"Lisa Goes Gaga"

"Lisa Goes Gaga"

Marge, you naughty thing!

OK, so, this episode was completely insane. As a Lady Gaga fan, I was pretty excited when I heard that she would be the guest star for the season finale. I expected that she would show up on stage, perform a number, maybe give the kids a pat on the head. That's how most guest stars work; they rarely stick around very long in the episode.
Instead, we got an episode that was literally ABOUT Lady Gaga. I can't think of any other episodes that have been ABOUT their guest stars in this way, although the "Michael Jackson is actually an insane, doughy, bald white guy" episode comes close. 

It also mashes together Lady Gaga and Lisa Simpson in a way I would not have expected. Lisa is a smart kid, a feminist, out of touch with pop culture, and a staunch vegetarian. But the episode didn't leverage a single one of those traits. How can you have someone stand in the Simpsons' foyer literally covered in meat, without even a passing comment by vegetarian Lisa? I don't know, but they did it.

I also felt that Lisa was serving as a stalking horse for the show itself. In this episode, Lisa - who the episode agrees is kind and smart and musically talented - is hated by everyone. She even receives a "Least Popular" award at school. Later we find that someone has been sticking up for Lisa on the fourth graders' message board. But it turns out to be Lisa herself, using various sock puppets in a craven attempt to sway public opinion.
 
I like Lisa, personally, but I like her partly because she is a problematic character. The best comment on Lisa being "Springfield's answer to the question no one asked." Would a know-it-all really turn to astroturfing to rehabilitate her name? Lisa has gone to extraordinary lengths in the past to be popular. I would have liked to see how much farther she would go.
 
But we didn't, but we did get some great Lady Gaga outfits and moments (I loved the hummingbird budget). And also, hello! Lady Gaga kissed Marge in the kitchen, and it turned Marge on! What a naughty housewife! For me at least, that was one of the most unexpected moments in the show's entire 23-year run. 
 
If the ending was a bit too hasty and pat, well, that's OK. I only have one real beef with this episode, and that's that the framing device of the narrator's voice-over never had its payoff. I suspect it's something that had to be cut for time, but still: pretty bad form, there.