Recap / The Simpsons S 4 E 10 Lisa's First Word

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Episode - 9F08
First Aired - 12/3/1992

While waiting for Maggie to say her first word, Homer and Marge tell the story of their life after Bart was born (where they lived in an apartment in a neighborhood that looks like it was from the early 20th century rather than the mid-1980s), how Homer, Marge, and Bart moved into their current house, the early days of Bart and Lisa bonding, and Homer winning Krusty Burger's 1984 Olympics promotion due to a technicality.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Modern audiences (at least the ones who weren't around when it really happened) might not realize that the Krusty Burger Olympic promotion and the subsequent financial backfiring due to the Soviet boycotting of the Games was based on a real McDonald's promotion that had the same results.
  • Bindle Stick: Bart is seen with one while intending to run away from home.
  • Bottle Episode: Of the "Flashback Episode" variety. Aside from the flashbacks, the episode takes place in the Simpsons house with the main family.
  • Continuity Nod: Lisa tries to get Maggie to say Zeebu.
  • Culture Chop Suey: With the exception of the popular culture of the time, 1980s Springfield looks and acts like 1930s Brooklyn.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Clearly, Krusty should have thought of that promotion a little more before greenlighting it, much like the company behind the one it parodies should have.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Krusty Burger's product is so bad, even Krusty himself hates it. Doing a commercial for it makes him gag in disgust, spitting the burger out as soon as the director says "cut".
  • The '80s: The setting of the flashbacks. It was a time when, as Marge tells her kids, "Ms. Pacman struck a blow for women's rights, a young Joe Piscopo taught us how to laugh..." As the flashback begins, Marge is talking with Irish and Italian housewives about the last episode of M*A*S*H, and Homer sings "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" as he comes home from work. Later, the 1984 Summer Olympics provide a B-plot.
  • Exact Words: Krusty Burger is the "official meat-flavored sandwich" of the Olympics. Note that there's nothing in there about it actually being made of meat.
  • Fictional Video Game: A kid approaches a group of kids on the street and asks if they want to play stick ball. They agree, and run to three arcade games: Mumblety PEG, Stickball, and Kick the Can.
  • The Ghost: Homer has a cousin named Frank who became Francine in 1976, then joined a cult and now goes by the name of "Mother Shabubu" — all because she slept with her parents (not sexually) until she was 21.
  • Hypocrite: Krusty markets and advertises a product that even he himself is disgusted by.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: As it turns out, the Simpsons' house is located in what is apparently known as "The Rat's Nest," which includes a house that's part of a crime scene, a nice house near a rendering plant, a houseboat, and a house full of cats.
  • Infant Sibling Jealousy: Bart was unhappy with Lisa's birth, especially with Homer fawning over her because it coincided with a run of good fortune. Though a good part of Bart's misery came from random events indirectly caused by Lisa (e.g. Lisa gets Bart's old crib, so Homer makes Bart a new bed with a Monster Clown carved into the headboard). He was about ready to leave home until hearing Lisa's first word was "Bart".
  • Madness Mantra: "Can't sleep, clown will eat me. Can't sleep, clown will eat me. Can't sleep, clown will eat me..."
  • Monster Clown: The headboard of Bart's new bed, thanks to Homer's poor work (though compared to the other crap he's built, the monster clown headboard actually looks good), looks like one to the viewer, and even more so to the poor toddler.
    • "If you should die before you wake...AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
  • Morton's Fork: Related to the above point; you can tell a clown is scary when it makes a little kid not want to go home.
    Bart: (already homesick and not getting on well with the Incredibly Lame Fun-having Flanders kids) I want to go home. (looks out the window and sees the clown bed; becomes terrified) No I don't!
  • Never Sleep Again: Bart has to deal with Homer's infamous Monster Clown of a home-made bed, who Bart even hallucinates saying, "if you die before you wake...".
  • Off-Model: Sideshow Bob has Sideshow Mel's hair color (greenish-blue) in the commercial for the Krusty Burger giveaway. While it can be handwaved that it's a wig or he had to dye his hair for the show, it actually contradicts with the season one episodes (up until "Krusty Gets Busted") where Sideshow Bob had his own hair (red). The writers on the DVD commentary point out that Sideshow Bob's hair being greenish-blue instead of red was a coloring mistake.
    • Krusty's beard switches from pink to brown when he has his mental breakdown over his lost money in the sweepstakes.
    • The showrunners admitted to simply tinting the scene of baby Bart swinging naked on the clothes line for the "night" portion of the scene.
  • Overly Long Gag: "From now on, the baby sleeps in the crib." "Iron helps us play!" "AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" "Hello, Joe!"
    • Note that it's actually played twice in a naked attempt to pad the episode out, which the writers admitted to doing in the DVD commentary.
  • Pet Heir: While house hunting, Homer and Marge visit a house full of cats. After Homer says, "Once we get the cats out of the way, it won't be so bad," the realtor explains that according to the will of the previous owner, the cats technically own the house now—Homer, Marge and their kids would actually be their tenants. After hearing this, Bart and Lisa both expressed a wish to be living in the "kitty house" (as Lisa called it), and Bart says that he could've trained the cats to be his "unholy army of the night."
  • Primal Scene: Played for Laughs — When Bart was still in diapers (but able to walk), he accidentally walked in Homer and Marge having sex, which led to his first words, "Ay caramba!"
  • Rule of Three: Subverted: after Bart and Lisa begin talking, they call Homer by his name (despite calling Marge "Mommy"). Maggie's first word is calling Homer "Daddy".
  • Sanity Slippage: Bart after Homer makes him that hideous clown bed, and later Krusty when he loses $44 million dollars thanks to the Soviet boycott.
  • The Scapegoat: Bart was initially okay with the idea of having a baby sibling because he thought said potential sibling could've been used as a prop or someone to pass blame on when he misbehaved. But as it turned out, no such luck.
  • Series Continuity Error: Krusty the Clown is shown to be literate in this episode, yet in "Krusty Gets Busted", an episode that, in-universe, occurred eight years after the events of this one, Krusty openly said that he was illiterate.
  • Spanner in the Works: Krusty Burger's Olympic promotion centers around printing game cards for different events. If America wins a gold medal in the event printed on the game card, participants can redeem the card for a free Krusty Burger. However, the cards are rigged in that they're only for events that Communists never lose in. Krusty is initially happy with the idea...at least until he learns that the Soviets have decided to boycott the games. His accountant then calculates that Krusty himself personally stands to lose $44 million dollars on the promotion.
    • And that sum is in 1980s dollars. Losing $44 million would hurt anyone by today's standards, but when the sums are adjusted for inflation, Krusty's losses are over $100 million. No wonder Krusty has so many financial problems in "present day" episodes.
  • Stock Footage: The shots of Homer sawing and hammering are lifted directly from "Homer at the Bat".
  • Take That!: Krusty Burger's promotion is very similar to one McDonald's had in 1984, which ended in a similar disaster.
  • Tempting Fate: While discussing his promotion, one of Krusty's aides promises him that all the events chosen are ones the Soviets never lose. Cue a telegram about the boycott.
  • Title Drop:
    Marge': The story of Lisa's first word is very cute.
  • Wham Line: Just as Bart is about to run away from home, fed up with how Lisa ruined his life, Lisa says her first word: "Bart."
    • "Daddy." - said by Maggie just after Homer leaves her room.


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