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Recap / The Simpsons S4 E10 "Lisa's First Word"

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Original air date: 12/3/1992

Production code: 9F08

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 free meals from Krusty Burger's 1984 Olympics promotion due to a technicality.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: In-universe. Homer is inspired by Bart being fond of Krusty on TV and builds his son a clown-themed bed, but because of his poor carpentering skills he accidentally makes it look terrifying.
  • Advertised Extra: The episode was advertised as "starring" Elizabeth Taylor... wherein she spoke one word! (But it was Maggie's first word, so it was pretty important.)
  • Always a Live Transmission: During the flashback we see Homer and Bart watching a Krusty commercial advertising his Olympics promotion by biting into a Krusty Burger, cut to the studio saying the shot was finished... and Krusty immediately spitting the burger now that he is not live.
  • Artistic License – History: After winning yet another free Krusty Burger thanks to a dominant USA victory in the women's 100 meter butterfly, Marge tells Homer that she thinks the baby is coming. Homer marvels at his luck of having a baby and a free burger in the same day, asking if it's the best day of his life. When the Channel 6 Olympic host says that an hour-long episode of Mama's Family is to follow, Homer yells "YES!" The LA Olympics, plus the Winter Games in Sarajevo earlier that year, were televised by ABC, while NBC aired Mama's Family - the first two seasons of the show, anyway. In fact, by the time the Summer Olympics came around, NBC had already canceled Mama's Family, and its last episode had already aired on the network. Two years later, the show was revived for first-run syndication, where it enjoyed an additional four seasons.
  • Baby See, Baby Do: Baby Bart turns on the TV while Marge is asleep and uncomprehendingly repeats things said by a talk show host.
  • Baby's First Words: It revealed in this episode that Bart's first utterance was "¡Ay caramba!" (after walking in on Homer and Marge having sex), and Lisa's first word was "Bart" (as Bart was getting ready to run away from home). Homer remarks that considering how mouthy Bart and Lisa turned out, he'd be just as happy if Maggie never said anything. The episode ends with Maggie, alone and unheard, saying her first word: "Daddy" (before she fell asleep).
  • Big Brother Worship: While Lisa in the present certainly doesn't feel this way, as a baby she really looked up to Bart. According to Marge, Lisa thinks that Bart "hung the moon".
  • Big Eater: In this episode (the flashback part, anyway), Homer was such a Big Eater that when Krusty angrily announced on live TV that he was personally going to spit in every 50th Krusty Burger, Homer happily and confidently said "I like those odds." To say nothing about the ridiculously large amount of fast food that he was eating in the first place.
  • Bindle Stick: Bart is seen with one while intending to run away from home.
  • Borrowed Without Permission: It is revealed that Homer's first interaction with Ned (which was eight years ago) was asking to borrow his brand new TV tray, which he still has to this day.
  • Bottle Episode: Of the "Flashback Episode" variety. Aside from the flashbacks, the episode takes place in the Simpsons house with the main family.
  • Bridal Carry: Parodied in a flashback when Homer tries to carry a very heavily pregnant Marge over the threshold and does his back in.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: It turns out Bart has been doing this to Homer since he was a baby, despite Homer's best efforts. When Lisa first started talking, she did the same thing. Maggie is the only one to call him "Daddy" from the beginning.
  • Chalk Outline: One of the houses Homer and Marge visited while looking for a new home had one of those and there were cops taking pictures of it. The realtor says the house recently became available.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Krusty, in his second commercial after the scratch-off sweepstakes at Krusty Burger falls through due to the Soviet boycott.
  • Comic-Book Time: This episode provides the first explicit example of this trope in The Simpsons. In the season 3 episode "I Married Marge" it was established that Bart was conceived in May 1980, putting his birth in early 1981, which made sense back then, since the episode first aired in December 1991, and Bart is supposed to be 10 years old. With this episode they follow the same logic: Lisa is supposed to be 8, and the episode came out in 1992, so Lisa's birth year is established as 1984. Thus the Comic Book Time sets in when the two kids, who are two years apart in age, have been given birth years three years apart from each other.
  • Continuity Nod: Lisa tries to get Maggie to say Zeebu.
  • Couch Gag: The family forms a chorus line joined by Vegas dancers and animals.
  • Creepy Circus Music: A brief but effective creepy circus-like music is heard when little Bart stares at his Monster Clown bed decoration.
  • Culture Chop Suey: With the exception of the popular culture of the time (Ms. Pacman striking a blow for women's rights, Joe Piscopo being popular, Homer singing Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", Dr. Hibbert wearing cornrows with beads, Mama's Family being on TV, the 1984 Olympics, etc), 1980s Springfield looks and acts like 1930s Brooklyn.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Implied by the Olympic boxing match. The USA boxer Drederick Tatum is shown having defeated a Swedish boxer roughly half his size. The sportscaster refers to Tatum doing a "turkey trot" over his opponent. Furthermore, Tatum is shown being no worse for wear while his Swedish opponent is practically horizontal.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Clearly, Krusty should have thought of that promotion a little more before green-lighting it, much like the company behind the one it parodies should have.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: A downplayed example when Bart insults Homer as the Simpsons move into their new house.
    Bart: Hey Homer, this house sucks!
    Homer: Bart, I told you not to use that word. Call me "Daddy".
    Bart: Homer! (sticks out tongue) NYAH!
    Homer: GRRRRRR!!! (Homer promptly strangles Bart)
  • 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".
  • Early Personality Signs: Following from "I Married Marge," Baby Bart was just a smaller version of his 10-year-old self, endlessly (and purposely) causing trouble for his parents, irritating his dad by calling him "Homer," and even saying "¡Ay caramba!" as his very first "word." Lisa also displayed high intelligence as an infant when, immediately after saying her first word, she repeated several other words with ease including the complicated "David Hasselhoff."
  • 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 immigrant 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.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Played with. The episode titled "Lisa's First Word" is about the story of just that, but the episode also entails Bart's first word and Maggie's first word (in fact, the family trying to get Maggie to say her first word is what kicks off the story of Lisa's first word).
  • 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.
  • Extreme Doormat: Ned Flanders. He meekly asks for his TV tray to be returned once in eight years, after pointing out that he just found Homer's lost infant daughter and he probably owes him one. Homer just slams the door in his face.
  • Fictional Video Game: A kid approaches a group of kids on the street and asks if they want to play stickball. They agree, and run to three arcade games: Mumblety PEG, Stickball, and Kick the Can.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: "¡Ay caramba!" was the first thing Bart ever said (upon catching Homer and Marge in bed). He's also been calling Homer by his first name since babyhood.
  • Food as Bribe: Homer tries to make Maggie call him "Dad" by offering her a cookie but she distracts him and takes the cookie. It's the seventh time he falls for that.
  • Fun with Flushing: Bart flushes Homer's wallet and keys down the toilet when Marge announces that she's going to have another baby.
  • 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.
  • Groin Attack: Although it's offscreen, when a toddler Bart jumps off the TV trying to land on a sleeping Homer's stomach, when Bart makes the jump it implies he jumped a little too low and it cuts to Homer screaming in pain.
  • Hilarious in Flashback: Baby Bart is amused at Sideshow Bob getting hurt, long before Bob became Bart's arch-nemesis.
  • Human Mail: One of the ways Bart tried to get rid of Lisa was covering her in stamps and putting her in the mailbox. In the following scene, Bart is sitting in the corner and saying "Stupid mailman, squeal on me!"
  • 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 shack that's part of a crime scene, a nice house near a rendering plant, a houseboatnote , 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".
  • Insistent Appellation: The young Bart refused Homer's orders to call him "Daddy" and insisted on "Homer," to his frustration. When she first learned to talk, Lisa did the same thing.
  • Kick the Dog: Patty and Selma enjoy Bart's singing so much that it's become a routine that they offer him money to do it. When Lisa is born and fussing over her takes up all their attention, he pulls his trump card by singing them a new song he's just learned and just gets snapped at for being irritating.
    Selma: The older they get, the cuter they ain't.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Krusty's losing $44 million obviously hurts, but he only lost it because he tried to cheat his restaurant's customers with a rigged promotion that backfires harder than a loud motorbike.
  • Madness Mantra: "Can't sleep, clown will eat me. Can't sleep, clown will eat me. Can't sleep, clown will eat me..."
  • Making Room for Baby: After Marge finds out she's pregnant again, she decides that they need a bigger place to raise their growing family. Although Homer objected at first, he and Marge go house hunting, and after being put off by several places, they eventually find their current house, which they buy with the money that Grandpa earned from selling his house.
  • 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 well-constructed), 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 should die before you wake...".
  • New Baby Episode: Marge and Homer tell the story of how after finding out she was pregnant with Lisa, they decided they needed a bigger home and bought their current house. When Lisa's born, Bart becomes jealous of her, for getting all the attention, but they bond when "Bart" becomes her first word.
  • Noodle Incident: Grampa mentions one when Homer asks him for financial help.
    Abe: All I have is this house that I built with my own two hands.
    Homer: You didn't build this house, you won it on a crooked '50s game show!
    Abe: I ratted on everybody and got off scott-free!
  • 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.
  • Overly Long Scream: The courageous Korean gymnast Kim Huang performs a perfect dismount on (what was later revealed to be) a broken leg and spends the next few seconds screaming his head off. "Ouch", indeed.
  • 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."
  • Post-Treatment Lollipop: Lisa gets one after her first checkup. Bart asks for one too, but Dr. Hibbert tells him that Lisa got the last one, and gives Bart his booster shot instead.
  • 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!"
  • Recycled Animation:
    • The shots of Homer sawing and hammering are lifted directly from "Homer at the Bat".
    • The scene where Homer suggests to Marge that Bart can sleep with them (not sexually) until he's 21. He then talks about his cousin Frank/Francine. It uses the same animation twice in just that one scene.
  • Retcon: A flashback in "The War of the Simpsons" showed Bart as a diaper-clad, pacifier-sucking baby attempting to run down his babysitter outside the Evergreen Terrace house. Here he's two years old and fully verbal by the time they move in, having spent his babyhood in an apartment on "the Lower East Side" of Springfield.
  • Revenge Is a Dish Best Served: Lashing out after his Krusty Burger Olympics promotion has cost him millions, Krusty yells out that he will personally spit into every 50th Krusty Burger. Homer isn't horribly phased to hear this.
  • Rule of Funny: Homer and Marge couldn't have possibly known about the scene with Krusty in the TV studio, or the Olympic Games scam he was running that backfired spectacularly in his face. However, it made for a good joke, hence its inclusion in the flashback.
  • 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".
  • The Runaway: Bart was about to do this stating to Lisa that things were better with just him and his parents and then she ruined everything, right before he changes his mind when baby Lisa delivers the Wham Line.
  • Sanity Slippage: Bart after Homer makes him that hideous clown bed, and later Krusty when he loses $44 million 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.
  • Screaming at Squick: Not exactly a scream, but when Bart was a baby, he walked in on his parents having sex and said his first words: "¡Ay caramba!"
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Homer at one point segues into a story about him and Mr. Mooney getting locked in a bank vault due to being another one of his "hair-brained schemes", only for him to misremember it being the plot of an episode of The Lucy Show.
    • When Marge informs Homer that the baby was coming right after he won another burger in the Krusty Burger sweepstakes:
    Homer: Wow. A baby and a free burger. Could this be the best day of my life?
    Reporter: Coming up next: an hour long episode of Mama's Family.
    Homer: Yes!
  • 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 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 on the promotionnote .
  • Stab the Salad: Two-year-old Bart approaches baby Lisa's crib with a creepy "Hello, Lisa," snipping a huge pair of scissors. Marge walks in to give Lisa her bottle and lets out a loud scream at what she sees: Lisa with all her hair cut off.
    Bart: Who's cuter now?
  • 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.
    • Bart cuts off all Lisa's hair and says "Who's cuter now?" The answer: Lisa, even more so now that Marge has covered the damage by putting her in a hat with teddy bear ears.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Downplayed in the Homer doesn't become aware of it, but after getting miffed about how neither of his older kids called him "Dad" while they were toddlers, he finally gets treated with some respect when Maggie's first word is "Daddy."
  • Title Drop:
    Marge: The story of Lisa's first word is very cute.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Bart attempts to divest Lisa of her cuteness this way. Not only is she totally unbothered, but she looks even cuter in the hat Marge uses to cover it up.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Abe sold his rundown house to give Homer the money to buy 742 Evergreen Terrace, to which Homer moved Abe in with him...and sent him to the old age home "about three weeks" later.
  • 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.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Apparently Homer started strangling Bart when he was two years old.


Video Example(s):


Maggie's first word

Homer wishes Maggie would never learn to talk so that she won't fight with her siblings... but then, she says, "Daddy".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BabysFirstWords

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