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Bart Sells His Soul
Lisa the Vegetarian
Treehouse of Horror VI
I can't believe I used to go out with you.
Ralph Wiggum to Lisa

"Lisa the Vegetarian" is the fifth episode of Season 7.

Synopsis

After a trip to Storytown Village, Lisa finds herself unable to eat lamb, exposing her to ridicule and resentment from her father and friends. But with help from Apu, Paul and Linda McCartney, she makes an effort to stick to her new vegetarian view.

Full Story

Grampa and the Simpson family visit Storytown Village, which is a boring amusement park for 1-7½ year olds. (Marge had previously said that the trip would be fun for everyone, including Lisa, who is eight.) They also visit the park's petting zoo and are immediately enraptured as they see one little lamb after another, each one more absurdly adorable than the one before it.

Upon returning home, Homer finds out that Ned Flanders is throwing a family reunion. In a moment of split-second thought, Homer eventually decides to throw a barbecue and only invite who he wants. When Ned asks if he can come, Homer agrees, before suddenly realizing why he was throwing the barbecue in the first place (to not invite Ned and only who Homer wants).

That night, Marge serves lamb chops for dinner, and Lisa cannot eat them. She keeps hearing the bleating voice of the lambs at the petting zoo - "Li-i-i-sa, I thought you lo-o-o-ved me-e-eee!" Lisa pushes her plate away, and says that she can't eat this. Marge, trying to help, offers up rump roast, chicken breast, and hot dogs instead, but Lisa suddenly makes the connection between these dishes and their living counterparts.

At school, her newfound vegetarianism becomes a problem when she is almost forced to dissect a live worm whom she imagines pleading, "Li-i-isa, what did I ever do to you-u-u-u?" She's a little confused ("Why does it talk like a lamb?") but no less committed to her cause, so she refuses to dissect it. At lunch, the only vegetarian option is a hot dog bun, which Lunchlady Doris proclaims "rich in bunly goodness". Lisa's caustic questioning of the exact point when Doris lost her enthusiasm for her job results in the second secret "independent thought alarm" she triggered that day, prompting Principal Skinner to think that the students have become overstimulated. He orders Groundskeeper Willie to have all of the colored chalk removed from the classrooms, but he furiously rants that he warned them before because, in his opinion, the chalk had been "forged by Lucifer himself".

Homer's BBBQ
Skinner then tells Lisa's class that there's an independent thinker (whom he will not reveal, but unknowingly does so) in the class and shows them a (rather dated) Troy McClure video of a man and a boy looking at cows getting killed and proposing the idea that "cows might eat us if we don't eat them". Homer then shows off his pig-shaped invitations, which advertise his "BBBQ," with the extra "B" standing for "BYOBB" (The extra "B", according to Homer, is a typo). Lisa's newfound vegetarian stance is not tolerated or understood very well, either, with Homer and Bart both mocking her for rejecting meat.

Later, Homer hosts his barbecue in his backyard. Lisa, who is becoming increasingly self-righteous regarding her vegetarianism, brings gazpacho to the barbecue, but is laughed at both in the yard and in her room, where she sulks on her bed and resents the partygoers for rubbing their carnivorous habits "in [her] face". Just then, a hamburger haphazardly flipped by Homer for Bart flies through her window and lands on her face.

Homer brings a roast pig for the party, but Lisa climbs aboard a riding mower, and drives away with the roast pig in tow (When witnessing this, Marge tries to stop Lisa, but, due to a force of habit, accidentally made it seem as though she was trying to stop Bart before he reminded her that he wasn't actually responsible for the problem that time). Homer and Bart chase after her, but she pushes the pig off of a slope before Homer and Bart catch her. The pig rolls through bushes, into the river, and is shot into the air by a hydroelectric dam's suction. While this is happening, the flying roasted pig passes by Mr. Burns' office at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, ironically just seconds after Mr. Burns admitted to Smithers that he'll donate to a children's fund "when pigs fly".

Back at home, Homer scolds Lisa for ruining his barbecue and sends her to her room, but she rebukes him and says that he was wrong for serving and eating meat. Lisa and Homer are too angry to speak to one another. They argue and Lisa, depressed due to her family not realizing she's vegetarian, leaves the house. While walking, she is mocked and laughed at by classmates and gets hit with a barrage of bad meat-related advertisements. The pressure to confirm to an omnivorous society finally becomes too great, prompting Lisa to grab a hot dog off of the grill at the Kwik-E-Mart, and take a bite.

However, Apu, himself a vegan (though he erroneously states he is a vegetarian on the show), reveals that, in fact, she has eaten a tofu dog, and takes her through a secret passageway to the garden on top of the Kwik-E-Mart roof, where she meets guest stars Paul and Linda McCartney. One brief heart-to-heart later, Lisa is committed once more to vegetarianism. She also learns an important lesson from Apu: She can let people have their own views, and she can have her own views.

Thus inspired, she returns home to make up with her father, and finds him in the street shouting her name, exposing his fear of being viewed as a bad father. Lisa apologizes to Homer, admitting that she had no right to ruin his barbecue and trying to force others to stop eating meat. Eventually, Homer forgives her and offers her "a piggyback--I mean, a veggieback ride". During the end credits, the roasted pig is seen still flying through the air.

Behind the Laughter

This episode makes a reference to the episode I Love Lisa when Ralph says to Lisa "I can believe I used to go out with you".

Reception

MSNBC listed the episode as their second favorite in the show. They called the “You don’t win friends with salad” song "one of those archetypal “Simpsons” moments, one in which the writers hit a joke so long that it goes from funny to unfunny and back to funny again."

Promo Images

Citations

Season 6 Season 7 Episodes Season 8
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)Radioactive ManHome Sweet Homediddly-Dum-DoodilyBart Sells His SoulLisa the VegetarianTreehouse of Horror VIKing-Size HomerMother SimpsonSideshow Bob's Last GleamingThe Simpsons 138th Episode SpectacularMarge Be Not ProudTeam HomerTwo Bad NeighborsScenes from the Class Struggle in SpringfieldBart the FinkLisa the IconoclastHomer the SmithersThe Day the Violence DiedA Fish Called SelmaBart on the Road22 Short Films About SpringfieldRaging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"Much Apu About NothingHomerpaloozaSummer of 4 Ft. 2