Simpsonized ‘Hunger Games’ Portraits Raise the Question: Could Bart and Lisa Survive the Arena?
With the Hunger Games getting its big-screen debut, it’s high time that Katniss and her crew received a trip through the Simpsonizer to see how they would look in Matt Groening yellow. NextMovie was happy to oblige, drawing up four-fingered portraits of the people of Panem. See Peeta, Effie, Cinna and the rest below the cut, and see my mad speculation on whether Bart and Lisa would survive the Simpsons version of the Hunger Games.
NextMovie contributor Old Red Jalopy created these mashups, based on the movie versions of the characters. But could Lisa Simpson take up Katniss’ bow?I imagine the Simpsons‘ Hunger Games episode would be one of those “Treehouse of Horror” shorts. Marge, Lisa and Maggie live together in District 47, the mud-harvesting district. (Hey, not every district can make something as important as coal, and if you’ve read the entire trilogy, you know why they can’t supply nuclear power.)
On the morning of the Reaping — dressed in her best mud-frock — Lisa spies a mockingjay outside her window and, charmed by how clearly it imitates her voice, follows it to the edge of the district, where the forest begins. But Lisa’s reverie is interrupted by an arrow that shoots right through the mockingjay’s body, felling the bird. Katniss Everdeen comes bounding out of the woods to collect her latest prey, and Lisa, being a vegetarian, lectures her; being oppressed by a totalitarian government is no reason to kill harmless animals. Without a word, Katniss sweeps Lisa’s legs with her bow, sending Lisa to the ground. Then Katniss bounds off again, accompanied by dramatic music.
A hand reaches down to Lisa to pull her up, but she can’t see its owner because he’s backlit by the sun. Is it a handsome Peeta or Gale? No, it’s Milhouse, who’s been following her since her house. Lisa is not pleased to see him, but when he reminds her that they have to get to the Reaping, she reluctantly goes with him.
Helen Lovejoy takes up the Effie Trinket role, and when she pulls a name from the Reaping jar, it’s Maggie’s. Guards close in on Marge and tear Maggie out of her arms, and Lisa, in typical Lisa fashion, runs up to the stage. “People of District 47,” she says solemnly, “can we really submit to a government that sends our infants to the Hunger Games? Put down your mud-forks and your mud-barrows and rise up against the Capitol!” As Lisa pumps her fist in the air, Helen Lovejoy grabs her by the wrist and shrills, “It appears we have a volunteer!” Lisa starts to protest, but the citizens of District 47 hurl mud and trash at her until she relents. As Helen reaches into the jar to pick the boy’s name, Lisa looks at the handsome, strong boys in the district, but Helen reads the name, it’s Milhouse. Milhouse does a Success Kid maneuver and charges onto stage. “Don’t worry, Lisa,” he tells her. “I’ll protect you in the Arena.” Lisa mutters that they’re doomed.
To add insult to injury, before she leaves, she gets a visit from sexy baker boy Peeta. He afixes a mockingjay pin to her dress, telling her that maybe it has enough luck to assure her a quick death. “It’s a shame,” he says. “I always liked you Lisa, but I never had the guts to tell you.” He stands up and says, a little too cheerfully, “Welp! I guess I’ll go marry Katniss or something.” Lisa chases after him, shouting, “Peeta! I unvolunteer!” But the guards close in on her.
They get partnered up with their coach, Homer, the only person from their district to ever win the games. Homer drinks constantly, eats only doughnuts and constantly refers to the brutal way he used to kill people back in his day. When Lisa dubiously asks if he’s supposed to train them to survive the Hunger Games, Homer laughs uncontrollably, and then wipes a tear from his eye. “That’s a good one,” he says, still laughing. “Survive.” Not bothering to learn their names, he calls Milhouse “First-to-Die” and Lisa “Second-to-Die.”
Lisa is introduced to her stylist: the Comic Book Guy, playing against type. He tuts the state of her clothes, her hair, her lack of muscle tone, and, rolling his eyes, assures Lisa that he will make her more popular than Jeri Ryan on a failing TV series. Lisa protests. She doesn’t need to impress the viewers or get a makeover; this is just part of a barbaric, oppressive ritual. But of course, when the Comic Book Guy is finished with her, Lisa looks in the mirror and is stunned by the beautiful girl she sees looking back. “Well,” she admits as she tosses her newly pliable hair, “I guess a new look couldn’t hurt.”
They meet the other tributes: Nelson, Jimbo, Ralph (“I want to be the red hippo!”), Sherri and Terri (They were both selected because their Capitol representative couldn’t tell them apart.), and Barto, a career tribute from District Numero Uno. During the televised interviews with Ned Flanders (In another time, it would have been Troy McClure. Sigh.), Barto is asked if he has any words for the people in his home district. He hops up on the chair, waggles his butt at the camera, and yells out, “Eat my shorts!” Helen Lovejoy screams, “He’s showing off his butt! Won’t somebody please think of the children?” Bu the rest of the crowd begins chanting, “Barto! Barto!” We cut behind the curtain, where Homer stands with Lisa and Milhouse, also chanting, “Barto! Barto!”
When Lisa takes the stage, she is nervous at first, shyly answering Ned’s questions about her clothes and her favorite color, to faint applause. “Come on, little lady,” Ned whispers. “Got to show those sponsors some piz-diddly-zazz.” Lisa looks at one of the screens offstage and notices her mockingjay pin glinting in the spotlight. Her resolve returns and she leaps to her feet. “Citizens of Panem, can’t you see what you’re doing? The gamemakers dress us up, make you fall in love with us and then senselessly slaughter us! Please, people of the Capitol, demand that your government put an end to the games!” At this, the scandalized audience begins to chatter amongst themselves, and Lisa looks momentarily hopeful. But the chatter quickly turns to booing, catcalling and downturned thumbs. Ned declares her the least popular competitor ever and ushers her quickly off the stage.
Now it’s Milhouse’s turn. When Ned asks our blue-haired tribute if he’s got a girl back home, Milhouse proudly announces that Lisa is his girl. Off-stage, Lisa shouts, “Argh, he’s not my boyfriend!” Homer snaps, “Quiet, First-to-Die.” Ned lets loose a small tear of regret, and the audience cheers for poor heartbroken Milhouse.
President Snow (Mister Burns, of course) doesn’t like this Milhouse popularity one bit. He orders his head gamemaker (Mister Smithers) to make sure neither Milhouse nor Lisa survives the games.
Soon, it’s down to just Lisa, Milhouse and Barto. Homer’s been in his viewing box all this time, eating all the gifts from Milhouse’s sponsors, but at Helen Lovejoy’s prompting, he sends two silver parachutes. Milhouse receives a beautiful doughnut with pink icing and sprinkles, and Lisa receives a half-eaten piece of jerky that obviously fell on the floor. Milhouse looks at Lisa’s dejected face and offers, “Tradsies?” He gives her the doughnut, which Lisa decides to split in half, pocketing the jerky. It’s clear that Lisa is finally warming up to Milhouse.
Bored with the love story angle, President Burns commands Smithers to “Release the hounds,” and Smithers pushes the button that releases the Muttations, giant dogs with the faces of the dead tributes (Ralph’s is a littler derpy). Barto, Lisa and Milhouse are quickly cornered, and Barto promises he will kill them both once they’ve fought off the Muttations together. Lisa removes the jerky from her pocket and yells out to the Muttations, “Hey, doggies! Want a piece of meat?” Then she shoves the jerky down Barto’s shorts and pushes him and his skateboard down a hill, sending the Muttations after him. Barto is at first elated, shouting back at the Muttations, but he doesn’t look where he’s going and flies into a ravine, sending the ravenous dog-things after him. If any of them survive the fall, they literally eat Barto’s shorts — and the rest of him.
Realizing that the gamemakers will just keep sending more horrors after them, Lisa gets an idea. She finds poisonous berries in the bushes and tells Milhouse that they’ll pretend that they’re about to kill themselves, and the gamemakers will have to let both them out because of the public outcry. In a poorly acted monologue, Lisa shouts at the cameras that she and Milhouse are very much in love and they’d rather die together than kill each other. She lowly raises the pills to her mouth, whispering, “Okay, any moment now.” Nothing happens. She laughs nervously, “I’m sure there’s just a lag in the tape.” Nothing. After several seconds, it’s clear rescue isn’t coming.
Milhouse stands, grabbing his machete. “Well,” he says, “there’s only one honorable thing too do.” Lisa begs him not to kill himself, assures him that it’s senseless. “Don’t worry, Lisa,” he says. “I won’t.” And he lops off her head.
Homer gives a “Woohoo,” and starts dancing and singing, “My kid won the Hunger Games. My kid won the Hunger Games.” Everyone races into the Arena, congratulating Milhouse. “Alright, kid,” Homer says. “Let’s get you back to the Capitol.”
“Oh, is there going to be a parade in my honor?” Milhouse asks.
“No,” Homer says warmly, “we’ve got to get you ready for next year’s Hunger Games.”
And nothing came up Milhouse ever again.