The Simpsons

Season 9 Episode 8

Lisa the Skeptic

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 23, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
157 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Lisa protests the building of a shopping mall on sacred ground. Her protest gets the school the ability to conduct an archaeological dig. Lisa's digging reveals a human skeleton that has wings. All Springfield is convinced it is an angel and Homer cashes in; however, Lisa is skeptical. The skeleton disappears and when it reappears it carries a foreboding message about the end of the world. As sundown approaches, the townspeople grow concerned and frightened, but nothing catastrophic happens. The skeleton floats down below the valley to a new discount shopping mall ("the end is near ... for high prices!"). Lisa figures out the whole "end is near" saga was a publicity stunt staged by the developers, not so much to not tip off would-be competitors but, as she angrily states, a way to prey on the beliefs and fears of the guillible. She calls for a boycott of the mall, but the bargain-hunting public immediately go shopping instead.moreless

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  • Heartwarming ending.

    I like this episode mostly for one reason. Aside from the topic and jokes which were good, the ending when Marge and Lisa reside there differences about the angle was just one of those endings you don't see that often anymore on the show.
  • I didn't like Lisa in this episode

    As a Catholic, I firmly believe in God and angels, and have my whole life. However, I feel that I am open-minded enough to respect someone who DOESN'T believe in God. True, Homer was wrong to use the 'angel' for his own gain, but Lisa was even worse, basically calling people idiots for believing in angels. As a matter of fact, I was flat-out insulted by her attitude in this episode, especially when she laughed at Marge's belief of angels, and said that she felt sorry for her. If I was Marge, I would've slapped her in the face! Lisa can be so self-righteous sometimes, and this is one of the best examples!moreless
  • Lisa is a complete female dog

    Wow if I didn't wanna kill lisa before this episode, I do now. She basically calls people with beliefs idiots and says that she knows everything and anyone who disagrees with her is stupid. She says she feels sorry for Marge for believing in the angle, which by the way if this happened in real life, i don't believe in god AND I'm jewish but seeing something that looked like the realskeletonof an angle I would be open minded to it maybe being real. So yeah lisa is full of crap because after marge is upset and scared for the end of the world and wants to end with her and lisa on good terms and then lisa carries on saying you're an idiot it's not gonna happen, then when the angle starts to speak and float lisa gets scared and starts to believe it which they try and make her 'redemption' that shebelievedin it for 5 seconds but no thank you. I always hated her character and this episode officially makes me wanna kill her, I can't watch this episode without wanting to punch her and for me that's the only thing that I can focus on in this episode because she's just sooutrageously full of crap that I can't focus on anything else in this episode. DIE LISA DIE!!!moreless
  • A really boring and heavy handed episode. That tackles the topic of science vs. religion in a preachy and unfunny manner.

    This was really, really dull. The episode has a few laughs (like Homer's entrance fee being 50 cents, shortly after getting the idea to charge a dollar. And Bart and Homer's exchange. Homer: "What am I going to do about the angel ash trays?"

    Bart: "I could take up smoking."

    Homer: "You damn well better.")

    Other than that this was a really dull episode. Focused around the topic of science vs. religion. The debate about this topic is handled with such tedious drivel that nobody's characters learn anything or come across as likeable. This isn't like "Lisa the Vegetarian" or "Lisa the Iconaulist" In those episodes Lisa at least realized the value in the other side of the issue.

    When it was revealed that the angel was just a publicity gimmick to get peoples attention; I felt sort of the same way in that the science vs. religion rubish was used just to jerk the audience around. In a blatant attempt to be edgy.

    I don't watch the simpsons to see World topics become heavy handed plots on one of my favorite shows. And this plot wasn't handled with any subtlety in the slightest. (Ned Flanders is a man of God but he doesn't resort mob mentality, like the rest of Springfield. Him accepting Lisa's arrest was out of character).

    Really hated this one.moreless
  • this was a good ep

    in this ep lisa goes digging and finds a skelton and the town realizes what shes found and they dont know what it is and they think its agnel thing is it draws a huge amout of plublisty and there is a mall oepning and they are the ones that set it up to look like there were bones but in reality it was just a thing to draw people close to the mall to buy stuff when the huge lights turned on . this was a big waste of time to lisa and was mad and the people ran into the mall to buy stuffmoreless
Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould


Guest Star

Maggie Roswell

Maggie Roswell

Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy, Miss Hoover, and others

Recurring Role

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones, and others

Recurring Role

Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman

Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure and Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

  • QUOTES (38)

    • Ned: Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins a movie by telling you how it ends. Well I say, there's some things we don't want to know! Important things!

    • (The doorbell rings. Marge opens it to find Ned and his family in their church clothes)
      Ned: Hey there, Marge. Just brought the kids over to share a prayer with the blessed angel, if it's alright with you.
      Homer: (Offscreen) Get your own angel, you moocher!
      Ned: Thanks anyway, Homer.
      (The Flanders leave. Marge closes the door the but the doorbell immediately rings again, this time being Agnes Skinner)
      Marge: Oh, hello Agnes!
      Agnes: Sorry to trouble you, Marge, but I'm going in for surgery tomorrow and I wondered if I could rub the angel with my foot for good luck - it's foot surgery.
      Homer: (Offscreen) Hey, I'm trying to eat here! Beat it, pegleg!
      Agnes: (To Homer) Jackass!

    • Lisa: You exploited people's deepest beliefs just to sell your cheesy wares! Well we are outraged! (To Chief Wiggum) Aren't we?
      Chief Wiggum: Oh yeah, we're outraged. Very much so. But look at all the stores! A Pottery Barn!

    • Lisa: Because it doesn't make any sense at all! If you believe in angels why not unicorns or elves, or leprechauns?
      Kent Brockman: Oh that's ridiculous Lisa, everyone knows leprechauns are extinct!

    • Lisa: I can't stand those morons!
      Marge: Maybe so, but I'd appreciate it if you didn't call them morons.
      Lisa: But they are morons! What kind of grown person could believe in angels?
      Marge: Well, your mother for one.
      Lisa: You? But you're an intelligent person, Mom.
      Marge: There has to be more to life than just what we see, Lisa. If you can't take a leap of faith every once in a while, well, then I feel sorry for you.
      Lisa: Don't feel sorry for me mom, I feel sorry for you.

    • Carl: I say it's the angel of peace, you idiot!
      Lenny: I say it's the angel of mercy, you jerk!

    • Lawyer: Your honor over the coming weeks and months we will prove that Lisa Simpson willingly destroyed… (Lenny notices the angel outside)
      Lenny: There's the angel!
      (they all run out to see the angel)
      Judge Snyder: I find the defendant not guilty. As for science vs. religion I'm issuing a restraining order. Science should stay 500 yards from religion at all times.

    • Homer: OK, OK, don't panic. Marge, stop panicking!! So we need a replacement skeleton and we need it now! Bart! Strip down to your skeleton!

    • Lisa: Oh, I wish I'd never found those stupid bones. It's time to put an end to this. Bart, I'm borrowing your blue crowbar.
      Bart: Good old bluey.
      Marge: Hey, she's going to smash the angel.
      Homer: Somebody stop her! (no-one moves)

    • Kent: Next on Smartline, the Springfield angel controversy. Our guest tonight, making her 13th appearance on Smartline, Miss Lisa Simpson!

    • Homer: All right folks, get your angel glow sticks. No-one gets into heaven without a glow stick.
      Ned: I'll take four!

    • Kent Brockman: Coming up next, a hilarious boat giveaway scam nets Springfield's Dumbest Criminals!
      Homer: (Laughs) Sounds like good watching.

    • Homer: Come on angel!
      Marge: Why are you doing with that?
      Homer: I'm locking it up in my safe deposit closet with my other valuables. I'll just leave it in here for a few years and let it appreciate in value.
      Bart: It's probably a million years old dad, I thinks it's as valuable as it's going to get.

    • Ned: Oh, we can work this out friends, in the spirit of sharing why don't we simply place the sacred bones…
      (Homer honks his car horn. The skeleton strapped to the back of his car.)
      Homer: So long suckers!

    • Lisa: Oh my goodness.
      Milhouse: What is it Lisa?
      Lisa: It looks like a human skeleton, but these other bones almost look like wings.
      Ned: You mean like an angel!
      Lisa: Well obviously that is impossible.
      Moe: Yeah, Lisa's right, it's an angel!

    • Lisa: This is so exciting, I can't wait to see what we to find.
      Skinner: I must admit, this is rather exciting. Eh! Look there's something right here. It seems to be some sort of rock! (it crumbles in his hand) Oh no, it is just a clump of dirt. Even so, my heart is pounding like a kettle drum; I better sit down for a while.

    • (The bullies are dressed like prisoners and singing)
      Jimbo: Gonna dig me a hole…
      Dolph & Kearney: Gonna dig me a hole…
      Jimbo: Gonna put a nerd in it…
      Dolph & Kearney: Gonna put a nerd in it…
      Jimbo: Gonna take a firecracker…
      Dolph & Kearney: Gonna take a firecracker…

    • Lisa: Principal Skinner, remember how I didn't sue when I found that scorpion in my apple sauce? Well I'm calling in a favor.
      Skinner: I knew this day would come!

    • Lisa: My attorney Lionel Hutz calls your attention to municipal code 147C, protection of antiquities and fossils.
      Hutz: That's right. (he pats his briefcase it opens and there is only an apple core and sandwich in it.)

    • Lisa: Hey, they can't just build a parking lot on Saber Tooth meadow. That's where they found all them fossils.
      Homer: Fossils Schmossils. You can't stop progress because of some musty old bones. Bones Schmones.
      Lisa: But they might be paving over rare specimens. Pull over so we can complain Dad. Come on who wants to complain with me? (silence) Fine, I'll come back later. Who wants to come back with me? (silence) Fine.

    • Wiggum: You're under arrest slime bag, what's this punk in here for Lou?
      Lou: 235 unpaid parking tickets, totaling $175.
      Wiggum: I hope you brought you're check book, wise guy.
      Homer: I hope you brought you're check book, wise guy.(gets it out his pocket.) You lousy cops. Lucky for you I'm double parked. (gives him check) Now, can I please have my motor boat!?

    • Homer: Up and away in my beautiful my beautiful motor boat! Da da da da!
      Bart: But we didn't enter any police raffle.
      Homer: That doesn't matter; the important thing is we won.

    • Wiggum: I mailed these bogus prize certificates to every scofflaw in Springfield. When they show up for their free motor boats we arrest them and beat them to the full extent of the law.
      Eddie: So the hook is baited.
      Lou: Nice metaphor Eddie!
      Wiggum: Yeah, good work, Eddie!

    • Sid's partner: Now hold on; hold on Sid, maybe we should let the kid dig, it could be a good publicity.
      (They walk away and discuss)
      Sid: Fine, if you wanna dig, be my guest.
      Lionel: Fine, we'll see you in court!
      Lisa: Mr. Hutz, we won.
      Lionel: We... ?

    • Lisa: NOTHING is going to happen, Mom! I hate to disappoint you, but the world is NOT coming to an end!

    • Edna Krabappel: This could be our last day together, my love. How about a farewell romp in the garden of earthly delights?
      Principal Skinner: Oh Edna, you read my mind. Just give me fifteen minutes to finish these tardy slips.

    • Moe: (to Lisa) Well if you're so sure what it ain't, how about telling us what it am?

    • Lisa: (about the angel fossil) It could be a mutant from the nuclear plant.
      Mr. Burns: Preposterous, all of our mutants have gills. Oops, I've said too much. Smithers, use the amnesia ray.
      Smithers: You mean the revolver?
      Mr. Burns: Precisely, and be sure to give yourself a dose when you're done.

    • Ralph: I'm scared daddy, too scared to even wet my pants!
      Chief Wiggum: It's okay son, just relax and it'll come.

    • Rev. Lovejoy: Well, it appears science has faltered once again in the face of overwhelming religious evidence.
      Lisa: But ...
      Moe: Go home, science girl!
      Lisa: I am home!
      Moe: Good, stay there.

    • Lenny: Just want a quick looksie…I'll pay you a buck!
      Homer: A buck, eh? That gives me an idea! … 50 cents, please.

    • Bart: Dad, why aren't you saying anything? Where's our motorboat?
      Homer: I didn't like it, the mast had termites.
      Lisa: Why would our motorboat have a mast?
      Homer: Because ... the thingy was ... shut up.

    • Lisa: Ah here's Doctor Gould now. What were the results, professor?
      Stephen Jay Gould: Inconclusive.
      Lisa: Inconclusive?? Why did you come running up like that?
      Gould: Can I use your bathroom?

    • Homer: (singing) Here's the angel! See the angel! It's my angel! No one else's! Next to the rakes!
      Lisa: I don't think you should call this thing an angel. You don't have any proof.
      Homer: Now Lisa, if you look closely you'll notice I never once used the word "angel."
      Lisa: What about the sign?
      (She points at a sign which says "angel" in huge letters.)
      Homer: Err... that's a typo.

    • Principal Skinner: All honor roll students will be rewarded with a trip to an archaeological dig. All detention students will be punished with a trip to an archaeological dig.

    • Chief Wiggum: Yeah, everybody's heard of angels, but who's heard of a Neanderthal?

    • Ralph: Prinscipal Skipple, Prinscipal Skimpster! I found something! It's a spearhead!
      Miss Hoover: That's your trowel blade, Ralph. It fell off the handle.
      Ralph: And I found it!

    • Homer: (realizing the angel skeleton has vanished) Oh, no! This is a disaster! Now what the hell am I gonna do with three thousand angel ashtrays?!
      Bart: I could take up smoking.
      Homer: You'd damn well better.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Originally, the crew planned on using the Jimi Hendrix song, "Angel," as the end credits rolled.

    • The plot for this episode appears on a collector card in level 3 of The Simpsons: Hit & Run video game.

    • In the DVD commentary, it is stated that this is the last episode in which Lionel Hutz has a speaking role. Actually, "Reality Bites" is his last role.

    • Blackboard Joke: I will not tease fatty.
      Couch Gag: Three old men in towels use the TV room as a sauna. One of them pours water onto the coals. The family arrives in the TV room in towels, look at the men, and leave the room.


    • Raiders of the Lost Ark: The children digging in front of the setting sun is a visual reference to this 1981 film.

    • "Springfield's Dumbest Criminal" program is similar to the TV show America's Dumbest Criminals.

    • The Cardiff Giant: The plot of the episode bears more than a passing resemblance to the infamous "Cardiff Giant" hoax perpetrated by William Newell in 1869. He created a stone giant, had it "accidentally" dug up and charged tourists to see it. Skeptics proclaimed it a fraud but religious fundamentalists defended it as confirming biblical stories of giants.

    • Homer's song for the angel is much like Handel's composition "Hallelujah Chorus."

    • Ned Flanders: Shall we sing a hymn? "Nearer My God To Thee" maybe?

      According to legend, the ship's band was playing "Nearer My God To Thee" as the Titanic went down.

    • Mr. Burns: Smithers, use the amnesia ray.
      Mr. Burns spills a secret and wants Smithers to use the amnesia ray (or revolver) to wipe out everyone's memories, including Smithers'. This may have been inspired by the 1997 film Men in Black that came out that summer.