Lisa's Sax

"Lisa's Sax" is the third episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 19, 1997, to overwhelmingly positive reviews.[3] In the series' sixth flashback episode, it is explained how Lisa got her saxophone. The episode was executive produced by Al Jean and Mike Reiss and was the first episode Jean wrote by himself as all of his previous writing credits had been shared with Reiss. It was directed by Dominic Polcino and guest starred Fyvush Finkel, who appeared as himself portraying Krusty in a film.[2]

"Lisa's Sax"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 9
Episode 3
Directed byDominic Polcino
Written byAl Jean
Production code3G02
Original air dateOctober 19, 1997
Guest appearance(s)

Fyvush Finkel as himself playing Krusty

Episode features
Chalkboard gag"I no longer want my MTV"[1]
Couch gagHomer is a Russian nesting doll that twists himself off and reveals each family member's top half.[2]
CommentaryAl Jean
Mike Reiss
Dominic Polcino

Plot

Homer and Bart are watching television when they are interrupted by Lisa playing her saxophone in her bedroom. Bart enters Lisa's bedroom and tries to grab the saxophone from her, but he inadvertently tosses it out the window. It lands in the middle of the street and is run over by traffic and stomped on by Nelson Muntz. In a period of mourning, Lisa reveals she cannot remember ever not having that saxophone, so Homer recounts the instrument's origins.

In a flashback to 1990, Bart goes to his first day of school, but things do not go so well for him and he becomes depressed. It is during discussions of Bart's future that the school psychologist realizes the young Lisa is very intelligent, telling Homer and Marge that they need to nurture her gifted spirit. They try to send Lisa to a private school but the tuition fee costs $6,000. Meanwhile, a terrible heatwave hits Springfield and Homer saves $200 to buy an air conditioner. Marge, however, asks Homer not to buy one until they figure out how to help Lisa. At the school, Bart talks with Milhouse and makes a farting sound, which Milhouse finds amusing. Encouraged, Bart entertains a group of children and sets out on his path to become the school prankster.

On his way to purchase a new air conditioner, Homer discovers that a musical instrument is a way to encourage a gifted child, and subsequently sacrifices his air conditioner money to buy Lisa her first saxophone. In the present, Marge mentions that there is some money in the air conditioner account, so Homer decides to buy another saxophone for Lisa.

Production

Al Jean by Gage Skidmore 2
This was the first episode for which Al Jean was credited as having written by himself.

"Lisa's Sax" is the first episode that Al Jean had ever been credited as having written by himself. Before this episode, all of his writing credits had been shared with Mike Reiss.[4] The episode was written with a small staff that consisted of Jean, Reiss and David Stern, among others. According to Reiss, the final episode contained 80–90% of Jean's original script.[5] It is the sixth flashback episode done by the show. "The Way We Was" was the first flashback episode and in it, Homer graduated from high school in 1974 and that made it difficult to have a realistic timeframe as this episode is set in 1990.[5] Jean conceived the idea for the All in the Family style opening while waiting to get tickets to the O.J. Simpson murder trial.[5] The episode was very short and the clip of Lisa playing the sax at the end was added to lengthen it.[5]

The pastel drawing of Krusty was drawn entirely by Dominic Polcino, who revealed it was the only piece of original artwork created solely by him that was featured in an episode. He created the pastel drawing with this in mind. It was an easy episode for Polcino to direct due to the lack of crowds and being a "grounded episode".[6] This is the last episode in which Doris Grau has a speaking role as Lunchlady Doris, although this episode aired nearly two years after her death. It would also mark the final time the character would speak until Season 18's "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer" when she was voiced by Tress MacNeille.[7]

Cultural references

While telling Bart and Lisa about 1990, Homer says, "Tracey Ullman was entertaining America with [...] crudely drawn filler material." This is a reference to The Simpsons's debut as "bumpers" airing before and after commercials on The Tracey Ullman Show.[2] The song "Those Were the Days" parodies the opening credits of the television show All in the Family.[5] One of the people who run over the saxophone is a man on a tricycle, who promptly falls over. This is a reference to the show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.[5] At the beginning of the flashback, the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin can be heard.[5] In the flashback, Dr. Hibbert fashioned his hair and attire like Mr. T in The A-Team.[5] Homer can be seen watching Twin Peaks and The Giant is then shown waltzing with the White Horse.[2] In King Toot's music store, when Homer buys Lisa her first saxophone, there is a guitar in the background that is similar to Eddie Van Halen's "Frankenstrat" guitar.[4] The photo beside Kent Brockman on the news has him modeled after the Coppertone Girl.[8] At the end of the episode, Lisa performs a brief, cruder rendition of the hook of "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty on her new saxophone before the music segues into the original song.

Reception

In its original broadcast, "Lisa's Sax" finished 51st in ratings for the week of October 13–19, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 8.2, equivalent to approximately 8.0 million viewing households. It was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following King of the Hill.[9]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, called it "a terrific episode, full of amusing self-referential wit and it is especially nice to finally discover what it was that caused Bart to go down the path to the dark side."[2] Robert Canning of IGN strongly praised the episode, saying it is "not only very funny, but it's also loaded with Simpson heart."[10] A review of The Simpsons season 9 DVD release in The San Diego Union-Tribune highlighted "Lisa's Sax" along with "All Singing, All Dancing" and "Trash of the Titans" as some of the more memorable episodes of the series.[11] Stephen Becker of The Dallas Morning News noted that season 9 "has a special affinity for Lisa", and highlighted this episode along with "Das Bus" and "Lisa the Simpson" in his review of the DVD.[12] A segment of the episode where two schoolgirls chant the digits of pi while playing patty-cake is used by mathematicians Sarah J. Greenwald of Appalachian State University and Andrew Nestler of Santa Monica College in a website on the mathematics of The Simpsons.[13]

References

  1. ^ Gimple, Scott M. (1999-12-01). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-098763-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Lisa's Sax". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  3. ^ "Lisa's Sax". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
  4. ^ a b Reiss, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Lisa's Sax" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Jean, Al (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Lisa's Sax" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ Polcino, Dominic (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Lisa's Sax" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ "Lunchlady Doris (Character)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  8. ^ Ryan, Kyle (July 12, 2015). "The Simpsons (Classic): "Lisa's Sax"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  9. ^ Associated Press (October 23, 1997). "Game 2 of series slides into top 10". Rocky Mountain News. p. 15D.
  10. ^ Canning, Robert (2008-06-09). "The Simpsons Flashback: "Lisa's Sax" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
  11. ^ Dixon, David (2007-01-06). "ON DVD: 'The Simpsons – The Complete Ninth Season'". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Union-Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2007-12-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  12. ^ Becker, Stephen (2006-12-22). "DVD review: The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season". The Dallas Morning News. The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2007-12-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ Staff (December 1, 2003). "Tune into math The Simpsons way. (Grades 9-12)". Curriculum Review. (See also their website, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2007-12-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link))

External links

Baker Street (song)

"Baker Street" is a song written and recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty. Released as a single in 1978, it reached No. 1 in Cash Box and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it held that position for six weeks, behind Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing". It spent four weeks at No. 1 in Canada, No. 1 in Australia and South Africa, hit No. 3 in the United Kingdom, and the top 10 in the Netherlands. Rafferty received the 1978 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. The arrangement is known for its saxophone riff.In October 2010, the song was recognised by BMI for surpassing five million performances worldwide. It was awarded Gold Certification on two occasions, on 1 April 1978 and 22 July 2013 by the BPI in the UK.

Bart Simpson

Bartholomew JoJo "Bart" Simpson is a fictional character in the American animated television series The Simpsons and part of the Simpson family. He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed Bart while waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic strip, Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. While the rest of the characters were named after Groening's family members, Bart's name is an anagram of the word brat. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family received its own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

At ten years old, Bart is the eldest child and only son of Homer and Marge, and the brother of Lisa and Maggie. Bart's most prominent and popular character traits are his mischievousness, rebelliousness and disrespect for authority. He has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons – including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials, and comic books – and inspired an entire line of merchandise.

In casting, Nancy Cartwright originally planned to audition for the role of Lisa, while Yeardley Smith tried out for Bart. Smith's voice was too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. Cartwright found that Lisa was not interesting at the time, so instead auditioned for Bart, which she thought was a better role.Hallmarks of the character include his chalkboard gags in the opening sequence; his prank calls to Moe; and his catchphrases "Eat my shorts", "¡Ay, caramba!", "Don't have a cow, man!", and "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?". Although, with the exception of "Ay, caramba!", they have been retired or not often used.

During the first two seasons of The Simpsons, Bart was the show's breakout character and "Bartmania" ensued, spawning Bart Simpson-themed merchandise touting his rebellious attitude and pride at underachieving, which caused many parents and educators to cast him as a bad role model for children. Around the third season, the series started to focus more on the family as a whole, though Bart still remains a prominent character. Time named Bart one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century, and he was named "entertainer of the year" in 1990 by Entertainment Weekly. Nancy Cartwright has won several awards for voicing Bart, including a Primetime Emmy Award in 1992 and an Annie Award in 1995. In 2000, Bart, along with the rest of his family, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He has appeared in every Simpsons episode except "Four Great Women and a Manicure".

Dominic Polcino

Dominic Polcino (born February 13, 1964) is an animation director who has worked on The Simpsons, Mission Hill, King of the Hill, and Family Guy. Polcino worked on the first season of Family Guy, then left to direct for King of the Hill and then returned to Family Guy. Polcino is currently a director on the Adult Swim series Rick and Morty. He then went on to create the TV pilot Lovesick Fool which debuted on FunnyOrDie then went on to exhibit at Film Festivals and is currently on YouTube. His brother, Michael Polcino, is currently a director on The Simpsons.

Dominic was also the Supervising Director on the Dan Harmon series, HarmonQuest, which is a hybrid live action series that animates the tabletop RPG exploits of Dan Harmon and his celebrity friends.

Doris Grau

Doris Grau (October 12, 1924 – December 30, 1995) was an American script supervisor, actress, and voice artist from Brooklyn. Shortly after moving to Hollywood in 1940, she began her career with supervising film and television scripts. She continued to do this until the 1990s and worked on films such as Point Blank and King Kong and television shows such as Cheers and The Tracey Ullman Show. In addition, Grau did some acting in her later years, playing both live-action and animated roles. On the sitcom The Simpsons, she both worked as a script supervisor and provided the voice of Lunchlady Doris and other minor characters. Grau died from respiratory failure.

Fyvush Finkel

Philip "Fyvush" Finkel (Yiddish: פֿײַוויש פֿינקעל‎; October 9, 1922 – August 14, 2016) was an American actor known as a star of Yiddish theater and for his role as lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on the television series Picket Fences, for which he earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 1994. He is also known for his portrayal of Harvey Lipschultz, a crotchety history teacher, on the television series Boston Public.

Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons

Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons is the 1999 soundtrack album from The Simpsons. It takes many of the musical numbers from the series which were either not included in the previous album, Songs in the Key of Springfield, or were created since the previous album's release. The album has 53 tracks, most of which were written by Alf Clausen. It was well received by critics, being named the Best Compilation Album of 1999 by Soundtrack.net, and charted at number 197 on the Billboard 200.

I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can

"I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' fourteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 16, 2003, and was seen by around 22 million people during this broadcast. The episode is referred to as the 301st in the opening theme as it originally aired the same day as the episode Barting Over which was promoted as the 300th episode.

List of fictional television stations

This is a list of notable fictional television stations, including fictional television networks.

Lost Our Lisa

"Lost Our Lisa" is the twenty-fourth episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 10, 1998. The episode contains the last appearance of the character Lionel Hutz. When Lisa learns that Marge cannot give her a ride to the museum and forbids her to take the bus, she tricks Homer into giving her permission. After Lisa gets lost, Homer goes looking for her and the two end up visiting the museum together. The episode is analyzed in the books Planet Simpson, The Psychology of the Simpsons: D'oh!, and The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer, and received positive mention in I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide.

Mike Reiss

Michael L. Reiss (born September 15, 1959) is an American television comedy writer and author. He served as a show-runner, writer and producer for the animated series The Simpsons and co-created the animated series The Critic. He created and wrote the webtoon Queer Duck and has also worked on screenplays including: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, The Simpsons Movie and My Life in Ruins.

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Jean Cartwright (born October 25, 1957) is an American actress, voice actress, and comedian, known for her long-running role as Bart Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons. Cartwright also voices other characters for the show, including Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, Kearney, Database and Maggie.

Cartwright was born in Dayton, Ohio. Cartwright moved to Hollywood in 1978 and trained alongside voice actor Daws Butler. Her first professional role was voicing Gloria in the animated series Richie Rich, which she followed with a starring role in the television movie Marian Rose White (1982) and her first feature film, Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

After continuing to search for acting work, in 1987, Cartwright auditioned for a role in a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family that was to appear on The Tracey Ullman Show. Cartwright intended to audition for the role of Lisa Simpson, the middle child; when she arrived at the audition, she found the role of Bart—Lisa's brother—to be more interesting. Matt Groening, the series' creator, allowed her to audition for Bart and offered her the role on the spot. She voiced Bart for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, and in 1989, the shorts were spun off into a half-hour show called The Simpsons. For her subsequent work as Bart, Cartwright received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 and an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in the Field of Animation in 1995.

Besides The Simpsons, Cartwright has also voiced numerous other animated characters, including Daffney Gillfin in The Snorks, Rufus in Kim Possible, Mindy in Animaniacs, Pistol in Goof Troop, Margo Sherman in The Critic, Todd Daring in The Replacements, and Charles "Chuckie" Finster, Jr. in Rugrats and All Grown Up! (a role she assumed in 2002, following the retirement of Christine Cavanaugh). In 2000, she published her autobiography, My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy, and four years later, adapted it into a one-woman play. In 2017, she wrote and produced the film In Search of Fellini.

Songs in the Key of Springfield

Songs in the Key of Springfield is a soundtrack/novelty album from The Simpsons compiling many of the musical numbers from the series. The album was released in the United States on March 18, 1997, and in the United Kingdom in June 1997. This was the second album released in association with the Simpsons television series; however, the previous release, The Simpsons Sing the Blues, contained original recordings as opposed to songs featured in episodes of the series.

The album was followed by The Yellow Album, a second album of original songs.

The Giant (Twin Peaks)

The Giant is a character from the television series Twin Peaks, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. He is played by Carel Struycken.Struycken also appears in the 2017 revival as The Fireman, although the series does not reveal if he is the same character as the Giant.

The Monkey Suit

"The Monkey Suit" is the twenty-first episode of the seventeenth season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 14, 2006. In the episode, Ned Flanders is shocked after seeing a new display at the museum about evolution. Together with Reverend Lovejoy, he spreads the religious belief of creationism in Springfield, and at a later town meeting, teaching evolution is made illegal. As a result, Lisa decides to hold secret classes for people interested in evolution. However, she is quickly arrested and a trial against her is initiated.

J. Stewart Burns wrote "The Monkey Suit", for which he received inspiration from the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. The episode features a few references to this legal case, as well as several references to popular culture. Many analysts have commented on the episode's treatment of the creation–evolution controversy, a dispute about the origin of humanity between those who support a creationist view based upon their religious beliefs, versus those who accept evolution, as supported by scientific evidence.

Critics have given the episode generally positive reviews, praising it for its satire of the creation-evolution debate. "The Monkey Suit" has won an award from the Independent Investigations Group (IIG) for being "one of those rare shows in the media that encourage science, critical thinking, and ridicule those shows that peddle pseudoscience and superstition." In 2007, a scene from the episode was highlighted in the scientific journal Nature.

The Principal and the Pauper

"The Principal and the Pauper" is the second episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 28, 1997. In the episode, Seymour Skinner begins to celebrate his twentieth anniversary as principal of Springfield Elementary School, when a man arrives claiming that Skinner has assumed his identity. Principal Skinner admits that his real name is Armin Tamzarian, and that he had thought the true Seymour Skinner, a friend from the Army, had died in the Vietnam War. Armin leaves Springfield, but is later persuaded to return as principal.

"The Principal and the Pauper" was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Steven Dean Moore. It guest-starred Martin Sheen as the real Seymour Skinner. Although it aired during the show's ninth season, it was a holdover from season eight. The episode is one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons. Many fans and critics reacted extremely negatively to the revelation that Principal Skinner, a recurring character since the first season who had undergone a lot of character development, was an impostor. Many fans do not even consider it to be canon. The episode has been criticized by series creator Matt Groening, and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Principal Skinner. Despite this, Ken Keeler considers the episode the best work he has ever done for television.

The Simpsons (season 7)

The Simpsons' seventh season originally aired on the Fox network between September 17, 1995 and May 19, 1996. The show runners for the seventh production season were Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein who would executive produce 21 episodes this season. David Mirkin executive produced the remaining four, including two hold overs that were produced for the previous season. The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Animated Program and won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program. The DVD box set was released in Region 1 December 13, 2005, Region 2 January 30, 2006 and Region 4 on March 22, 2006. The set was released in two different forms: a Marge-shaped box and also a standard rectangular-shaped box in which the theme is a movie premiere.

The Simpsons (season 9)

The Simpsons' ninth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 1997 and May 1998, beginning on Sunday, September 21, 1997, with "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson". With Mike Scully as showrunner for the ninth production season, the aired season contained three episodes which were hold-over episodes from season eight, which Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein ran. It also contained two episodes which were run by David Mirkin, and another two hold-over episodes which were run by Al Jean and Mike Reiss.Season nine won three Emmy Awards: "Trash of the Titans" for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour) in 1998, Hank Azaria won "Outstanding Voice-Over Performance" for the voice of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, and Alf Clausen and Ken Keeler won the "Outstanding Music and Lyrics" award. Clausen was also nominated for "Outstanding Music Direction" and "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore)" for "Treehouse of Horror VIII". Season nine was also nominated for a "Best Network Television Series" award by the Saturn Awards and "Best Sound Editing" for a Golden Reel Award.The Simpsons 9th Season DVD was released on December 19, 2006 in Region 1, January 29, 2007 in Region 2 and March 21, 2007 in Region 4. The DVD was released in two different forms: a Lisa-shaped head, to match the Maggie, Homer and Marge shaped heads from the three previous DVD sets, and also a standard rectangular shaped box. Like the previous DVD sets, both versions are available for sale separately.

The Simpsons opening sequence

The opening sequence of the American animated television series The Simpsons is among the most popular opening sequences in television and is accompanied by one of television's most recognizable theme songs. The first episode to use this intro was the series' second episode "Bart the Genius".

The standard opening has had two major revisions. The first was at the start of the second season when the entire sequence was reanimated to improve the quality and certain shots were changed generally to add characters who had been established in the first season. The second was a brand-new opening sequence produced in high-definition for the show's transition to that format beginning with "Take My Life, Please" in season 20. The new opening generally followed the sequence of the original opening with improved graphics, even more characters, and new jokes.

Treehouse of Horror VIII

"Treehouse of Horror VIII" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 26, 1997. In the eighth annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer Simpson is the last man left alive when a neutron bomb destroys Springfield until a gang of mutants come after him, Homer buys a transporter that Bart uses to switch bodies with a housefly, and Marge is accused of witchcraft in a Puritan rendition of Springfield in 1649. It was written by Mike Scully, David X. Cohen and Ned Goldreyer, and was directed by Mark Kirkland.

Season 9
Themed episodes
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