The Simpsons/Lisa's First Word
Lisa's First Word is the tenth episode of the fourth season of The Simpsons, and the sixty-ninth episode overall. Marge tells the story of Lisa's first word after the family sits with Maggie in hopes of hearing her speak.
Also Starring: Pamela Hayden (Stickball Kid, Boycott Krusty Woman, Grandma Flanders)
Lisa, Bart, Homer and Marge are gathered around Maggie, trying to coerce her into saying her first word. When she doesn't respond, Marge decides to tell the kids the story of Lisa's first word as a baby in 1983. The family is shown living in a small apartment on the lower east side of Springfield with Bart, who is already a hellion. While Bart is flushing Homer's wallet down the toilet, Marge announces that she's going to be having another baby. But, because of the larger family, they're going to need a bigger house. They leave Bart with Patty and Selma and go off in search of a house, although their search turns up a houseboat and a house owned by cats until they find the home on Evergreen Terrace. But, it's way out of their price range.
Homer goes to his father to get a $15,000 loan so that he'll be able to buy the house of his dreams. Grandpa decides to sell his house to raise the necessary funds, as long as Homer lets him stay with them. Of course, he's kicked out of the house within three weeks. The family moves in to the new house and Marge tries to get rid of Bart so that she can relax, allowing Homer and the boy to watch television, including an advertisement for free hamburgers for every gold medal America wins in the Olympics.
After Marge gets further on in her pregnancy, she decides to give the crib to the coming baby, which Bart isn't happy about. Homer finds a solution by building Bart a bed shaped like a clown, a good idea in theory but when the clown bed turns out to be horrificly nightmarish, Bart becomes an insomniac. He's left in the care of the Flanders family, which is the final straw of jealousy between him and Lisa. When first introduced to Lisa, he tells her that he hates her. One night, he hides in Lisa's room and cuts off her hair to make her less cute. When this doesn't work, he tries to put her in a mailbox and through Flanders' doggy door. This just brings about more punishment, so he starts to run away from home when Lisa says her first word: "Bart."
Bart immediately reverses his opinion of Lisa and decides that maybe she's alright after all. Cut to the present when they're fighting like mad while Homer puts Maggie to bed. He tells her that he hopes that she never speaks and stays innocent forever and leaves the room. When Homer is out of earshot, Maggie pulls out her pacifier and says "Daddy" before going to sleep.
- Blackboard: "Teacher is not a leper." The final line cuts off at "L."
- Couch Gag: The family does a kicking dance reminiscent of the rockettes at Rockefeller Center. They're joined by several women who dance along with them, followed by men juggling on unicycles. Lastly, the entire backdrop is pulled up to reveal magicians, firebreathers, a dog jumping through a flaming hoop and elephants doing gymnastics.
- First Line: This episode, despite being mainly about Lisa, also features the first spoken line by Maggie. She says "Daddy" just before the credits roll and was voiced by Elizabeth Taylor. In a later clipshow, the line was redubbed by Nancy Cartwright to avoid paying her again. Although, technically, Maggie spoke all the time in The Tracey Ullman Show shorts, these aren't considered to be in continuity with the modern Simpsons.
Behind the Scenes
- Mike Reiss' life when his doctor father built him a horrifying clown bed. When telling the story Reiss would often sum up his experience by saying "Kids are scared of clowns and adults think they're dumb, so what the hell good are they?"
Allusions and References
- Where's the Beef: The headline of the newspaper from when Lisa was born shows Walter Mondale asking fellow party candidate Gary Hart, "Where's The Beef?" This is a reference to a Wendy's commercial that was popular at the time of the 1983 primaries; Mondale is literally asking Hart where the meat is in his campaign. This slogan managed to boost Mondale to the Democratic nomination, but he was utterly crushed in a landslide victory for Ronald Reagan. The only state that Mondale won was his home state of Minnesota.
- 1984 Summer Olympics: The 1984 Olympics play a significant role in this episode. As mentioned, Soviet Union, Cuba and East Germany all boycotted the games because they were held in Los Angeles, California. In the end, the United States won a staggering 83 gold medals, easily the most in the games with Romania at a distant second with 20 gold medals.
- McDonalds: Relating to the 1984 Olympics, Krusty Burger holds a promotion where if the Americans win the gold in an event named on a scratch off-ticket, the ticket holder would win a free item off their menu. McDonalds did a similar stunt for the Olympics and the exact same outcome occurred; McDonalds lost millions of dollars on the count of the Americans doing far better than they would have had the communist nations participated.
- Homer builds a disturbing looking clown bed for Bart in exchange for giving up the crib, but the bed only succeeds in giving Bart fright-based insomnia. The next day, he's shown rocking back and forth, muttering "Can't sleep, clown'll eat me."
- Homer: The sooner kids talk, the sooner they talk back. I hope you never say a word.
[Homer leaves and shuts the door]
Maggie: [taking her pacifier out] Daddy.