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"They Saved Lisa's Brain"
The Simpsons episode
Aabf18.jpg
Lisa and Springfield's Mensa committee.
Episode no. 225
Prod. code AABF18
Orig. airdate May 9, 1999
Show runner(s) Mike Scully
Written by Matt Selman
Directed by Pete Michels
Chalkboard "No one wants to hear from my armpits"
Couch gag The living room is in shallow water (like it was in the couch gag for the season six episode Lisa's Rival) and the Simpsons sit on the couch. An iceberg passes by the couch and causes it to sink (à la The Titantic), sending the family underwater. Maggie resurfaces on a couch cushion with the remote control in hand.
Guest star(s) Stephen Hawking as himself
DVD
commentary

Mike Scully
Matt Selman
Ron Hauge
Rich Appel
Marc Wilmore
Pete Michels

"They Saved Lisa's Brain" is the twenty-second episode of The Simpsons' tenth season. The episode aired on May 9, 1999.

Contents

Plot

A low-fat pudding, Grandma Plopwell's, is the sponsor of a Springfield contest that promises a luxurious trip to the most disgusting and dimwitted contest participant in town. Many Springfield residents enter the contest, but things do not go well when Rainier Wolfcastle (one of the judges) declares himself the winner for "being seen with you freaks." The contest ends in a riot and Lisa ends up hit in the face twice with pudding. Lisa denounces Springfield for its anti-intellectualism in an open letter that ends up in the newspaper (which no one read). This impresses Springfield's Mensa chapter, which accepts her for membership after Principal Skinner shared her placement tests and she brought them a pie for their latest meeting.

She joins Mensa alongside Comic Book Guy, Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, Professor Frink, and Lindsay Naegle. After the pleasantries, Lisa finds herself at home alongside Mensa members, whose sense of humor is so brainy that it is said to be enjoyed by the "Dennis Miller ratio" of Americans. After being bullied out of their reserved gazebo at a park by some drunks and Chief Wiggum, they fear that Springfield's quality is down because of the city's stupidest residents having power over their civic institutions. The Mensa group goes to confront Mayor Quimby about the gazebo incident, until he escapes from the city by plane when he mistakenly thinks the group has evidence about his corruption. The town's constitution states that in the absence of the mayor, the town is to be governed by the smartest people in it. Now in control of Springfield, the group hopes that things will become better in town.

Stephen Hawking's first of three guest appearances

Once in control, however, the group allows power to go to their heads. At first they efficiently implement their ideas for Springfield, which include banning green traffic lights and playing only classical music at the dog races, which elevates Springfield past East St. Louis on the list of America's 300 Most Livable Cities. However, they begin to internally fight over other ideas such as having theaters for shadow puppets and a broccoli juice program, and their wildly unpopular plans at a public meeting (including the banning of all contact sports and Comic Book Guy's plan to limit breeding to every 7 years) further expose the rifts inside the group.

The angry Springfield townspeople, furious at the new laws, surround the intellectuals in an angry mob and bring an end to Mensa's rule, and would have seriously injured Lisa if not for the intervention of Dr. Stephen Hawking. The brilliant professor has shown up to see what the Mensa group is up to and makes it clear he's unimpressed. In the end, Stephen Hawking and Homer meet at Moe's for a drink, until Homer imitates him in an attempt to make him pay the tab, and gets punched by a boxing glove on a spring (which is concealed in Hawking's wheelchair).

In the episode's other storyline, Homer steals a gift certificate during the post-contest chaos and has erotic photos taken of himself to give to Marge as a gift. She enjoys them a lot, but gets distracted by the interior design Homer did in their basement, so he ends up not getting to have sex with her (though she reassures him that she had no plans to sleep with him anyway).

Cultural references

  • The MENSA house is located on 13 Euclid Street, a reference to Euclid of Alexandria, the Greek mathematician.
  • The episode title is play on the name of the cult science fiction movie, They Saved Hitler's Brain.
  • The scene where the Mensans decide to hold a Renaissance-themed meeting in the park, in costume and in character, is possibly based upon the Society for Creative Anachronism: a historical reenactment group devoted to studying the Middle Ages. SCA gatherings are often held in public parks. This can and does lead to the occasional conflict with others -- such as when Lenny and Carl refuse to give up the gazebo and Chief Wiggum takes their side in the dispute.
  • The erotic photographer is modeled after famous Rolling Stone Magazine photographer Annie Leibovitz.
  • The Comic Book Guy's T-Shirt-joke "C:/DOS C:/DOS/RUN RUN/DOS/RUN" refers to MS-DOS and the American children's book series Dick and Jane, where the phrases "See Spot. See Spot Run. Run, Spot, Run" were molded. Lisa says that only one person in a million would find the C:/DOS T-shirt funny, which Professor Frink calls "The Dennis Miller" Ratio, making fun of the comedian's use of obscure facts and elaborate metaphors.
  • Homer refers to Stephen Hawking as Larry Flynt, saying, "Larry Flynt's right! You guys stink!" Like Hawking, Flynt uses a wheelchair. Unlike Hawking, he uses a wheelchair due to a spinal injury from a botched assassination attempt.
  • Stephen Hawking speaks of his "failure to formulate a unified field theory" - Nikola Tesla coined this phrase to describe a theoretical theory that would relate all known forces. No physicist has come up with such a theory yet, not even Stephen Hawking, although he has formulated a partial theory.
  • The house in which the Mensa meeting is held is reminiscent of a Frank Lloyd Wright designed Prairie House.
  • The novel Walden II was mentioned when Lindsay Naegle is describing the type of city that she wishes to create.
  • Principal Skinner notes that the town's trains are running on "metric time," while looking at an analog clock numbered 1-10. The measurement system Skinner is referring to is actually decimal time, but the word "metric" was used to make the joke more understandable. The joke bears a striking resemblance to the changes to the calendar proposed by the French Revolution.
  • When the bottom 5 cities in the list of America's 300 Most Livable Cities are shown, Springfield (No. 299) is right below Dawson's Creek, NC (No. 298). Dawson's Creek was a teen drama on The WB network that was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina. Just above Dawson's Creek is a city named Ebola, Rhode Island.
  • Comic Book Guy's plan for mating every seven years comes from Pon farr, the Vulcan mating cycle from Star Trek, which he appears to be a fan of. He is wearing a uniform from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Reception

Stephen Hawking ranked on AOL's list of their favourite 25 Simpsons guest stars.[1]

References

External links








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