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Tales from the Public Domain
Blame it on Lisa
Weekend at Burnsie's


I'll just dance and worry at the same time.
Marge Simpson

"Blame it on Lisa" is the fifteenth episode of Season 13.

Synopsis

Lisa sponsors a South American orphan - and when the child is reported missing, the Simpsons go to Brazil to search for him.

Full Story

As Homer and Bart are watching Itchy and Scratchy, Marge tells them that the phone company has accused family members hundreds of dollars for making phone calls to Brazil. Homer and Marge decide to visit the company, thinking it was a mistake. They meet with customer service representative Lindsey Naegle, who confirmed that they had indeed made calls to Brazil but Homer refuses to pay the bill so she cuts off the Simpson's phone service. Homer tries to connect illegally to the phone lines, only to get electrically shocked at least five times and wakes up on the couch after being found "smoldering in the bushes". When Lisa finds out why the family no longer has phone service (she was trying to call Janey), she confesses that she actually made calls to Brazil. She has been sponsoring an orphan named Ronaldo in the country and she used to receive a letter from him once a month until recently. Lisa got a call from Ronaldo's orphanage to find out what had happened and they told her that he's missing. She shows her family a tape recorded by Ronaldo that she received after her first donation, in which Ronaldo, thanks to Lisa, tells her that with his money he has bought a pair of dance shoes for himself and for the orphanage has bought a door. Thrilled, the Simpsons decide to travel to Brazil to solve the mystery behind Ronaldo's disappearance, leaving Maggie with Patty and Selma. While on the plane Lisa tells them that they are going to the Southern Hemisphere so it's Winter there while it's Summer at home. Bart also managed to learn Spanish so he would be ready for conversation but Marge tells him that while she is impressed, people in Brazil speak Portuguese not Spanish.

Bart and Homer at Brazil's beach

When the family arrives in Rio de Janeiro, they discover that they can get anywhere they want by following a conga train. After dancing there way to the hotel, Bart turns on the television in his room and watches a children's show called Teleboobies, which Marge criticizes for its sexual connotations. The Simpsons then leave to look for Ronaldo. First, they travel to the slums of Rio de Janeiro. In the slums, the family sees thousands of rats painted in various colors as well as bright painted homes. According to Lisa, "The government only paints buildings with bright colors so that tourists won't be offended." They then arrive at Ronaldo's orphanage, but the nun working there has no idea where he went. Later that day, as the Simpsons are having dinner at a restaurant, Lisa shows a map of the city on which she has marked all the places Ronaldo likes to visit. She splits the map in two, giving a piece of Homer and Bart and keeping a piece for her and Marge. Homer and Bart decide to search first at Copacabana Beach and then a fair where they are robbed by children while Marge and Lisa visit a samba school. However, they are unsuccessful in finding Ronaldo so far. To reach their last location, Homer and Bart take a taxi and are kidnapped by men armed by the taxi driver. However, Bart is able to run off and tell the rest of the family.

A hostage threatening Homer.

The taxi driver and his companion hold Homer hostage deep in the rain forest. They force Homer to make a call to Marge, telling him that if the family offers the kidnappers $50,000, he will be released. However, the Simpsons do not have enough money in exchange for Homer. Walking the streets of Rio de Janeiro, they come across a parade that features the Teleboobies show featuring characters from the show. Lisa is surprised to find that Ronaldo is working inside the Teleboobies Flemish Flamingo dance costume - the work he got after learning to dance with the shoes he bought with the money from Lisa's well-paid donation. Ronaldo tells Lisa that he stopped writing to her because he didn't know what state she lives in, since it was the orphanage that is used to send her letters. Later, Ronaldo gives the Simpsons the money they need to save Homer. Meanwhile, Homer shows the kidnappers an album he made of his memories of the kidnapping. Apparently, he developed the Stockholm syndrome. The family and the hijackers then meet on the high along a valley near Sugar Loaf on two separate cable cars. The Simpsons toss the kidnappers their money, and when Homer jumps onto his family's cable car, the cables break, causing the family to hit the mountainside and roll to the ground. They all survive unharmed, but Bart is then consumed whole by an anaconda. The episode finishes with Bart dancing a carnival song inside the snake.

Broadcast History

United States

Broadcast date(s) Channel aired
  • March 31, 2002
  • June 19, 2002
  • July 21, 2002
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  • December 27, 2020
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Production

Reception

This episode was hated by Brazil when it was released mainly over their representation on the show, from using songs like the Conga and Macherina, none of which originated from Brazil. They also showed Rio as being poor, full of rats, and thieves which is not like Brazil at all. It got to the point where the government almost sued the network and the show runners and creators had to issue an apology.

Citations

Season 12 Season 13 Episodes Season 14
Treehouse of Horror XIIThe Parent RapHomer the MoeA Hunka Hunka Burns in LoveThe Blunder YearsShe of Little FaithBrawl in the FamilySweets and Sour MargeJaws Wired ShutHalf-Decent ProposalThe Bart Wants What it WantsThe Lastest Gun in the WestThe Old Man and the KeyTales from the Public DomainBlame it on LisaWeekend at Burnsie'sGump RoastI Am Furious (Yellow)The Sweetest ApuLittle Girl in the Big TenThe Frying GamePoppa's Got a Brand New Badge
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