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Recap / The Simpsons S6E19 "Lisa's Wedding"

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Episode - 2F15
First Aired - 3/19/1995

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The Simpson family attend Springfield's pathetic attempt at a Renaissance Fair, and Lisa ends up wandering away from the main event and into a fortune teller's tent. She then proceeds to show Lisa her future, or more precisely, the story of her first true love, who happens to be a proper, British gentleman called Hugh Parkfield (guest star Mandy Patinkin). Hugh, who attends the same university as Lisa, seems like the perfect match for her despite some initial clashing. Unfortunately one clash they can't overcome is Lisa's family, leaving her with the difficult decision of choosing between her family and Hugh.


This episode contains examples of:

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  • America Won World War II / World War III: Parodied indirectly with this exchange.
    Moe: We saved your ass in World War II.
    Hugh: And we saved your arse in World War III.
    Moe: True.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When Lisa goes to the library, she finds out that the book she needed has already been checked out. The librarian points out the person who got it, which seems to be Hugh, who'd been getting on Lisa's nerves all day (and prompts a "No, not him!") reaction. Then the man turns around, revealing that it's someone entirely different who just happens to be wearing the same clothing, and Lisa breathes a sigh of relief. And then Hugh enters the shot, taking the book and thanking the man for holding onto it while he tied his shoes.
    • When Bart first gets the call about Lisa's wedding, the shot makes it look like he's sitting in a fancy office. Instead, he's in a crane about to take a wrecking ball to an office building.
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    • Hugh introduces Homer to his parents, clearly expecting Homer to make an ass of himself again. Homer merely states he enjoyed the movie Octopussy. Hugh's so relieved he almost starts crying.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: When Lisa and Marge are talking on the picturephone, we are — for a brief moment — led to believe that Homer had left this world.
    Marge: If only your father was still with us. But he left for work a few minutes ago.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: At first, Lisa and Hugh quarrel over a book in the library, but the pair eventually fall madly in love.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hugh lets slip that after the wedding he plans for them to return to England and never see Lisa's family again.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Marge's comment about how Fox has become a hardcore sex network by 2010.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Marge advising Lisa on the difference between names for things in the US and the UK: "An elevator is called a 'lift', a mile is called a 'kilometer', and botulism is called 'steak and kidney pie'."
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  • Butt-Monkey: When Lisa says she shouldn't wear white because her past relationship with Milhouse, Marge says that doesn't count. They both then start laughing.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The Esquilax, a literal example. Also the famous two-headed hound, born with only one head.
  • Celebrity Paradox: On their way to the Simpson house in 2010, Lisa and Hugh pass a theater showing Julie Kavner (the voice of Marge) in “I’ll Do Anything”, now in its “17th Smash Year”.
  • Character Development: As noted under Older and Wiser, while he's still quite dim, Homer has grown into a more easy going man in his old age. He makes many sincere efforts to bond with Hugh, and when his future son in law rejects Homer's historically significant family cufflinks, Homer makes realistically decent excuses to Lisa. The implication seems to be that Homer is aware that Hugh actively refused his gift, but he cares too much about his daughter to reveal that her fiancé hurt him. Noticeably, while Homer does play a role in the wedding's failure, it's made clear that it's really Hugh's fault, as he was intentionally spurning the Simpsons for selfish reasons, while Homer was only accidentally offending Hugh with good intentions in mind.
  • Characterization Marches On: When initially premiered, Milhouse harboring feelings for Lisa was just one of the strange new revelations about the 15 year timeskip. In later episodes, the present version of Milhouse would have a crush on Lisa as well, making Lisa and Milhouse dating seem less surprising to viewers today.
  • Coca-Pepsi, Inc.: Kent Brockman working for "CNNBCBS: A Division of ABC".
  • Comically Missing the Point: On hearing Lisa, his girlfriend with whom he experienced a bad breakup with, is getting married to someone else, an angry Milhouse tells Homer he's going to go write Homer's evaluation right that minute. Homer, naturally, starts smiling optimistically.
  • Continuity Nod: Bart plans to study law. It nods to "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie", which ended with a 40-year Flash Forward that revealed that Bart will eventually become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and will finally get permission from Homer to see Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Marge took her promise to keep Homer from ruining Lisa's wedding seriously.
    Homer: OK, Marge, I'll plan everything: we can have the reception at Moe's. Wait. Why not have the whole wedding there? We'll do it on a Monday morning. There'll be fewer drunks.
    Marge: Homer, don't be offended, but I've obtained a court order to prevent you from planning this wedding.
    Homer: [looks through the papers of the court order] Well, these seem to be in order. I'll be out back in the hammock.
  • Daddy's Girl:
    • Homer and Lisa's bond is fully displayed in this episode.
    Homer: Little Lisa, Lisa Simpson. You know, I always felt you were the best thing my name ever got attached to. Since the time you learned to pin your own diapers, you've been smarter than me.
    Lisa: Oh, Dad —
    Homer: No, no, let me finish. I just want you to know I've always been proud of you. You're my greatest accomplishment and you did it all yourself. You helped me understand my own wife better and taught me to be a better person, but you're also my daughter, and I don't think anybody could have had a better daughter than you—
    Lisa: Dad, you're babbling.
    Homer: See? You're still helping me.
    • To a lesser extent, Maggie - there is a picture of her and Homer quite prominently in her room.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Normally Lisa and Maggie have nearly identical designs with a starfish hairstyle, just shifted in approximate age and different clothing. But to portray their adult/teenage versions Lisa's hair has a more curled and feathered look while Maggie's hair is longer and more moppy looking (sort of a cross between dreadlocks and Anime Hair), and her upper lip is shaped more like Homer's.
  • Extinct in the Future: Played for laughs where trees in the future are apparently extinct, as shown by a holographic image of a tree, with the description: "In memory of a real tree."
  • Eyepatch After Time Skip: Future Moe has an eyepatch.
  • Foil: Hugh is this to Mr. Bergstrom from "Lisa's Substitute". At first glance, they're both everything Lisa wants from a companion: witty, intelligent, cultured, sensitive, putting her at odds with her seemingly oblivious father Homer. But while Mr. Bergstrom helps Lisa understand that Homer does love her, Hugh tries to cut him out of her life, which makes Lisa realize that he doesn't really care about her.
  • Follow the White Rabbit: Lisa is chasing an "esquilax" when she finds the fortune teller's tent.
  • Foreshadowing: Intentional or not, this episode establishes Lisa to have become a vegetarian, which would happen next season in "Lisa the Vegetarian".
  • Fortune Teller: The one who tells Lisa about her first love Hugh. She has a tent set a little bit far from the Renaissance Fair. She is quite young, attractive, and uses tarots and a crystal bowl. She says she likes predicting embarrassing futures, though.
    Lisa: You said you'd tell me about my true love.
    Fortune Teller: Oh, you'll have a true love. But I specialize in foretelling the relationships where you get jerked around.
  • Foot Popping: Lisa pops her leg when Hugh and she kiss passionately after they get engaged.
  • Future Loser:
    • Bart, fairly popular in elementary school and proud of his position in the school food chain, is a wrecking ball operator and a double divorcee in his mid-twenties who hits strip clubs to meet girls. (He's pretty happy with his job, though.) He plans to get to law school, though it sounds hilariously delusional. In a previous episode, he does end up becoming a Supreme Court justice.
      Bart: Anyway, Hugh, there's more to my life than just the wrecking ball. I also crush cars into cubes. On the side, I promote local tough-man contests. I'm getting out all my aggression till I go to law school.
    • Mayor Quimby who is rich and an influential corrupt politician is now a cab driver, and he doesn't want to be recognized.
    • Inverted with Otto who's a deadbeat stoner bus driver in the present, but in this episode he owns his own cab company in the future and is barking orders at Quimby who works for him.
  • Gaia's Lament: There is a hideously polluted skyline and trees are only holographic projections.
  • Geeky Turn-On: Lisa and Hugh are reading a book together to decide who could read it faster:
    Hugh: I'll get the dictionary.
    Lisa: Why?
    Hugh: You'll see when you get there: the word "stochastic".
    Lisa: "Pertaining to a process involving a randomly-determined sequence of observations." Ha-ha-ha. [they make out]
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Hugh at first seems to be this, but is immediately subverted at the end of the episode, when he's shown to be a Jerkass.
  • Graceful Loser: Upon being informed Marge got a Court Order to prevent him from planning Lisa's wedding, Homer goes over it, sees it's in order, and goes outside to lay in the hammock without any fuss.
  • He Who Must Not Be Heard: A teenage Maggie can never say a word without being interrupted. Ironically, Homer describes her as a chatterbox — but then she merely rolls her eyes at her father in silence. She's also supposed to have an angelic singing voice, but she gets cut off just as she's preparing to do so. All the audience gets is the sound of her clearing her throat and inhaling.
  • Hope Spot:
    • When Homer hasn't exactly made a good impression on Hugh, but it seems like he’s starting to get somewhere when he tells him about his father's and his wedding cufflinks, asking that Hugh were them for the wedding. Hugh appears to be genuinely touched by this and agrees. He then sees that the cufflinks are a childish pig design. This winds up being more important than it initially appears to be, as mentioned below.
    • When Hugh introduces Homer to his parents, he's clearly dreading the worst. To his surprise, Homer winds up talking about Octopussy. Sure it's an awkward moment, but it’s a thousand times better than Hugh could've ever imagined, and his relieved reaction makes the audience believe that the two very different families can get along with each other. Unfortunately, it later becomes clear that Hugh has no intention of letting such a thing happen, as he plans keep his family and Lisa completely separate from the Simpsons. With this is mind, his reaction starts to feel less like he's reassured about his future family history, and more that he's reassured that Homer didn’t embarrass him in front of his folks.
    • As noted above with the cufflinks, when Lisa brings them to Hugh and calls him out for breaking his promise to Homer. After briefly fighting her on it, he decides to accept wearing them again, seemingly reassuring us that Hugh's a good guy whose willing to sacrifice a bit of dignity for his fiancée. Unfortunately, Hugh makes it clear that he's only going to do so this one last time, as he then plans to bring Lisa back to England and keep her separated from the rest of her family. Hugh's inability to accept Lisa's loved ones ultimately proves to be the nail in the coffin, and the wedding is called off.
  • I Never Told You My Name / Sherlock Can Read: Occurs where Lisa is talking to the fortune teller:
    Fortune Teller: I've been waiting for you, Lisa.
    Lisa: [Gasp!] How did you know my name?
    Fortune Teller: Your nametag.
  • Inflationary Dialogue: A non-numerical example:
    Bart: Wow, Lisa, looking at you makes me want to get married for a third time. I met a really nice exotic dancer the other night at Hugh's bachelor party.
    Lisa: Hugh didn't have a bachelor party.
    Bart: We had one in his honor. [Lisa stares at him] I had one in his honor. [Lisa continues to stare at him] I went to a strip club.
  • Informed Flaw: Played for laughs. The teenage Maggie is referred to as a little hellion who never shuts up, but due to He Who Must Not Be Heard, she just stands there quietly and politely.
  • Insistent Terminology: When introducing Hugh and Lisa to the extension, Homer tells them that if a building inspector comes by, it's a window-box.
  • In the Style of...: The end credits are done in medieval music style.
  • Irony: Ahead of tearing down a building, Bart is quite amused over finally being paid to do this.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Marge crosses both fingers when she promises Lisa to keep Homer in check for the wedding. She forgets they are on a picture phone.
    Lisa: Mom, remember when I was little, we'd always planned my dream wedding and you always promised to ... you know, well, keep Dad from ruining it?
    Marge: [crossing her fingers] Oh, don't worry, honey, I guarantee your father will behave.
    Lisa: Mom, it's a picture phone.
    Marge: [looking at her fingers] What? This? Oh, no, I've just got a touch of the rheumatiz.
    Lisa: Oh, OK.
    Marge: [Whew gesture]
    Lisa: Mom, picture phone.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: At first Hugh seems to be a mild Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Sure, he makes his fair share of snarky comments, but they're never really mean spirited, and he acts perfectly willing to deal with the Simpsons' shenanigans due to his love for Lisa, so the audiences believes he's really a Nice Guy at heart. Then Lisa discovers that he's not wearing the generational cuff links that Homer gave him to wear for the wedding, even though Hugh promised he would. Sure, they were embarrassingly childlike and Hugh didn't realize that part before agreeing, but it's clear that he's hurt Homer's feelings in doing so, and unlike Homer's previous actions towards High, which Innocently Insensitive, Hugh is very well aware of what he's doing and just doesn't seem to care. Then this seems to be Subverted, as Lisa convinces him to put them on, once again making us believe he's a good guy whose willing to look a little silly if it makes Lisa and her father happy. Then this is Double Subverted when he then notes that once he and Lisa go off to England, he has no intention of letting her see her family again, making it clear that he cares more about his own happiness than that of Lisa's and especially her family's.
  • Meet Cute: Lisa and Hugh bump their heads together at a drinking fountain, he then grabs the last soy pop at the vending machine which Lisa also craved, he steals her an elevator and doesn't share it with her so she has to climb the stairs, and then even snatches the last copy of a book Lisa needs to read. Last part includes them reading the book together with a sort of reading race. Then Hugh is impressed and turned on by Lisa's knowing the definition of "stochastic", and they start making out in the library.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: "And here, out of the mists of history ... the legendary Esquilax! A horse with the head of a rabbit, and the body ... of a rabbit!"
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: When Homer and Bart hang out the Union Jack to welcome Lisa's British boyfriend, Hugh, they bring his attention to it by saying, "Here's some American hospitality," whereupon it turns out the flag accidentally caught fire! Homer and Bart try to extinguish the fire by throwing some compost upon it, then give the ravaged remains to Hugh.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Noisy Robots: Subverted as we Flash Forward to the far future (2010) and see what we think are robots overtaking the world. Turns out they're university kids auditioning for the role of The Tin Man for The Wizard of Oz.
  • No Longer with Us: When Marge first appears in a video call, she makes a Bait-and-Switch Comment in which she implies Honer is dead by saying "I wish he was here with us..." and then explaining that Homer is at work.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Sometime in the future, Mr. Burns has been cryogenically frozen until there is a cure for 17 stab wounds in his back.note  This begs the question of who stabbed him, although given his reputation, it's anybody's guess.
    • There's the science fair explosion that the Springfield Elementary School faculty believe killed Martin Prince (though it turns out he survived in a fairly obvious Shout-Out to The Phantom of the Opera).
    • Bart remarks he's been married twice.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: The Simpsons act like this (the "annoying" kind) by sheer unluck while Hugh makes clear to Lisa that he will be the "asshole" kind if they marry, taking her to England so they will never have to see her family ever again (maybe Marge, to show her their kids once they are born, but that's about it).
  • Ocular Gushers: The librarian robot does it when after she starts to weep at the sight of Lisa and Hugh making out due to shorting out from a single tear, followed by her head burning and melting.
  • Older and Wiser: ... sort of. Homer's mellowed in his old age, but in terms of actual intelligence, he's still an oaf.
  • Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: Lisa's pearls are old, her dress is new, she borrows a locket from Hugh's mother, and a lock of Marge's hair is blue.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Homer's response to Hugh initially not wearing his family cufflinks. Hugh promised Homer that he'd wear them, and Homer makes it clear both how much the cufflinks mean to him and how excited he was at the prospect of his son in law wearing them at the wedding. While Hugh goes back on his promise because he doesn't want to embarrass himself wearing something childish, Homer is clearly hurt by this, but he puts on a brave face for Lisa and pretends that Hugh must’ve just forgotten about them, ultimately showing that he’s a good dad who would prioritize his daughter's happiness even if it meant letting her fiancé get away with something actively rude towards him and his family.
    • This then causes Lisa to have a selfless moment of kindness where she fights for her father and convinced Hugh to go through with his promise, which ultimately leads to her choosing her family over the man she loves.
    • While he ultimately shows himself to be a Jerkass who cares more about what he wants than what Lisa does, Hugh at least has the decency to face the crowd and tell them that the wedding is off rather than wallowing in his own self pity. Although, it's telling that he'd choose to do this rather than go after and fight for Lisa, showing that even when he knows that his refusal to see Lisa's family has ruined their relationship, he's not willing to change his mind to save it.
    • Hugh attempted to do this when he reveals how he's going to keep Lisa's family. After seeing how Lisa's upset by this, he mentions that Marge may be allowed to visit them when they have kids. But it's such a minor attempt that it does nothing to change Lisa's mood.
  • Properly Paranoid: Homer's original plans were to have the entire wedding at Moe's, validating Marge's move to get a court order preventing him from having anything to do with organizing the wedding.
  • Renaissance Fair: The episode begins with the Simpsons attending one. Typical for Springfield, it's rather pathetic.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: They look completely human, until they cry. Then their heads burst into flames and melt.
  • The Scapegoat: Learning Lisa is about to get married and recalling their breakup, Milhouse decides to write up Homer's performance evaluation immediately. Homer remains blissfully unaware of what this means.
  • Separated by a Common Language: When Marge talks to Lisa, who is spending her summer with her boyfriend in England, she tells her she should remember that an elevator is a "lift", a mile is called a "kilometer"note  and botulism is "steak-and-kidney pie".
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Lisa's bedroom, we can see a poster of The Rolling Stones Steel Wheelchair Tour, a parody of their Steel Wheels tour.
    • The old Krusty was modelled after Groucho Marx.
    • Hugh's wristwatch communicator makes the same beeping sound as the communicators on Star Trek: The Original Series. Additional Trek sound effects can be heard throughout, such as automatic doors making the same sound as the Starship Enterprise's doors, along with flying car sounds straight out of The Jetsons.
  • Something Completely Different: The first full Flash Forward episode.
  • Special Guest: Mandy Patinkin as Hugh.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Hugh's only real reaction to the trouble he faces at Homer's hands? "This is all quite trying."
  • Super-Speed Reading: Lisa and Hugh bond over speed-reading the one textbook they both wanted. They appear to finish it in an afternoon.
  • Tarot Troubles: Parodied. When the Death card comes up, Lisa is terrified, but the gypsy calmly explains that Death just means change and isn't automatically a bad thing. Then she herself freaks out after drawing The Happy Squirrel.
  • Technical Virgin: Lisa wonders if she should wear white for her wedding as she had sex with Milhouse when she was a teenager (then broke up with him by telling him she might not get married). Marge assures Lisa that Milhouse doesn't count.
  • Tears from a Stone: Robots aren't supposed to have emotions, but cry at sentimental events and short themselves out.
  • Time for Plan B: When Hugh's first attempt at a Wacky Marriage Proposal backfires, he resorts to a far cheaper but more direct backup stunt to deliver his message.
  • Tin Man: A librarian catches Lisa with her fiancé-to-be, and questions aloud how two so opposite personalities could ever fall in love. A bystander comments, "How would you know, you're a robot?", prompting the robot librarian to shed a Single Tear ... which then turns into Ocular Gushers and causes her head to catch fire. Then it happens again when said fiancé proposes; the two robots hiding in the bushes to implement plan B also start crying, causing their faces to melt.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Both Bart and Homer are far nicer in the future than they are at present. Both even approach Lisa when she's putting on her wedding dress with heartfelt words (although Bart is cut off when he mentions an exotic dancer).
  • The Trope Formerly Known as X: Featured on Kent Brockman's list of arrested celebrities are "The Artist Formerly Known as (Love Symbol #2)" and "The Artist Formerly Known as Buddy Hackett".
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The episode features a look at the year 2010, which was at the time of the episode's airing 15 years into the future. The changes are a bit hard to detail, but perhaps the funniest change is that Moe now has an eyepatch, and when he says to Hugh that the Americans saved the British's "arse" back in WWII, Hugh retorts, "we saved your arse in World War III." And Big Ben is a digital clock that nobody has figured out how to set (i.e. it still blinks 12:00).
  • Uptown Boy: Begins as a straight example with working-class Lisa falling for the posh, upper-class Hugh, but in the end they are too different.
  • Ur-Example: Of Simpsons episodes mainly taking place in the future.
  • Videophone: Showcased a conversation between Lisa and Marge using a "picture phone". Marge kept forgetting that Lisa could see her over the phone, and her body language made it more obvious to tell when she was lying.
  • Virgin in a White Dress: Lisa and Marge briefly discuss this as they are a church-going family.
    Lisa: Mom, I feel kind of funny wearing white. I mean ... Milhouse.
    Marge: [dismissively] Oh, Milhouse doesn't count.
  • The Voiceless: Maggie is presented this way as a moody teenager. She's apparently VERY talkative at times and is a gifted singer, but tends to be quiet and reserved around her family.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Hugh tries to put his proposal on a big electrical letterboard saying "Lisa, will you do me the honor of giving me your hand in the holy tradition of matrimo—", before it shorts out. He falls to "Plan B": sending out a cow wearing a sign that says just: "Marry Me."
  • We Have Those, Too: Hugh tells Homer that they have the "pull my finger" joke in Britain. But Homer just wants him to pull his finger.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Combined with Rhymes on a Dime and Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter:
    Lunchlady Doris: Yon meat, 'tis sweet as summer's wafting breeze.
    Homer: Can I have some?
    Lunchlady Doris: Mine ears are only open to the pleas of those who speak ye olde English.
    Homer: Sweet maiden of the spit, grant now my boon, that I might sup on some suckling pig this noon.
    Lunchlady Doris: Whatever.
  • Zeerust: For the most part this is played for comic effect, with the technology of 2010 being depicted via a mixture of "futuristic" versions of devices that were already considered outdated when the episode was made (i.e. a video call phone that uses rotary dialling) and things that the creators knew full well wouldn't yet be invented by the time 2010 actually rolled around. However, a couple of things — including watches that allow you to make phone calls, and bars with Virtual Reality games — only stand out as being this in that they're depicted as being present a little too early in the decade.

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