On the last day of school, no one bothers to sign Lisa's yearbook, making her feel depressed about her lack of true friends and, during a trip to Flanders' beach house, Lisa decides to ditch her nerdy persona and be one of the cool kids, which makes her popular with some local teenagers (one of which is voiced by guest star Christina Ricci
). Meanwhile, Homer goes to the beachside Kwik-E-Mart to buy some illegal fireworks.
- Angry Collar Grab: Lisa does this to Bart when confronting him over revealing her true geeky nature to her new friends out of jealousy.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Lisa may have been restrained, but she got absolutely vicious with Bart the day after he showed her new friends her yearbook. She yanks him by his shirt, hisses at him over what he'd done, and was prepared to do something horrible to him with a bottle of honey before Marge comes back in the room.
- Be Yourself:
- Marge's motherly advice to Lisa about her lack of friends. Lisa tries the opposite, and makes herself into some beatnik. However, her intellectual nature still shines through, but her beach friends actually appreciate Lisa's lessons on nature and why you can't drink seawater.
- Bart tries to mock Lisa with this trope the morning after he outs her. She almost kills him.
- Big Brother Bully: Bart to possibly his nastiest degree. Rather than be happy that Lisa is making friends, he is upset they treat him like a nerd and that Lisa is co-opting his catchphrases, and tries to sabotage Lisa's relationship.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Lisa infuriates Bart by using all his phrases and lingo to impress her friends.
- Bowdlerise: The entire sequence of Homer going to the beachside Kwik-E-Mart to score fireworks and covering his tracks by ordering a bunch of risque personal hygiene and sexual itemsnote was cut in the UK and Australia, but the scene in which Marge picks through the bag and says, "Ew, Homer, I don't know what you have planned tonight, but count me out" was not edited. In the Italian dub the scene is kept in, but the box of condoms is replaced with one of glycerin suppositoriesnote .
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Homer tries to buy illegal fireworks from a Kwik-E-Mart and they're the least suspicious item on the list, despite being the only illegal one, parodying a similar scene in American Graffiti.
Homer: Yeah, um, give me one of those porno magazines, a large box of condoms, a bottle of Old Harper, a box of panty shields, some illegal fireworks, and one of those disposable enemas. Eh, make it two.
- Brick Joke:
- At the beginning of the episode, Lisa gets annoyed at herself for wanting to bring a microscope to the beach. At the end of the episode, Ben writes "next year, bring your microscope" in her yearbook.
- Homer shoves his illegal firework into the dishwasher, causing it to start oozing a black sludge. A few scenes later, Marge can be seen furiously scrubbing at the dishes, trying to get it off. Later on, the family eats off the broken plates anyway.
- Chaos While They're Not Looking: Lisa becomes furious at Bart for revealing her true geeky nature to her new beach friends. In one scene, when Marge leaves the room, Lisa grabs Bart by his collar and prepares to pour honey into his eyes, only to put everything back the second she reenters.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Bart shows the yearbook to Lisa's friends twice: once to show them that she is a nerd (which apparently makes them abandon her) and once off-screen later on so they can sign it.
- Chekhov's Gun: Lisa's copy of the Springfield Elementary yearbook, "Retrospecticus", is brought out by Bart when he needs to provide proof of Lisa's hard-core nerdiness to her new friends.
- The Chew Toy: Milhouse, and he really does nothing to deserve any of it.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Milhouse flips out when the school bell rings, and rushes off. Mrs. Krabappel thanks the rest of the class for remembering that Summer break starts at the end of school.
- As Lisa complains about how friendless she is, she points out that even Gore Vidal's kissed more boys than she has. Marge, not getting her point, states that "boys kiss girls".
- Continuity Nod: Once again a grammar rodeo is mentioned.
- Cover-up Purchase: Homer wants to buy fireworks to celebrate Independence Day but the family are holidaying in a state where the sale of fireworks is illegal. He finds a store which looks like it stocks fireworks below the counter, and tries to make the order as nonchalant as possible by also buying a porno magazine, a large box of condoms, a bottle of alcohol, some panty shields and 2 disposable enemas, spoofing the "bottle of Old Harper" scene from American Graffiti. As Marge unpacks his shopping bag later she tells him "I don't know what you've got planned later, but count me out."
- Death Glare: The entire fourth grade class gives Martin one, having worked out pretty easily he's the police's spy in the class.
- Didn't Think This Through: The beach kids decorate the family car for Lisa as a sign that they still view her as a friend, but fail to note that Homer would react differently to what they've done.
- Doorstopper: Parodied with the fictional Gore Vidal book "Tome".
- Escalating War: Lisa is left livid over Bart seemingly destroying her relationship with her new friends, leading to a back and forth at the beach carnival. After she is humiliated when they take their war to the bumper cars, Lisa loses interest and walks off depressed, and Bart to suffer a Jerkass Realization.
- Gratuitous Latin: The Springfield Elementary yearbook is titled "Restrospecticus". More evidence that everybody in the editing team (especially Lisa) are a bunch of hopeless nerds.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Bart becomes very jealous of Lisa's newfound popularity. It culminates in him showing Lisa's friends her yearbook, revealing her nerdy, unpopular nature.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Bart sees Lisa with Erin and the other kids, then tries to swoop in and impress them with his skateboarding so they'll become his friends instead. Erin and the rest aren't impressed by how hard he tries and by the slingshot in his back pocket (Erin: Who does he think he is, Dennis the Menace?), allowing Lisa to call him "Her dorky brother" as payback for trying to steal her new friends.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: This episode focuses on Lisa's isolation from the rest of her classmates, sparking her voyage to remake herself.
- Reconstructed with Bart, who already is popular in their home ground, but is left disgruntled when he can't impress Lisa's friends and is stuck with Milhouse throughout the vacation (Lisa had expected he'd try to steal them from her and convinced them he was an annoying dork).
- Identical Stranger: The local Kwik-E-Mart owner at the beach looks and sounds like Apu, only he looks Sikh (has a beard and a turban) rather than Hindu.
- Mood Whiplash: The episode switches constantly between zany comedy and heartfelt moments. The ultimate example is Lisa discovering that her new friends don't shun her, and actually show their friendship by decorating Homer's car with seashells. Lisa is overjoyed...until Homer comes out and yells:
Homer: Sweet merciful crap! My car!
- My God, What Have I Done?: Bart regrets seemingly ruining Lisa's relationship with her beach friends, and makes up for it by having them sign her yearbook.
- Nice Guy: Erin and her friends avoid Kids Are Cruel and are pretty nice people. When they learn Lisa's unpopular nature, rather than shun and bully her, they decorate the family car in seashells (which turns pear-shape when Homer catches them and a flock of seagulls peck at the car when they drive home), sign her yearbook, and tell her that they don't mind — and actually like — that she's a brainy girl.
- Noodle Implements: Marge finding all the embarrassing sexual and personal hygiene stuff in the grocery bag, thinking he's planning some kinky night with her that she wants nothing to do with (though a later scene that shows Marge smiling has led viewers to believe that Homer really did use the panty shields, condoms, enemas, Old Harper, and porno mags for a sexual night with Marge).
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Lisa initially tries to hide her bookworm side towards Erin and her friends.
- Obvious Judas: In-Universe — when Lou says that Bart's class has an informant that tells the police about truants, everybody instantly turns on Martin.
- Overly Long Name: The Flanders' beach house is at Little Pwagmattasquarmsettport.
- Plot Hole: The entire meat of the episode is Lisa being upset that she has no friends. Even ignoring that she plays with other kids (like Janey) in plenty of other episodes, the other yearbook staff from the very beginning of this episode are clearly very friendly with her. Her lack of yearbook signings from anybody being the symbol of her friendlessness makes this slightly justified.
- Police Are Useless: Averted, the police actually manage to catch Milhouse when he rushes out of school (admittedly because Martin seemingly tipped them off) and Homer when he tries to leave the house wearing a welcome mat as makeshift pants.
- Rage Breaking Point: The morning after Bart outs her as a super-nerd and her friends appear to walk away in disgust, Bart tries to (somewhat mockingly) tell Lisa that the lesson of what he did is "Be Yourself". Lisa grabs him by the collar, calls him out and nearly tortures him with maple syrup in revenge before Marge walks in.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Lisa, quietly but furiously, blows up at Bart for (apparently) sabotaging her relationship with her friends.
Bart: Hey, Lise. I guess my little yearbook stunt was pretty rough but it did teach you a lesson. It's important to be yourself.
Lisa: (Yanks him by the shirt into her face) I know exactly who I am. I am the sister of a rotten, jealous, mean little sneak! You cost me my only friends! You've ruined my life!
- Skewed Priorities: Homer shoves the M-320 firework into the refrigerator to contain the explosion, then yanks it back out to avoid destroying the beer inside.
- Special Guest: Christina Ricci as Erin.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The exploding M-320 takes out the dishwasher and causes black slime to back up into the sink.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: When the family gets to the Flanders' beach house, Lisa and Homer have both forgotten their swimming clothes. While she and Marge go shopping for clothes, Homer decides to make impromptu trunks with the welcome mat and duct tape. He immediately gets in trouble with the police for indecent exposure.
- Lisa's friends decorate the family station wagon with seashells in tribute to her. Whilst she is touched and finds the gesture incredibly sweet, Homer (the car's owner) is horrified when he comes by and sees the result. Also the kids didn't clean the shells prior to gluing them on, so the car finds itself swarmed by seagulls attracted to the dead and decomposing sea creatures inside the shells as it leaves.
- Totally Radical: Bart complains about Lisa using his old "Don't have a cow man" catchphrase to his mom. Marge retorts he doesn't even use it anymore.
- Tranquil Fury: Bart, out of pure jealousy reveals to Lisa's new friends her nerdy and unpopular nature, seemingly destroying her new relationships. The next morning, Bart finds Lisa quietly eating breakfast:
Bart: Hey, Lise. I guess my little yearbook stunt was pretty rough, but it did teach you a lesson. It's important to be yourself.
Lisa: [grabs him by the shirt and yanks him into her face] [I know exactly who I am. I am the sister of a rotten, jealous, mean little sneak! You cost me my only friends! You've ruined my life!
- What makes this better is that while she's hissing, she has a syrup bottle positioned over his head and is about to squeeze syrup onto his face. When Marge enters the room, Lisa puts the bottle down, releases Bart, and goes back to quietly eating, all within roughly half a second, leaving Bart visibly unnerved.
- True Companions: Lisa and Erin, sealed by the friendship bracelet, and her and her other friends decorating Homer's car in Lisa's honor.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Lisa is ostracized at school for being nerdy, then finally makes some new friends by posing as a beatnik until Bart outs her in front of them, for which she gives him a well-deserved tongue-lashing.