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Recap / The Simpsons S8 E17: "My Sister, My Sitter"

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Episode - 4F13
First Aired - 3/2/1997

Inspired by reading a series of books about The Babysitter Twins, Lisa decides to become a babysitter — and finds that her biggest challenge is her own brother. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge check out the new outdoor mall.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Your child falling down the stairs and ending up severely harmed, your child being framed as a horrible criminal and turned into pariah, and from Lisa's point of view having your reputation as a reliable worker ruined by someone out of spite. The final scene also has the parents of Springfield continue to hire Lisa as a babysitter even if they believe that she is a horrible excuse of a human being and yet not giving a damn about that or what this may result for their children.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Positive example as Janey lists the accomplishments of the Babysitter Twins as stopping counterfeiters, rescuring the President, and making four dollars for their work.
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  • Artistic License – Law: It's actually illegal to leave children younger than 12 home alone. Then again...
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Lisa goes through hell and back trying to babysit Bart and Maggie. Bart actively trying to make things harder for her by doing prank calls early on and then injuring himself later had clearly taken a mental toll on Lisa.
  • Big Eater: Comic Book Guy, which actually illustrates one of the drawbacks of relying too much on Comfort Food:
    CBG: Oh loneliness and cheesburgers are a dangerous mix!
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lisa's reputation as a perfectly reliable babysitter is completely nuked flat overnight by Bart's mischief, but Bart apologizes for doing so and there is a chance she will be able to rebuild it... or maybe Springfield (as is typical of it) forgot their condemnation of her as fast as they placed it on her.
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  • Blatant Lies: At Doctor Nick's clinic, Snake is clutching an obvious gunshot wound to the stomach, but claims he tripped and fell onto a bullet. The receptionist ticks off "Liquor Store Robbery" off a checklist of injury causes.
    Dr. Nick Riviera: Don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Deliberately invoked. Bart taunts Lisa by purposely misconstruing her demand to go to bed for "going to bread", then goes to the master bedroom instead of his own because she didn't say which bed.
    • Bart makes a series of prank calls to mess with Lisa. She angrily shouts at everyone who showed up (a sandwich delivery guy, Krusty the Klown, and a chauffeur for the ambassador from Ghana, among others) that they had all been tricked, the chauffeur wonders aloud, "Why would the ambassador do such a thing?"
  • Didn't Think This Through: Homer and Marge didn't seem to think that Bart would cause any trouble while being babysat by his little sister (though she has been doing great work babysitting before this incident).
  • Easily Condemned: Lisa's public humiliation at the climax happens because everybody in Springfield, who Lisa had babysat for repeatedly throughout the episode and had nothing more to give than praises, immediately assumes the absolute worst (up to and including her being on drugs) and believes her to be a "bad babysitter"...
  • Easily Forgiven: ...and yet, the very next day, Hibbert and Flanders both call Lisa and asks her to babysit their children (even after Lisa insists on asking them both about whether or not he believes she won't get coked up and do horrible things to them, Flanders just stays silent for a Beat and then asks when she can get to his home).
  • Entitled Bastard: Towards the end of the episode, when Bart is injured, Doctor Hibbert declares to the whole town that Bart's injuries were caused by bad babysitting, ruining Lisa's babysitting business. The next day, he calls Lisa up and asks her to look after his kids while he has Judo.
  • Government Conspiracy: One of the prank calls Bart makes is about a UFO.
    Pilot: We got a report that a Lisa Simpson spotted a UFO.
    Lisa: I didn't see any UFO!
    Pilot: That's right, Miss. You didn't. [waves off a scientist with a needle]
  • Hope Spot: Lisa comes this close to keeping anyone from finding out about this mess, even after arriving at the boardwalk. Then a startled Quimby calls attention to the three of them.
    Quimby: Citizens of Springfield, I officially declare this... (notices Lisa) What the hell is that?!
    • Same thing not long after being caught Dr. Hibbert looked at Bart almost exactly like Lisa's fantasy earlier where after looking at Bart she immediately points at Lisa and declares his diagnosis as "BAD BABYSITTING"! However, when he does looks at him in real life it seems like he's not going to pin the whole thing on Lisa's incompetent babysitting. Except....
    Dr. Hibbert: My diagnosis...a rather nasty fall (turns around and points at Lisa like in her fantasy) CAUSED BY BAD BABYSITTING!!
  • Hostage Situation: What sets the plot in motion; Ned has to travel to Capitol City to speak to someone at the U.S. Embassy after Maude and her mother get taken hostage while on pilgrimage in the Holy Land and asks Homer if he can watch Rod and Todd. Since Homer can't bring himself to help Ned, Lisa volunteers to do it.
  • I Fell for Hours: It takes Bart six seconds to fall down one flight of stairs; a normal fall would have ended in one second, tops.
  • I Was Never Here: Lisa has to babysit Bart, who makes her life a living hell by calling up random services. Lisa opens the door to find a military man who asks to see Lisa Simpson, who was reported to have seen a UFO. Lisa screams that she didn't see a UFO. The military man leans in threateningly and says, "That's right, you didn't." He then waves off a doctor with a syringe and leaves.
  • Imagine Spot: Lisa tries to call Dr. Hibbert about Bart's condition, but then proceeds to have a spot where she would be blamed for it, therefore ruining her reputation. To her dismay, this ends up happening, albeit toned down with her parents' comments.
  • Jerkass Ball: Bart is much more malicious than usual in this episode, to rather disturbing levels (being annoying is in line with what he's done before, but then he shows he's perfectly okay with self-harm in order to achieve a victory over Lisa).
  • Jerkass Realization: At the end of the episode as Lisa lies on her bed, Bart, in an arm cast and sling, comes into her room and apologizes for making her so miserable the previous night and destroying her babysitting business.
  • Karma Houdini: Outside of his (self-inflicted) injuries and an apology to her at the end, Bart pretty much gets away with ruining Lisa's reputation as a babysitter.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Flanders calls Lisa to ask her to look after his kids (the day after he became one of the biggest criers of her being a bad babysitter), Lisa insists on asking him if he's not afraid she will not perform something as horrible to them that what they assume she did to Bart. After a Beat, Flanders pretty much dodges the question and just asks when can she get to his home.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Bart's decision to worsen his injuries in the third act was driven by one point: he wanted Lisa to never babysit anyone ever again, as retaliation for his embarrassment at being left with her as babysitter. The final scene of the episode has Lisa still getting calls from parents all over Springfield asking her to babysit their kids, even if they think she is an utterly horrible human being thanks to seeing Bart's injuries and Lisa actually asking them if they think she will do the same to their kids.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: When a flashlight is shone in Lisa, causing her to recoil from the light, Helen Lovejoy accuses her of being on drugs.
    Homer: Gimme the drugs, Lisa.
  • Mistaken for Prank Call: When Bart is unconscious, Lisa tries calling 9-1-1, but they refuse to take it because Bart called earlier about "a sisterectomy, a case of severe butt rot, and a leprechaun fight".
  • Mondegreen: Bart is seen eating bread after Lisa told him to go to bed, but he, being Bart, tells Lisa that she actually said "go to bread".
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Bart's initial reaction upon noticing that he has dislocated one of his arms at the elbow and his forearm is dangling like a pendulum is to say that it's cool.
  • No Antagonist: Until Bart decides to make Lisa's life hell in the third act, at least.
  • Noodle Incident: Lisa is trying to get Bart medical attention at a clinic and Smithers won't let Lisa in front of him because of a serious injury that seemingly makes it painful for him to sit down (though this could be taken as a Double Entendre, considering Smithers's closeted homosexuality).
    • The entire waiting room in that episode was full of people bizarrely injured in Noodle Incidents, including a line specifically for people who have to be carted into the clinic in a wheelbarrow.
  • Not What It Looks Like: A combination of these (mostly the result of Bart being a jerk) ends up resulting in the public humiliation of Lisa and people thinking she's some kind of psychotic drug junkie and overall bad babysitter.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bart when he loses his balance at the top of the stairs. Lisa gets one when she sees Bart tumbling down.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Bart's compliment to Homer is oddly and humorously specific: "You could be Abe Lincoln's father's boss."
  • Police Are Useless: The 911 operator refuses to send an ambulance to the Simpson house because of all the prank calls made in the past. "Simpson? Look, we’ve already been out there tonight for a sister-ectomy, a case of severe butt rot and a leprechaun bite. How dumb do you think we are?"
  • Punny Name: One of "The Babysitter Twins" books Lisa and Janey are reading is named "The Formula Formula".
  • Shout-Out: When asking Homer for help, Ned says he's got "a Fozzie of a Bear of a problem."
  • Staircase Tumble: As Lisa tries to catch Bart, he jumps backwards, eventually ending up at the top of the stairs and falling down them. If you listen carefully, you can hear when Bart dislocates his arm.
  • Tempting Fate: In the episode's beginning, Lisa says the pressure is one of the best and most appealing parts about being a babysitter. Then she got tasked with babysitting Bart. Be Careful What You Wish For.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: After Homer and Marge leave, Bart stares angrily at Lisa. She smiles nervously.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Despite all of her trouble, Lisa still gets calls at the end.


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