The Simpsons

Season 3 Episode 1

Stark Raving Dad

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Sep 19, 1991 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

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out of 10
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  • No, Homer. Dave suffers from agoraphobia: a fear of open areas and crowds. Please, Dave go on

    At the time his involvement was quite a coup and retrospectively it adds a strange nostalgia to this episode. But the more you think about this episode the more daring and original it was to "cast" him as a large white mental patient only imitating Jackson. It's a reflection of where The Simpsons were as a show at the time. It was a comedy about an ordinary family from a very ordinary town. No one as famous as Michael Jackson has come anywhere near Springfield in decades and so the writers clearly felt they couldn't script Homer to actually run into the King of Pop.

    By virtue of this clever writing, Jackson is able to play a full role in the episode without anyone having to suspend their disbelief too far. Jackson's singing (and dancing) talents get used to their fullest too to tie Homer's insanity storyline back into the tale of Lisa's birthday. Some of the show's later uses of celebrity appearances were tame or lame compared to this cunning and unexpected bit of work.

    As to the story, it's wonderfully simple. Homer once more points out the real world morality that TV shows don't normally express when he claims he can't wear a pink shirt to work as he isn't cool enough to be different. Sure enough, he is mocked by his co-workers and committed by his boss. It's an exaggerated response which lands himself in the same room as Jackson. In another nice touch, forty-year-old (or so) Homer hasn't heard of Jackson which allows him to believe his new roommates' story.

    Meanwhile, Lisa continues her role as overly wise and mature for her age by placing such significance on her brother's demonstration of affection on her birthday. As her family is out tending to Homer she sings sadly to herself "Happy birthday overlooked middle Her sensitivity to the effects of childhood on later life come through again when she writes a note to Bart claiming their relationship is over and will doubtless lead to therapy in her future.

    Bart too is richly characterized as he blithely ignores both his father and sister's needs in between rudely answering the phone and gossiping about Jackson's impending arrival. He even cracks wise about being an old-timer (aged 10) when Lisa tries to talk seriously about turning 8. Jackson then steps into counsel Bart to search for the real emotions he has for Lisa and constructs a song to reflect that. It's no mean feat to write a song that can lead to a heartwarming conclusion as this one does. Jackson then reveals the truth that he is actually a bricklayer from New Jersey with a surprising message about mental health.

    The humor bubbles away in the background nicely. Bart shows Jackson what the real pop star looks like and points out that he just looks like a fat mental patient. "You'd be amazed how often I hear that" Jackson responds with utter sincerity. When Marge calls the mental institution to speak to Homer she is put on hold and the inappropriate music choice is "Crazy, crazy for feeling so lonely.
  • Another perfect premiere


    After a misunderstanding at work, Homer is committed to a mental institution, where he meets an interesting man claiming to be Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, Lisa's birthday is fast approaching and a reluctant Bart is forced with the task of getting Lisa a birthday present.

    Overall, this is a really good episode

    10 OUT OF 10


  • The third season begins with Homer being sent to a mental institution due to a misunderstanding at the power plant. While committed he meets a man who says he is Michael Jackson. Back home Lisa's birthday is approaching and she expects a gift from Bart.

    This episode is one of the best season openers in the entire twenty plus season run of "The Simpsons". The laughs start from the very beginning when Lisa wakes up Bart to remind him of her birthday. The late Michael Jackson does a terrific job in one of the best guest appearances ever on the show. He ranks up there with Kelsey Grammar's frequent appearances as Sideshow Bob. There were some predictable moments in this episode, but they did not take away from the episode's appeal. The explanation as to the mental patient's true identity is a definite high point.
  • May be my Fav! (PS: All reviews do is give a portrait of the reviewer)

    MJ's the ultimate performer, someone who only sings with his heart, something so rare that when you hear his voice (its him talking, an impersonator for the singing due to contractual issues, although I believe he wrote the song), its a light that cuts clean through all the mud. That, with such a wonderful premise, which still rings insightful today (like all the early ones), makes this one of my absolute favorites. I've always connected to Lisa the most, and I love that song and how its a nice ep. I won't undermine it by saying much more, but if Michael is somewhere in the world, I'd just like to say thank you for everything. Anyone could recover from anything with your music.
  • this was a good ep

    this was a good ep of the simpsons. in this ep homers white shirt gets turned to pink due to the wash and when he goes to work he gets sent to a mental institue and he meets a guy that says he is michle jackson and homer thinks so also so when he is coming homer he tells bart michle jackson is coming and everyone in the town is excited and then the car pulls up its a fat white guy who comes out and everyone is mad and angrey for getting excited .and then the guy stays with them becasue its lisas birthday and bart makes a song with the guy who says he is michle jackson this was a good ep i thought. and i enjoyed it alot
  • Michael Jackson

    Homer meets Michael Jackson at an insane asylum. On the day Homer gets out of the asylum, Michael comes to the Simpsons home. News gets out that Michael Jackson is coming over, and everyone who gathers at the Simpson home is shocked and appalled that the man they are looking at is white, not black. So now everyone turns on Bart, who started the rumors that Michael was coming. And Bart has other things to worry about- Lisa's mad because he never got her a birthday present. So Michael and Bart write and sing a special song for her on her special day.

    A great episode, Michael was great, and may he RIP
  • R.I.P Michale Jackson A.K.A John Jay Smith

    It's Lisa's Birthday soon! She reminds Bart that her birthday is coming up and that he forgets her birthday every year. Bart promises to get her the best present ever. There's only a pink shirt for Homer. Homer has no choice but to wear a pink shirt to work. As a result, Mr. Burns believes Homer is being a "free thinking anarchist" and now he's in trouble! Dr. Marvin Monroe makes a test that Homer has Bart fill out. The results cause poor Homer to be sent to a mental institution, where he shares a room with some stranger....It was Michael Jackson! :O. Marge comes to visit Homer and convinces his doctors that Bart is the reason that Homer is a maniac. Homer gets an official certificate that says he is not insane and Michael reveals that he is only in the hospital voluntarily. Homer calls and tells Bart that he is bringing Michael Jackson to stay for a few days. Against Homer's wishes, Bart lets the word out and all of Springfield turns out to see Michael Jackson. The town thinks, "what a rip-off!" when the faux Michael is shown by Homer. Now Bart's in trouble! Lisa writes an angry letter to Bart after believing he forgot her birthday once again.After hearing Lisa writing an angry letter to Bart, Michael convinces Bart to let him help. Together they write and make a cute song for Lisa's birthday called "Happy Birthday Lisa". Then the guy admits he's not Michael Jackson! :O He's a guy from somewhere in New Jersey, but he still says goodbye to the Simpsons, and they live happily ever after!

    Grade: A+

    R.I.P Michael Jackson A.K.A, John Jay Smith.
  • Homer in a mental institution..

    So basically after Homer goes to work in a pink shirt, he has to go into a mental instituion... then he meets a man claiming to be Micheal Jackson, and he helps Homer through his tough time there. Later, Homer is realeased when Marge testifies for him and Micheal comes home with them. Then, Micheal helps Bart write a birthday song for Lisa after Bart forgets about her birthday again. After that musical piece it is revealed that the man who called himself Micheal Jackson was really some other guy. The funniest part of this episode was when Homer was stamped with the "Insane" on his hand. So overall it was a great episode.
  • WOW What a season opener!!!!!!!

    When he wears a pink shirt to work, Homer's coworkers mistake him for a mental patient and commit him to the New Bedlam Rest Home for the Emotionally Interesting. While there, Homer meets a tall, stocky white man who claims to be Michael Jackson. Despite his reservations, Homer befriends "Michael" and takes his new pal home with him upon his release. Meanwhile, Lisa celebrates her eighth birthday without a present from Bart, who was too inconsiderate to get her anything. With "Michael's" help, Bart writes a special song for Lisa that proves to be the best gift she ever received. Witnessing the tender scene, "Michael" admits that he's really Leon Kompowsky, a bricklayer
  • Another very good season opener.

    Bart mixes his red hat in with all the whites, and Homer has to wear a pink shirt to work. Burns sends him to a mental institution where he meets Michael Jackson. Jacko tries to help him out to prove he's not insane. Meanwhile, Bart feels it's inevitable that he has to get Lisa a birthday gift.

    "Stark Raving Dad" is an excellent episode - one of the better season premiere episodes ever on The Simpsons. This is yet another episode I wouldn't necessarily consider a funny episode, but one that's fun to watch nonetheless. A well worthwhile episode from season 3.
  • Whoever has this stamp on his hand is insane.

    This is definitely one of the most classic episodes of the entire series. It has one of the best set-ups a laundry accident that leads to Homer being committed. I'm also a fan of episodes that poke fun at the fact that they're a show "Spare me the tiresome antics of The Simpson Family." The jokes throughout this episode are pretty well made sometimes ranging from slap you in the face obvious to great comic interactions between the actors. This episode really came in strong and tapered off some at the end as we see the relationship of Bart and Lisa develop, the more emotional scenes left somethings to be desired. With a great nod to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest Homer plays the part superbly, not as the energetic and emotional upstart as Jack's McMurphy, but as a slow idiot who can't quite understand the situation he's in.

    A review of this episode wouldn't be complete without talking about Michael Jackson's role. Despite recent transgressions this is a classic example of why he was ever popular. The back and forth between him and Homer is great almost like they were brothers. All in all this is a great episode. The emotional scenes leave something to be desired but there are enough jokes to keep you entertained, especially if you care to look for them all.
  • I have always love this episode. An unforgetable guest star and memoralbe songs and scenes.

    This was one of the best episodes of the 3rd season. Maybe it was because it was the season premire. Dunno. Anyway, it\'s nearing to Lisa\'s 8th birthday. She is begining to get pre-bday jitters and seeks advice. Bart only worries her more without helping.

    Bart enrages Homer when Barts lucky red cap gets into Homers white work shirts and turns them pink. Homer goes to work in a pink shirt on evaulation day and gets a bad report. He ends up in a mental place where he meets someone claiming to be Micheal Jackson.

    Homer doesnt believe its Jackson because of his large and quite different apperance. Jackson helps Homer survive the stay in the mental home. The family, forgetting Lisa\'s birthday is soon ready to welcome Homer home. Homer has invited Micheal to stay. Micheal helps Bart compse a song for Lias to make her feel better. It was a really cute song

    At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the man that stayed in the Simpson home wasnt really micheal jackson. He was some imposter. Funny huh??
  • Homer lands in a mental institution. Who would have guessed?

    After Bart's lucky red hat gets mixed in with all the whites, the whites get turned pink. That includes all of Homer's work shirts. Homer freaks out and tells Marge that he cant wear a pink shirt to work because they'll think he is crazy. He wears it anyway and is found to take a sanity test. Being lazy, Homer gives the test to Bart who fills "yes" for every question. They quickly send him to a mental institution where he bunks with a big, white man who thinks, sounds, and acts like Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, Lisa's birthday is coming up and she doesnt want Bart to forget and not give her a gift. After Homer is released, he takes "Michael Jackson" to his house, creating a buzz in Springfield. The town is disgusted when it isnt the real Michael Jackson. But, "Michael Jackson" helps Bart to give Lisa the best present of all. This is a good episode because it's so well written and emotional.
  • Lisa birthday is coming up and Homer is put in the "nut-house" where he meets Michael Jackson

    Lisa's 8 birthday is approaching, and to make sure that Bart doesn't forget, she reminds him. Meanwhile, Bart has thrown his lucky red hap into the washing machine and it turned all of Homer's shirts pink. Homer and his pink shirt are spotted by Mr. Burns who gives and thinks he is a troublemaker. Dr. Monroe gives Homer a sanity test to take home, but Homer is afraid he will fail so he makes Bart fill it out. Bart checks yes to all the questions and Homer is put into a mental institution. While there he meets a man who claims to be Micahel Jackson. Not knowing who Michael Jackson, Homer believes him. Michael calls Bart to tell him that Homer is in a mental institution. Marge comes and gets Homer out, and Homer invites Michael to stay with them. Lisa's birthday comes and Bart forgets to get her a present. To make Lisa forgive Bart, Michael helps Bart write a song for Lisa. They sing it and Lisa forgives him. Michael leaves but before he does he admits that he is really Leon Kompowsky.
  • "Stark Raving Dad" Episode 7F24 (301) Original Airdate: 9/19/91 Writers: Al Jean and Mike Reiss Director: Rich Moore Guest Voice: John Jay Smith as Michael Jackson Executive Producers: Al Jean and Mike Reiss

    When he wears a pink shirt to work, Homer's co-workers mistake him for a mental patient and commit him to the New Bedlam Rest Home for the Emotionally Interesting. While there, Homer meets a tall, stocky white man who claims to be Michael Jackson. Despite his reservations, Homer befriends "Michael" and takes his new pal home with him upon his release. Meanwhile, Lisa celebrates her eighth birthday without a present from Bart, who was too inconsiderate to get her anything. With "Michael's" help, Bart writes a special song for Lisa that proves to be the best gift she ever received. Witnessing the tender scene, "Michael" admits that he's really Leon Kompowsky, a bricklayer. This is one of the best Simpsons episodes, funny and cool - definitely the best in the third season of this great show.
  • Stark Raving Dad

    I thought this was a good episode of the Simpson’s. Lisa will soon be turning 8 and she really wants a present from her brother. Who as typical puts it off and Lisa is deeply hurt by it; in the end with the help of “Michael Jackson” he writes a song for his sister. I thought the song was really cool and catchy.

    Homer mean while was sent to an insane Asylum, which had to do with him wearing a pink shirt to work, that’s where he meet the man who thought he was Michael Jackson.
  • Stark Raving Dad

    This is another great episode. Its Lisa's birthday and no one has got anything yet. Homer is in an asylum with a fat dude who thinks he is Michael Jackson but actually not. So Homer is released along with Michael Jackson and everyone was confused that the fact he wasn't Michael Jackson. In the end Bart and Michael do a song for Lisa.
  • A Fantastic episode with a great guest appearance , the perfect way to ring in the new season

    The episode was a great parody of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Its charm and wit with the important message of familial love and bonds and that ever present AT&T message "Reach Out and touch Someone". The inclusion of a realistically sounding Michael Jackson was astounding, and the town's instant dislike of the appearance merely icing on the cake. The social commentary ingrained in the show must be kept for it to retain its founding principles, or rather what I feel the Simpsons were created for.
    The quick stab at the rather flimsy criteria for determining sanity was hilarious and acerbic.

    STark Raving Dad will go down in the books as one of the most family appealing episodes of the Series.
  • Wow what a guest star!

    This episode took place back when Michael Jackson was black and interestingly he played a white man who thought he was Michael Jackson.

    It is a fantastic episode and it will always be a classic that I never tire in seeing. I love the scenes where Homer is with Michael/Leon and he has absolutely no idea who he is or who he is pretending to be.

    I remember watching this ages ago as one of the first episodes I saw and the "lisa its your birthday " song to end the episode is what made it that extra bit special for me.
  • a great guest star to appear (at the time)

    this was a hilarious episode with homer being commited to a mental institution because of wearing a pink shirt to work and bart's form evaluation. there he meets "michael jackson" who is there voluntarily which homer doesn't believe since he's a vegetarian and doesn't drink. the spread of word that michael jackson was coming to springfield was very funny and the episode was also a sweet one where bart and leon kompowski a.k.a. "michael jackson" write the famous "lisa it's your birthday" song. if the episode was created now, it may not be as popular but it definitely is a classic simpson episode and one of the first ones i saw.