Lisa's Sax

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"Lisa's Sax"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 9
Episode 3 (181st overall)
Directed by Dominic Polcino
Written by Al 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 gag Homer is a Russian nesting doll that twists himself off and reveals each family member's top half. [2]
CommentaryAl Jean
Mike Reiss
Dominic Polcino
Episode chronology
 Previous
"The Principal and the Pauper"
Next 
"Treehouse of Horror VIII"
The Simpsons (season 9)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"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]

<i>The Simpsons</i> American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of working-class life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.

<i>The Simpsons</i> (season 9) Episode list for season of animated series

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.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American free-to-air television network that is a flagship property of the Fox Corporation. The network is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, with additional offices at the Fox Broadcasting Center and at the Fox Television Center in Los Angeles.

Contents

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.

Homer Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Homer Jay Simpson is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and first appeared on television, along with the rest of his family, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Homer was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was 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. He named the character after his father, Homer Groening. After appearing for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, the Simpson family got their own series on Fox that debuted December 17, 1989.

Bart Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

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.

Lisa Simpson fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Lisa Marie Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She is the middle child and most intelligent of the Simpson family. Voiced by Yeardley Smith, Lisa was born as a character in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed her while waiting to meet James L. Brooks. Groening had been invited to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the elder Simpson daughter after his younger sister Lisa Groening Bartlett. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family were moved to their own series on Fox, which debuted on December 17, 1989.

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.

Psychologist professional who evaluates, diagnoses, treats, and studies behavior and mental processes

A psychologist studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by experimenting with, and observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments.

Milhouse Van Houten Fictional character from The Simpsons franchise

Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten is a recurring character in the animated television series The Simpsons, voiced by Pamela Hayden, and created by Matt Groening who named the character after President Richard Nixon's middle name. Later in the series, it is revealed that Milhouse's middle name is "Mussolini." Milhouse is Bart Simpson's best friend in Mrs. Krabappel's fourth grade class at Springfield Elementary School, and is insecure, gullible, and less popular than Bart. Milhouse is often led into trouble by Bart, who takes advantage of his friend's naïveté, and he is also a regular target for school bullies Nelson Muntz and his friends Jimbo Jones, Dolph Starbeam, and Kearney Zzyzwicz. He also has a crush on Bart's sister, Lisa, which is used as a plot element in many episodes. Milhouse is one of the few residents in Springfield with visible, in fact rather thick, eyebrows.

Flatulence bodily function of expelling intestinal gas out of the anus

Flatulence is defined in the medical literature as "flatus expelled through the anus" or the "quality or state of being flatulent", which is defined in turn as "marked by or affected with gases generated in the intestine or stomach; likely to cause digestive flatulence". The root of these words is from the Latin flatus – "a blowing, a breaking wind". Flatus is also the medical word for gas generated in the stomach or bowels. Despite these standard definitions, a proportion of intestinal gas may be swallowed environmental air, and hence flatus is not totally generated in the stomach or bowels. The scientific study of this area of medicine is termed flatology.

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

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

Al Jean American television writer and producer

Alfred Ernest Jean III is an American screenwriter and producer. Jean is well known for his work on The Simpsons. He was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from Harvard University in 1981. Jean began his writing career in the 1980s with fellow Harvard alum Mike Reiss. Together, they worked as writers and producers on television shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, ALF and It's Garry Shandling's Show.

Mike Reiss American writer and producer

Michael L. Reiss 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.

David M. Stern American television screenwriter

David Michael Stern is an American television screenwriter. Among his first work in television was writing episodes of The Wonder Years in the late 1980s. He then proceeded to write several episodes of The Simpsons in the 1990s. In 2010, he developed the animated television series Ugly Americans. Stern is the younger brother of actor Daniel Stern, who served as the narrator of The Wonder Years.

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]

Doris Grau 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.

<i>The Simpsons</i> (season 18) Season of television series

The Simpsons' eighteenth season aired from September 10, 2006 to May 20, 2007. The season contained seven hold-over episodes from the season 17 (HABF) production line. Al Jean served as the showrunner, a position he has held since the thirteenth season.

"The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer" is the season premiere of The Simpsons’ eighteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 10, 2006. In the episode, Fat Tony is put out of commission by a rival family, and Homer and Bart take over the Springfield Mafia.

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.

Tracey Ullman English-born actress, comedian, singer, dancer, screenwriter, producer, director, author and businesswoman

Tracey Ullman is a British-American actress, comedian, singer, dancer, screenwriter, producer, director, author, and businesswoman.

<i>The Simpsons</i> shorts Special episode list for an animated series

The Simpsonsshorts are a series of animated shorts that aired as a recurring segment on Fox variety television series The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, before the characters spun off into The Simpsons, their own half-hour prime-time show. It features Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The series was created by Matt Groening, who designed the Simpson family and wrote many of the shorts. The shorts first aired on April 19, 1987 starting with "Good Night". The final short to air was "TV Simpsons", originally airing on May 14, 1989. The Simpsons later debuted on December 17, 1989, as an independent series with the Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".

<i>The Tracey Ullman Show</i> television program

The Tracey Ullman Show is an American television variety show starring Tracey Ullman. It debuted on Fox on April 5, 1987 and ran until May 26, 1990. The show was produced by Gracie Films and 20th Century Fox Television. The show blended sketch comedy with musical numbers and dance routines, choreographed by Paula Abdul, along with animated shorts. The format was conceived by creator and executive producer James L. Brooks, who was looking to showcase the show's multitalented star. Brooks likened the show to producing three pilots a week. Ullman was the first British woman to be offered her own television sketch show in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

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]

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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. 1 2 3 4 5 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. 1 2 Reiss, Mike (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Lisa's Sax" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 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))