest of the family.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Homer's problems in the episode are the result of him deciding to stop and have a beer at Moe's rather than buying the reed for Lisa right away and taking it to her at the concert.
  • Counterfeit Cash: The episode’s Chalkboard Gag implies such; “‘Bart Bucks’ are not legal tender”.
  • Dead Man Honking: Non-fatal example. Homer falls asleep at the steering wheel, and the honking alerts the rest of the family.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The pet shop clerk and the lady who runs the pony farm.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: For unexplained reasons, Lisa's mentor, Bleeding Gums Murphy happens to be a judge at the school talent show just to add to the humiliation of her disastrous performance.
  • Disproportionate Restitution: After a Noodle Incident where Moe saved the owner of the neighbouring music store and his wife from a burning car, said owner begrudgingly opens his store a few minutes longer for Homer to call it even.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Bart's impression of Principal Skinner causes the real Skinner to give him 1000 days in detention.
  • The Dreaded Pretend Tea-Party: Homer sets one up for Lisa in the hopes of cheering her up, and is shown to be enjoying it. It doesn't lift Lisa's spirits, and Bart and Milhouse mock him for it.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Ralph Wiggum appears watching Lisa ride her pony. Not only is his one line ("But what man can tame her?") very out-of-character with Ralph's better known characterization, but Ralph speaks in Nelson's voice.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Burns appears disturbed over the thought of Homer buying a horse simply to eat it.
  • Fell Asleep Driving: Homer drifts off while driving home for his brief time asleep before doing his usual shift at the Plant. After dreaming about being in a pleasant dreamland of beds and angels, he miraculously makes it home with little damage to him or the car (save for a part of a gate caught on the undercarriage of it, him crashing into the garage and a power saw falling on his head once he exits the car).
  • Fictional Video Game: Abe plays a space shooter on a single button Atari 2600-style controller, while Bart tries to give him directions, informing him that after encountering a Xylon Cruiser, the best option is to go to hyperspace.
  • Guest Star: Frank Welker as the animal noises for Princess the pony and Santa's Little Helper.
  • Heroic RRoD: In one of his biggest moments of selflessness, Homer nearly works himself to death just so Lisa can keep her pony.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: The lady who runs the pony farm, who was shown to be rather snarky and snooty towards Homer for buying a pony without much thought on how to care for it, is actually quite moved by Lisa's goodbye to Princess when she returns the pony for her father's sake. Though she lampshades her lack of tone changing despite it.
    Pony Farm Owner: Although there is no change in my patrician facade, I can assure you my heart is breaking.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Moe suggests Homer buy the reed before buying the beer (Moe's is next door to King Toot's Music Shop), Homer replies that he doesn't tell Moe how to do his job. Then he tells Moe how to hold the beer mug while filling it.
    • When Homer explains that he bought Lisa a pony because she stopped loving him, Bart makes the same claim and demands a moped. Homer's response:
      Homer: And I know you love me - so you don't get squat! (laughs)
  • Imagine Spot:
    • After Lisa asks where Homer is, Marge runs through the possibilities in her head.
      Marge: [Homer fixing a flat tire] Maybe. [Homer chased up a tree by a bear] No. [Homer abducted by aliens] That's a long shot. [Homer drinking at Moe's] Bingo.
    • An exhausted Homer drives home, imagining his car turning into a bed.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • When Marge points out how expensive a horse is, Homer claims that with the economy as it is, they can't afford not to buy a horse.
    • To say nothing of Homer's plan to manage his double-life between the Kwik-E-Mart and the power plant.
  • Jerkass:
    • Mr. Burns turns up at the bank when Homer comes looking for a loan, telling him he openly enjoys the suffering of those who need it.
    • Not to mention Principal Skinner's cold attitude towards Lisa for her terrible performance during the talent show, which was due to a faulty reed her father took too long to deliver to her.
  • Jerkass Realization: Viewing the home movie of Homer ignoring Lisa when she takes her first steps and says her first words gives Homer a nasty case of reality of how bad a father he's been to her in the past.
    Homer: *tearful* No wonder she hates me. Oooooh, I didn't even notice she was alive.
  • Mood-Swinger: Bart feels sorry for a completely tired out Homer, but laughs his head off when he learns he's working at the Kwik-E-Mart.
  • Mood Whiplash: First a hilarious moment of Lisa screaming at the sight of a pony in her bed (see Shout-Out), then a touching one where the pony affectionally licks Lisa who hugs her back.
  • Music/Age Dissonance: One kid performs "My Ding-a-Ling" as part of a talent show. He gets yanked off stage.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Tress MacNeille voices the Katharine Hepburn-esque stable manager.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Moe apparently saved the owner of the music store and his wife from a burning car at some point.
    • Also, Homer eats the Kwik-E-Mart hot dogs that are only for show.
    • Groundskeeper Willie apparently once ran over a gopher with his lawnmower.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Homer's attempts to make things up with Lisa all go badly wrong. Then he hits on the idea of buying a pony.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    [Homer returns home from the Kwik-E-Mart, lies in his bed with Marge already awake, the alarm goes up a second later, Homer gets up.]
    Marge: How long you plan to do this?
    Homer: I don't know. How long do horses live?
    Marge: Thirty years.
    Homer: D'oh.
  • Overworked Sleep: Homer passes out in the doorway of the Kwik-E-Mart after taking a second job at the Kwik-E-Mart to pay for the titular creature.
  • Recycled Animation:
    • The shot of Homer waking up and answering a phone at the beginning of the episode is reused later on.
    • The footage of Homer trying to blow-dry Lisa's hair at one point is a redrawing of a scene from "Bart the General"
    • The footage of Lisa calling Homer at work to say she loves him is recycled from "Bart's Dog Gets an F", as you can clearly see Lisa has the mumps in this scene.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: When Lisa asks Homer to get her a new reed for her saxophone for her upcoming talent show, and, with Lisa's act coming soon and the music store closing in a few minutes, Homer heads to the music store. What does he decide to do from there? Grab a beer at Moe's of course. When Homer tells Moe the story, even he is flabbergasted by his terrible decision.
  • Sleepless Alarm Clock: Homer gets a secret night job at the Kwik-E-Mart and returns home moments before he has to get up for his day job at the power plant.
  • Stealth Pun: During Homer's Imagine Spot where his car turns into a bed, the orchestra plays a lullaby-style rendition of "Golden Slumbers" by The Beatles.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: This episode shows how clearly unaffordable a pony as a pet is for a middle-class family in the United States of America, or any other country for that matter, and the lengths Homer goes to in order to afford the pony are not sustainable in the long term.
  • Tears of Remorse: Homer attempts to cheer himself up by watching tapes of Lisa as a baby, only for the tapes to show that he constantly ignored her as she developed or tried to get his attention. By the end of the tape he's crying in guilt.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Moe allegedly once saved the lives of the owner of the music store and his family (see Noodle Incident). He feels quite put upon when Moe asks that he interrupt his beer to open his store a short while longer for Homer, insisting that calls it even.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Homer can't remember what instrument Lisa plays. When he finally remembers, the music shop owner asks a follow-up, "Alto or tenor?"
Homer: D'oh!