|"Lost Our Lisa"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Homer and Lisa listening to the song played by the Orb of Isis|
|Orig. airdate||May 10, 1998|
|Written by||Brian Scully|
|Directed by||Pete Michels|
|Chalkboard gag||"I am not the new Dalai Lama"|
|Couch gag||The family falls off the couch; Nelson Muntz appears and laughs|
David X. Cohen
"Lost Our Lisa" is the twenty-fourth episode of the ninth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired May 10, 1998 on Fox. The episode contains the last appearance of 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: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation, 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.
On a teacher conference day off from school, Bart and Milhouse decide to visit a joke shop. Marge and Lisa plan a trip to the Springsonian Museum so they can see the Egyptian Treasures of Isis exhibit and the Orb of Isis. Marge learns she has to take Bart to a doctor instead, since he has accidentally superglued various novelty items to his face. Since this is Lisa's last chance to see the exhibit, she phones Homer to ask him if she can take the bus. He seems uncertain, which prompts her to trick him into letting her take the bus.
Lisa takes bus 22. Having not passed the museum for a long time, she asks the driver if the bus is bus 22. She learns that she is riding bus 22-A and is on the wrong bus. She has to get off at the last stop, which is in the middle of nowhere. During his lunch break at work, Homer has a conversation with Lenny and Carl. He tells them that he let Lisa ride the bus alone. Lenny and Carl point out the error of his judgment, and Homer leaves work to go look for her. He heads to the museum and ends up in downtown Springfield. He cannot find her in the large crowd of people. He buys a bunch of balloons and gives them to a city worker, so that he can use his cherrypicker to get up higher. Homer and Lisa spot each other, but the vehicle's wheels creak backwards and it rolls down a hill. After scraping his head under a tunnel and smashing into some traffic lights, it slides off the edge of a pier at the harbor into a river. Lisa tells the drawbridge operator to close the bridge so Homer can grab on. His head is caught between the two closing halves and he survives with nothing more than a few tire marks across his forehead.
Meanwhile, Bart's novelties get removed by Dr. Hibbert with "terror sweat". Marge and Bart return home, thinking Lisa is crying in her bedroom. Marge tells him to apologize to her, much to the anger of Bart. But Bart hears no response from Lisa's empty room, thinking she is not talking to him. With Homer and Lisa re-united, he tells her that it is all right to take risks in life. The two decide to go to the museum after all, by illegally entering since it is now closed. While there, they make a fascinating discovery that the Orb of Isis is a music box which had gone overlooked by scientists and museum staff. Lisa concludes that what her father said about risks was right – until the alarm goes off and guard dogs chase them out of the building.
Writer Mike Scully came up with the idea for the plot because he used to live in West Springfield, Massachusetts and he would ask his parents if he could take the bus to Springfield, Massachusetts and they finally agreed to let him one day. The production team faced several challenges during development of this episode. The animators had to come up with a special mouth chart to draw Bart's mouth with the joke teeth in. The pile of dead animals in the back of Cletus's truck originally included dead puppies, but the animators thought it was too sad, so they removed them. Mike Scully used to write jokes for Yakov Smirnoff so he called him up to get the signs in Russian. Dan Castellaneta had to learn proper Russian pronunciation so he could speak it during the chess scene in which he voiced the Russian chess player.
In the season 9 DVD release of the episode, The Simpsons animators use a telestrator to show similarities between Krusty and Homer in the episode. This episode contains the last showing of character Lionel Hutz. He is seen standing at the bus stop with Lisa, but does not speak. Due to Phil Hartman's death, the recurring characters of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure were retired.
In his book Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation, Chris Turner cites Lisa's experiences on the bus as an example of "satirical laughs scored at the expense of Lisa's idealism". "Lost Our Lisa" is cited in The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer along with episodes "Lisa the Iconoclast", "Lisa the Beauty Queen", and "Lisa's Sax"; in order to illustrate Homer's "success bonding with Lisa".
In The Psychology of the Simpsons: D'oh!, the authors utilize statements made by Homer in the episode to analyze the difference between heuristic and algorithmic decision-making. Homer explains to Lisa, "Stupid risks are what make life worth living. Now your mother, she's the steady type and that's fine in small doses, but me, I'm a risk-taker. That's why I have so many adventures!" The authors of The Psychology of The Simpsons interpret this statement by Homer to mean that he "relies on his past experiences of taking massive, death-defying risks and winding up okay to justify forging ahead in the most extreme circumstances".
In its original broadcast, "Lost Our Lisa" finished 45th in ratings for the week of May 4-10, 1998, with a Nielsen rating of 7.8, equivalent to approximately 7.6 million viewing households. It was the fourth highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files, Ally McBeal, and King of the Hill.
Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood write positively of the episode in their book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide: "A smashing episode, loads of good jokes and clever situations ... and best of all, Lisa working intelligently. The teaming up of father and daughter has rarely been more enjoyable and lovely. Gives you a warm feeling." A review of The Simpsons season 9 DVD release in the Daily Post notes that it includes "super illustrated colour commentaries" on "All Singing, All Dancing" and "Lost Our Lisa".
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