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Recap / The Simpsons S 7 E 16 Lisa The Iconoclast

Episode - 3F13
First Aired - 2/18/1996

On the days before Springfield's Founders' Day, Lisa discovers that Jebediah Springfield was actually a pirate who tried to murder George Washington and changed his name to dodge authorities, but no one (not even her own mother) wants to hear the truth — except for Homer, who risks his role as town crier for the Founders' Day parade to help his daughter.


  • Cassandra Truth: No one believed Lisa on the truth of the real Jebediah Springfield (except for Homer, surprisingly).
  • Dead Guy Puppet: Played for laughs when Chief Wiggum picks up Jebediah Springfield's skull and plays ventriloquist with it.
  • Evil Laugh: Jebediah Springfield/Hans Sprungfeld when he finish writing his confession (he even wrote down his sinister laughter in as well).
  • Fake Ultimate Hero / Villain with Good Publicity: Jebediah Springfield.
  • Foreshadowing: Apu refers to himself as a "semi-legal immigrant," which would later be explored in "Much Apu About Nothing."
  • Groin Attack: A flashback shows George Washington, while in his fight with Hans Sprungfeld/Jebediah Springfield, using his wooden false teeth to bite Sprungfeld/Springfield on the family jewels.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Jebediah's silver tongue. Hollis had hid it as a cowboy in one of the display cases of the Jebediah Springfield Museum. The 'plain sight' aspect is slightly questionable, since no one (except Lisa) ever visits the museum.
  • Historical-Domain Character: George Washington, he was Jebediah Springfield's (in his Hans Sprungfeld identity) enemy and even managed to put off an intense fist fight during Jebediah's assassination attempt.
    • He later appears to Lisa as a vision to scold her when she considers giving up her effort to expose Jebidiah Springfield as a fraud.
    George Washington: We had quitters during the Revolution, too. We called them 'Kentuckians'.
  • Jerkass: Marge outright dismisses and insults Lisa's findings without even considering it a possibility.
    • Mrs. Hoover as well.
  • Maintain the Lie: What Lisa ultimately decides to do, because of the positive influence that the legend of Jebediah Springfield has on the town.
  • No Hero to His Valet: The main plot of this episode. When Lisa does find proof that might convince everyone (causing Mayor Quimby to consider shooting her before she can reveal it) she changes her mind, telling everyone that she was wrong the whole time. (Why? After seeing the positive factors of the town's bicentennial celebration like the veterans at the parade and children having fun, she decided that the town knowing the truth would destroy hope and morale.)
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently no town meeting in Springfield has ended without someone digging up a corpse. What were those other times? Surely they can't mean the town meetings seen in "Marge vs. The Monorail," "A Star is Burns," "$pringfield (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)," and "Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part 1," because those didn't have that.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Homer mentions he's been called a 'greasy thug' before, and that it 'never stops hurting'. A few seconds later, he suggests getting covered in grease and trashing the museum with a baseball bat.
  • Older Than They Look: This was the first episode to imply that Kearney is above the normal age for an elementary school student. According to Principal Skinner, Kearney is the only kid in Springfield Elementary to remember both the 1976 Bicentennial and the Watergate scandal (which, at the time of the episode, would put him between the ages of 20 and 39) and he is seen shaving.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Trope Namer. This is the episode that introduced "embiggen" (which means "to empower") and "cromulent" (which has come to mean "acceptable" or "appropriate") as words that would later become part of the Oxford English dictionary.
  • Persona Non Grata: Played with when an outraged Hollis Hurlbut, who after first hearing the news about the real Jebediah Springfield from Lisa, have Lisa banned from the historical society...for three months.
    Hollis Hurlbut: Get out! You're banned from this Historical Society. You, and your children, and your children's children! ... for three months.
  • So Crazy It Must Be True: Most of the townspeople scoff Lisa's insistence that Jebediah Springfield was actually a bloodthirsty pirate and rogue. But Homer believes her because she's smart and insightful and usually right about these things, even if they sound crazy.
  • Take That: George Washington says the Revolution's quitters used to be called 'Kentuckians'.
  • Throw It In: Donald Sutherland ad-libbed the line "you had arthritis?" in response to Lisa's joke that she was getting over her "Chester A. Arthuritis". The producers liked it so much that they kept it.
  • Tongue Trauma: Hans Sprungfeld's/Jebediah Springfield's silver tongue. His real tongue got bitten off by a Turk.
  • Unfortunate Names: Marge tells Lisa that, when the Bouviers moved to Springfield, they could have instead moved to a town named Stenchburg.
  • Would Hurt a Child: A sniper confidently states he can hit Lisa. Mayor Quimby only tells him to stop because he wants to hear what she has to say.
    • And when she decides not to tell the truth, the sniper fires anyway. She's lucky she walked away.