Jump to content

Lisa Simpson

This is a good article. Click here for more information.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lisa Simpson
The Simpsons character
A skinned cartoon character. She has large, beady eyes and is wearing a strapless red-orange dress and Mary Janes and a white beaded necklace. She has her hands on her hips and smiles slightly.
First appearance
Created byMatt Groening
Designed byMatt Groening
Voiced byYeardley Smith
In-universe information
Full nameLisa Marie Simpson
Occupation2nd grader at Springfield Elementary School
ReligionBuddhism (previously Christianity)
Home742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield, United States

Lisa Marie Simpson[1] is a fictional character in the animated television sitcom series The Simpsons. She is the middle child 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 older 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.

Intelligent, kind, and passionate about the planet and all living things, Lisa Simpson is the second child of Homer and Marge. Born, Mothers Day, May 9th 1982, she is the younger sister of Bart, and the older sister of Maggie, at age 8. Lisa's high intellect and left-wing political stance creates a barrier between her and other children her age; therefore she is a bit of a loner and social outcast. Lisa is a vegan,[2] a strong environmentalist, a feminist, and a Buddhist. Lisa's character develops many times over the course of the show: she becomes a vegetarian in season 7, converts to Buddhism in season 13, and becomes a vegan in season 32. A strong liberal and activist for peace, equality, and the environment, Lisa advocates for a variety of political causes (e.g. standing against apartheid in South Africa and supporting the Tibetan independence movement) which sets her against most of the people in Springfield. However, she can also be somewhat intolerant of opinions that differ from her own, often refusing to consider alternative perspectives and showing a feeling of self-righteousness. In her free time, Lisa enjoys many hobbies such as reading and playing the baritone saxophone. She has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons – including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials and comic books – and inspired a line of merchandise.

Yeardley Smith originally tried out for the role of Bart, while Nancy Cartwright (who was later cast as the voice for Bart) tried out for Lisa. Producers considered Smith's voice too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. In the Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa was something of a "female Bart" who mirrored her brother's mischief, but as the series progressed she became a liberal voice of reason which has drawn both praise and criticism from fans of the show. Because of her unusual pointed hairstyle, many animators consider Lisa the most difficult Simpsons character to draw.

TV Guide ranked her 11th (tied with Bart) on their list of the "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time". Her environmentalism has been especially well-received; several episodes featuring her have won Genesis and Environmental Media Awards, including a special "board of directors Ongoing Commitment Award" in 2001. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals included Lisa on their list of the "Most Animal-Friendly TV Characters of All Time". Yeardley Smith won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 and Lisa and her family were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000.

Role in The Simpsons[edit]

The Simpsons uses a floating timeline in which the characters do not physically age. The show itself is perpetually set in the year of broadcast (except for occasional flashbacks and flashforwards). In several episodes, events have been linked to specific time periods, although this timeline has been contradicted in subsequent episodes.[3] Lisa's year of birth is given in "Lisa's First Word" (season 4, 1992) as May 4th 1984, during the Summer Olympics.[4] The episode "That '90s Show" (season 19, 2008), however, contradicts much of the established backstory; for example, it presents Homer and Marge as being childless in the late 1990s.[5][6] Despite this, Lisa is portrayed as being 8 years old.[7] Lisa is a lover of music, with jazz as her favorite genre; she specifically singles out Miles Davis's 1957 album Birth of the Cool as her favorite album.[8] She enjoys and excels at playing the saxophone and became friends with jazz musician Bleeding Gums Murphy, whom she regards as an idol. Murphy helps pull Lisa out of her depression in "Moaning Lisa" (season 1, 1990).[9] She is later deeply saddened by Murphy's death in "'Round Springfield" (season 6, 1995).[10]

Lisa has had a few brief relationships with boys, including Ralph Wiggum in "I Love Lisa" (season 4, 1993),[11] Nelson Muntz in "Lisa's Date with Density" (season 8, 1996)[12] and Colin in The Simpsons Movie (2007).[13] Bart's best friend Milhouse Van Houten has a crush on her, but despite dropping unsubtle hints about his feelings, he has been unsuccessful in winning her affection.[12] Her voice actor Yeardley Smith said Muntz would make a good match for Lisa.[14] In 2019, Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said he saw Lisa as being "possibly polyamorous" in the future.[15] In the Season 23 episode "Holidays of Future Passed" Lisa is shown holding hands with an unnamed dark-haired woman in a photo, and then shown in a second photo where she is holding hands with two different women at once, suggesting polyamory; she later ends up with Milhouse. However, this episode is non-canon.[16][17][18][15]

Lisa is the most intellectual member of the Simpson family (she has an IQ of 159), and many episodes of the series focus on her fighting for various causes.[19] Lisa is often the focus of episodes with "a real moral or philosophical point", which according to former writer David S. Cohen is because "you really buy her as caring about it."[20] Lisa's political convictions are generally left-wing and liberal and she often contests other's views. She is a vegetarian, feminist, environmentalist and a supporter of gay rights, universal healthcare, and the Free Tibet movement.[21][22] In a special Christmas message for the UK in 2004 Lisa showed her support for Cornish nationalism, even speaking the Cornish language to get her message across.[23] While supportive of the general ideals of the Christian church in which she was raised, Lisa became a practicing Buddhist in the episode "She of Little Faith" (season 13, 2001) after she learned about the Noble Eightfold Path.[24] An "End Apartheid Now" poster can be seen on her bedroom door during earlier seasons. She is extremely controlled by her ideals and noble, and she undergoes drastic changes when she or anyone else is immoral, such as renouncing Homer's last name and taking Marge's when she discovers that Homer bet against her in a crossword puzzle competition.



Matt Groening conceived Lisa and the rest of the Simpson family in 1986 in the lobby of producer James L. Brooks's office. Groening had been called in to pitch a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show and had intended to present an adaptation of his Life in Hell comic strip. When he realized that animating Life in Hell would require him to rescind publication rights, Groening went in another direction,[25] hurriedly sketching his version of a dysfunctional family, named after members of his own family. Lisa was named after Groening's younger sister, but little else was based on her.[26] In The Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa displayed none of the intelligence for which she later became known. She was more of a "female Bart"[27] and was originally described as simply the "middle child", without much personality.[28]

Lisa made her brief debut with the rest of the Simpson family on April 19, 1987, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night".[29] On December 17th 1989, the shorts were adapted into The Simpsons, a half-hour series on the Fox Broadcasting Company.[25]


Lisa's head is a quartered sphere with a horizontal axis, viewed obliquely from the side; three hair spikes emerge from each upper quarter and two emerge from the near lower quarter.
This image illustrates how to draw Lisa's head and hairline using the three-three-two arrangement

The entire Simpson family was designed to be easily recognized in silhouette.[30] The family was crudely drawn, because Groening had submitted basic sketches to the animators, assuming they would clean them up; instead, they just traced over his drawings.[25] Lisa's physical features are generally unique. In some early episodes, minor background characters occasionally had a similar hairline. However, in the later seasons, no character other than Maggie shares her hairline.[31] While designing Lisa, Groening "couldn't be bothered to even think about girls' hairstyles".[32] At the time, Groening was primarily drawing in black and white; when designing Lisa and Maggie, he "just gave them this kind of spiky starfish hair style, not thinking that they would eventually be drawn in color".[33]

To draw Lisa's head and hair, most of the show's animators use what they call the "three-three-two arrangement". It begins with a circle, with two curving lines (one vertical, one horizontal) intersecting in the middle to indicate her eyeline. The vertical line continues outside of the circle to create one hair point, with two more added towards the back of her head. Three more points are then added in front (in the direction Lisa is facing), with two more behind it.[34] Several Simpsons animators, including Pete Michels and David Silverman, consider Lisa the most difficult Simpsons character to draw.[35] Silverman explains that "her head is so abstract" due to her hairstyle.[32]


While the roles of Homer and Marge were given to Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner because they were already a part of the Tracey Ullman Show cast,[36] the producers decided to hold casting for the roles of Bart and Lisa. Nancy Cartwright intended to audition for the role of Lisa, but disliked the character's bland description—Lisa was described simply as the "middle child"—and read for the role of Bart instead.[28][37] Casting director Bonita Pietila brought Yeardley Smith in for an audition after seeing her performing in the play Living on Salvation Street.[38][39] Smith was hesitant to audition for an animated series, but her agent had persuaded her to give it a try.[40] Smith originally auditioned for the role of Bart but Pietila believed her voice was too high. Smith later recalled: "I always sounded too much like a girl, I read two lines as Bart and they said, 'Thanks for coming!'"[39][41] Pietila offered Smith the role of Lisa instead.[40]

A woman with blond-brown hair smiles, her eyes closed slightly.
Lisa's voice actress Yeardley Smith

Smith and the show's writers worked to give Lisa a more defined personality, and she has developed greatly during the series. In her 2000 memoir My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy, Cartwright wrote: "with the brilliant wit of the writers and the wry, in-your-eye, honest-to-a-fault interpretation, Yeardley Smith has made Lisa a bright light of leadership, full of compassion and competence beyond her years. Lisa Simpson is the kind of child we not only want our children to be but also the kind of child we want all children to be. But, at the time, on The Tracey Ullman Show, she was just an animated eight-year-old kid who had no personality."[28]

Lisa is the only regular character voiced by Smith, who raises the pitch of her voice slightly for the role.[42] In some earlier episodes she provided some of Maggie's squeaks and occasional speaking parts, and has voiced other characters on very rare occasions.[43] Usually they are derivative of Lisa, such as Lisa Bella in "Last Tap Dance in Springfield" (season 11, 2000) and Lisa, Jr. in "Missionary: Impossible". (season 11, 2000)[44]

It's a happy fluke. When she was cast back in 1987, I just liked the sound of her voice. She's also a great actress. In general, people who make their living doing voices on cartoons aren't always great for us. Most cartoons want things peppy and cartoony. Yeardley can go through moments of great emotion and wring it for all she's worth.

Matt Groening on Smith's vocal style[45]

Despite Lisa's fame, Smith is rarely recognized in public, which she does not mind. She said, "it's wonderful to be in the midst of all this hype about the show, and people enjoying the show so much, and to be totally a fly on the wall; people never recognize me solely from my voice."[46] In a 2009 interview with The Guardian she commented that "It's the best job ever. I have nothing but gratitude for the amount of freedom The Simpsons has bought me in my life."[47] Although Smith received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992, she considers it unimportant, saying "there's part of me that feels it wasn't even a real Emmy." The award is a Creative Arts prize not awarded during the primetime telecast and, at the time, a juried award without nominations.[40] Still, Smith considers her work on the show a success. "If I had to be associated with one character in fiction," she said, "I will always be thrilled that it was Lisa Simpson."[40] Matt Groening has described Smith as being very similar to Lisa: "Yeardley has strong moral views about her character. Some lines are written for Lisa that Yeardley reads and says, 'No, I wouldn't say that.'"[45] Former Simpsons writer Jay Kogen praised her performance on the show, particularly in the episode "Lisa's Substitute", as able "to move past comedy to something really strong and serious and dramatic."[45]

Until 1998, Smith was paid $30,000 per episode. A pay dispute erupted in 1998, during which Fox threatened to replace the six main voice actors with new actors, going as far as preparing for casting of new voices.[48] The dispute was soon resolved, and Smith received $125,000 per episode until 2004 when the voice actors sought an increase to $360,000 per episode.[48] The issue was resolved a month later,[49] and Smith earned $250,000 per episode.[46] New salary negotiations took place in 2008, and the voice actors currently receive approximately $400,000 per episode.[50] Three years later, with Fox threatening to cancel the series unless production costs were cut, Smith and the other cast members accepted a 30 percent pay cut, down to just over $300,000 per episode.[51]


A yellow-skinned female cartoon character lies in bed, covering most of her body with a blanket. Her hair is noticeably spiked.
Lisa in her first televised appearance in "Good Night", while designers who worked on Lisa, Groening, who was primarily drawing in black and white, "just gave [her] this kind of spiky starfish hair style, not thinking that [she] would eventually be drawn in color"; Lisa's hair points would eventually be made less spiky[33]

In The Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa was something of a "female Bart": equally mischievous but lacking unique traits.[27] As the series progressed, Lisa began to develop into a more intelligent and more emotional character.[52] She demonstrates her intellect in the 1990 episode "Krusty Gets Busted" (season one), by helping Bart reveal Sideshow Bob's plot to frame Krusty the Clown for armed robbery.[53] Many episodes focusing on Lisa have an emotional nature, such as "Moaning Lisa" (season one, 1990). The idea for the episode was pitched by James L. Brooks, who wanted to do an emotional episode involving Lisa's sadness, to complement the many "jokey episodes" in the first season.[54]

In the seventh-season episode "Lisa the Vegetarian" (1995), Lisa permanently becomes a vegetarian, distinguishing her as one of the first primetime television characters to make such a choice.[55] The episode was written by David S. Cohen (in his first solo writing credit), who jotted down the idea one day while eating lunch. Then-executive producer David Mirkin, who had recently become a vegetarian himself, quickly approved the idea. Several of Lisa's experiences in the episode are based on Mirkin's own experiences. The episode guest stars musician Paul McCartney, a committed vegetarian and animal rights activist. McCartney's condition for appearing was that Lisa would remain a vegetarian and would not revert the next week (as is common on situation comedies). The trait stayed and is one of the few permanent character changes made in the show.[56][57][58] In the season 13 episode "She of Little Faith" (2001), Lisa underwent another permanent character change when she converted to Buddhism.[59]

Lisa plays the baritone saxophone, and some episodes use that as a plot device. According to Matt Groening, the baritone saxophone was chosen because he found the thought of an eight-year-old girl playing it amusing. He added, "But she doesn't always play a baritone sax because the animators don't know what it looks like, so it changes shape and color from show to show."[60] One of the hallmarks of the show's opening sequence is a brief solo Lisa plays on her saxophone after being thrown out of music class. The Simpsons composer Alf Clausen said that the session musicians who perform her solos do not try to play at the second-grade level and instead "think of Lisa as a really good player."[52] Lisa is a skilled multi-instrumentalist, besides saxophone, she can also play bass (as shown in "Whacking Day"), guitar (as shown in "Last Exit to Springfield"), and piano (as shown in "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace").


[Lisa is] a good soul. I love that she is so compassionate. She is wise beyond her years. She has remarkable optimism, despite the fact that she's disappointed so often.

Yeardley Smith[38]

Lisa, despite being a child prodigy, often sees herself as a misfit within the Simpson family and other children due to possessing an unusually high level of intelligence. She shows characteristics rarely seen in Springfield, including spirituality and commitment to peaceful ways,[61] and is notably more concerned with world affairs than her life in Springfield,[62] with her rebellion against social norms being depicted as constructive and heroic, yet she can be self-righteous at times.[63] In "Lisa the Vegetarian", an increasing sense of moral righteousness leads her to disrupt her father's roast-pig barbecue, an act for which she later apologizes. Like most children her age, she thinks in images rather than words.[64] Episodes often take shots at Lisa's idealism.[65] In "Bart Star" (season nine, 1997), Lisa, who is departing from her typically more genuine nature and apparently looking for a new cause to crusade over,[66] defiantly declares that she, a girl, would like to join the football team. In the 1990s, it was considered odd to allow a girl to play football. However, when coach Ned Flanders reveals that several girls already play for the team, she hesitates and claims football is "not really [her] thing". She then expresses distaste about a ball made of pig's skin, but one of the girls informs her that their footballs are synthetic and that proceeds are donated to Amnesty International. Upset by being unable to gain moral superiority, Lisa runs off.[67] In "She of Little Faith", Lisa permanently becomes a Buddhist after being appalled at how the First Church of Springfield allowed Mr. Burns to rebuild the church, which burned after being hit with Bart and Homer's rockets, with commercialism. Despite no longer following the Christian faith, she still is seen attending church in later episodes.

Lisa is said to have an IQ of 159,[68] and in "They Saved Lisa's Brain" (season ten, 1999) she becomes a member of the Springfield chapter of Mensa.[69] Even prior to becoming a Buddhist, Lisa at times is seen meditating.[70] When unable to attend school due to a teachers' strike in "The PTA Disbands" (season six, 1995), she suffers withdrawal symptoms because of the sudden lack of praise.[71] She even demands that her mother grade her for no obvious reason.[72] In Planet Simpson, Chris Turner writes that these traits make Lisa more realistic because "No character can aspire to realism without a few all-too-human flaws."[71]

Although she is wise beyond her years, Lisa has typical childhood issues, sometimes requiring adult intervention. One episode to show this is "See Homer Run" (season seventeen, 2005) where she goes through a developmental condition which causes her to get into trouble at school. [73] In "Lost Our Lisa" (season nine, 1998), she tricks Homer into allowing her to ride the bus alone, only to become hopelessly lost and in need of aid from her father.[74] Chris Turner writes in Planet Simpson that incidents like this illustrate that "Even when Lisa's lecturing like a college professor or mounting yet another protest, she never becomes a full-grown adult trapped in a child's body."[73] In The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer, Aeon J. Skoble states that although Lisa is an intellectual, she is still portrayed as a character who enjoys normal childhood and girl activities, plays with Malibu Stacy dolls, loves ponies, obsesses over teenage heartthrobs such as Corey, and watches The Itchy & Scratchy Show along with Bart. He writes, "One might argue that this is typical childhood behavior, but since in so many cases Lisa is presented not simply as a prodigy but as preternaturally wise, the fondness for Itchy & Scratchy and Corey seem to be highlighted, taking on greater significance. Lisa is portrayed as the avatar of logic and wisdom, but then she also worships Corey so she's 'no better [than the rest of us]'."[75] When she became depressed over being unable to pursue her dream as a musician due to inheriting her father's fingers and having to spend her time with Marge in being a homemaker, Lisa gives up on school and becomes a juvenile delinquent in "Separate Vocations". She is stopped by Bart who encourages her to keep proving people wrong and pursue her dreams as a musician.

Lisa has demonstrated an acute sense of sensitivity, often bursting into tears whenever emotionally overwhelmed. First shown in the Season 1 episode, "Moaning Lisa", when Homer hurts his daughter's feelings midway in the episode, there has been a sizable portion of episodes featuring Lisa sobbing, to the point where it remains her most well known, and continuously used trait, alongside her vegetarianism and Buddhism. Later in the episode, she is depicted singing song lyrics containing the words 'I'm the saddest kid in grade number two' and 'my dad he acts like, like he belongs in a zoo'. Its not uncommon for each and every season to feature an episode where Lisa cries at some point.

Lisa occasionally worries that her family's dull habits will rub off on her, such as in "Lisa the Simpson" (season nine, 1998) she worries that the "Simpson gene" will make her a dimwit later finding out the gene only goes through the male side.[76][77] She is often embarrassed and disapproving of her eccentric family: of her father's parenting skills and buffoonish personality; her mother's stereotypical image and social ineptitude; and her brother's delinquent and low-brow nature. Despite this, she has good relationships with all of her immediate family members. Although they have many differences, Homer and Lisa maintain an affectionate relationship, with episodes like "Lisa the Greek" and "Bart on the Road" depicting the bond between them often being cited as fan favorites. Homer is often oblivious to her talents but clearly respects her intelligence, such as when he supports her controversial research about Jebediah Springfield in "Lisa the Iconoclast" because she's "always right about this kind of stuff."

She is also concerned that Maggie may grow up to be like the rest of the family and tries to teach her complex ideas. Chris Turner writes in Planet Simpson that "Lisa embarks on quests to find solace for her yearning spirit ... but the most reliable source of truth she finds is the one she always believed in: her family. It is from the other Simpsons that Lisa draws stability, meaning, contentment."[78] Her loyalty to her family is most clearly seen in the flashforward "Lisa's Wedding" (season six, 1995), in which she must reconcile her love for them with the distaste of her cultured fiancé.[79] In the episode "Mother Simpson" (season seven, 1995) she meets her paternal grandmother Mona Simpson for the first time.[80] Mona is also well-read and articulate, and the writers used the character as a way to explain the origins of Lisa's intelligence.[81]


Lisa's sexuality has become the subject of speculation amongst viewers of the show.

Lisa is shown to have heterosexual crushes on Nelson Muntz and Langdon Alger in "Lisa's Date with Density" and "Bart on the Road" respectively. In some episodes Lisa is shown to have a boyfriend, such as Edmund Dracula in "Treehouse of Horror XXI" or Colin in "The Simpsons Movie".[82] Lisa becomes engaged to, and later almost marries, Hugh Parkfield in "Lisa's Wedding" and the episode "Holidays of Future Passed" suggests that Lisa will go on to marry Milhouse Van Houten. However, "Holidays of Future Passed" also show Lisa being in both a monogamous, and later polyamorous, lesbian relationships.[83] However, all future episodes and scenes such as these are ultimately considered non-canon.

Although Lisa's sexuality has never been confirmed on screen, showrunner Al Jean said in a 2019 interview with The Metro that he had always envisaged for Lisa to grow up to become bisexual and polyamorous.[84][85] In a 2020 interview with the Stryker & Klein show on KROQ Radio, Yeardley Smith said that she believed that Lisa was "still exploring her sexuality". Smith also asked fans to stop speculating on Lisa's sexuality, as she was "ultimately an eight-year old girl".[86]



A pink star engraved into a black tile. The words in the center of the star read "THE SIMPSONS", and below them is a pictogram of a television.
In 2000, Lisa, along with the rest of the Simpson family, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Lisa has been a popular character since the show's inception. She was listed at number 11 (tied with Bart) in TV Guide's "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time."[87] She appeared in Comcast's list of TV's Most Intriguing Characters[88] and was also included in AfterEllen.com's Top 50 Favorite Female TV Characters.[89] On a less positive note, she was ranked third in AskMen's top 10 of the most irritating '90s cartoon characters.[90] Yeardley Smith has won several awards for voicing Lisa, including a Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Voice-Over Performance" in 1992 for "Lisa the Greek".[91] Various episodes in which Lisa stars have won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program, including "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" in 1991, "Lisa's Wedding" in 1995 and "HOMR" in 2001.[91] In 2000, Lisa and the rest of the Simpson family were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard.[92]

Lisa's environmentalism has been especially well received. In 2001, Lisa received a special "board of directors Ongoing Commitment Award" at the Environmental Media Awards.[93] "Lisa the Vegetarian" won both an Environmental Media Award for "Best Television Episodic Comedy"[94] and a Genesis Award for "Best Television Comedy Series, Ongoing Commitment".[95] Several other episodes that feature Lisa speaking out in favor of animal rights have won Genesis Awards, including "Whacking Day" in 1994,[96][97] "Bart Gets an Elephant" in 1995,[98][99][100] "Million Dollar Abie" in 2007[101] and "Apocalypse Cow" in 2009.[102]

Cultural influence[edit]

Jonathan Gray, author of the book Watching The Simpsons, feels that Lisa "is probably the best and certainly longest-running feminist character that television has had. She's the heart of the show and she quite often questions gender politics."[103] Christopher Borrelli of The Toledo Blade wrote, "Has there ever been a female TV character as complex, intelligent, and, ahem, as emotionally well-drawn as Lisa Simpson? Meet her once and she comes off priggish and one-note – a know-it-all. Get to know her and Lisa is as well-rounded as anyone you may ever meet in the real world."[104]

According to PETA, Lisa was one of the first vegetarian characters on primetime television. In 2004 the organization included Lisa on its list of the "Most Animal-Friendly TV Characters of All Time".[55] In 2008, environmentalist website The Daily Green honored Lisa's role in The Simpsons Movie with one of its inaugural "Heart of Green" awards, which "recognize those who have helped green go mainstream." They wrote "young Lisa Simpson has inspired a generation to wear their hearts on their sleeves and get educated, and involved, about global issues, from justice to feminism and the environment."[105] Japanese broadcasters reversed viewer dislike of the series by focusing marketing of the show on Lisa. Lisa's well-intended but ill-fated struggles to be a voice of reason and a force of good in her family and community struck a chord with Japanese audiences.[106] Mario D'Amato, a specialist in Buddhist studies at Rollins College in Florida, described Lisa as "open-minded, reflective, ethical, and interested in improving herself in various ways, while still preserving a childlike sense of innocence. These are all excellent qualities, ones which are espoused by many Buddhist traditions."[107]

Lisa and the rest of the Simpsons have had a significant influence on English-language idioms. The dismissive term "meh"—used by Lisa and popularized by the show—[108] entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008.[109] In 1996, The New York Times published an article saying that Lisa was inspiring children, especially young girls, to learn to play the saxophone.[60]

Lisa Simpson was mentioned at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference when Senator Ted Cruz called the Democratic Party "The Party of Lisa Simpson", as opposed to the Republican Party being the party of several other family members.[110]

"Lisa the Skeptic" and "The Monkey Suit" are episodes of The Simpsons that delve into themes of skepticism, religion, and science. These episodes demonstrate the show's commitment to encouraging critical thinking and questioning of established beliefs, while also acknowledging the complexities and challenges that arise in such discussions. Despite occasional missteps, The Simpsons has provided a platform for exploring these important topics in an entertaining and thought-provoking manner.[111]


Lisa has been included in many The Simpsons publications, toys, and other merchandise. The Lisa Book, describing Lisa's personality and attributes, was released in 2006.[112] Other merchandise includes dolls, posters, figurines, bobblehead dolls, mugs, and clothing such as slippers, T-shirts, baseball caps, and boxer shorts.[113] Lisa has appeared in commercials for Burger King,[114] C.C. Lemon, Church's Chicken, Domino's Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Ramada Inn, Ritz Crackers, Subway and Butterfinger.[115]

On April 9, 2009, the United States Postal Service unveiled a series of five 44-cent stamps featuring Lisa and the four other members of the nuclear Simpson family. They are the first characters from a television series to receive this recognition while still in production.[116] The stamps, designed by Matt Groening, went on sale in May 2009.[117][118]

Lisa has also appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons. She has appeared in each Simpsons video game, including The Simpsons Game, released in 2007.[119] In addition to the television series, Lisa regularly appeared in issues of Simpsons Comics, which were published from 1993 until 2018. The comics focus on the sweeter, more naïve incarnation from the early seasons.[120][121] Lisa also plays a role in The Simpsons Ride, launched in 2008 at Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood.[122]


  1. ^ "Lisa's Wedding". The Simpsons. Season 6. Episode 19. March 19, 1995. Event occurs at 10:08. Fox.
  2. ^ "The Simpsons: Season 33, Episode 20 script | Subs like Script".
  3. ^ Turner 2004, pp. 78–79.
  4. ^ Martin, Jeff; Kirkland, Mark (October 24, 2021). "Lisa's First Word". The Simpsons. Season 33. Episode 5. Fox.
  5. ^ Canning, Robert (January 28, 2008). "The Simpsons: That '90s Show Review". IGN. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  6. ^ Selman, Matt; Kirkland, Mark (January 27, 2008). "That '90s Show". The Simpsons. Season 19. Episode 11. Fox.
  7. ^ Groening 2010, p. 17.
  8. ^ "Birth of the Cool". Wikisimpsons. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  9. ^ Jean, Al; Reiss, Mike; Archer, Wes (February 11, 1990). "Moaning Lisa (The Simpsons)". The Simpsons. Season 01. Episode 06. Fox.
  10. ^ Sternin, Joshua; Ventimilia, Jeffrey; Moore, Steven Dean (April 30, 1995). "'Round Springfield". The Simpsons. Season 06. Episode 22. Fox.
  11. ^ Mula, Frank; Archer, Wes (February 11, 1993). "I Love Lisa". The Simpsons. Season 04. Episode 15. Fox.
  12. ^ a b Scully, Mike; Dietter, Susie (December 15, 1996). "Lisa's Date with Density". The Simpsons. Season 08. Episode 07. Fox.
  13. ^ The Simpsons Movie (Film). 20th Century Fox. 2007.
  14. ^ "Life as Lisa Simpson". 3 News NZ. May 24, 2013.
  15. ^ a b "The Simpsons Showrunner Says Lisa Is "Possibly Polyamorous" – IN Magazine". Inmagazine.ca. April 8, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Simpsons: 20 Ridiculous Facts About Lisa". TheGamer. June 29, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  17. ^ Bradford Evans (October 25, 2013). "18 Things You'd Be Surprised Happened on 'The Simpsons' If You Stopped Watching in 2003". Vulture.com. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  18. ^ "#23 Holidays Of Future Passed, Season 23, Episode 09. Magic Xylophone podcast". Player.fm. April 28, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  19. ^ De Waal, Shaun (July 27, 2007). "Yellow peril". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  20. ^ Cohen, David S.; Groening, Matt; Meyer, George; Michels, Pete; Scully, Mike; Smith; Yeardley. (2005). Commentary for "Lisa the Skeptic", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  21. ^ "Character Profiles: Lisa Simpson". Channel 4. February 16, 2009. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  22. ^ Curran, Kevin; Kruse, Nancy (February 16, 2003). "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can". The Simpsons. Season 1. Episode 12. Fox.
  23. ^ "Lisa puts cool into Cornish cause". BBC. July 5, 2004. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  24. ^ Freiberger, Bill; Moore, Steven Dean (December 16, 2001). "She of Little Faith". The Simpsons. Season 13. Episode 06. Fox.
  25. ^ a b c BBC (2000). 'The Simpsons': America's First Family (6-minute edit for the season 1 DVD) (DVD). UK: 20th Century Fox.
  26. ^ Rose, Joseph (August 3, 2007). "The real people behind Homer Simpson and family". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012.
  27. ^ a b Mirkin, David. (2004). Commentary for "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  28. ^ a b c Cartwright 2000, pp. 35–40
  29. ^ Richmond & Coffman 1997, p. 14.
  30. ^ Groening, Matt. (2005). Commentary for "Fear of Flying", in The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  31. ^ Groening, Matt; Reiss, Mike; Kirkland, Mark. (2002). Commentary for "Principal Charming", in The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  32. ^ a b Silverman, David; Reardon, Jim; Groening, Matt. (2005). Illustrated commentary for "Treehouse of Horror V", in The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  33. ^ a b Groening, Matt. (2006). "A Bit From the Animators", illustrated commentary for "All Singing, All Dancing", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  34. ^ Archer, Wes; Groening, Matt; Kirkland, Mark. (2005). "A Bit From the Animators", illustrated commentary for "Summer of 4 Ft. 2", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  35. ^ Michels, Pete. (2006). "A Bit From the Animators", illustrated commentary for "All Singing, All Dancing", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  36. ^ Lee, Luaine (February 27, 2003). "D'oh, you're the voice". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  37. ^ "Bart's voice tells all". BBC News. November 10, 2000. Retrieved May 16, 2007.
  38. ^ a b Freeman, Paul (November 20, 1994). "Local actress finds a voice in 'Simpsons'". The Washington Times.
  39. ^ a b Miranda, Charles (December 8, 2007). "She who laughs last". The Daily Telegraph. p. 8E.
  40. ^ a b c d Heidi Vogt (April 4, 2004). "She's happy as Lisa Simpson, although she'd like more d'oh". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press.
  41. ^ Larry Carroll (October 26, 2008). "'Simpsons' Trivia, From Swearing Lisa To "Burns-Sexual" Smithers". MTV. Archived from the original on December 20, 2007. Retrieved July 29, 2007.
  42. ^ Charles Miranda (December 8, 2007). "She who laughs last". The Daily Telegraph. p. 8E.
  43. ^ Smith, Yeardley (2007). Audio commentary for The Simpsons Movie (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  44. ^ Hauge, Ron. (2008). Commentary for "Missionary: Impossible", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  45. ^ a b c L.W. Michion (Spring 1992). "Yeardley Smith Confesses: "I Love Lisa"". Simpsons Illustrated Magazine, Volume 1, Number 5. pp. 20–23.
  46. ^ a b Peter Sheridan (May 6, 2004). "Meet the Simpsons". Daily Express.
  47. ^ Lisa Marks (January 16, 2009). "From Springfield to Tinseltown". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  48. ^ a b Glaister, Dan (April 3, 2004). "Simpsons actors demand bigger share". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
  49. ^ "'Simpsons' Cast Goes Back To Work". CBS News. May 1, 2004. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
  50. ^ "Simpsons cast sign new pay deal". BBC News. June 3, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
  51. ^ Block, Alex Ben (October 7, 2011). "'The Simpsons' Renewed for Two More Seasons". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  52. ^ a b Rhodes, Joe (July 26, 1991). "Sax and the Single Simpson". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  53. ^ Reiss, Mike. (2001). Commentary for "Krusty Gets Busted", in The Simpsons: The Complete First Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  54. ^ Reiss, Mike. (2001). Commentary for "Moaning Lisa", in The Simpsons: The Complete First Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  55. ^ a b "Friends' Phoebe tops PETA's list of most animal-friendly TV characters of all time". PETA. May 4, 2004. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  56. ^ Cohen, David S.; Groening, Matt; Mirkin, David. (2005). Commentary for "Lisa the Vegetarian", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  57. ^ "Paul McCartney Insisted Lisa Simpson Stay VEG". ecorazzi. August 26, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
  58. ^ "Sideswipe: McCartney keeps Lisa vegetarian". The New Zealand Herald. August 28, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  59. ^ Pinsky 2007, p. 171
  60. ^ a b Barron, James (January 14, 1996). "A Sax Craze, Inspired by 'The Simpsons'". The New York Times. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  61. ^ Turner 2004, p. 78.
  62. ^ Gross, Michael (October 30, 2003). "Eat my lab coat". The Guardian. London. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  63. ^ Pinsky 2001, p. 46
  64. ^ Cohen, David X.; Kirkland, Mark (October 15, 1995). "Lisa the Vegetarian". The Simpsons. Season 07. Episode 05. Fox.
  65. ^ Turner 2004, p. 229.
  66. ^ Turner 2004, p. 230.
  67. ^ Cohen, David X.; Kirkland, Mark (November 9, 1997). "Bart Star". The Simpsons. Season 09. Episode 06. Fox.
  68. ^ Swartzwelder, John; Reardon, Jim (May 4, 1997). "Homer's Enemy". The Simpsons. Season 08. Episode 23. Fox.
  69. ^ Selman, Matt; Michels, Pete (May 9, 1999). "They Saved Lisa's Brain". The Simpsons. Season 10. Episode 22. Fox.
  70. ^ Martin, Jeff; Moore, Rich (November 15, 1990). "Dead Putting Society". The Simpsons. Season 02. Episode 06. Fox.
  71. ^ a b Turner 2004, p. 201.
  72. ^ Crittenden, Jennifer; Scott III, Swinton O. (April 16, 1995). "The PTA Disbands". The Simpsons. Season 06. Episode 21. Fox.
  73. ^ a b Turner 2004, p. 203.
  74. ^ Scully, Brian; Michels, Pete (May 10, 1998). "Lost Our Lisa". The Simpsons. Season 09. Episode 24. Fox.
  75. ^ Skoble 1999, pp. 31–32
  76. ^ Gates, Anita (April 9, 2000). "Men on TV: Dumb as Posts And Proud of It". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  77. ^ Goldreyer, Ned; Dietter, Susie (March 8, 1998). "Lisa the Simpson". The Simpsons. Season 09. Episode 17. Fox.
  78. ^ Turner 2004, p. 233.
  79. ^ Daniels, Greg; Reardon, Jim (March 19, 1995). "Lisa's Wedding". The Simpsons. Season 06. Episode 19. Fox.
  80. ^ Appel, Rich; Silverman, David (November 19, 1995). "Mother Simpson". The Simpsons. Season 07. Episode 08. Fox.
  81. ^ Appel, Rich. (2005). Commentary for "Mother Simpson", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  82. ^ Tyler, Adrienne (August 19, 2020). "The Simpsons: What Happened To Lisa's Boyfriend Colin After The Movie?". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  83. ^ Cvitesic, Magdan D. (December 1, 2019). "The Simpsons: Lisa's 10 Best Love Interests, Ranked". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  84. ^ Pearce, Tilly (April 2, 2019). "The Simpsons showrunner teases Lisa's sexuality and could become polyamorous president". Metro. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  85. ^ Morgan, Joe (April 9, 2019). "Lisa Simpson is 'possibly bisexual and polyamorous', says showrunner". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on March 19, 2022. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  86. ^ Singh, Rajdeep (October 26, 2020). "Lisa Simpson voice Yeardley Smith sets the record straight on those bisexual theories". PinkNews. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  87. ^ "Bugs Bunny tops greatest cartoon characters list". CNN. July 30, 2002. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved August 25, 2007.
  88. ^ "TV's Most Intriguing Characters". Comcast. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  89. ^ "AfterEllen.com's Top 50 Favorite Female TV Characters". AfterEllen.com. February 27, 2012. Archived from the original on February 6, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  90. ^ Murphy, Ryan. "Top 10: Irritating '90s Cartoon Characters". AskMen. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  91. ^ a b "Primetime Emmy Awards Advanced Search". Emmys.org. Archived from the original on July 15, 2009.
  92. ^ "Hollywood Icons". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved September 4, 2008.
  93. ^ W. Reed Moran (November 15, 2001). "Lisa Simpson animates environmental awards". USA Today. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  94. ^ "Awards for 'The Simpsons'". IMDb. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  95. ^ "1995 Genesis Awards". Humane Society of the United States. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  96. ^ "'Free Willy', 'Simpsons' win Genesis Awards". Rocky Mountain News. January 30, 1994. p. 56A.
  97. ^ "1994 Genesis Awards". Humane Society of the United States. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  98. ^ Yardena Arar (January 19, 1991). "Films, TV Programs praised for treatment of Animal issues". Daily News of Los Angeles. p. L9.
  99. ^ "1995 Genesis Awards". Humane Society of the United States. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  100. ^ Cohen, David X.; Groening, Matt; Kirkland, Mark; Mirkin, David. (2005). Commentary for "Lisa the Vegetarian", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  101. ^ "2007 Genesis Awards". Humane Society of the United States. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  102. ^ "The 23rd Genesis Awards Nominees". Humane Society of the United States. February 24, 2009. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
  103. ^ Ortved 2009, p. 86
  104. ^ Borrelli, Christopher (March 11, 2001). "She's not even real and she's a feminist role model liberated Lisa". The Toledo Blade.
  105. ^ "The Daily Green's Heart of Green Awards 2008". The Daily Green. 2008. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  106. ^ Turner 2004, p. 327.
  107. ^ Pinsky 2007, p. 180
  108. ^ Michael Hann (March 5, 2007). "Meh – the word that's sweeping the internet". The Guardian. London. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
  109. ^ Boswell, Randy (November 18, 2008). "Canadian politics: The definition of 'meh'". The Vancouver Sun. Canwest News Service. Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
  110. ^ "Ted Cruz: 'Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson' " by William Cummings, USA Today, February 23, 2018
  111. ^ Sloughter, Trevor (November 23, 2022). "25 years ago today, Lisa the Skeptic became The Simpsons' critical thinking icon". The Skeptic. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  112. ^ Groening, Matt; Bill Morrison (2006). The Lisa Book. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-074823-4.
  113. ^ "Search Results for Lisa". The Simpsons Shop. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  114. ^ "Burger King, Simpsons team up, could face trouble from networks". Miami Herald. August 20, 1990.
  115. ^ "10 Things You Never Knew About The Simpsons". Flavor wire. October 20, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  116. ^ Szalai, George (April 1, 2009). "Postal Service launching "Simpsons" stamps". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  117. ^ "The Simpsons stamps launched in US". Newslite. May 8, 2009. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  118. ^ "The Simpsons Get 'Stamping Ovation' To Tune of 1 Billion Stamps". United States Postal Service. May 7, 2009. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  119. ^ Walk, Gary Eng (November 5, 2007). "Work of Bart". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  120. ^ Radford, Bill (November 19, 2000). "Groening launches Futurama comics". The Gazette. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  121. ^ Shutt, Craig. "Sundays with the Simpsons". MSNBC. Archived from the original on July 8, 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  122. ^ MacDonald, Brady (April 9, 2008). "Simpsons ride features 29 characters, original voices". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2008.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]