[1F17] Lisa's Rival

Lisa's Rival                                             Written by Mike Scully
                                                      Directed by Mark Kirkland
Production code: 1F17                       Original airdate in N.A.: 11-Sep-94
                                                  Capsule revision F, 21-Jul-96

Title sequence

Blackboard :- No one is interested in my underpants.
              No one is interested in my under/ at cutoff.

Lisa's Solo:- None due to shortened intro.

Couch      :- OFF swims onto the scene as though the carpet is a surface
              of water.  They climb out onto the couch dripping wet.

Did you notice...

    ... Homer holding up one hand and one finger to represent "five"?
    ... how bored Skinner is at the audition?
    ... Mr. Largo applauds Lisa's second piece?
    ... Principal Skinner calls Homer "Simpson"?
    ... Homer takes the bus on his door-to-door sugar selling rather
        than driving?
    ... the announcer for Lisa's band sounds like Casey Kasem?
    ... the autographed photo of Bleeding Gums Murphy in Alison's room?

Matthew Kurth:

    ... OFF has a cellular phone?  (as opposed to a cordless phone)
    ... the sugar is in a tanker truck?  (like gas and milk is
        transported in)
    ... there's an ad for Laramie Jr. cigarettes on the back cover of
        "Bad Boy's Life"?
    ... Alison answers the question without being called on?
    ... Bart carries a tape recorder with him?
    ... Homer has a bee land on his eye?
    ... Bart draws himself and Lisa as stick figures with pointy hair,
        but puts no hair on Alison?
    ... the other students at Diorama-rama have sheets of plastic to
        protect them from the "Grapes of Wrath"?
    ... Milhouse tapes together his glasses after jumping from the dam?
    ... the Springfield Elementary gym floor has a trap door in it?
        (Wouldn't that would make quite a "dead spot" on the floor?)

Aaron Varhola:
    ... the clock in Lisa's room at the start of the episode says 11:45?
    ... Lisa and Bart discuss their devious plan at 9:00?

Dave Hall:
    ... Homer's butt sticking out of the water during the couch scene?
    ... the squeaking sound as Homer cleans his ear during the couch
    ... there is film in Marge's camera still?
    ... Marge's shoe play?
    ... Maggie is left handed?
    ... how large Marge's pillow is?
    ... Marge is reading "Love in the Time of Scurvy"?
    ... how dark Marge's lipstick is in her fantasy?
    ... Marge's necklace is white in her fantasy?
    ... Rod and Todd are playing Noah's Ark?
    ... all of Miss Hoover's class seem to be right handed?
    ... Sherri and Terri are playing jump rope with another girl?
    ... Alison wears black strapless shoes?
    ... Alison places her sandwich on the bench?
    ... Bart & Homer are driving on the wrong side of the road?
    ... Homer needs two hands to eat a single slice of pizza?
    ... Lisa sways her hips when she suggests Marge be nicer to
        Principal Skinner?
    ... Homer's spoon sticks to his food?
    ... Homer even draws two hair strands in his picture on the sugar
    ... Lisa eats with both hands?
    ... we see both Lisa and Alison take only one bite out of their
    ... Lisa has seven awards and trophies?
    ... John Oates wasn't drawn with an overbite in Lisa's fantasy?
    ... Otto isn't wearing his headphones in Lisa's fantasy?
    ... the second necklace on Lisa's dresser?
    ... the English chap's pinkie finger prominently sticking out as he
        sipped his tea?
    ... the Happy Little Elf in Lisa's bookcase?
    ... Bart draws a house with a curved door top?  (Too bad he didn't
        draw Mr. Sun.)
    ... Lisa has taken down her Ban Apartheid poster?  (See older

Tony Hill:
    ... Flanders can't tell a sax from a trumpet?
    ... Homer eats sugar with his trowel?
    ... Art Garfunkel holds a tambourine?
    ... the metronome switch in the diorama is upside down?
    ... Miss Hoover and Hans Moleman are similar in appearance?
    ... Homer loses $40 by skipping work?  Does this mean he makes only
    ... the tea drinker has the same voice of the waiter ("chowder")
        from "The Boy Who Knew Too Much"?

Rick Diamant:
    ... Hans' car crashes but _doesn't_ explode this time?

Don Del Grande:
    ... "Farmer Homer's Sweet Sweet Sugar" bag has a leak in it?
    ... Lisa's room has venetian blinds?
    ... the woman on the cover of "Love in the Time of Scurvy" looks
        like Marge with long, flowing (blue) hair?
    ... Lisa taps her foot while playing her sax in her audition?  [not
        with the beat, either - ed]
    ... just about all of Lisa's awards in her room are for music?
    ... in the scene where Homer is guarding the sugar, when Marge turns
        her head to the right, her hair is lined up the same way as a
        tree in Flanders' yard?

Ricardo Lafaurie:
    ... Marge rests on a pillow reading her book?
    ... one of Marge's shoes was hanging off her foot?
    ... Marge generously endows herself in her fantasy, IYKWIM?
    ... Allison sits in the back?  (I thought the geeks sat in the
    ... Hans was peeling the "How am I driving?" sticker off his truck?
    ... Allison's father has a Ph.D.?
    ... Grieg's "Morning" plays to open Act III?

James Curry:
    ... the copies of Mr. Burns' "Will There Ever Be a Rainbow?" book
        near Homer and Mindy at the Energy Convention?

Voice credits

- Starring
    - Dan Castellaneta (Homer, pirate, Abe, Hans Moleman)
    - Julie Kavner (Marge)
    - Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Rod, Todd, Ralph, Nelson)
    - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
    - Hank Azaria (Agent 1, concert announcer, Tommy Lee Jones, sugar
      thief, beekeeper 2)
    - Harry Shearer (Skinner, Flanders, Mr. Largo, Agent 2, Mr. Taylor,
      Casey Kasem, beekeeper 1)
- Special Guest Voice
    - Winona Ryder (Alison Taylor)
- Also Starring
    - Pamela Hayden (Jimbo, Milhouse)
    - Maggie Roswell (Hoover)
    - Russi Taylor (Sarah the bully, Martin, Uter, Sherri)

Movie (and other) references

    Poe's "William Wilson" {ert}
    - said man meets someone much like himself, becomes his rival,
      similar to Lisa and Alison
  + Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera"
    - Marge's book's title a pun on this book
    singer/superhunk Fabio
    - some resemblance between pirate in Marge's fantasy and him
  + "Boy's Life" {rl}
    - "Bad Boy's Life" looks similar, has similar name
  + "Beverly Hillbillies" {mk}
    - the line "White Gold, Texas Tea"
    Beavis & Butt-head {av}
    - Jimbo yelling 'Yes!' after Mr. Largo liked his tambourine playing
      (like Butt-head)
  + "Sibling Rivalry" song from the Simpsons album {mk}
    - Bart using a fake spider to antagonize Lisa
  + Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run"
    - title of Lisa's band's song: "Born to Runner-up"
  + "The Fugitive"
    - Milhouse jumping off dam to escape Tommy Lee Jones lookalike
    - Jones saying, "I don't care!"
  + "Scarface"
    - Homer with Spanish accent: "First you get the sugar, then you get
      the power, then you get the women" just like Al Pacino
  + "Batman" TV series
    - "To the Beemobile!"
    - mannerisms of first beekeeper similar to Adam West's {mk}
  + "The Wizard of Oz" [again!  - ed]
    - the sugar melting scene, plus Homer's dialog
  + "Gallagher" {tf}
    - Gallagher squishes food with a mallet and gives the audience
      plastic sheets, just like Nelson did
  + Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"
    - Lisa hearing the metronome and being racked with guilt, just like
      the man in the story
    - her line "It's the beating of that hideous heart!" similar {rl}

Previous episode references

- [8F13] "No matter how good you are, there's always someone better"
  spoken by Marge this time {av}
- [8F22] Martin's lute appears {dh}
- [9F09], [9F13] An animal heart is seen {rl}
- [9F13] Bart and heart jokes {av}
- [9F13] Ralph tells Lisa "Leave me alone!"  {rl}
- [9F17] The blackboard scene is recycled {rl}
- [1F02] Homer repeatedly wants to roll pig in carpet and toss of bridge
  (cf. Bart and hose-wetting of Alison)
- [1F04] Uter the foreign exchange student appears
- [1F19] Grieg's "Morning" plays {rl}

Freeze frame fun

- Number on sugar truck: "How Am I Driving? 1-800 555-3872" {mk}
- Homer's sugar bag: "Farmer Homer's Sweet Sweet Sugar" {mk}
    - picture of Homer wearing a hat and holding a pitchfork
- "Bad Boy's Life" depicts bullies beating up a boy {dh}
- Alison has over 61 awards and trophies {dh}
- slo-mo through Ralph's fall seems to reveal him tripping over his own
  feet {dh}
- the beekeepers worked for Goldsboro's Honey {mk}

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

We shouldn't hear Skinner's voice when Bart is holding the cellular
telephone.  {dh}

Lisa doesn't normally have a bookshelf over her bed, but Bart does.
However, in this episode he doesn't.  {dh}

Marge's fantasy romance hero originally has two earrings.  {dh}

Alison is eating a sandwich, but she doesn't have anything to carry it
in.  {dh}

Alison's sandwich changes shape when she puts it down.  {dh}

Why does Lisa have a paper bag instead of her lunchbox (either her red
one or her Happy Little Elves one)?  {ddg}

It would be very, very impractical to ship sugar in a tanker truck.

The sugar truck is overturned, not "jackknifed" as Homer says.  (A
jackknifed truck would still be standing "upright", only two of its
pieces would be pointing in different directions.)  {ddg}

Marge's towel disappears when she bends down to talk to Lisa.  {dh}

Skinner's house changes style -- again.  {dh}

Marge implies Homer missed work on a Thursday.  So why was Skinner at
home and not at school?

Homer makes $40/day at the plant - how does he manage to raise three
children on $10,000 a year?  {ddg}

Alison's necklace disappears when Sarah shoves her, but reappears in the
next shot with the trio of assailants.  {mk}

In the first shot, Bart's tape recorder appears to use full size
cassettes.  In the second shot, it appears to use micro-cassettes.  {mk}

Homer's dollar bill has a rip in the upper left corner on the front, but
no such tear from the reverse angle.  {mk}

The four members of Lisa's band magically appear on stage.

The crumpled paper disappears when Lisa throws it behind Bart.  {dh}

Lisa doesn't have the red ball when she enters Alison's bedroom {dh}

Bart's diagram disappears from Lisa's hand.  {dh}

The backyard establishing shot shows Homer's sugar pile beside the house
and tree, yet the next scene shows this pile on the other side of the
yard.  {dh}

The tree with the treehouse is missing when Homer talks to Marge.  {dh}

Lisa's fan doesn't seem to have a power cord.  {dh}

In the first shot of Homer with the beekeepers, the bees are flying
_away_ from the sugar pile.  {mk}

The grape juice stains vanish from Skinner's clothing.  {dh}

The overhead duct in the gym from 1F18 is visible behind Skinner in the
gym.  {mk}

As the camera tilts from the floor to Lisa's face, her legs are close
together, but for the zoom shot that follows, her legs are spread apart.

If Lisa and Alison are "the best of friends" at the end, where does that
leave Lisa and Janey?  {ddg}


Michael Zey: Well, it was an O.K. episode.  The sugar subplot was pretty
    lame.  I still can't figure out what they were trying to do with it.
    The rest of it was funny.

Rod Arz: It was OK.  I liked the sugar sub-plot.  I also loved every
    part with Ralph Wiggum.  He has replaced Lionel Hutz as my favorite
    secondary character.  I didn't like the part with Marge's fantasies,
    that was not funny at all.  It was a good episode though.

Dave Hall: Some good bits, but IMHO I felt it could have been better.  I
    didn't find the subplot with Homer all that funny, and Lisa should
    have had more screen time.  The Milhouse/The Fugitive reference was
    too obvious for myself.  However, I liked Alison Taylor.  (Though I
    do feel she looks too similar to Laura Powers.)

Michael A. Cuff: I thought "Lisa's Rival" was HILARIOUS!  The sugar bit
    was the sort of abstract humor I love.  Sometimes these things come
    out of nowhere, but are still damn funny.

Matthew Kurth: Definitely a great Lisa episode.  Lisa vs. Alison was
    well portrayed, Marge's fantasizing was great.  Lisa's fainting and
    Homer's loss and learning from the sugar saved it from being a
    worthless subplot.  Not enough was made of Alison's appearance,
    though, and there still wasn't a lot of emotion.  Excellent. 8/10

Ted Frank: Not a great episode by any stretch of the imagination, it was
    more a mishmosh of a lot of subplots, some funnier than others,
    others overplayed.  [...] You could tell it was the last episode of
    the season, and the writers threw in everything that couldn't make
    it into its own episode.

Elson Trinidad: I loved "Lisa's Rival!"  It seemed to dash by fairly
    quickly.  The Ralph Wiggum Star Wars "diorama" had me ROTFL.

Tony Hill: This episode was basically flat, which we all know is what
    brokers say when the market goes down.  The main plot could have
    been much better handled.  The sublot was almost completely
    implausible, even for Homer.  [...] I give it a C.

Don Del Grande: B-; more consistently funny than "Bart of Darkness",
    although not by much.  And what happens to Alison now?

Yours truly: Ehh.  It was cute, but the sugar subplot was a bit
    implausible.  Still, it worked OK for me.  I like the hose-fixated
    Bart just like Homer fixated on rolling the pig up in a carpet in
    1F02; nice subtle continuity.  C+.

Comments and other observations

"Are you a pirate?"

Some readers thought that the pirate having an earring in his right ear
    then responding to Marge somewhat uncomfortably with "Kind of..."
    meant that he was homosexual.  (In North America, some claim that an
    earring in a man's right ear is an indication of homosexuality, but
    this is certainly not true in all cases.)

America's Most Wanted

Tony Hill explains, "America's Most Wanted premiered in early 1988 and
    immediately roped in one of the FBI's ten most wanted.  Soon after,
    others from this list were captured as well.  Viewers call
    800-CRIME-94 (the last digits change with the year) when they spot
    one of the show's wanted fugitives.  The number apprehended so far
    is given on every episode.  It's well into the hundreds by now.  The
    show is also notable for being the former occupant of OFF's Sunday
    night at eight time slot."

Avis, Garfunkel, Oates, Messina

Tony Hill writes of Avis, "The employee-owned company has long marketed
    itself with the idea that when you're number 2, you try harder.
    IMHO, it's true.  Moreover, I don't know of their celebrity
    spokesperson being charged with double murder."  He also points out
    that Art Garfunkel, John Oates, and Jim Messina has much less
    spectacular singing careers than the people they duoed with: Paul
    Simon, Daryl Hall, and Kenny Loggins.

Goldsboro's Honey

Tony Hill says, "This is a reference to singer Bobby Goldsboro, who had
    a #1 hit in 1968 with `Honey (I Miss You).'"

Anagrams of "Jeremy Irons"

The name is not very anagrammable.  Some people came up with were:

    - Is on my jeer {ert}
    - Jerry is omen {tf}
    - Rye miser Jon {tf}
    - I, Mr. sneer joy
    - Mr. enjoys ire
    - See my iron, J.R.!  {ry}
    - Jersey minor {tdr}

Quotes and Scene Summary

[Syndication cuts are marked in curly braces "{}" and are courtesy of
Frederic Briere and Ricardo Lafaurie.]

Lisa practices scales on her saxophone in her room when Bart enters.

   Bart: Lisa, will you keep it down?  I'm making a crank phone call to
         Principal Skinner.
Skinner: [on phone] Well, as a matter of fact, my refrigerator _wasn't_
         running.  You've spared me quite a bit of spoilage: thank you,
         anonymous young man.
   Bart: D'oh!
   Lisa: It's my room, and I can do what I want.
   Bart: Oh yeah?  Well I can do what I want in _my_ room.
          [walks off into his room, starts kicking wall]
   Lisa: Bart, quit it!
   Bart: [reading "Bad Boy's Life"] I can keep this up _all day_.
-- A man of his word, "Lisa's Rival"

Lisa heads to the garage to play in peace, but Homer is already there.

Homer: Lisa, stop the racket.  I'm trying to fix your mother's camera.
        [holds drill to it, with hammer poised above it]
       Now, easy...easy...[hits it; it smashes]
       Hmm...I'm going to need a bigger drill.
-- The Time-Life series on camera repair, "Lisa's Rival"

Inside the house, Maggie colors with some magic markers while Marge
reads a romance novel.  She begins daydreaming about being on a ship
with a tanned, muscular fellow.

 Marge: My, these seas are certainly heaving.
Pirate: Well, no more than your bountiful bosom, [sly] milady.
 Marge: [laughs rakishly] Does that earring mean you're a pirate?
         [refers to earring in pirate's right ear]
Pirate: Kinda.  Ah, the seas have quieted.  And only in the sweet
        embrace of quietude can two lovers truly be --
         [Lisa starts playing her sax]
        Ooh, such noise!  Well, _I'm_ done for the evening.
         [Marge comes back to reality]
 Marge: Mmm!  Lisa, stop blowing my sex.  I mean, stop blowing your sax,
        your sax.  Stop it.
  Lisa: Mom, I'm auditioning for first chair in the school band and I've
        got to practice!
 Marge: I'm sorry, but I sacrificed a very expensive camera just to get
        some quiet time.
-- The price she pays, "Lisa's Rival"

Even Maggie can't stand the noise: she plugs her ears with pacifiers.
"Fine, I'll play outside," Lisa says sullenly.

          {[the sound of Lisa's saxophone can be heard outside]}
Flanders: {Hey, what -- that sounds like Gabriel's trumpet.  You know
          what that means, kids!}
Rod+Todd: {Yay!  Judgment Day!}
-- Trumpet, saxophone: whatever, "Lisa's Rival"

In Miss Hoover's class, the children are writing a quiz.

Hoover: Forty-five seconds till pencils down.
 Ralph: [whispering] Lisa, what's the answer to number seven?
  Lisa: [whispering] Sorry, Ralph.  That would defeat the purpose of
        testing as a means of student evaluation.
 Ralph: [pause] My cat's name is Mittens.
-- Followups set to alt.non.sequitur, "Lisa's Rival"

Miss Hoover counts down the last three seconds until pencils down as the
students groan.

Hoover: Now, here's an oral extra-credit question.  What was Christopher
        Columbus actually looking for when he discovered America?
  Lisa: [puts her hand up] Ooh!  Ooh!
Hoover: Anyone besides Lisa for a change?
 Ralph: [puts his hand up] Ooh!  Ah!
Hoover: [nonplussed] Ralph, this better not be about your cat.
 Ralph: [puts his hand down] Oh.
Hoover: Oh, all right, Lis --
Alison: Columbus was looking for a passage to India.
Hoover: Correct, Alison!  And on your very first day in our class.
Alison: And, during a subsequent voyage, Columbus found what is now the
        continent of South America.
Hoover: Yowie...
  Lisa: I never made Miss Hoover "yowie"...
-- The grade two appraisal system, "Lisa's Rival"

At lunch time, Lisa approaches Alison, who is seated on a bench eating a

  Lisa: Hi, Alison, I'm Lisa Simpson.  Oh, it's great to finally meet
        someone who converses above the normal eight-year-old level.
Alison: Actually, I'm seven.  I was just skipped ahead because I was
        getting bored with the first grade.
  Lisa: You're younger than me too?
         [look worried, starts breathing into her paper lunch bag]
Alison: Are you hyperventilating?
  Lisa: No...I just like to smell my lunch.
-- No snouts and entrails there, "Lisa's Rival"

  Lisa: Gee, I never met anyone who's skipped a grade before.
Alison: I'm surprised you haven't been skipped.  You're obviously smart
  Lisa: Well, I'm sure I could have, but, heh, I'd hate to leave behind
        my wonderful friends.
 Sarah: [walking up] Out of the way, brain queen!
         [pushes Lisa over]
  Lisa: [chuckling sheepishly] Hey Sarah.
-- Not exactly debating team material, "Lisa's Rival"

  Lisa: Well, I gotta go.  I have to practice for band auditions.
Alison: Me too!  Hey, what instrument do you play?
  Lisa: The sax.
Alison: Me too!
  Lisa: I'm going for first chair this year.
Alison: Me too!
  Lisa: Wow!  [disingenuous] We have so much in common, I'm sure we'll
        be the best of friends...
Alison: Me too.
  Lisa: [weakly] Me too...
-- Ralph's cat would say "Me three", "Lisa's Rival"

In the car, Homer eats a slice of pizza with both hands while Bart

 Bart: Hurry up and finish eating!
Homer: You're steering fine, boy.  Hard to the right!
 Bart: Oh!
Homer: Hard to the left!
 Bart: Oh!
Homer: Cat!  Deer!  Old man!
  Abe: [diving out of the way] Aah!
Homer: Jackknifed sugar truck!  [gasps] Sugar?
        [skids to halt; Hans Moleman stands outside the truck]
Homer: Don't worry, buddy.  Here's a quarter; call for help at the
       nearest phone.  I'll keep an eye on things here.
 Hans: If only this sugar were as sweet as you, sir.  [walks off]
 Bart: Homer, that was downright decent of you.
Homer: We've hit the jackpot here!  White gold, Texas tea!  ...
-- Something like that, anyway, "Lisa's Rival"

Homer shovels sugar into the trunk.

 Bart: Dad, isn't this stealing?
Homer: Read your town charter, boy.  "If foodstuff should touch the
       ground, said foodstuff shall be turned over to the village
       idiot."  Since I don't see him around...start shoveling!
-- He's with the comely lasses of virtue true, "Lisa's Rival"

Homer fills the car all the way up, which gives Bart trouble breathing.

Back at home, Marge continues her pirate daydream.

Marge: [sighs dreamily]
 Lisa: Mom?
Marge: What?  What?
 Lisa: Why am I still rotting away in the second grade instead of being
       skipped ahead?
Marge: I dunno honey, I guess that's the school's decision to make.
 Lisa: Well, did you ever talk to anyone at the school?  Make a few
       calls on my behalf?  Maybe you could have been "nicer" to
       Principal Skinner, if ya know what I mean.
Marge: Lisa!  ...I _am_ nice.
-- Marge avoids the question, "Lisa's Rival"

At the dinner table that night...

Marge: Homer, I really appreciate you making dinner, but this food
       tastes a little strange.
 Lisa: It hurts my teeth.
Homer: That's because I've loaded it with sugar!
        [holds up bag containing "Farmer Homer's Sweet Sweet Sugar"]
       Marge, our ship has come in!  I found five hundred pounds of
       sugar [to Bart, sly] in the forest [to Marge] that I'm going to
       sell directly to the consumer!  All for a low, low price of one
       dollar per pound.
Marge: But the grocery store sells sugar for thirty-five cents a pound.
 Lisa: And it doesn't have nails and broken glass in it.
Homer: Those are prizes!  [eats a mouthful] Ooh, a blasting cap.
-- Don't bite down too hard, now, "Lisa's Rival"

The day of the school band auditions arrives.  Uter, the foreign
exchange student, plays his mountain horn.

 Largo: It's your turn, Jimbo.
 Jimbo: [steps up with tambourine, hits it once] Unh!
 Largo: Hmm, someone's been practicing over the summer.  Welcome aboard.
 Jimbo: Yes!  [walks off, hits Martin in the head with tambourine]
Martin: Ow!  My lute!  [he drops it, breaking it]
 Largo: [not caring] Mm hm.
-- Sympathy for the lute, "Lisa's Rival"

Mr. Largo calls Lisa up to audition for first chair, saxophone.  Lisa
plays a little ditty, tapping her foot to the beat.  "Mmm, very nice.
Now, Alison Taylor, also trying for first chair saxophone," calls Mr.
Largo.  Alison Steps up and plays something slightly more difficult-
sounding.  "Oh, this is a _very_ tough decision, girls," Mr. Largo
grins, "You're both very good."

Alison ups the ante and plays some more up-beat jazz, to which the
assembled audience of children claps.  "Well," chuckles Mr. Largo, "I
guess that clinches that -- " but Lisa responds in kind with her own up-
beat improvisation.  The children applaud her, too.

It turns into "Duelling Saxophones," with Lisa and Alison playing over
each other trying to outdo each other as the children get up and dance.
They both hold a long loud note and start turning red; Lisa loses her
breath and passes out, falling off the stage.

 Lisa: [opening her eyes]
Largo: Oh!  That was a close one, Lisa, but you made it.
 Lisa: [happy] I won first chair?
Largo: No, you regained consciousness.  Alison got first chair.
 Lisa: [screams, passes out again]
        [opens her eyes]
       Oh, it was just a dream...
Largo: Oh!  That was a close one, Lisa, but you made it.
 Lisa: [happy] I won first chair?
Largo: No, you regained consciousness.  Alison got first chair -- and
       believe me, this is _not_ a dream!
 Lisa: [screams]
-- Largo's people skills, "Lisa's Rival"

[End of Act One.  Time: 7:25]

Marge dries the dishes in the kitchen.  Lisa enters.

 Lisa: I need help, Mom.  There's another girl at school who's smarter,
       younger, and a better sax player than me.  Ew, I feel so average.
Marge: Well, you'll always be number one to me --
 Bart: [walking past] Ahem, hello...first born within earshot.
Marge: Mmm, I meant my number-one girl --
        [Maggie tugs on Marge's dress]
       Oh, for cry -- mmm.  Honey, if you get too competitive, you'll
       never be happy.  No matter how good you are, there's always going
       to be someone better than you.  {I always thought I had the
       tallest hair, but that trip to Graceland really opened my eyes.}
 Lisa: But she's better than me at everything that makes me special!
Marge: Oh, believe me honey, she's more scared of you than you are of
 Lisa: [sullen] You're thinking of bears, Mom.
-- "Lisa's Rival"

{Homer goes door-to-door trying to sell his sugar.}

  Homer: {[ringing doorbell] Sugar man!  [eats some from the bag]}
Skinner: {Door-to-door sugar?  [chuckles] What a marvelous idea.
          [Skinner's mother calls] What's that mother?  ...I'm just
         talking to the sugar man!  ...Mother, I'm a big boy, I can do
         as I wish!
          [to Homer] Excuse me.  [slams door]
          [opens door] Thanks a lot, Simpson, now I'm grounded!}
-- Perils of living with your parents, "Lisa's Rival"

There's another quiz in Miss Hoover's class.

 Ralph: [whispers] Hey, Alison: what's the answer to number nine?
Alison: [whispers] I can't tell you, Ralph.
  Lisa: [whispers] I can't tell you either, Ralph.
 Ralph: [to Lisa] Leave me alone!
-- Snubbed by Ralph of all people, "Lisa's Rival"

Three of the bigger girls push Alison around at recess, calling her
brainiac, nerd, and geekazoid.  When they push her in the mud, Lisa
recalls how it used to be _her_ that got pushed around.

    Bart: I can't stand to see you so miserable, Lis...unless it's from
          a rubber spider down your dress.  Hmm, that gives me an idea.
           [pulls out pocket tape recorder, presses "record"]
          Note for later: put rubber spider down Lisa's dress.
           [turns back to Lisa, then as an afterthought, chuckles onto
          tape again]
          Hey, I know!  How about I dig up some dirt on Alison?
          Remember how I got Milhouse's picture on "America's Most
           [two agents in sunglasses drive up, see Milhouse]
 Agent 1: There he is on the monkey bars.
 Agent 2: Try to take him alive.
Milhouse: Oh no, not again!
-- Bart's bestest buddy, "Lisa's Rival"

Lisa declines Bart's offer as the agents crash through the fence and the
monkey bars and chase after the hapless Milhouse.

Lisa: I appreciate the offer, but it goes against every moral fiber in
      my body.
Bart: Suit yourself.  If you change your mind, here's my card.
Lisa: I don't need a card.  You live in the room next to me.
Bart: [into tape recorder] Note: next year, order fewer cards.
-- Dirt-finding business practice, "Lisa's Rival"

Homer describes his sugar-selling success to Marge.

Homer: And you didn't think I'd make any money.  I found a dollar while
       I was waiting for the bus.
Marge: While you were out "earning" that dollar, you lost forty dollars
       by not going to work.  The plant called and said if you don't
       come in tomorrow, don't bother coming in Monday.
Homer: Woo hoo!  A four-day weekend.
-- That should be five, surely?, "Lisa's Rival"

Lisa sits in her room and contemplates the trophies on her bookshelf.

     Lisa: Hey, I _am_ above average!  So what if Alison's ahead of me?
           There's no shame in being second.
Announcer: And now, Avis Rent-A-Car is proud to present the second best
           band in America.  Will you welcome Garfunkel, Messina, Oates,
           and Lisa singing their number two hit, "Born to Runner-up".
            [Audience boos]
     Lisa: Why would they come to our concert just to boo us?
-- Because you're number two?, "Lisa's Rival"

Bart walks in with a sheet of paper.

    Bart: Lis, I did some checking on this Alison character, and I know
          it's against all your moral fibers --
    Lisa: [grabs sheet] Give it to me.  [chuckles] Hey, wait!  There's
          nothing bad here.
    Bart: Yep, she's clean as a bean, but...I _did_ tip off the Feds as
          to the whereabouts of our good friend Milhouse.
           [Milhouse stands at the mouth of a large pipe with his hands
          up, facing an agent pointing a gun at him]
Milhouse: I'm telling you, I didn't do anything.
   Agent: I don't care.
Milhouse: [turns around, looks down, jumps...off a dam]
          Aah...[hits churning water at bottom] Ouch!  My glasses.
-- Priorities out of whack, "Lisa's Rival"

Lisa, meanwhile, crumples the paper compiled by Bart.

Lisa: [sigh] I've got to stop being so petty.  I should be Alison's
      friend, not her competitor.  I mean...she is a wonderful person...
Bart: Way to go, Lis.  I mean, why compete with someone who's just going
      to kick your butt anyway?
Lisa: [pause] I prefer my phrasing.
-- "Lisa's Rival"

Lisa confronts her demons and goes over to Alison's house.

Alison: It's great of you to come over, Lisa.  I really want us to be
  Lisa: You're a wonderful person.
Taylor: Hi, Lisa, I'm Alison's father, Professor Taylor.  I've heard
        great things about you.
  Lisa: Oh, really?  I --
Taylor: Oh, don't be modest.  I'm glad we have someone who can join us
        in our anagram game.
Alison: We take proper names and rearrange the letters to form a
        description of that person.
Taylor: Like, er...oh, I don't know, uh...Alec Guinness.
Alison: [thinks] Genuine class.
Taylor: Ho ho, very good.  All right, Lisa, um...Jeremy Irons.
  Lisa: [looks with consternation] Jeremy's...iron.
Taylor: Mm hmm, well that's...very good...for a first try.  You know
        what?  I have a ball.  [pulls one from his pocket] Perhaps you'd
        like to bounce it?
-- Lowering the level of difficulty, "Lisa's Rival"

The girls walk into Alison's room -- which is plastered with trophies
and awards.  One trophy gleams so brightly, Lisa has to turn her head
away and squint at it.  She walks over to Alison's desk and notices a
cardboard model.

  Lisa: What's this?
Alison: Oh, it's for the school diorama competition.
  Lisa: You're finished _already_?  But the competition isn't for weeks!
Alison: [smirks] Lisa, we're talking dioramas.  Who could wait?
-- The fascination of dioramas, "Lisa's Rival"

Alison explains her project.

Alison: I chose "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe.  See, this is
        the bedroom where the old man was murdered...and he's buried
        here under the floorboards.  Oh, and look, I used an old
        metronome to simulate the heartbeat that drove the killer
         [flicks a switch; the metronome ticks slowly]
        Ha ha, it's neat, huh?
  Lisa: [uncomfortable] Ha ha, it's great, it's really great.
         [she pulls out the ball, tries to bounce it, and drops it]
Taylor: Oh!  Got away from you, huh?  Well, you keep at it.
-- Murphy's Law with a vengeance, "Lisa's Rival"

[End of Act Two.  Time: 13:02]

The sun rises over Springfield as Homer sits outside with a club in
front of a mound of sugar.

Homer: [sleepy] Must...protect...sugar.  Thieves everywhere.  The strong
       must protect the sweet...the sweet...[snores]
Marge: [walking out] Homer?
Homer: [with a Spanish accent] In America, first you get the sugar, then
       you get the power, then you get the women...[snores]
Marge: Homer...Homer!
Homer: Wha...what?
Marge: I want you to forget about guarding the stupid sugar!  You're
       being completely paranoid.
Homer: Oh, am I?  Am I really?  Ah ha!
        [Pulls a man from behind the pile]
Thief: [holds teacup and saucer] Hello.
Homer: All right, pal: where'd you get the sugar for that tea?
Thief: I nicked it when you let your guard down for that split second,
       and I'd do it again.  [sips tea] Goodbye.
-- Homer Pacino defends his territory, "Lisa's Rival"

Homer pleads his case with Marge.

Homer: You see, Marge?  Do you see?
Marge: Homer, when are you going to give up this crazy sugar scheme?
Homer: Never, Marge!  Never.  I can't live the button-down life like
       you.  I want it all: the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the
       creamy middles.  Sure, I might offend a few of the bluenoses with
       my cocky stride and musky odors -- oh, I'll never be the darling
       of the so-called "City Fathers" who cluck their tongues, stroke
       their beards, and talk about "What's to be done with this Homer
Marge: Look, just get rid of the sugar, OK?
Homer: No!  [Marge leaves]
        [a swarm of bees lands on Homer and the sugar pile]
       Aah!  Hey, get off my sugar.  Bad bees!  Bad!  [gets stung]
       Ow.  Oww!  Oh, they're defending themselves somehow.
-- Yeah, they'll do that, "Lisa's Rival"

Bart walks into Lisa's room to see what she's doing.

     Lisa: Look, Bart.  It almost killed me, but I handcrafted all 75
           characters from Oliver Twist.  And now, the coup de grace: a
           bitter snowstorm.
            [turn on fan, sprinkles confetti]
Bart+Lisa: Ooh!
            [the diorama lifts up, then blows out the window]
     Bart: Uh oh.  [crash]
     Lisa: [with trepidation] Is it OK?
     Bart: Well...the important thing is, _we_ survived.
-- Small mercies, "Lisa's Rival"

Lisa: Oh, who am I kidding?  There's no _way_ I'm ever going to beat
Bart: Sure there is!  ...but it involves being a bit underhanded, a bit
      devious, a bit -- as the French say -- Bartesque.
Lisa: I'll do whatever it takes.
Bart: Then welcome to the nether regions of the soul.
-- No hyperbole in this household, "Lisa's Rival"

Bart closes Lisa's venetian blind and grabs a piece of paper and a

Bart: Now, here's what we do.  Tomorrow morning when Alison comes out of
      her house, we spray her with the hose -- soaking her from head to
      toe, leaving us relatively dry.
Lisa: "Relatively"?
Bart: Well, there's bound to be some splash-back.
Lisa: Bart, her being wet won't help me win the competition.
Bart: Well...we could just sabotage her diorama, humiliating her in
      front of the students and faculty.
Lisa: Perfect!
Bart: Leaving her primed for the most dramatic hose-soaking of her life!
Lisa: Enough with the hose!
-- A one-track mind, "Lisa's Rival"

At Goldsboro's Honey, two beekeepers discuss the day.

Beekeeper 1: Well, sure is quiet in here today.
Beekeeper 2: Yes, a little too quiet, if you know what I mean.
Beekeeper 1: Hmm...I'm afraid I don't.
Beekeeper 2: You see, bees usually make a lot of noise.  No noise --
             suggests no bees!
Beekeeper 1: Oh, I understand now.  Oh look, there goes one now.
Beekeeper 2: To the Beemobile!
Beekeeper 1: You mean your Chevy?
Beekeeper 2: Yes.
-- Again with the West/Ward jokes!, "Lisa's Rival"

The beekeepers track their bees down to Homer's sugar pile.

Beekeeper 1: Well, very clever, Simpson, luring our bees to your sugar
             pile and selling them back to us at an inflated price.
      Homer: Bees are on the what now?
Beekeeper 2: Simpson, you diabolical...we're willing to pay you $2000
             for the swarm.  [starts counting money]
      Homer: Deal!
              [thunder crashes, rain starts]
Beekeeper 1: Oh, wait a minute.  The bees are leaving.
      Homer: No!  My sugar is melting.  Melting!  Oh, what a world.
              [thief spits out his tea]
      Homer: [weeps] My sugar's gone...
      Marge: [walk out with umbrella] I'm sorry, Homey.
      Homer: It's OK, Marge.  I've learned my lesson.  A mountain of
             sugar is too much for one man.  It's clear now why God
             portions it out in those tiny packets, and why he lives on
             a plantation in Hawaii.
-- And Homer should know, too, "Lisa's Rival"

It's the big diorama contest day at Springfield Elementary.

Skinner: Ah, "Diorama-Rama", my favorite school event next to "Hearing-
         Test Thursday".
          [he and Miss Hoover walk up to Nelson's diorama]
 Hoover: "The Grapes of Wrath"?  I don't get it.
 Nelson: Here's the grapes...and here's the wrath!
          [pounds grapes with a mallet, soaking Skinner and Miss Hoover]
          [all the kids groan]
Skinner: [dismissive] Yes, yes, very good wrath.
-- Remarkable control of his temper, "Lisa's Rival"

Skinner: Ah, let's see: our foreign exchange student Uter has chosen
         "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".  I -- but this is just an
         empty box!
   Uter: [chocolate on his face and hands] I begged you to look at mine
         first...I begged you!
-- An eight-fold double-corrugated fourteen-gauge box, no less, "Lisa's

Bart walks in with a box covered by a sheet.

    Bart: Lisa, here is -- as the French say -- le fake diorama.  I'll
          create a diversion and you make the switch.
           [walks to center of gym]
          Hey everybody, whoa!  Look at me, I'm over here.  Turn this
          way right now!
  Sherri: Hey, it's Bart!
Milhouse: And he's doin' stuff!
           [everyone turns to look, fascinated]
           [Lisa grabs Alison's diorama, leaves the other one there, and
          hides Alison's in a trap door in the gym floor]
 Skinner: Bart, stop creating a diversion and get out of here!
           [Bart caws like a crow and leaves]
-- Quoth the raven, indeed, "Lisa's Rival"

Lisa and Bart give each other the thumbs-up.

  Hoover: OK, our next entry is "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Alison Taylor.
 Skinner: Mmm, I can't wait to see this.  [low voice] Be ready with the
           [pulls cover off to reveal bloody animal heart]
Children: Ew!
  Hoover: What _is_ it?
    Bart: [disguising his voice] It's a cow's heart.  [changing voices]
          They're trying to make a monkey out of you.  [Lisa smiles]
 Skinner: Alison, is this supposed to be some kind of joke?
  Alison: I didn't do that...I made a different one.
 Skinner: Oh, is that so, young lady?  Where is this "phantom diorama"?
  Alison: Uh, I don't know...
           [Lisa hears a heart beating, and looks worried]
 Skinner: Aw, at least have the guts to take the blame, girl.  You're
          only compounding your folly by lying about it.
    Bart: Right on!
 Skinner: Young lady, cow hearts belong in a butcher's window, not the
           [Lisa hears the heart getting louder, frets]
          Well, maybe in an older students' biology classroom, but
          that's none of my business.  Elementary school is where I
          wound up, and it's too late to do anything about that!
-- Losing track of the point, "Lisa's Rival"

Skinner confesses he's starting to regret having skipped Alison ahead,
and she sobs.  Meanwhile, the heartbeat is getting louder in Lisa's
ears.  She looks down to see the trap door beating too.  Alison sobs a
bit more, then Lisa loses it and screams.

   Lisa: Aah!  It's the beating of that hideous heart!
          [everyone looks at her]
         I mean, I think I hear something.
          [opens trap door, retrieves diorama]
         Why, here's Alison's real diorama.  It got misplaced...[laughs
         a bit] or so it would seem.
Skinner: Oh, well, that changes everything.  Let's have a look.
         [quietly to Miss Hoover] Get the ribbon ready.
          [pulls sheet off]
         Oh...a little...sterile...no _real_ insight.  What do you
         think, Miss Hoover?
 Hoover: Ehh.
          [Lisa gasps, looks at Alison]
Skinner: This has been a very disappointing day.  All right, on to Lisa
   Bart: You're a shoo-in now, Lis.
   Lisa: After the way I've behaved, I don't deserve to win.
Skinner: Well, this doesn't deserve to win.
   Lisa: What?
-- Just desserts, "Lisa's Rival"

Skinner: Ooh, now we're into the dregs.  Here's Ralph Wiggum's entry.
          [pulls sheet off]
         Pre-packaged "Star Wars" characters, still in their display
         box?  Are those the limited-edition action figures?
  Ralph: What's a diorama?
Skinner: Why it's Luke, and Obi-Wan, and my favorite, Chewie!  They're
         all here!  [to Miss Hoover] What do you think?
 Hoover: [bored] I think it's lunch time.
Skinner: We have a winner!
-- Nonbiased judging, "Lisa's Rival"

The children cheer as Lisa and Alison look at each other in disbelief.

After school, Lisa apologizes to Alison for her egregious behavior.

  Lisa: I'm really sorry about what I did, Alison.  It's no shame being
        second to you.
Alison: Thank you, Lisa.  You know, I'm actually kind of glad I lost.
        Now I know that losing isn't the end of the world.  Hey, you
        still think we can be friends?
  Lisa: Only if we're the best.
 Ralph: [skipping with his diorama] I beat the smart kids!  I beat the
        smart kids!  I -- [trips]
         [unhappy] I bent my Wookie.
  Lisa: Hey Ralph, want to come with me and Alison to play "Anagrams"?
Alison: We take proper names and rearrange the letters to form a
        description of that person.
 Ralph: My cat's breath smells like cat food.
-- "Smitten" by "Mittens", "Lisa's Rival"

The children walk off together.

[End of Act Three.  Time: 21:18]


   {ddg} Don Del Grande
   {tf}  Ted Frank
   {dh}  Dave Hall
   {th}  Tony Hill
   {mk}  Matthew Kurth
   {rl}  Ricardo Lafaurie
   {tdr} Tim Rice
   {ert} Elson R. Trinidad
   {av}  Aaron Varhola
   {ry}  Bob Yantosca
This episode summary is Copyright 1996 by James A. Cherry.  Not to be
redistributed in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes
themselves, of course, remain the property of The Simpsons, and the
reproduced articles remain the property of the original authors.  I'm
just taking credit for the compilation.)