“I Love Lisa,” season 4, episode 15

It’s that magical time of year… when I wait until February 15th and stock-up on candy. It’s also time for a special two-fer here at The Joy of Cooking Milhouse. I just love you that much.

It’s Valentine’s Day in Springfield, and Bart is hand-painting candy hearts that say kiss off, eat my shorts, prize pig, u stink, and luv sux. Marge makes her huggy bug a special breakfast of bacon and eggs arranged to spell out I LOVE YOU as he struggles to remember what holiday it is before settling on Valentine’s. Meanwhile, Ned serenades Maude next door with a PG version of “If You Think I’m Sexy” while wearing a heart-shaped suit.

At school, Lisa’s class is making and exchanging valentines. Ralph doesn’t get any, so Lisa gives him one of a happy train that says “I Choo-Choo-Choose You.” Ralph is instantly smitten and walks Lisa home. He doesn’t know what to talk about, and asks if she “likes stuff.” Smooth.

Lisa, sensing Ralph’s infatuation, takes her mom’s advice and lets Ralph down easy. But when Ralph asks his dad what to do, Wiggum encourages him to be persistent. Meanwhile, Krusty’s anniversary show is coming up and Bart and Lisa want to go so, so bad. Ralph uses his dad’s influence and sends Lisa a new Malibu Stacy convertible with tickets to the anniversary show in the “tunk.” Lisa is torn whether she should go with him or not, but goes anyway thanks to some morally grey encouragement from Homer. The parents are really killing with with relationship advice this episode.

During the show, Krusty goes straight for Ralph and asks if that’s his girlfriend. He exclaims “Yes! I love Lisa Simpson, and when I grow up, I’m going to marry her!” Lisa immediately screams in protest and tells him on national TV that she doesn’t like him and only gave him a card because she felt sorry for him. You can see Ralph’s heart break in two during Bart’s replay.

Soon after, the school is putting on a Presidents’ Day play, complete with a song by the less popular presidents and Lincoln’s assassination. The bulk of the performance is about George and Martha Washington played by Ralph and Lisa. His turmoil makes him a compelling actor, and in his death scene, Lisa and the audience are moved to tears. After the show, Lisa and Ralph agree to “bee friends.” Happy President’s Day to us all.

This episode has a good amount of food, from Lunchlady Doris’ cow hearts to Chief Wiggum’s gun-cracked nuts. I didn’t have it in me to test either of those, but I did paint some candy hearts and make a special breakfast. The candy hearts are a fun little surprise if you’re willing to wear a jeweler’s magnifying glass and have a steady hand. And spelling out words with eggs and bacon are always a good idea, especially on Valentine’s.

Bart’s Candy Hearts

1 box Sweetheart candy hearts (the big size is better)
1 fine-point red food coloring pen

Go through your box of candy hearts and set aside all of the hearts that are blank. I’ve found that at least a quarter of the hearts in a box end up blank (good thing they’re cheap). You can also write on back of the hearts. With a steady hand and good lighting, write mean little messages on the hearts with the food dye pen. It helps to practice a few times on paper or extra hearts. Let dry before handing out to your frenemies.

I Love You Breakfast
Serves 1 Valentine

6-7 slices bacon
2 eggs

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the bacon in a single layer. Place in the cold oven and turn to 400 degrees. Cook for 10-20 minutes, until crisp. Drain on paper towels. (You can fry the bacon in a frying pan, but this is an easy way to cook a lot of bacon and it tends to lie much flatter when baked.)
  2. Meanwhile, make the eggs. Add a little oil, butter, or bacon grease to a pan on medium heat. Crack two eggs, keeping them separate. Cook until they reach your desired doneness, covering with a lid for a minute or two to steam the top of the egg.
  3. Cut your bacon into halves and thirds as needed, constructing the sentence one slice at a time (this is a great use for kitchen shears). Add the eggs as the O’s and serve immediately to your huggy bug.

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