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Lisa the Skeptic

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki
Season 9 Episode
185 "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"
"Lisa the Skeptic"
"Realty Bites" 187
"Lisa the Skeptic"
Lisa the Skeptic.png
Episode Information
Episode number: 186
Season number: S9 E8
Production code: 5F05
Original airdate: November 23, 1997
Chalkboard gag: "I will not tease fatty"
Couch gag: The family arrives in the room in towels, finding three old men in towels using the couch as a sauna. One of the men pours water onto the coals as the Simpsons leave.
Guest star(s): Stephen Jay Gould as himself
Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz
Showrunner: Mike Scully
Written by: David S. Cohen
Directed by: Neil Affleck
DVD features

"Lisa the Skeptic" is the eighth episode of season 9 of The Simpsons and the one-hundred and eighty-sixth episode overall. It originally aired on November 23, 1997. The episode was written by David S. Cohen and directed by Neil Affleck. It guest stars Stephen Jay Gould as himself and Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz.


"While Lisa and her classmates conduct an archaeological survey, a skeleton with abnormal bone structures growing from the shoulders is uncovered, leading the townspeople to conclude the remains are that of an angel."


Homer receives a letter that he won in a boat giveaway from the Springfield Police Department so the family goes to the Police Station to collect his prize. When Homer goes to retrieve his boat, he is instead restrained and made to pay off all his unpaid parking tickets. The family then drives home again, without a new boat. On the way home, Lisa notices that they're building a new mall on Sabertooth Meadow, which has previously had fossils found in it. Lisa gets Lionel Hutz and the two of them go to the management of the new mall to request that they be allowed to dig up any more fossils that may be there. Sid and his PR man discuss it and decide that it would be good publicity to let Lisa look for fossils. Lisa calls in a favor she has with Principal Skinner, who arranges for the honor students and detention students to go to the dig site.

The children at the dig site fail to find anything at first and the entire day passes without any big finds. As they all get ready to leave, Lisa discovers what looks like a human skull. This turns out to be attached to an Angel Skeleton, which shocks Lisa as it shouldn't be possible. As the townspeople see the angel and believe it to be real, Lisa tries to come up with other theories, but is unsuccessful in persuading anyone. As the people discuss who should get the Angel Skeleton, Homer straps it to his car and drives home with it.

Back at the Simpson house, Ned Flanders rings the doorbell, wanting to see the Angel Skeleton with his family. However, Homer sends him away. Agnes Skinner then rings the bell, also wanting to see the skeleton, but is also sent away. When a large crowd of people then arrive at the house, Homer decides to start charging people to see the skeleton. Lisa dislikes the fact that Homer refers to it as an angel, and wants to do a DNA test on the skeleton to find out if it's real or not. However, Homer refuses to let Lisa take it because he would lose out on money. That night, Lisa takes a sample of the skeleton to Stephen Jay Gould at the Springfield Museum of Natural History who decides to run tests on it. The next day, Lisa tells everyone that she had Dr. Gould run tests on it, just as he arrives at the house. However, he tells Lisa that the tests were inconclusive. Lisa gets annoyed at how stupid everyone is, believing in angels, but Marge reveals that she also believes in angels. This leads to an argument between the two of them.

After Lisa appears on Smartline talking about the angel, the angel supporters decide to go around destroying every scientific institute in Springfield. Upon seeing this on the news, Lisa decides to destroy the angel skeleton. When she goes to the garage, she finds that the skeleton has disappeared. When the angel supporters show up, they accuse Lisa of destroying it and she is arrested. Lisa is then taken to court to be put on trial for destroying the angel. However, as the trial begins, Lenny notices that the angel skeleton is outside, on a hill. Everyone rushes to the skeleton to find that a message is now written on the base of it; "the end will come at sundown".

Everyone prepares for the coming apocalypse, with Lisa not believing it will happen. This leads to another conflict with Marge, who does believe it. As everyone gathers at the skeleton, sundown arrives and nothing happens. As Lisa tries to tell everyone that she was right, a booming voice silences her and the angel rises into the air. The angel skeleton then turns around and reveals the grand opening of the Heavenly Hills Mall, revealing that the whole thing was a publicity stunt by the mall. It then follows a rail until it ends up on top of the mall's sign. As everyone rushes to the new mall to buy things, Lisa asks Dr. Gould why the tests didn't show the angel was fake and he tells Lisa that he didn't actually run the tests. Lisa and Marge make up and walk off together.


Episode writer David X. Cohen came up with the idea for the episode after a trip to the American Museum of Natural History. His original idea was for Lisa to find a "missing link" skeleton, but George Meyer suggested that it be changed to an angel skeleton. A big part of the episode was then decided to focus on science vs. religion.[1]

In an earlier draft of the script, the angel skeleton was revealed to have been made out of dough by the mall's window dresser. However, this scene ended up getting cut. The original draft of the script also didn't mention Stephen Jay Gould, and just referred to the character as a "scientist" or "paleontologist" as Cohen didn't know they would be able to get Gould for the show. Cohen had previously taken Dr. Gould's class when he was in college.[1] Executive producer Mike Scully said that Gould was an excellent actor for the show, but wanted to change one line.[2] His introduction called him the "world's most foremost" or "brilliant paleontologist", which he didn't like.[1]

The court scene was originally a much bigger part of the episode. However, it ended up getting cut down to a much shorter scene in the final draft. An earlier draft also had the episode ending with Marge apologizing to Lisa, but this ended up getting changed. Dr. Gould's final line was also longer, with him saying he didn't do the tests because he had more important work to do. This ended up getting cut down because the producers felt it was too mean.[1]


Upon its original airing, "Lisa the Skeptic" was watched by 9.3 million viewers, making it the third highest-rated show on the FOX that week.[3]

As of December 2023, the episode has an 8.1 rating on IMDb.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Cohen, David X. (2006). Commentary for "Lisa the Skeptic", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season.
  2. Scully, Mike (2006). Commentary for "Lisa the Skeptic", in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season.
  3. "CBS no. 1 as sweeps month nears end", Sun-Sentinel, p. 4E. 
  4. IMDb - "Lisa the Skeptic"

The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to "Lisa the Skeptic".
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The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson The Principal and the Pauper Lisa's Sax Treehouse of Horror VIII The Cartridge Family Bart Star The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons Lisa the Skeptic Realty Bites Miracle on Evergreen Terrace All Singing, All Dancing Bart Carny The Joy of Sect Das Bus The Last Temptation of Krust Dumbbell Indemnity Lisa the Simpson This Little Wiggy Simpson Tide The Trouble with Trillions Girly Edition Trash of the Titans King of the Hill Lost Our Lisa Natural Born Kissers