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"Smoke on the Daughter"
The Simpsons episode
LisaInhales.jpg
Lisa inhales second-hand smoke.
Episode no. 415
Prod. code KABF08
Orig. airdate March 30, 2008
Show runner(s) Al Jean
Written by Billy Kimball
Directed by Lance Kramer
Couch gag Wile E. Coyote paints a fake couch on the wall which the Simpsons run into.

"Smoke on the Daughter" is the fifteenth episode of The Simpsons' nineteenth season. It was broadcast on March 30, 2008,[1] and was written by Billy Kimball, and directed by Lance Kramer. Lisa becomes a ballerina at an academy and discovers her natural talent is enhanced by second hand cigarette smoke. Meanwhile, Homer shows Bart his secret room where he has secretly been making beef jerky and is torn when a family of raccoons steal it.[1] During the first broadcast, the episode was watched by 7.10 million people.[2]

Contents

Plot

While watching TV, Marge sees a commercial for a ballet academy, and reveals to Lisa that she had always wanted to become a ballet dancer. Lisa encourages Marge to follow her dream, and she auditions for Chazz Busby's ballet academy. Marge makes a few mistakes during her try out, but Busby still lets her pass. Meanwhile, Homer takes Bart to the basement and introduces him to a secret room in which Homer has been making beef jerky. When Marge keeps dancing poorly, Busby throws her out. When Lisa argues his decision, Busby notices Lisa's posture is perfect for a ballerina, and asks her to join his academy. Marge accepts the offer on Lisa's behalf. No matter how hard she practices, Lisa soon turns out to be terrible. While on break, Lisa accidentally inhales second hand smoke from the other ballerinas' cigarettes. When the break is over, Lisa enters the studio and performs better than ever, and deduces that second hand smoke is what makes her excel.

Lisa hallucinates about a smoke-shaped figure of herself.

Meanwhile, Homer offers to sell Apu his beef jerky to increase Kwik-E-Mart revenues despite Apu's Hinduism — but it is a lost cause. Homer and Bart discover their beef jerky room is completely empty, and Apu leaves in disgust, refusing to do such business with Homer ever again. Homer discovers that a family of raccoons has made off with his jerky. That night, Lisa hallucinates of a cigarette-smoked shaped older version of her, who convinces her to continue smoking. While driving Lisa to ballet practice, Marge — who is proud of having a ballerina as a daughter — starts glowing about how she sees herself in Lisa (even mistaking Lisa for herself), and Lisa begins to suspect that Marge is living out her dream through her.

Homer follows one of the raccoons into the family's home under a tree stump and prepares to take them out (though Bart warns he never wins fights with animals, as his war with the worms proved - despite the fact Homer insists it was a tactical withdrawal), but can't bring himself to do it after he sees their loving family. During a windy break, Lisa can't inhale any smoke. She realizes her only other alternative is to actually smoke a cigarette, and picks one up. Right before she smokes it, Homer arrives and takes it away. Angry, he goes to tell Marge that Lisa needs to be taken out of the ballet academy, but discovers how proud she is of Lisa; Homer cannot bear to destroy Marge's happiness. He does, however, order Lisa to quit cigarettes, and decides to get Bart to keep an eye on her. When Bart informs Homer that Lisa is still addicted to smoke, Homer creates a plan involving one of the raccoons. On the night of the big ballet recital, the raccoon breaks into the changing room and steals all the cigarettes. On stage, all the ballerinas soon go out of control, and Lisa tells the appalled audience that ballet is something America has forced onto children, and quits (although she implied that she was going to talk about smoking, which was the main message of this episode), prompting Busby to also quit. Marge also learns not to live her dreams through her child, although Homer proves that he has yet to learn that moral (as he is forcing Bart to become a mexican wrestler).

Cultural references

  • The episode's title references Deep Purple's 1972 song "Smoke on the Water".
  • The name of the character Chazz Busby is a reference to the famous director and choreographer of musicals Busby Berkeley, although his physical appearance is more similar to Joe Gideon, Bob Fosse's alter-ego in All That Jazz.
  • Angelica Button (who originally appeared in "The Haw-Hawed Couple") parodies the Harry Potter series.[3] First scenes of this episode are a reference to the midnight premiere of the last Harry Potter book. The title of the book is "Angelica Button and the Deadly Denouement" compared to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows released on 21 July 2007.
  • Bart's camouflage-faced appearance from the pile of leg warmers (to the song "The End" by The Doors) mirrors a sequence in the film Apocalypse Now.[3]
  • After Lisa quits ballet and rejects Busby, he puts on a bowler hat and struts out of the theater to the song "On Broadway", referencing a dance sequence in All That Jazz.[3]
  • The couch gag is a reference to the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner series.[4]
  • The Simpsons watch CSI: Miami. In a parody of the character's dramatic pre-credits statements, Horatio Caine explains a person's ability to commit murder from a long distance by saying, "Maybe, he reached out... and killed someone" and puts on his sunglasses. This is immediately followed by a "Won't Get Fooled Again"-esque scream.
  • The CSI: Miami episode The Simpsons watch has a similar plot as a Monk (TV Series) episode "Mr. Monk Is on the Air".
  • This episode title was also used on the WB sitcom Grounded for Life, season 2, episode six, aired December 12, 2001, where Claudia takes up smoking and hides it from her husband and kids.
  • The end of the episode "Big Ballet" reference is a parody of the Big Tobacco scandal in the early 1990s.
  • Lisa mentions a non-existent episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody mixed with a existing episode of That's So Raven (the final episode called "Where There's Smoke").
  • Lisa declares at the dinner table, that she is "smoke free thanks to children nicotine patches" which resemble Hello Kitty.[5]
  • When Lisa was in the Ballet Practice, the behind song was Once Upon a Dream of Sleeping Beauty.
  • When Homer finds out Lisa smokes and is driving her home he makes a comment about a Sturgeon General telling people not to smoke (an obvious reference to the 2006 smoking claim by the Surgeon General of the United States) after which he is corrected by Lisa ("A sturgeon is a fish").
  • Bart's "Mexican Wrestler" name is "El Guapo" - the nickname of real-life retired mixed martial arts fighter Bas Rutten.

Reception

The episode was watched by 7.10 million people; the number is not considered to be accurate, as the episode was broadcast on a special time (according to commercials).[2] Richard Keller of TV Squad stated that he enjoyed the week's episode, but commented that it "wasn't as strong as the previous two." Robert Canning of IGN thought that the episode was good and that it "started off very, very strongly" but commented that it seemed to lose its comedic pace as it progressed. He particularly enjoyed the episode's couch gag, stating that "It was a great reminder of the early, innocent days of cartoon comedy but with a modern Simpsons twist". He gave the episode a 7.2/10.[4]

References

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