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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lisa's Wedding is set in the future (2010, which was a long way away
when the episode was made in 1995), which may sound gimmicky (they have
robots, a mention of World War III, and we learn how various characters
end up). It may feel dated- 2010 is almost here and yet the world
didn't turn out like they imagined it would, it was just a fantasy. Yet
Lisa's Wedding is a landmark in Simpsons history, right up there with
Last Exit to Springfield and I Love Lisa as one of the best episodes of
the series. The episode has been recognized as fine work, having won
the Emmy Award for outstanding animated program.
The reason behind its excellent quality may be because it didn't start out as a "What if we could see the future?" project, according to the DVD commentary; right from the start the episode was supposed to be about Lisa having a perfect relationship which gets ruined when the man of her dreams can't stand the family. That's a basic, character-driven idea, and it's brilliant. It allows for us to view how Lisa is an outstanding person from a humble middle class background (her fiancé calls her the "flower that grew out of a pot of dirt", and yes, that is a terrible thing to say), and how she nevertheless loves her family. Homer shares his appreciation of Lisa and it's one of the most touching moments of the series. When Lisa in the present learns she will break up with her fiancé because she still wants Homer to be a part of her life, Lisa at the end hugs her father. It's a profoundly sweet moment that brought tears to my eyes. Of course, the episode is also funny- particularly when we see Lisa anxious about having her fiancé meet the family, when robots melt, when we hear Lisa's "boisterous American laugh." It's the characters, the dialogue, the jokes, and the story, not the novelty of being set in a fantastic future, that will ensure Lisa's Wedding will still be a classic for years after 2010.
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