Minor Scenes: Marge and Moaning Lisa

I’ve been throwing around the idea of a new series, one that allows me to get some shorter posts out on this blog more often as well as provide an opportunity for me to look at smaller things that I don’t have a lengthy enough response to warrant a full essay.


The Simpsons | Season 1 Episode 6 | Moaning Lisa

While the show didn’t hit its comedic stride until a few years later, the first three seasons of The Simpsons are hard-hitting tragi-comic realism that somehow how got made under the guise of being the Bart Simpson experience.

The first season in particular is monumentally depressing at times (remember the time that Homer tried to commit suicide three episodes in?) yet alleviates this with absurd humour and a glimmer of optimism. It was, after all, a show about a dysfunctional family struggling to get by financially and emotionally, which is what makes the celebrity-stuffed morally-careless extravagance of some of the later episodes so unpalatable.

‘Moaning Lisa’, along with season 2’s ‘Bart Gets An F’, is the kind of episode I refuse to watch with friends, because I know I can’t get far without crying. This is in many ways the quintessential Lisa episode, and works effectively as an origin story. Like many children, not even just the smart ones, she is stifled and feels burdened by sadness. She finds a little solace in expressing herself artistically through music. It’s simple but it works.

This scene in particular is one that always stood out to me, and thankfully it’s one of the clips uploaded by one of those very helpful Simpsons Youtube channels that come around once in a blue moon.

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The Less I Know The Better

What is it about the high school setting that is so appealing to revisit in mainstream film, television, and music? Is it the fact that we are a part of a nostalgic culture, and our teens are the first period in our life that we can all (mostly) remember?

Whatever the appeal of that narrative and general aesthetic is, it’s a setting that is often returned to in popular art. Tame Impala’s 2015 album Currents wasn’t a huge hit for me, but after seeing their music video for The Less I Know The Better I have listened to that song hundreds of times. It’s one of the rare occasions where a video doesn’t just compliment the song, but expands on it. While I’m late to the party with this (it was released in November ’15), I felt the need to write something about it, and try to somehow nail down what makes it so riveting. Continue reading →