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Recap / The Simpsons S6E8 "Lisa on Ice"

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Episode - 2F05
First Aired - 11/13/1994

Due to test scores hitting an all-time low, Principal Skinner instates academic alerts (little slips of paper warning a student that they're failing one or more subjects) — and Lisa discovers that she's on the academic alert list for failing gym class. After trying and failing at basketball and volleyball, Apu discovers that Lisa has a talent for blocking/parrying objects, and makes her goalie for his pee-wee hockey team ... which puts her in direct sibling rivalry with Bart.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: This episode started the Running Gag of Moe erroneously calling Marge "Midge", despite getting her name right in past episodes (it's also possible that "Midge" is just simply Moe's nickname for her).
  • Adaptational Villainy: Gamera and Mothra, both heroic kaiju in their respective canon, are shown chasing after Lisa during her Imagine Spot.
  • Adults Are Useless: Bart is pummelled by the bullies and ends up getting rescued by Lisa, while Skinner and Ms. Hoover watch, with Skinner's only comment being that he hardly ever lets his own mother fight battles for himself anymore.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Marge bought Bart cowboy footie pajamas.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: During the penalty shot, Bart's fans yell "Kill, Bart!", whereas Lisa's fans yell "Kill Bart!"
  • Advertisement:
  • Artistic License – Sports: In real hockey, the clock does not run during penalty shots. Episode writer Mike Scully acknowledges this in the DVD Commentaryinvoked—he's a hockey fan and knows this, but he decided to take some artistic license for the sake of the ending.
  • Author Appeal: Both writer Mike Scully and director Bob Anderson were big hockey fans.
  • Auto-Incorrect: When Martin Prince praises the school's new "Academic Alert" system, Kearney tells Dolph to take a memo on his Apple Newton (a device known for its autocorrect fails) "Beat up Martin" but it transcribes it into "Eat up Martha." Kearney then chucks the Newton into Martin. This scene was infamous with Apple employees during the development of the iPhone's keypad, with "Eat up Martha" being a nickname for screwing up inputs within the company.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite spending most of the episode fighting viciously the final ends with Bart and Lisa dropping their hockey gear and skating together after a montage of them being kind to each other throughout their childhoods.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Annoyed at how Lisa's doing well in hockey, his area of dominance over her, Bart decides he should do well in classwork, Lisa's area of dominance over him. So we see a montage of Bart raising his hand to answer questions, but the montage ends with Ms. Krabappel saying "Bart Simpson, would you stop raising your hand!? You haven't had one right answer all day!"
    • After Bart and Lisa make up with each other, ending their game on a tie, Marge tears up over this tender exchange. She sees Homer tearing up too, seemingly moved also, until he says "They're both losers. Losers!"
  • Baseball Episode: Well, hockey episode. Lisa becomes the star goalie of a pee wee hockey team so she won't fail gym. Bart, who was already the star of a rival team, feels upstaged.
  • The B Grade: Lisa's scared that an F in gym in second grade will ruin her life, even costing her a potential presidency. Followed by a lifetime of horror on Monster Island.
  • Brutal Honesty: Marge to Moe when he enters the house to see if Bart or Lisa have any injuries that would give him a leg up in the gambling community.
    Marge: You caught me at a real bad time, Moe. I hope you understand I'm too tense to pretend I like you.
  • The Cameo: The Monsters on Monster Island (the peninsula) are Mothra, Gamera and Rodan.
  • Cardboard Prison: Chief Wiggum agrees to let out a bunch of prisoners so they can watch the little league hockey finals, but only if they promise to come back afterwards. When the prisoners refuse to even pretend that they'll agree to do this, Wiggum lets them out anyway.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Lisa, having been informed that she is failing phys ed, has a vision of the future in which she is being sworn in as President of the United States, only for it to be revealed that she failed phys ed in elementary school. The judge immediately stops the swearing-in and instead sentences her to Monster Island. Seeing how upset she is, he quietly reassures her that it's just a name. Cut to her being chased through a jungle by monsters. She says to one of her fellow exiles that the judge promised her it was just a name. He explains that what he meant was that "Monster Island is really a peninsula."
  • Couch Gag: The family sit on the couch and get shot halfway through the ceiling.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Attention! This is Principal Skinner, your principal, with a message from the principal's office."
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Bart attempts to psyche out Lisa before their game by tearing Mr. Honeybunny's head off. Except that Mr. Honeybunny's his beloved childhood toy.
    • Skinner let the kids name the new auditorium, assuming they would pick something appropriate instead of "Butthead Memorial Auditorium."
    • Bart chases Lisa outside for throwing a snowball at him, forgetting he is wearing footie pajamas.
    • Chief Wiggum bet against his own team. When they win, he can't afford to take them out for pizza because he lost his bet.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Nelson and company's reason for beating up Bart? "Wasting teacher's valuable time."
    • Lisa's Imagine Spot features her being sent to Monster Island for failing gym class.
  • Double Standard: Marge sees Lisa's single academic alert and tells her she's concerned and discusses how to sort this out. Bart brings home a stack of alerts as fat as a phone book and Homer offers to get him a present after signing all of them. When Lisa calls him out on this, he only replies: "Ah, the mysteries of life."
  • Embarrassing Rescue: Not only does Lisa one-up Bart at sports, but when she rescues him from the bullies, everyone (including Skinner) laughs at him.
    Skinner: I hardly ever let Mother fight for me anymore!
  • Epic Fail: Lisa's first two attempts at joining a sports team. Her attempt at joining a basketball has the ball bouncing off her own face. Trying to join a volleyball team results in the ball being popped on her Spiky Hair (even worse, that was the team's only ball for the entire semester).
  • Exact Words: Lisa has a dream where she is sentenced to Monster Island, which the judge assures her is just a name. Cue Lisa and other prisoners being chased by Mothra, Gamera, and Rodan.
    Lisa: He said it was just a name!
    Prisoner: What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula.
  • False Reassurance: In Lisa's Imagine Spot, Monster Island is just a name. It's actually a peninsula.
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: Lisa imagines a future where she's exiled to Monster Island. She's told not to worry as it's just a name. She finds out as Mothra, Gamera and Rodan go chasing her that it's actually a peninsula.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Lisa honestly seems to think getting an F in second grade gym and covering it up can not only cost someone the presidency, but get them sentenced to a lifetime of horror on Monster Island.
  • Football Hooligans: Hockey hooligans, but the result is the same. Hans Moleman says, "We paid for blood!"
  • Gasp!: The crowd in Lisa's imagination gasp in unison when the reporter tells everyone the truth.
  • Hockey Fight: Up to Eleven. The entire audience go into a full-blown riot, demolishing the place, because they got pissed that the game ended in a tie.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Given how overweight Homer is, it is deeply hypocritical of him to laugh at Uter.
  • Idiot Ball: Marge hears Lisa and Bart fighting and tells Homer not to eat a pie she left out in plain sight and reach before going upstairs. Homer, being Homer, ignores her and eats the pie.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Snake is moved to tears by Bart and Lisa's actions, and wonders how his life would have been if they had pee-wee hockey when he was a child. He then shrugs it off and proceeds to join the riot happening around him.
  • I Have No Son!: Homer's reaction to his children's good sportsmanship and calling the game a tie instead of fighting is to avoid looking at them and call them both losers.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Before the big game, Chief Wiggum addresses the prisoners:
    Wiggum: Okay, I'm gonna make a little deal with you mugs. I'm gonna let you out to see my team play the game if you promise to return to your cells.
    Snake: Sorry, pig. We can't make that promise.
    Wiggum: All right. All right, I'll sweeten the deal. You can see the game, you don't have to come back, but you have to promise not to commit any more crimes, okay?
    Snake: No.
    Wiggum: I'll take that as a yes. [Unlocks cells]
  • Imagine Spot: Lisa has one where her failing grade will come back to haunt her once she's elected President of the United States.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Bart flaunts his superiority in sports in Lisa's face for most of the early half of the episode, though it is made clear that this is because it is the one thing Bart excels over her in. When she proves competent in hockey and ends up treated as The Ace even in his one niche, he becomes insecure and vindictive, not helped at all by Homer's very openly selective favouritism.
  • Insane Troll Logic: As Jimbo puts it, it's a lucky coincidence Bart happens to be "his sister's brother".
  • Insult Backfire: When Jimbo taunts Bart after Lisa tricks him into running into the front yard in his footie pajamas.
    Jimbo: [Mockingly] Nice PJs, Simpson. Did your mommy buy them for ya?
    Bart: Of course she did. Who else would have?
    Jimbo: [Beat] All right, Simpson. You win this round.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: In the words of Ralph Wiggum, "Me fail English? That's unpossible." Likewise, Lisa insists that her failing gym is the stupidest thing she's ever heard, then fails to throw the scrunched-up paper as far as the bin.
  • Jerkass: Homer really outdoes himself in this episode, switching between treating both of his older children like The Unfavorite as they struggle to become better than the other at hockey and then being the first in the stadium to label them both "losers" when they decide to stop playing.
  • Loan Shark: Moe has fallen afoul of some, to the tune of being sixty-four thousand dollars in debt.
    Moe: They're gonna take my thumbs!
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Wiggum is the coach of The Mighty Pigs. Apart from being a play on The Mighty Ducks, a 'Pig' is also a derogatory name for a cop.
    • Apu and Sanjay coach the Springfield Gougers. Gouging is not just a vicious act of violence, but is a reference to 'price gouging', which is unfair price hiking or swindling.
  • National Anthem: Krusty is brought out to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the championship game. He sings half of the first line ("O say can you see") before realizing he can't remember the rest of the words. The crowd boos him, and he quickly regrets not using the cue cards he was offered, even though it's been stated in the early episodes that Krusty is functionally illiterate (though most later episodes imply that Krusty is semi-literate).
  • Non-Indicative Name: Monster Island in Lisa's Imagine Spot is actually a peninsula.
  • Not So Above It All: Before the game, Marge tries to tell Homer it's wrong to root for either Bart or Lisa over the other, but when Jimbo trips Bart, Marge loses it, yelling "He tripped my boy! I demand vengeance! I WANT VENGEANCE!" Fortunately, Marge gets over it by the end of the game.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Lisa has a daydream where she worries that failing her gym class would greatly damage her reputation later in life. In the daydream, the Chief Justice of the United States learns this just before swearing Lisa in as the new President.
    Chief Justice: I sentence you to a lifetime of horror on Monster Island. ... Don't worry, it's just a name.
    [Cut to Lisa and others being chased by Rodan, Mothra, and Gamera.]
    Lisa: He said it was just a name!
    Man: What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Surprisingly, Jimbo, Kearney, and Nelson don't join in with Homer making fun of Uter for being overweight, and all look shocked to see a grown adult chasing a child around and whipping him with a towel for fun.
    • Who, other than Marge, actually ends up treating Bart and Lisa behaving like kind hearted siblings as a good thing? Snake JAILBIRD. Yep, you read that right- the convict showed more heart than most "law-abiding" town members!
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: Lisa receives an academic alert that's she's failing gym. She angrily crumples up the alert and hurls it at a trash can, but airballs it by several feet.
  • Parental Favoritism: Homer was showing clear favoritism throughout the entire episode to whichever child was better in sports. Bart and Lisa, meanwhile, utterly ignore him and try to curry favor with Marge.
  • Plausible Deniability: Parodied a few times in the episode. Bart and Lisa declare that since they can't actually fight, they're just going to start flailing their limbs around with their eyes closed, and if someone gets hit, it's their fault. Homer does something similar to the pie that Marge left out (walking forward with his eyes closed and biting the air), but when he bangs his head, he just gives up on pretending and eats the pie.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The time between the tie and the riot triggering is ten seconds, tops.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Nelson is failing several subjects but doing quite well in Home Economics.
    Nelson: Hey, keep it down, man. [Laughs nervously]
  • The Resenter: Bart immediately begrudges Lisa becoming a hockey ace, not helped by his not being able to improve his grades, having Lisa defending him, and being side-stepped by Homer.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Springfield Elementary's auditorium, the Butthead Memorial Auditorium, was inspired by an incident in Greenwood, South Carolina, where children proposed having a new elementary school named Springfield Elementary School.
  • Running Gag: The first time Moe calls Marge "Midge", despite knowing her name in earlier episodes. And Marge doesn't even correct him.
  • Serious Business: All of Springfield takes Bart and Lisa's hockey match seriously. Moe, in particular, risks losing his thumbs depending on the outcome.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Lisa trying to join a basketball team results in a basketball bouncing off her face repeatedly.
  • Spiky Hair: Lisa's hair punctures the volleyball team's only ball.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Bart and Lisa just skate peacefully off the ice while the crowd riots in the stands.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Bart becomes jealous of Lisa's newfound talent for hockey. Then Milhouse points out since she's now good at sports, he in turn will now be superior in academics. After agreeing with him, we then have Bart raising his hand more in class to confidently answer Mrs. Krabappel's questions...only for her to chide him to stop doing that because he hasn't had one right answer all day. There's no precedent for him to automatically become an honor student, especially since he's shown plenty of times to avoid studying amongst other things.
  • Take That!: To the Apple Newton (Apple's forefather to the iPhone and iPad) and its terrible diction, as it reads "Beat up Martin" as "Eat up, Martha". The Newton was widely considered Apple's biggest blunder until Apple Maps in 2012. Apple workers themselves even admitted that this moment haunted them for a while, with "Eat Up Martha" becoming a nickname for screwing up inputs within the company.
  • Tempting Fate: As Marge stops Bart and Lisa fighting, she tells them "You're not in direct competition with each other!" Cue Homer hurrying in, informing everyone that their teams are playing against another ("You're in direct competition with each other!").
  • Took a Level in Badass: Not only did the hockey training made Lisa more assertive and combative, she also at one point manages to scare off some bullies pestering Bart by manhandling one of them.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Lisa hits a hockey puck at Milhouse, knocking out some of his teeth. Somehow they later end up in Marge's possession (though she denies this when Milhouse arrives to ask about it.)
  • Vandalism Backfire: Bart darkly announces that as vengeance, he tore the head off a stuffed animal named Mr. Honey-Bunny. Lisa then reminds Bart that that was his beloved childhood toy.
    Bart: Agh! Mr. Honey-Bunny! [Places the head back on and kisses it desperately]