First Aired - 4/19/1998
Because of the FCC's push for more educational programming for children, Krusty is forced to cut ten minutes (out of three hours) of his show for a kids' news program. Lisa is hired as the head anchor, but it's Bart who becomes famous when his over-the-top sports news segment gets him the co-anchor seat and he uses his new position to report sappy human interest stories instead of news stories that matter. Meanwhile, Homer adopts a helper monkey named Mojo after seeing a wheelchair-bound Apu use one, but Homer ends up turning the monkey into a slob.
This episode has the following tropes:
- Accidental Misnaming: The executive gets Lisa's name wrong:Executive: You could learn a lot from him, Mary Ann.
Lisa: It's Lisa.
Executive: (cheerfully) Mary Ann's better!
- Always Someone Better: Lisa is a better anchor than Bart and Kent Brockman reveals with much loathing that he has a sister of his own that is a White House press representative.
- Bad People Abuse Animals: It's more stupidity and sloth than actual evil, but by the end of the episode Homer has turned Mojo the helper monkey into just as much of a messy fat animal as he is and he drops the poor monkey back at the agency in a ding-dong-ditch fashion (at Marge's orders, because she was sick of and concerned about Mojo), and it's implied that Mojo may not survive his failing health from extreme obesity.
- Bait-and-Switch: After Bart's segment on a pond that no longer has ducks swimming in it, we cut to Mr. Burns watching the show at his mansion.Mr. Burns: (wiping tears) Smithers, do you think my power plant could have killed those ducks?
Smithers: There's... no "maybe" about it, sir.
Mr. Burns: (sniffs) Excellent.
- At first it looks like Grampa is happy to have Mojo for his helper abilities, but when Homer drives away with Mojo, Grampa says to himself, "I can't wait to eat that monkey!"
- Cancellation: In-Universe: The ultimate fate of the kid's news show. Played with, in that no sooner do Bart and Lisa agree to work together instead of against each other, that the show is canned. The Mattel and Mars Bars Quick Energy Chocobot Hour (which was initially rejected because it was too Merchandise-Driven to air on children's television) takes its slot.
- Crazy Cat Lady: The woman Lisa tries to do a news story on. And yet another Simpsons character is born.
- Conflict Killer: A pretty literal example in the third act, when Lisa discovers that her ploy to get rid of Bart by scaring him with Willie is going to go horribly wrong thanks to Willie wanting to kill Bart instead, forcing her to come to his rescue and finding out that if they work together, they can do a pretty good work as anchors.
- Continuity Nod: When Bart discovers that Nelson is on her news team, Lisa explains that they used to date. ("Plus, he threatened me.")
- Disproportionate Retribution: Three cases:
- First, Willie confiscates Bart's skateboard because it ruined his leaf pile. Furthermore, he intends to use it for his furnace.
- Bart then fills Willie's shack with cream corn and almost kills him, ending with his shack blown up and Willie homeless. Willie then screams bloody murder against Bart.
- Finally, Lisa decides to send Bart to the junkyard for his segment, knowing that Willie is now living there and will want to murder Bart for making him homeless. She regrets this when she realises this is true to a more literal level than she expected.
- Evil Laugh: Lisa provides one at the end of act two when she gets an idea of how to upstage Bart. She is joined by Mojo in short order.
- Glurge: Kent Brockman teaches Bart to do human interest stories of this kind. Bart's stories become a hit, but only Lisa sees them as what they really are.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Lisa. She ends up super jealous of Bart and intentionally sabotages him and nearly gets him in a bloody puddle in the process. Luckily she learns her lesson.
- Gross-Out Show: A lot of the humor in this episode teeters on this, such as: Grampa wanting the helper monkey to eat instead of care for him, Bart's sports report on the fight between Kearney and Mr. Largo ending with use of "dog-doo on a stick," Marge spitting out the orange juice Mojo made, Homer eating the doughnut Mojo bit and threw on the ground, Milhouse's news report on what to do with soiled mattresses and sheets (implying that he's a bedwetter), the scene of Mojo and Homer lying in their own filth (with suspicious looking brown smears on the walls), and Nelson making armpit noises when he takes over the anchor chair.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Lisa and Bart argue over whether Bart should join Lisa's news crew:Bart: (whining) Mom!
Marge: Oh, let your brother do sports.
Lisa: (whining) Mom!
Marge: That "Mom" stuff doesn't work on me!
- I Ate WHAT?!:Marge: Why didn't you tell me you were bringing home a filthy monkey?
Homer: This "filthy monkey" made the orange juice you're drinking!
(Marge, mid-sip, spits it out)
- Instantly Proven Wrong:
- Lisa tries to do a story on the Crazy Cat Lady. Standing before her house, she says: "They call her the Cat Lady. People say she's crazy just because she has a few dozen cats. But can anyone who loves animals that much really be crazy?" The Crazy Cat Lady then comes out and throws cats at Lisa, forcing her to flee.
- Lisa then tries a train story, standing next to some railroad tracks: "The old Union Pacific doesn't come by here much anymore..." Cue heavily labelled 'Union Pacific' train going by for a very long time. (Not to mention the Crazy Cat Lady chasing Lisa yet again once the train is gone).
- Lazy Bum: While Homer is trying to get a helper monkey at the Animal Assistants Program:Man: May I inquire as to how you are...differently abled?
Homer: Oh, I'm not handicapped, I'm just lazy!
- Lets See You Do Better: Lisa, upset at Bart's use of glurge-based stories, attempts to bring him down with her own human-interest stories, intending to "pump 'em so full of sap they'll be blowing their nose with a pancake". However, the stories she tries to do end up backfiring on her.
- Overly Long Gag: The Union Pacific freight train passing by during one of Lisa's reports. Once it finally exits the screen, the Crazy Cat Lady is revealed to have been standing at the other side of the tracks, ready to chase Lisa again.
- Padding: In-universe, Krusty the Clown's show is definitely this.Krusty: Well you're not taking any time out of my show. It's jammed up as it is. There's the monologue, those idiot puppets, Krusty's Nap Time, the second monologue, Paul Harvey, Senor Papino, I tell ya, it's the tightest three hours and ten minutes on TV!
Executive: We're cutting ten minutes from your show.
Krusty: Well, I guess we can trim the Hobo Parade to a lean twenty.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word:Executive: Lisa, Bart's got something you can't learn in school. Zazz!
Lisa: What is 'zazz'?
Executive: Zing! Zork! Kapowza! Call it what you want, in any language it spells mazuma in the bank!
Lisa: "Zork"? What is "zork"?
Executive: I didn't say "zork".
- Potty Failure: Milhouse does a bit on the kid's news show about how to hide the evidence when you've accidentally wet the bed.
- The Prima Donna: Kent Brockman.Kent: (to stage hand) WHERE THE HELL'S MY GRILLED CHEESE?!
- Product Placement / Toyetic: The Mattel and Mars Bars Quick Energy Chocobot Hour.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: "They call her the Cat Lady. People say she's crazy just because she has a few dozen cats. But can anyone who loves animals that much really be crazy?" Turns out she can.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Bart himself does so when he blows up Willie's shack and almost kills him only to get his skateboard back. He even acknowledges that he has probably gone too far... only to laugh at Willie's predicament later.
- Willie does this by taking away Bart's skateboard. Later, he would attempt to hurt him for leaving him homeless until Lisa came to Bart's defense.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: This episode implies that the Itchy and Scratchy Show was canceled to make room for the kids' news show. When the news show was canceled, it was replaced with The Mattel and Mars Bars Quick Energy Chocobot Hour instead of bringing back I&S.