Lisa the Simpson vs. Secret War of Lisa Simpson

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Both very late Oakley and Weinstein episodes centering Lisa and her character growth. Also both very polarizing. My pick goes to Lisa the Simpson. I’ve always loved it, while TSWOLS I never cared for, especially as a finale.
 

CousinMerl

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'Lisa The Simpson' it is for me. While not that much of a great episode, I never really understood the general dislike for 'Secret War Of Lisa Simpson' (seems like it is usually picked as one of the worst episodes of season 8) as I always liked that one and found it had a good Lisa plot and some quite nice moments and jokes, but 'Lisa The Simpson' I would still pick above it. It is more intriguing, the humor is better and has more standout scenes & also a funny (if extremely unrelated) subplot that spices it up.
 
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ManuelMaiden95

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Lisa the Simpson definetely. Probably the last one that feels like a classic era episode.
The Secret War of Lisa Simpson never made it for me and it definetely doesn't work as a final of the season episode.
 

Liks

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Well Lisa the Simpson is good but I always prefered The secret war of Lisa Simpson because it's way more funny and heartwarming than Lisa the Simpson (unpopular opinion I guess).
If you take off the B-plot of Lisa the Simpson the episode is kind of meh in term of laughs, except the scene with the explosions of buldings in TV. But the ending is sweet and we can relate to Lisa so it's good...... But The secret war of Lisa Simpson does the exact same thing and 10 times funnier.
But yeah, it always triggered me that TSWOLS is the final episode of season 8 whereas Spin-off Showcase talks about season 9 at the end lol, and by the way I also like this episode even some people dislike it.
 

Frankbags

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testing.....

I don't hate Lisa the Simpson but I sort of hate what the episode means for Bart. It just seems unfair that Bart is destined for a life of stupidity. That being said I still enjoy the showcase of unsuccessful simpsons males. While the Secret war of lisa simpson is not my favourite episode I think it's the superior episode.
 

Trab Pu Kcip

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I'm not a big fan of Secret War, however people like me do underrate it, and I do get their opinion, I mean with that funny megaphone part at the start, Secret War wasn't the worst episode at it's time of coming out, but Lisa The Simpson wins it here, as it does have more of an heartfelt approch, despite it's inaccurate ending.
 

Financial Panther

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I always really liked Secret War. A very sweet episode that really shows Bart and Lisa’s bond. Lisa the Simpson is fine, but I always preferred HOMR for Homer’s lack of intelligence explanation.
 

little_miss_springfield

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Lisa the Simpson for me. TSWOLS is a good episode but not anything special. Lisa's struggle with her identity here is very touching. She loves her family, but at the same time is horrified at the idea of being like them. Plus it has a lot of humor. Double plus it praises Yertle the Turtle, my favorite Dr. Seuss book.
 

Wile E. the Brain

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I'm in the minority but I've never cared for Lisa the Simpson. Yeah yeah, I get it, it's a metaphor about the decline of the show and I certainly can see it, but it's a case where the metaphor overshadows the actual plot which isn't well executed in my opinion, instead of the two of them going hand in hand. The Secret War of Lisa Simpson remains the superior one as far as I'm concerned, though a middle-of-the-road season 8 episode.
 
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ManuelMaiden95

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The Secret War of Lisa Simpson is in my opinion, and I know it's gonna be an unpopular opinion, one of the weakest episodes of the classic era.
For me it doesn't even feel like an episode of the Simpsons but more like any other family sitcom full of clichés that you know how the ending will be since the start of the episode.
Personally I don't think it's strong in the joke department either and worst of all, Lisa is completely mischaracterized, show would never join a military school no matter the motives.
It's not a bad episode and if you compare it with anything produced afterwards it's a well thought out episode, but my opinion still stands that it's one of the weakest in the first 8 seasons.
And I still don't understand why they decided to put it as the final episode since even those who like it agree it's a poor choice to close a season.
 

Evil Homer

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SWOLS is pretty forgettable to me aside from the first act. Lisa The Simpson was more memorable, so I'd go with that one
 

Crabtree

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I'm no great fan of Secret War, but it doesn't piss me off like Lisa the Simpson does. The argument that it's a meta-commentary about the show's decline just doesn't wash when there's no self-referential gestures in the episode itself to indicate that (unlike the continuity nods in Homer's Enemy, the writer's room in the Poochie episode, etc. I have a similar issue with Principal and the Pauper, though I mildly like that episode better than some.) Even if it is somehow a meta-commentary and Oakley & Weinstein's warning to Mike Scully, as some have theorized, it simply doesn't work due to its convoluted and contrived nature.

The Simpson Gene is a borderline, dare I say, eugenicist premise that cheapens our understanding of both Homer and Bart as characters. Homer can't simply a schlubby everyman failed by society, he has to some midichlorians-like gimmick to "explain" his stupidity. Bart meanwhile isn't even that stupid, as it has been established that despite being book-dumb he has street smarts - a certain level of cunning or craftiness, if you will - and he'd sure as hell be above unthinkingly eating melted chocolate off the floor like a pig. Episodes like Bart the Genius that suggest he is an outside-the-box thinker who simply doesn't fit society's view of what "smart" is feel more complex and challenging to me.

The conclusion of the episode is simply a ludicrous contrivance. What are we to make of the comment at the end that the "defective Simpson gene is on the Y chromosome, so only men are affected"? Forget the fact that the scene is a blatant exposition dump, scored to treacly music, and that this woman who we've never seen before and will never see again somehow conveniently knows that much about the gene - Lisa's gender didn't even come up as part of her internal conflict for the majority of the episode, but now she's saved from stupidity because of it? Hooray, women are smart and men are stupid? Is that what the episode was about? Lisa remains ashamed of Homer and Bart at the end, only embracing her father because of the Simpson gene, leaving their earlier tiff unsatisfyingly resolved. Homer and Bart's angered response to Lisa's outburst that she doesn't want to turn out like them is perfectly understandable, and yet Goldreyer's script paints them as villains anyway. Had the episode's sympathy been split more evenly between the Simpsons, the conflict might have felt more natural, but much of the episode's focus have been so Lisa-centric (other than the Frostilicus stuff, largely extraneous), and Homer and Bart's characterization so facile and one-dimensional, that this attempt at a "heartwarming" moment is shallow and unearned.

Give me the ending to Lisa's Wedding over this any day - in that one, Lisa decides she loves her father for who he is, and not because of some implausible genetic defect he has that will absolutely guarantee success for her no matter what.

Don't always agree with Dennis Perkins, but his review is worth reading: https://www.avclub.com/lisa-fears-she-s-slipping-on-a-simpsons-in-fact-slipp-1798185654

EDIT: Probably should've posted this in the R&R thread for Lisa the Simpson, huh? Ah well. Guess I should say a quick word on Secret War, but I spent most of my energy writing the above paragraphs, so I'll just link to TheRealJims' review instead.
 
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