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Recap / The Simpsons S 8 E 17 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:

  • 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.
  • Artistic License – Law: It's actually illegal to leave children younger than 12 home alone. Then again...
  • The Bad Guy Wins: At the end of the episode, Bart succeeded in turning Lisa into a pariah (or at least temporarily). To some viewers, this also makes his apology to her feel hollow and insincere.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Lisa, and as is typical of the Trope, the rest of the town automatically assumes the absolute worst of her attempts to make things right.
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  • 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.
  • 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!
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  • 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Homer and Marge thought Bart, a known troublemaker who barely ever listens to adults, would just accept his little sister being put in charge of him?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: While Bart's earlier pranks may have been justified due to his anger over Lisa babysitting him, he goes overboard after getting injured via refusing to get medical attention and trying to make his injuries worse so Lisa will never babysit again.
  • 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).
  • 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]
  • Honor Before Reason: Bart's excuse for being an utter jerk to his younger babysitter.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: Dr. Hibbert call Lisa to babysit his children, just hours after calling her a bad babysitter in front of the entire town.
  • Idiot Ball: Held by Homer and Marge when they think Bart will be okay with having his younger sister babysit him.
  • 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.
  • Karma Houdini: Homer and Marge come across as Unwitting Instigator of Doom in this episode as hiring Lisa to babysit Bart couldn’t have possibly ended well do to how utterly humiliating it has to be for Bart (and then once they see her on the mud in the mall, knowing perfectly well what kind of kid she is, go along with the condemnation the rest of the town is giving her). Yet they never receive any consequences for their idiotic decision which nearly got their son killed and turns one of their other children into a (temporal) pariah.
  • 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 accomplishes his goal to completely ruin Lisa's reputation as a babysitter, but Springfield being Springfield, she still gets calls from people asking her to look after their kids even if they think she is some demented drug addict who will try to kill them and dispose of the bodies the moment their parents leave.
  • 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 / Incredibly Lame Pun: 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.
  • 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.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Bart's compliment to Homer: "You could be Abe Lincoln's father's boss."
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bart's decision to continue screwing with Lisa after getting a huge bump on his head and dislocating his arm is to lock himself in his room and repeatedly bash his head against the door to make the bump bigger. He knocks himself out.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bart is much more malicious than usual in this episode, to rather disturbing levels. The fact that Bart acted like a jerk was the reason why this episode was panned when it premiered.

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