On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister (The Simpsons)
"On a Clear Day, I Can't See My Sister" is the eleventh episode of the sixteenth season of The Simpsons.
Fed up with Bart's endless taunting and torture, Lisa enlists the help of Chief Wiggum and files restraining order against him. After watching a restraining order video hosted by guest voice Gary Busey, Bart learns he must stay 20 feet away from his sister. When he tries to contest it, Judge Harm (guest voice Jane Kaczmarek) increases it to 200 feet, forcing Bart to live in the backyard. Meanwhile, Homer takes over Grampa's job as a greeter at the Sprawl Mart.
Why It Needs A Restraining Order
- Lisa is at her absolute worst in this episode and is not the likable "voice-of-reason" she usually is (or was), as she needlessly torments Bart for pranks he's committed in the past (in particular those on the school trip). Instead of being the better person, she becomes a mean-spirited bully and her actions are far more severe than Bart's actions are at the beginning.
- This episode pretty much shows how much of a selfish person she has become and has pretty much caused her flanderization to get even worse than it was before.
- To make matter's worse, she completely ruins his mind by making him scared of her, as shown at the end of the episode, where Bart is literally on his hands and knees begging for Lisa not to "hurt him", showing how much damage she did to her brother's mind.
- Lisa is never punished for her cruel acts. Which makes her a HUGE karma houdini.
- Lisa abuses her power with the restraining order (in real life, the restraining order would have been eliminated). She uses the big 20-feet stick to constantly poke Bart with a screwdriver at his end!
- It’s an extremely harsh Bart torture episode.
- The episode tries way too hard to make you side with Lisa and side against Bart, but due to how Bart is essentially tortured physically and even mentally throughout the episode, it makes the viewer want to side with Bart instead.
- True, Bart may have been unlikable at the beginning, as he nearly caused Lisa to sink in a glacier, but since Lisa got the restraining order, he gets tortured to the point where you want to side with him instead of Lisa.
- Side characters such as Dr. Hibbert are needlessly cruel towards Bart. An example of this is when Bart suffers physical damage to his arm (i.e. it's gone numb) and Dr. Hibbert, almost on purpose, jabs the arm multiple times because he "missed" the previous injections.
- Multiple plot holes, with the whole restraining order ordeal being practically one big plot hole.
- While initially tolerable, Homer becomes more unlikeable as the episode progresses and becomes very cruel towards Bart. Big shock: Homer is at one of his worst here, arguably just as bad, if not worse than in "Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"". To put this into perspective, Homer puts a flathead screwdriver at the end of Lisa's stick she uses to keep Bart away (and physically and mentally torture him). As the screwdriver hurts Bart, Homer explains it's to show Bart what it's like in the real world while smiling. While the real world is hard, there is a difference between teaching your kid that in a valuable manner and being a dumb and idiotic sadist.
- The subplot of Homer getting another job at Sprawl Mart is pretty boring and overall pointless as well as only used for padding.
- Though Marge does try to help Bart, she only does it once and never continues the fight for Bart's case and is almost laissez-faire about the situation worsening.
- Additionally, she's also really out-of-character here, as she is shown celebrating her own son's restraining order increase.
- The second act is an absolute chore to watch.
- The beginning of the episode is made over the top just to justify the torment to come when it doesn't. Instead, it just makes Bart's prank at the beginning look even more harmless than it already is compared to the upcoming torment he'll face during the episode.
- As usual in the series, Judge Constance Harm is also very unlikable here, as she extends Bart's Restraining order only because he made fun of her husband, which is unreasonable because she hasn't even heard from Bart's defense nor listened to Marge's reasoning.
- Extremely lazy ending: The ending of Lisa forgiving Bart felt very rushed and lazy, this episode alone could be a candidate for having one of, if not, the laziest ending in the entire series.
- The scene of Lisa being unable to think of "three good things" Bart has done for her contradicts every single Lisa and Bart team-up/sibling rivalry episode in the series, despite previous episodes clearly showing that she does.
- Depending on your view, this could count as a huge middle finger to the audience since it (as mentioned before) heavily contradicts many earlier episodes where Lisa and Bart have their moments, such as "Bart vs. Thanksgiving", "Lisa On Ice", "Lisa's First Word", "Stark Raving Dad", etc.
- While you could say that she forgot or too angry to remember, Marge doesn't even remember herself as she only remembers one good act and even when Lisa says that Bart sees it as a bad thing, she says that we should pretend that it is.
- Plot hole: Why is Grandpa Simpson working at the Sprawl-Mart if he lives at the Springfield Retirement Castle?
- Gary Busey's cameo was a waste of talent and was the result of the writers trying too hard to make it Troy McClure-like. This could have been cut out entirely (also, his performance is very bad and annoying).
- The part of Bart being forced to sleep outside is uncannily similar to The Loud House's "No Such Luck" because both episodes involve a character being forced to sleep outside because of their sibling. Just like "The Boys of Bummer", it's hard not to wonder if the writer, Jeff Westbrook, was trying to tell us he has a major bias against Bart?
- One or two funny moments like Judge Constance Harms extending Bart's restraining order to 61 meters much to the confusion of Europeans in the courthouse, and when Bart says that "no piece of paper is gonna stop him from whaling on his sister", and then cuts to the next scene with him in a prison cell, the restraining order video guide was also funny.
- While being reused for the second time, the couch gag (which is a parody of the 1977 American documentary short Powers of Ten) is way more interesting than the episode itself. Watch it here.
- While Bart was unlikable at the beginning as mentioned above, he becomes likable later on as we do feel bad for what he had to go through.
- Marge is one of the few characters in this episode that comes close to being likable, as she's not completely off the hook like Lisa and Homer are.
- While executed atrociously, Bart and Lisa do at least makeup at the end.
- Depending on how you look at it, Gary Busey's cameo is still funny to watch and he's not without his charm.
Despite receiving a 6.6 rating IMDb, it was panned by many fans and is considered to be one of the worst Simpsons episodes due to its extreme cruelty towards Bart Simpson by Lisa and is sometimes regarded as another "jump the shark" moment for the series.
- This is the second episode to use the Powers of Ten couch gag, the first episode to use it was "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner".
- Speaking of which, at the end of the couch gag, Homer says "Cool!" instead of "Wow!" like he did in the version used in "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner".
- This is the first episode written by former Futurama writer Jeff Westbrook.