For the final review until March 24th is The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #17 entitled My Sister, My Sitter. This episode first aired March 2nd 1997. I viewed this episode at home on DVD, Saturday February 27th 2010 by myself. The couch gag for this episode features the furniture sitting on the deck of a storm tossed ship. The family enters frame dressed in yellow Gorton’s Fisherman style rain slickers and sit on the couch. A wave engulfs them and only the TV floats back to the surface.
An Eye on Springfield report has Kent Brockman highlighting Springfield’s newest idea, ripped off from Baltimore, which is a refurbished water front. The local businesses are planning to have a gala event for its grand reopening. Meanwhile Lisa tries to get her babysitting business off the ground. As she is only eight years old it is slow to start off but she quickly builds a customer base and shows how responsible she is. When the gala at the waterfront finally rolls around Marge and Homer are unable to get a babysitter because of Bart’s infamy among the sitters of Springfield. Instead they leave Lisa in charge. At first she revels in the responsibility of being in charge of her older brother but that soon changes.
Bart subjects Lisa to increasingly more disruptive behavior as the night goes on. This culminates in Bart accidently dislocating his arm after falling down the stairs followed by a self induced concussion. Lisa insists that they take Bart to the doctor but he refuses. He wants to preserve the evidence for when their parents get home so that Lisa will never babysit again. When Bart loses consciousness and 911 refuses to take Lisa seriously because of an earlier call related to a leprechaun fight, Lisa decides to take Bart via wheelbarrow to Dr. Nick’s no questions asked clinic. Upon arrival Lisa discovers that the wheelbarrow line at the clinic is surprisingly long and seeks help elsewhere.
While Lisa is being questioned on the side of the road by Chief Wiggum Bart’s unconscious body rolls down a steep embankment. The oafish cop sees nothing, leaves, and Lisa rides the wheelbarrow down the embankment after her injured brother. Suddenly she is bathed in spotlights from the nearby waterfront revealing her babysitting misadventure to the entire town. Bart is treated for his injuries and apologizes to Lisa for ruining her babysitting business. Just then Lisa receives two phone calls, one from Dr. Hibbert and the other from Ned Flanders, asking her to babysit in spite of what occurred. And so, as usual in Springfield, expedience wins out over good judgment.
Once again it pains me to do so but I must give this episode the lowest rating of one. The plot is simplistic and while consistent and well paced it feels more like a string of jokes than a story that is moving forward and driving us to a central point. Viewed by itself this episode would be fine as it does offer plenty of chuckles but don’t expect the kind of laughs that make your ribs hurt. The problem is that when grouped in with top notch episodes it is left wanting. I believe that had this episode occurred in an earlier season the character development may have had much greater impact but by season eight we know Lisa pretty well and this story reveals nothing new about her.
This is unfortunate because Lisa is one of the more interesting characters in the series. Perhaps it would have been more effective if at the end of the story no one had been shocked by what happened. While they quickly get over it, why were they surprised in the first place? No babysitter can handle Bart Simpson, certainly not his little sister who he has a strong motivation to destroy. The ending may have been funnier if everyone had been proud of Lisa for surviving her ordeal with Bart at all. I’m not recommending that this episode be avoided but I am suggesting that it be among the first of season eight that one should view. Perhaps this episode would work better as an opening act.
The Simpsons Season 8 Episode #17: My Sister, My Sitter
Rating: 1 out of 5