Hello and welcome to Laughing Place’s weekly recap of new episodes of the long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons on the FOX network. This week’s episode, entitled “The Hateful Eight-Year-Olds,” sees Lisa Simpson trapped at a sleepover birthday party with a group of unfriendly peers.
Chalkboard gag: None.
Couch gag: None. The episode goes right into the narrative after The Simpsons logo plays over the clouds.
We start with the doorbell ringing in the Simpson home. Homer (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) answers it to find the Sarcastic Man (Hank Azaria) in his current job as postal worker, who complains that the mailbox outside hasn’t been emptied in weeks. After moaning about it, Homer takes in the entire mailbox, still attached to its post, and dumps its contents on the kitchen table in one solid brick– it had been baking in the sun for a while, you see. He begins carving it up and announces, “Mail loaf!” Lisa (Yeardley Smith) enters and finds in her slice that she has been invited to a birthday party sleepover at her new friend Addy’s house.
It seems Lisa and Addy had met at the library and bonded over their mutual love of an outdated book series called Gallup Girls. “Mmm… old book smell,” they murmur together in a flashback. “Mmm… new friend smell,” Homer agrees as he sniffs the invitation in the present. Bart asks, “What is it with girls and horses? Once cars were invented why didn’t they just kill all the horses… with the cars?” They begin fighting and Homer interrupts shouting, “Hey hey! No horseplay!” He’s so proud of his own wordplay that he allows them to go back to their argument. Lisa’s scuffle with Bart escalates to the point where she declares, “I wish I could unbrother you!” and he replies “Not if I unsister you first!”
Arriving at Addy’s McMansion to drop off Lisa, Homer tells Marge he is impressed: “I bet they use that garage for cars.” It turns out Addy’s father is a ketchup distributor, but Homer doesn’t buy it because he thinks ketchup is free. They’re greeted at the door by the birthday party planner, who tells them Addy’s mother is out of town on “a PhotoShop retreat to get her son into USC.” Later, Lisa and Addy (voiced by guest star Joey King of The Act) are touring the backyard in a child-sized jeep when a Jurassic Park parody begins as Lisa spots the many horses roaming the property… and a lone brachiosaur passes by behind them. On their drive back home, Homer reminds Marge that Lisa is occupied while Bart and Maggie are being watched by Grampa Simpson. Marge (Julie Kavner) thinks Homer wants to look for his long-lost sunglasses, but he actually suggests they go on a sunset cruise. “I forgot how handsome you are when you make the slightest effort,” she tells him.
Out riding horses together, Lisa and Addy meet up with the latter’s mean-girl rich friends (all voiced by Riverdale cast members, apparently), who call her Addison. “Your friends seem different from you,” Lisa says as she is put off by her new acquaintances, but Addy defends them, saying they’re really nice if you get to know them. But when Lisa gives Addy a toy horse as a birthday present, all the girls start making fun of her, and Addy joins in. On the cruise, Homer and Marge are listening to a band called Sailor’s Delight (voiced by the members of Weezer) when Homer gets a call on his cell phone. Unfortunately he misunderstands Lisa’s pleas to come pick her up due to dropped words over both voice and text.
Back at Addy’s mansion, the party planner Kensey (Lilly Singh of Bad Moms) is making cupcakes for the girls to throw at a Taylor Swift lookalike when Lisa asks to be taken home. But Kensey says she needs the party to get 100% engagement so she doesn’t have to go back to work at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Lisa returns to the girls, who want to watch a teen drama show that Lisa isn’t allowed to watch at home because it “glamorizes inappropriateness.” The girls take a photo of Lisa covering her eyes and share it to social media. Back on the boat, the lead singer of Sailor’s Delight seemingly begins to hit on Marge from the stage, which Homer is not happy about. In her servants’ bathroom, Addy confesses to Lisa that she only invited her so the other girls would stop being so mean to her, and asks Lisa to participate in a never-ending chain of teasing and abuse by inviting another new girl over next time.
Lisa refuses of course, and calls Grampa at home on the Subway-branded smartphone she got because Homer ate a whole bunch of sandwiches, but Bart (Nancy Cartwright) answers. He reminds Lisa she unbrothered him, but she begs him to help her “in a normal way” after Bart rejects her more poetic appeal. The girls find Lisa talking on her phone and berate her: “Phones are for looking at, rando.” Bart calls an Uber using a disguise and the false name Juan Starnotip and gets picked up by Principal Skinner (Harry Shearer), immediately telling him “I requested no conversation.” On the cruise, it turns out that the singer was hitting on the girl standing behind Marge, which makes Homer just as mad, resulting in him knocking the band’s setlist and all the alcohol into the ocean. “Without the booze, it’s just a cruise!” laments Kirk Van Houten (Azaria).
Bart shows up at Addy’s house and tells Lisa not to run away, but to get revenge instead, as a recurring Western music sting begins playing in the episode’s score. “True revenge can only come from the hate in your own heart,” Bart advises, inspiring Lisa to reenter the house and dip all the girls’ hair in horse mane hardener. To wrap up the b-story, the cruisers rebel against Homer until he convinces them that the evening’s outing wasn’t even worth it in the first place: “Now return to your homes and never make plans again.” The girls wake up with crazy Coolio hair that quickly breaks off, making their hairdos all resemble Lisa’s star-like bouffant. Lisa wants to escape on horseback but Bart reveals he’s afraid of horses and that's why he was griping about them earlier. Lisa tells Bart horses have gentle souls, but when he tries to mount the horse, Lisa stops him, yelling “Not behind her! She’ll kick your face off!”
A horse chase breaks out, concluding with the mean girls encircling Lisa and Bart. “We’re gonna destroy you on Insta, TikTok, and PostMates,” they threaten. Lisa appeals to Addison’s younger, more innocent side by reminding her of their favorite book series, and Addy turns against the other girls, knocking them off their horses by inflating their trendy vests. Bart and Lisa ride off into the moonlight together. In the coda, Weezer (now looking more like themselves in Simpsons form) perform the show’s main title theme in front of a roaring crowd.
Next: “The Way of the Dog”
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.