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Stark Raving Dad

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki
Season 3 Episode
035 "Blood Feud"
"Stark Raving Dad"
"Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" 037
"Lisa, it's your birthday. God bless you this day."
―"Happy Birthday, Lisa" lyrics
"Stark Raving Dad"
Stark Raving Dad promo.jpg
Episode Information
Episode number: 36
Season number: S3 E1
Production code: 7F24
Original airdate: September 19, 1991
Chalkboard gag: I am not a dentist
Couch gag: The couch tips over backwards, sending them through the wall.
Guest star(s): Michael Jackson as Leon Kompowsky
Showrunner(s): James L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Sam Simon
Written by: Al Jean
Mike Reiss
Directed by: Rich Moore
DVD features

"Stark Raving Dad" is the first episode of season 3 of The Simpsons and the thirty-sixth episode overall. It originally aired on September 19, 1991. The episode was written by Al Jean and Mike Reiss and directed by Rich Moore. The episode guest starred Michael Jackson as Leon Kompowsky.


"Thanks to Bart leaving his lucky red hat in a laundry load of white shirts, Homer ends up wearing a pink shirt to work. He is promptly committed to a mental institution where he meets up with a heavy-set, bald, white man, Leon Kompowsky, who walks and talks like Michael Jackson."


At the opening of the show, Lisa reminds Bart that her birthday is coming up and not to forget to get her a present. Homer's traditional white shirt turns pink in the wash, and he is forced to face the ridicule of his co-workers by wearing pink to work. He catches the attention of Mr. Burns, who pegs him as "some kind of free-thinking anarchist", and orders him to be examined by Dr. Marvin Monroe. After receiving a take-home psychological test from him, he has Bart fill it out for him. After handing it in, he is promptly judged to be insane and committed to a mental institution. There he is bunked with a large white man who claims he is Michael Jackson. The two quickly become friends.

The day of Lisa's Birthday, "Michael" calls the Simpson household to let Bart know that Homer has been committed, and Marge starts working on a way to get him out. Marge tries to convince the institution that Homer is not really crazy, and is eventually successful when they find out that they're really is a 'Bart'. Homer invites "Michael" to their home for the night. Bart, believing that Leon is really Michael Jackson, begins to inform all his friends that he is on his way. Meanwhile, in all the commotion, Lisa seems to be forgotten.

The word that Michael Jackson is on his way to Springfield, begins to spread through the town, and a large crowd forms around the Simpson house. When the two of them arrive, and the crowd sees a large, white man instead of Michael Jackson, the crowd gets angry and disperses. After the melee, Bart admits to Lisa that he forgot to buy her a birthday present. Lisa storms off, crushed. That evening Lisa writes a letter to Bart saying she is disowning him. "Michael" hears everything and then approaches Bart and tries to convince him to write Lisa a song to make up to her. After Bart confronts him about his obvious delusion about being a famous recording star, they get down to writing, and eventually compose a ballad called, "Happy Birthday, Lisa". The next day they perform it for her, and all is well again.

After this, "Michael" tells them all that his real name is Leon Kompowsky, and he's a bricklayer from Paterson, New Jersey. He tells them that he was an angry and unhappy man until he started talking like Michael Jackson and saw that it made everyone around him happy, which in turn made him happy, so he just kept on doing it. Leon then takes his leave, walking down the street singing Lisa's birthday song in his normal voice.


Michael Jackson's appearance[edit]

Michael Jackson himself voiced Leon Kompowsky's dialogue, and sound-a-like Kipp Lennon performed all the singing parts. Jackson's guest appearance was credited to "John Jay Smith." The DVD commentary for this episode indicates that Jackson approached the Simpsons team wanting to appear on the show, but due to a contract obligation, was not allowed to sing. However, he did write "Happy Birthday, Lisa" for the show. Great secrecy surrounded the guest appearance for some time, and even Matt Groening, when appearing on the Jay Leno show, did not openly reveal that it was Jackson (although he hinted strongly). It wasn't until the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" that a more open clue was given to viewers, when Lisa mentions that Dustin Hoffman and Michael Jackson made cameo appearances in the movie, stating, "They didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them..." (Dustin Hoffman, of course, voiced Mr. Bergstrom in the episode "Lisa's Substitute", and his guest appearance was similarly shrouded).

Alternate opening[edit]

After Barbara Bush commented on how much she didn't like the show and contacted the writers, The Simpsons show runners produced a new opening for a re-run of "Stark Raving Dad".

The scene begins in the Simpsons' living room. They all stare at the television, watching Bush's speech. When Bush says "to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons", Bart replies, "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression, too."


The episode was watched by 12.8 million households, and received overwhelming positive reviews from TV critics. Critics praised it's writing: "The greatness of 'Stark Raving Dad' has a lot more to do with The Simpsons' writing staff than with Jackson's voice-over talents. The show's scripters came up with a plot device far more ingenious than simply dropping the singer into Springfield."

Removal from airing[edit]

In March 2019, following the sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson that publicly came to light in the documentary Leaving Neverland, the producers of the show decided to pull "Stark Raving Dad" from syndication, Simpsonsworld.com, Disney+ and future DVD releases, resulting in the season beginning with "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" instead.[1]

In other languages[edit]

Language Name Translation
Germany.png Deutsch "Die Geburtstagsüberraschung" The birthday surprise
Italy Flag.png Italiano "Papà-zzo da legare" Stark raving dad
Brasil Flag.png Português "Papai Muito Louco" Dad Really Nuts
Hungary flag.png Magyar "Ki őrült, ki nem" Some is crazy, some isn't
Flag of Japan.png 日本語 "マイケルがやって来た!" Michael is Here!


The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to "Stark Raving Dad".
Season 3 Episodes
Stark Raving Dad Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington When Flanders Failed Bart the Murderer Homer Defined Like Father, Like Clown Treehouse of Horror II Lisa's Pony Saturdays of Thunder Flaming Moe's Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk I Married Marge Radio Bart Lisa the Greek Homer Alone Bart the Lover Homer at the Bat Separate Vocations Dog of Death Colonel Homer Black Widower The Otto Show Bart's Friend Falls in Love Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?