The Simpsons: Lisa the Veterinarian Review

Lisa knows why the caged dog scoots. We’ve never seen an angel-dust-for-guns swap go so wrong.

This The Simpsons review contains spoilers.

The Simpsons: Season 27 Episode 15.

The Simpsons’s “Lisa the Veterinarian” is really a life or death episode. Lisa and Marge take on the tragedies of tragedy from opposite sides of the spectrum and still have time to cry and laugh. Bart gets to warn the residents of Springfield about the terrors of those tiny fish that swim up your weenie and Homer declares the ultimate demise of lakes and rivers. He also gets to test the strength of Walrus Grade lucite in an indoor water park.

Lisa goes into the animal hospital intern job with the best of intentions. She is still riding high from saving the life of a rascally raccoon that committed nature’s worst crime: coming inside. She applies the CPR she learned online and then applies for an internship in the cut-throat world of small-town veterinarianism. Well, it’s not exactly cut-throat and even if you stick a needle a millimeter off it makes no difference. Animal medicine is more an art than a science. It really is a perfect job for the young liberal vegetarian from Evergreen Terrace. She gave up meat because she couldn’t bear eating anything that had a face. Not even a bear. But The Simpsons believe that whenever a liberal gets what they wants, they become insufferable. This is a gentle rib at the people who work on the series themselves. Maybe someday Lisa will work at The Sam Simon Foundation, which was created by one of the creators of the Simpsons in order to save animals. Lisa is truly in her element at the animal clinic. She is such an eager beaver she is in danger of being on her way to becoming a people doctor. And so ends the moment being about Lisa.

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Michael York is a perfect Dr. Budgie, just as Dr. Budgie is a perfect name for a British veterinarian. Budgies were invented, after all, for the flying circus that called itself Monty Python. Sure they got the idea for the budgie from John Lennon’s “Fat Budgie” poem from his book A Spaniard in the Works. Lennon called his budgie Jeffrey, even though its name was Arthur, and the Beatle loved it more than he loved his own dad. York is a legendary actor who has a history of bringing wit to his serious roles. A product of Swinging London, York is best known for his roles in the film Cabaret and as the chaser in Logan’s Run. To truly appreciate York, you must see The Last Remake of Beau Geste, starring its director Marty Feldman, where he was first given free rein to explore his silly bones.

The best exchange tonight belonged to the now-elder statesman York. He tells Lisa to grab and clean smock and get started. Lisa informs him that there are no clean smocks, to which he suggests she get started by cleaning the smocks. After which he finds it too much a shame to dirty such a newly cleaned smock. Comedy triplets are part of humor 101 and The Simpsons are still able to find a new attack. I didn’t know ferrets were renowned for their musky musk, whenever I hear the word ferret, I still think of ferret-faced Major Frank Burns from M*A*S*H, who seemed to be the kind of officer who usually smelled clean, even if he couldn’t handle his chloroform.

Marge Simpson is a true domestic goddess with many, many skills. She can glaze a ham until it glows. She can repurpose a Chanel suit into a sporty jacket. But Marge really shines when you put a mop in her hand and point her to stains. Mary Hartman, from the seventies cult TV series Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, worried about waxy yellow buildup until it drove her to soap opera madness, but Marge knows no such detergent derangement. She could have been a spokesperson for the Mop ‘n’ Brag brand. It is sad to see her faith in the power of industrial strength household cleaners eroded by the bloated reminders of death and sex.

Chief Wiggum is becoming more humanized even as he becomes more lampooned. On the one hand, he really questions why he got into police work. He does it often and with increasing introspection. He has been secretly getting high with Homer to cope with the fears and corruption of small town police chiefery. On the other hand, he’s very quick to solve problems with a sidearm before they get a chance to snowball. Sadly, there is another hand, but it’s Lou’s and he’s using it to clean the snow out of the chief’s pendulous police baton, something the Academy doesn’t train you for, but should. It really should.

Wiggum is the one who talks Marge into the gig without a single reference to Sunshine Cleaning, the 2008 comedy starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, just a reminder that crime pays. What could go wrong? Cleanup scenes are safe. Everyone involved is already dead, or at least at large. Marge starts out as one of those people who don’t like being traumatized by horrifying sights and ends up lifeless as she becomes more accustomed to the grim reminders of inglorious death and all that that entrails, which also have to be cleaned up.

Poor Nelson, really poor Nelson, it’s not bad enough he finally realizes what he lost when he lost his first girlfriend, his tighty whities are rentals. But it was a classic moment when he shows up at Martin’s birthday party with an oversized box, with a bow no less, which he proceeds to fill with smaller presents. We all saw it coming, but were glad when it paid off. Otto gets blotto on vaporized non-chlorine fungicide. Krusty the Clown gets his seltzer comeuppance. Mr. Burns is shamed by Lisa who declares some people shouldn’t be allowed to own pets, if they can’t keep that urge to kill alive.

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“Lisa the Veterinarian” was a good episode, well-intentioned and briskly funny even if it had a bittersweet ending with Marge and Lisa both dying a little inside and Nibbles, hamster, father and friend to Springfield Elementary Schoolkids old and new, a lot inside and out. Flags will be flown at half assed.

“Lisa the Veterinarian” was written by Dan Vebber and directed by Steven Dean Moore. The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson and Nelson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Hank Azaria plays Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Chief Wiggum. Harry Shearer is Mr. Burns. Pamela Hayden plays Millhouse and Jimbo Jones. Guest voice: Michael York as Dr. Budgie.

But It All Went By So Fast: Chlorine Dreams Indoor Water Park, formerly Springfield Museum of Art. Blowhole Blast. Dyson Hair Pointer. Big and Tall Falls, must be this wide to enter. Upstream Extreme. Body Hair. Band Aid Filter. Urine Concentration. Rambunctious Tot. Boozy Australian. Meth Mom. Gas Backwards. Lionel Budgie, D.V.M. Not the DMV, that’s across the street.  All credit cards great and small. Not Discover. SLeEp-eAZY Motel, Rooms by the week, the hour and the minute. No Vacancy. Wife Irritation Level. Snuggle Likelihood. Hair: Unchanged. Dress: Unchanged. New Shoes: 23% Chance. GUESS! Martin, you and this banner are one year older. Happy Birthday. Chairman Meow, Walter Pidgeon. Mrs. Nibbles. Shelly Turtle. Sally Mander.



4 out of 5