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

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

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This episode contains examples of:

  • 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.)
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Modern audiences (at least the ones who were too young to remember it or 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 resultsnote .
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 2 episode "The Way We Was" it was established that Bart was born in 1980, which made sense back then, since the episode first aired in January 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 four years apart from each other.
  • Continuity Nod: Lisa tries to get Maggie to say Zeebu.
  • 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 "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.
  • 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: Bart to Homer when 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".
  • 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.
  • 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 stickball. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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 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 shownote , 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 clothesline 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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 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.
  • 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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