The Simpsons: 10 Golden Age Episodes That Foreshadowed Its Decline
10. Lisa The Vegetarian
Right out the gate this one needs a huge disclaimer: Lisa The Vegetarian is great. It adds depth to a core character in realistic and thoughtful ways, it’s tightly paced throughout and has some wonderful lines. Marge is right; you don’t win friends with salad.
This one’s actually a genuine contender for one of the ten best episodes ever. Jokes about vegetarianism are there, but it’s not punching down for cheap laughs. The problem is, it defined Lisa too much. Vegetarians come in all shapes and sizes, yet in future episodes Lisa is vehemently political.
There’s nothing wrong with her liberal views, but in post Golden Era she seems to switch between the voice of reason, unreasonably radical, or a mouthpiece for what the writers think. She can’t do that anywhere near as well as Family Guy’s Brian, either.
Without a doubt though, the biggest insult to the fantastic groundwork laid in Lisa The Vegetarian came in Season 29’s No Good Read Goes Unpunished. Offering a clunky non-apology/justification for Apu, Lisa turns to the camera directly, as if to laugh at the audience for caring about cultural sensitivities. The Apu debate doesn’t matter here; it’s that Lisa would never, ever act like that.
Stacey Henley is a published author, avid gamer and all-round nerd. She can most often be found roaming through vivid expansive spaces and discovering the world around her, but only in video games. In real life, she mostly stays home.