The Simpsons: Season 9, Episode 8

Lisa the Skeptic (23 Nov. 1997)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Animation, Comedy
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 904 users  
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Another day at Springfield Elementary School, another field trip - this time to an archaeological dig. During the dig, Lisa unearths what appears to be a fossilized human skeleton with wings.



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Title: Lisa the Skeptic (23 Nov 1997)

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Episode credited cast:
Bart Simpson / Kearney / Ralph (voice)
Lisa Simpson (voice)
Chief Wiggum / Lou / Snake / Sid's Partner / Moe Szyslak / Carl / Robot / Pope's Messenger (voice)
Miss Hoover (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stephen Jay Gould ...
Himself (voice)
Martin Prince / Sherri / Terri (voice)
Mrs. Krabappel (voice)


When the school goes on an archaeological dig and unearths what appears to be the skeleton of an angel,Lisa courts controversy by doubting its authenticity,leading to a heated debate between skeptics and believers. When the angel is found to carry the words Prepare for the End,the townsfolk fear that their days are numbered but Lisa is exonerated when the whole exercise proves to be no more than an advertisement for a new shopping mall. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

2d animation | priest | See All (2) »


Animation | Comedy


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 November 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Moe Szyslak: Lisa's right, it's an angel!
See more »


References Forbidden Planet (1956) See more »


See the Angel
Written by George Frideric Handel (tune: "Messiah: Hallelujah")
Performed by Dan Castellaneta
See more »

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User Reviews

The premise sounds daft but the episode is not.
4 January 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Simpsons may not be as good as it used to be but even the most devoted of its fans agree that Lisa-centric episodes are generally weaker. This episode is the exception to that rule in that it is actually a good episode.

The plot sees Lisa convince Skinner to reward good students by taking them on an archaeological dig and to punish bad students by taking them too. After not finding much of interest they're about to leave but then suddenly Lisa discovers a fossilised angel. The townsfolk are convinced it is a genuine article but Lisa is not so sure. The episode shows signs of becoming on of seasons 9-10's infamous Early-Zombie-Simpsons editions but thankfully the script makes it work and avoid such problems. There's also some signs of early Jerkass Homer on display as he steals the skeleton and charges people to see it. It makes up the bulk of the episode as Lisa tries to get him to stop calling it an angel until she has proof. When she announces her intention to get DNA testing done on it the religious members of the town go on an anti-science riot eventually coming to protect the angel from Lisa. It's not safe with the unbeliever, they think, but when they come for it it's gone. I'm beginning to get slightly uncomfortable with the anti-religious undertones of the episode at this point, but it drops that plot thread here and instead takes a different direction.

"The End Will Come At Sundown" is found written on the angel and suddenly the episode undergoes a dramatic shift in tone with a great level of suspense and menace that the script and music realise magnificently. There feels like a real possibility that something nasty might be about to happen and everyone in town is afraid, even Lisa. The end that does come turns out to be a marketing ploy which might feel like a bit of a cop-out but it all amounts to a very memorable third act for the episode which makes this episode a classic chunk of what The Simpsons was and why the show used to be the greatest thing on TV. Show me another show that can handle this material so well. I don't think one exists.

In conclusion, if you can ignore the strongly anti-religious sentiments displayed throughout this episode, particularly in the second act, you'll find a decent and memorable 22-odd minutes with an intriguing storyline and several touching moments between Marge and Lisa. Also that Motor Boat opening is incredible. 8/10

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