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Recap / The Simpsons S 3 E 14 Lisa The Greek

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Episode - 8F12
First Aired - 1/23/1992

Lisa the Greek was among many episodes spotlighting the often uneasy relationship between Homer and his daughter, Lisa, given their disparity in intelligence and interests. While reluctantly spending time with Lisa on a Sunday afternoon, Homer is able to connect with his daughter when he realizes she has an uncanny ability to accurately discovers that Lisa can predict the winners of NFL football games, and exploits that ability outcomes to help him gamble and win a fortune under the guise of Sunday being "Daddy-Daughter Day." When Lisa realizes at the end of the football season she was being used and Homer didn't really appreciate her as a person, she refuses to speak to him, forcing Homer to make amends with his daughter any way he can ... but can he?


The episode begins with Homer watching football and complaining to himself that he never is able to pick the winners of football games; it is clear early on that Homer bets heavily on the games, and becomes frustrated when "Smooth" Jimmy Apollo's prediction that Denver will beat New England is quickly blown up when the Patriots run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Lisa complains to Marge that Homer is always disinterested in her interests and ignores her; Marge suggests that the two watch football together. Homer tries to get Lisa to go away, but agrees to allow her to stay ... as long as she doesn't say anything. Lisa quickly goes back on her word when Denver – already down 35-7 – loses a fumble. (New England eventually wins 55-10.)

Homer tries to bet again on the Miami/Cincinnati game, but can't make up his mind when several football analysts can't agree on a winner in a game they all think has an obvious winner. Homer then calls a 1-900 betting advice hotline ("$5 for the first minute, $2 each additional minute"), but it quickly becomes clear "The Coach's Hotline" is a ripoff (given ... his ... ve ... ry ... slooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww ... sp-sp-sp- tal- ... -king ... ) and an impatient Homer hangs up. Out of options, Homer turns to Lisa to help him pick a winner; Lisa, not sure what to say, picks Miami, prompting Homer to call Moe's – where proprieter Moe is running a betting ring under Chief Wiggum's nose – quickly place his $50 bet. The bet is successful, and in the end, the Dolphins hang on to defeat the Bengals; Homer and Lisa celebrate.


Homer and Lisa appear to have found a common interest in football, and Homer declares Sunday "Daddy-Daughter Day." Lisa quickly becomes an expert in picking winners of games, attaining a perfect record for eight straight weeks. Homer uses this knowledge to win thousands of dollars from Moe, and proceeds to spoil the family with fancy dinners and toys for the kids.

But as everything goes for Homer, he ruins a good thing when Super Bowl Sunday approaches. Lisa realizes that football will no longer be shown on Sundays, prompting her to ask her father to go hiking with her next Sunday. But Homer had already thoughtlessly made plans to go bowling with Barney that Sunday. Homer relays the news to Lisa and says that "Daddy Daughter Day" is over until next football season. Lisa is immediately and terribly crushed by Homer's thoughtless words, and realizes that Homer was only using her to correctly bet on football games and win money. She runs to her room in tears, while Homer – with turns this into extra cash for the "what'd I do" look on his face – is scolded by Marge.


A shaken Lisa can't sleep and suffers from nightmares about being used for gambling. Homer, meanwhile, starts to realize he screwed up and tries to apologize to Lisa. But family, but Lisa is so angry at him and sees upset that Homer's invitation to her to watch the Super Bowl together is an insincere attempt at making amends. With Homer begging her for a pick, Lisa relents and tells him her pick is Washington. But then she adds that it's possible her mind is so clouded with rage that she subconsciously wants him to lose, and that it's affecting her ability to pick the winner. If that's the case, she recommends he do the opposite of what she tells him and bet on Buffalo. With Homer confused about who to bet on, Lisa is no more help and tells him in resignation "If I still love you, Washington; if I don't, Buffalo." As Lisa gives away her Malibu Stacy toys (all purchased with "dirty money"), Homer realizes that much more than a few dollars is riding on the outcome of the Super Bowl. When Buffalo builds a solid lead early in the game and Bart begins taunting him, a distraught Homer goes to Moe's to try to relax and forget about Lisa's words.

In the end, Washington rallies from behind to score a last-second victory ... and Homer happily celebrates the win. He realizes that Lisa's love is far more valuable than money and that said love is secure. Lisa is also relieved that Washington won, meaning she still loves her father. Homer then cancels his bowling engagement with Barney to make good on his promise to go hiking with Lisa the Sunday following the Super Bowl.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The drama at the climax happens because Lisa forces Homer to bet on the underdog team with the stakes that she will hate him for the rest of her life if they lose. This is a rather severe application of Honor Before Reason (seriously, she could have done anything else to force Homer to prove he wasn't spending time with her just for her gift) on Lisa's part... and thankfully, the team wins.
  • Adults Are Useless: Marge doesn't realize she embarrassed Bart. And Homer doesn’t realize until after the Super Bowl game starts that he royally screwed up in trying to bond with Lusa.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Homer subverts this when Marge reproaches him for gambling on football games.
    Homer: But Marge, it's a victimless crime. The only victim is Moe, heheheheh...
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Bart and Marge go shopping for clothing and she does things such as suggest he try on some cute underwear when other kids are around, and opening the door to the changing room without warning while he's still getting dressed. It comes off as less of 'Marge is embarrassing' than 'Marge is a Cloudcuckoolander'.
  • Butt-Monkey: Moe, once Homer starts using Lisa's predictions to soak him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: "Smooth" Jimmy Apollo predicts that the Denver Broncos will beat the New England Patriots, and Homer bets on Denver. New England crushes Denver 55-10.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Two mall security guards go after a girl who is the same age as Bart, doing what appears to be shoplifting a pair of socks, with shotguns (Lock-and-Load Montage included).
  • Exact Words: Homer takes the advice of "Smooth" Jimmy Apollo, who's right 52% of the time. Unfortunately, Homer didn't realize that Jimmy was wrong 48% of the time.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: At first, the mall security guards consider going after Bart for insulting them with a "Get Bent" sign aimed at the surveilance camera, but then they notice a girl wearing socks different that the ones she came in, so they grab their rifles and head out.
  • The Gambling Addict: Lisa has a nightmare that she might end up becoming one after learning Homer only used her to help him gamble.
  • Holding the Floor: Homer calls a pay-per-minute hotline for gambling advice, only for the Motor Mouth in the commercial to talk very slowly about the game's minutiae.
  • Honor Before Reason: Lisa gives away all of her Malibu Stacy gear, everything she had ever wanted and Homer bought for her because she wanted it and he could finally afford to, because it was bought with money obtained from gambling—"dirty" money. She also decides to bet whether or not she will love her father for the rest of her life on a football game, because it may signify whether or not her gift was tainted by (subconscious) anger on the moment Homer asked her who would win.
  • Iconic Item: "Smooth" Jimmy Apollo uses a giant novelty lock as part of his "Lock Of The Week", a prediction that Jimmy's guarantees will turn out the way he says.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes: Maggie puts aside the stuffed elephant Homer bought her to play with the wrapping paper instead.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Homer after realizing he used Lisa.
  • Never Heard That One Before: At a fancy restaurant, the waiter introduces himself to the Simpsons and says he'll be their waiter. Homer replies by saying he's Homer and will be the waiter's customer. The waiter dryly says he never heard that one before.
  • Noodle Incident: "And when the doctor said I didn't have worms anymore, that was the happiest day of my life."
  • ReCut: Some syndicated versions of this episode redub the names of the football teams to reflect which teams would be playing in the Super Bowl in real life. The DVD version of this episode (and the rerun on the cable channel FXX) has the original lines.
    • Some later airings of the episode on Fox had the line referring to their "new affiliate in Tel Aviv" redubbed to reference the CBS stations that left for Fox because of the NFL network switch (see Disaster Dominoes for more on that snafu).
      • The portion of the Super Bowl Pregame show that does make it into the episode previews Troy Mc Clure's new show which premieres after the game (see Take That! below).
  • Shout-Out/Expy: Both the episode's title and the character "Smooth" Jimmy Apollo are references to Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder.
    • The pregame show at the beginning of the episode is a clear parody of CBS's NFL pregame show, The NFL Today, as it was in the mid '80s, complete with the opening intro (a 3D football field against a black background; CBS Sports loved intros that had animation against a black background during this period; here's an example), and a screen behind the host's left shoulder, along with the obvious parodies of Brent Musburger and Jimmy the Greek.
  • Smelly Feet: Invoked in this exchange between Homer and Moe, in a Shout-Out to Apocalypse Now:
    Homer: Give me the usual, Moe...a beer, and a wad of bills!
    Moe: Eh, ya lucky moron...(takes off his boot and drops out Homer's gambling winnings, and hands them to Homer).
    Homer: (sniffing the money) I used to hate the smell of your sweaty feet, but now it's the smell of victory!
    Moe: Ah, shaddup.
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Smooth Jimmy Apollo and Troy McClure
  • Take That!: The episode takes jabs at the Super Bowl broadcasts of the 1980s, which consisted on rather bland family-friendly half-time shows built around a theme while the game would be followed by the premiere of a new TV show that would usually be cancelled after one season (The A-Team, which premiered after S.B. XVII being one of the few exceptions). This doubles with Unintentional Period Piece for both practices were abandoned a few years later: The half-time show would feature pop stars beginning in the following year (something in which Fox's In Living Color! special played an important part), and after NBC aired an special hour-long episode of Friends after Super Bowl 30, most post-game shows would be Super Bowl-themed episodes of already-established programs.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The subplot of Marge buying clothes for Bart ended with Bart stuck in the car as the bullies shake it, yelling, "You have to come out some time, Simpson." It's never mentioned again and the story just ends there. Though he did somehow get out of there.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Lisa is upset that her father used her to bet on football games and calls him "Homer" instead of "Dad".

Example of: