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Do You Want Lies With That?

'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky

'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky” is the sixteenth episode of the fourteenth season of The Simpsons that aired March 30 2003. The title is a punning reference to the line “ ’Scuse me while I kiss the sky” from the song “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix.

Plot

The episode starts in the Springfield Elementary auditorium, where Principal Skinner is addressing the kids, asking them to not to use school computers to access websites that poke fun at him, meanwhile, Bart makes a new website on his laptop. He then introduces Declan Desmond (voiced by Eric Idle), a no-nonsense British filmmaker, whose documentaries are hard-hitting and, sometimes, a bit distorted. He shows the kids a clip from one of his documentaries about Krusty Burger, Do You Want Lies With That?, in which he interviews Homer, who is standing in line in Krusty Burger, about his awareness of the fact that the meat contains mad cow-tainted beef (Homer says he doesn’t care because it’s cheap, then begins to spasm uncontrollably). Also, he has hidden camera footage showing Krusty stapling half-eaten burgers back together to sell. After the clips are finished, Declan informs the kids that he is now shooting a documentary in Springfield Elementary and wants them all to act as they normally do.

Along with his cameraman (Simon), he goes around the schoolyard, capturing the kids playing and frolicking, and settles on Bart, who is making mudballs (to chuck at nerds, girls he likes...). All of a sudden, Bart himself gets splattered on his head by a mudball, made by Nelson and the other bullies. Bart cries and tries to hide from the camera. Just like that, his popularity in school, Declan notes, has gone the way of English masculinity. Declan then interviews the hall monitors, Milhouse (who is acting way too melodramatically) and Ralph. Skinner interrupts the interview and leads Declan away from them and opens “a random door,” leading to a rather Victorian-style room, filled with books, with Bach playing in the background, and Lisa sitting on a big armchair, reading a book. Skinner pushes Declan to sit with the “typical student” and talk with her. After Skinner leaves, Declan voices his suspicions of the surroundings. Lisa, trying to be cool, leans back in her armchair and knocks over all the “bookcase” props, exposing the room to be a storage room. Declan asks Lisa what her hobbies are. She rattles off quite a few, which he mocks, saying that she needs to have one major passion. She realizes that he’s right.

Meanwhile, Bart is having trouble regaining his popularity. He sees the other kids cooing over Nelson’s new fad—tying a car’s hood ornament around his neck. Bart realises that to regain his popularity, he must do what Nelson did, and better.

The next day, Lisa cycles around to try and find a good hobby. She goes to the museum, where she contemplates whether to become a paleontologist or a geologist. Finally, she settles on becoming an astronomer, after watching an inspiring astronomy show. The next day, she pleads with Homer to buy her a telescope, which he does by writing a questionable check. That night, using Ed McMahon’s Star Search astronomy book, she finds out that she will be able to view Venus and Jupiter. When she tries to see them with the telescope, she finds that the bright lights from the stadium (holding a “surviving Beach Boys” concert, as “Good Vibrations” can be heard) and The Starline Hotel (which is frequented by Mayor Quimby) are too bright for her to properly view the planets. When she goes to the top of a hill, near the observatory, much to her disappointment and frustration, she finds that the bright lights of Springfield are still too much to see even a single star. Professor Frink tells her that they can’t see stars because of light pollution. She decides to start a petition to stamp out light pollution. So she goes around collecting signatures (even Declan Desmond signs the petition, after a rather intellectual exchange).

Once she gets enough signatures, she hands over the list to Mayor Quimby, who obliges by turning off the streetlights in Springfield. Lisa, now able to see the stars, tells the people to wonder at the sight. Mr. Burns sees a dollar sign, Cletus sees a cent sign, Lenny sees Carl’s face, and Carl sees...the same thing. Flanders looks up and sees the Star of David (the symbol for Judaism). He then rubs his eyes in disbelief, then looks back up to see a pleasing Crucifix. Lisa sees the stars spelling out “Thank You, Lisa” and is flattered.

Unfortunately, since there’s no light, kids (especially bullies) run around cutting off hood ornaments from cars. Bart tries to get in on the action, but he’s too late—that is until he sees a 1930s Stutz Bearcat-style car drive past, sporting a beautiful hood ornament (a golden angel holding a globe, resembling an Emmy). Bart decides to get it, no matter what. As the car drives, a bird sits on the hood ornament. The car stops and Fat Tony and his goons get out and beat the crap out of it. Bart sees this and gulps.

Meanwhile, the people of Springfield have had enough of all the lawlessness due to the absence of light and demand they be switched on again. Quimby decides to oblige them again, despite Lisa’s objections, since there is a meteor shower coming soon. Bart and Milhouse disguise themselves as mustached valet parking attendants and offer to park Fat Tony’s car when he pulls into Luigi’s for dinner, and he accepts. When the goons find out from Luigi that he does not have parking attendants, they run outside but can’t see Bart or Milhouse because of the dark. At City Hall, Mayor Quimby turns on the lights and turns the dimmer to “Perma-Noon,” so that this time they burn even brighter. Bart and Milhouse, now fully visible, run off.

The lights are so bright that no one can sleep due to the glare. One week later, the Simpsons are going nuts from the lack of sleep. Bart still has his heart set on getting Fat Tony’s hood ornament (though he can no longer remember why). Lisa complains that the only thing they can see in the sky is the decrepit Fox satellite. They decide to work together to reduce the light in Springfield. That night, they drag a sleep-deprived Homer to the Nuclear Power Plant, so that he can get them in. There, they overload the generators, causing a power outage. Now that all the lights are out, the sleep-deprived animals fall asleep. Homer is ecstatic as well. Bart and Lisa watch the stars. But the sleep-deprived townsfolk move threateningly towards them, angry about the power outage. Suddenly, Lisa points to the sky where the meteor shower has started. The people, on seeing it, calm down and appreciate it. A meteorite just misses Professor Frink, who finds carbon molecules on it, but the alien inside runs off with the meteorite. Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Maggie watch the meteor shower peacefully at home, while Bart finally succeeds on getting the golden hood ornament without getting caught.

Clips from Declan Desmond’s documentary American Boneheads: A Day in the Life of Springfield Elementary are shown. Ralph declares that he wants to live with "Underground Grandma;" Jimbo Jones says that he’s going to technical school, which prompts Dolph and Kearney to beat him up, calling him a sell-out and soccer-mom; Milhouse says he wants to hit .352 in the Major League, though he can’t hit even a ball on a tee; finally, Declan says he’s going to Moe’s.

Cultural references

  • The title is a play on the Jimi Hendrix song "Purple Haze": "Actin' funny, but I don't know why-- 'scuse me while I kiss the sky".
  • The recording from Springfield Museum mentions Rigel VII as a planet, although it is merely a fictional planet originally from the Star Trek universe, and the apparent home of Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons.
  • The store where Homer buys Lisa’s telescope is called “Teenage Pasteland”. This is a parody of the phrase “teenage wasteland” which is a line from (and is often mistaken to be the title of) the Who song, “Baba O'Riley”.
  • The music playing when Lisa is in the museum and first develops her inspiration for astronomy is Jupiter from Gustav Holst’s The Planets Suite.
  • The Krusty Burger documentary’s name Do You Want Lies with That? became the tagline for the film version of Fast Food Nation.
  • Groundskeeper Willie is revealed to be an Aberdeen F.C. fan.
  • Don McLean’s song “Vincent” plays during the meteor shower.
  • The scene in which the baseball lights explode parodies the home run scene from The Natural, accompanied by the dramatic music.
  • When the lights come back on, Aunt Selma, who is making out with Moe, exclaims, "You're not John Ritter!" In a case of morbid coincidence, this episode was released in the same year that the Three's Company actor died of a heart attack.
  • While sleep-deprived, Marge yells Saturday Night Live's famous opening catch-phrase, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!".
  • In the background of the toy store there is a box that reads Clay D'oh. A parody of Play-Doh and Homer's annoyed grunt.

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