The Simpsons has covered basically every holiday at this point, often many times over. They literally do a Halloween episode every season. Christmas has been covered on several occasions, including some really good episodes. You want an Easter episode? You got it! April Fool’s Day? They did a clip show built around it. The Simpsons also, naturally, has covered the Fourth of July. They only did it once, but it was a memorable episode worth shouting out for the holiday.
The episode is called “Summer of 4 Ft 2.” It is indeed a “Fourth of July” episode, but only sort of. It’s a Fourth of July episode like Die Hard is a Christmas movie. It’s true, but it’s not the most-important thing. The episode is really about Lisa, about summer, about childhood, and about Homer called Milhouse “Poindexter” a bunch of times.
“Summer of 4 Ft 2” begins with the end of the school year, and with the delivery of school yearbooks. Bart is very popular on the “signing the yearbook” circuit, but Lisa doesn’t get a single person to sign her yearbook. This naturally hurts her feelings. Ned then offers his family’s beach house over the summer, and Homer accepts the offer. This gives Lisa a chance to remake herself. She changes her look, tries to act cool, says stuff along the lines of “Like, you know, whatever,” and it works. Lisa makes friends! And she’s happy!
Of course, Bart takes umbrage to this, because he’s stuck playing Mystery Date with his parents and Milhouse. He shows Lisa’s new friends her yearbook, which tells tales of perfect attendance and being something called “the bathroom timer.” This, in Lisa’s mind, ruins her friendships, and ruins her summer. Also, her Fourth of July, because that’s the setting for the culmination of the story.
In the end, it turns out Lisa’s friends still like her, and they all sign her yearbook. So does Milhouse, who signs it with “See you in the car.” Lisa gets to be herself and make friends. Oh, and also Homer tries to wear a welcome mat as a bathing suit, goes to a convenience store to buy illegal fireworks, and explodes said fireworks in the dishwasher, making a mess of the kitchen. Because, even though this is a Lisa story, Homer Simpson is the greatest character in television history.
This is maybe the most “summer-y” episode of The Simpsons. It feels like summer. It feels like summer vacation. It’s funny and it’s sweet and it has emotional depth to it. “Summer of 4 Ft 2” is the perfect Simpsons episode to watch on the Fourth of July. Then, when the fall begins, you can watch “Homer Goes to College” or something else awesome. There are better Simpsons episodes than “Summer of 4 Ft 2,” but it’s still really good, and will ensconce you in summer vibes. Don’t wait up, Marge.