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The Old Man and the Lisa

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki
Season 8 Episode
173 "The Canine Mutiny"
"The Old Man and the Lisa"
"In Marge We Trust" 175
"The Old Man and the Lisa"
Episode Information
Episode number: 174
Season number: S8 E21
Production code: 4F17
Original airdate: April 20, 1997
Couch gag: The couch becomes a Whac-A-Mole game, the Simpson family being the targets. Homer gets hit.
Guest star(s): Bret Hart as himself
Showrunner(s): Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
Written by: John Swartzwelder
Directed by: Mark Kirkland
DVD features

"The Old Man and the Lisa" is the twenty-first episode of season 8 of The Simpsons and the one-hundred and seventy-fourth episode overall. It originally aired on April 20, 1997. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Mark Kirkland. It guest stars Bret Hart as himself.


"Mr. Burns loses his vast fortune and turns to Lisa for help in getting it back through environmental means."


Principal Skinner and Lisa are recycling to get enough money for a field trip, and during a reunion among the recycling group (the "Junior Achievers Club"), Mr. Burns speaks to the kids about economies. During his speech, Lisa informs Burns that, according to his biography, "Will There Ever Be a Rainbow?", Burns has less money than he thinks. Mr Burns then decides to check his savings and to do some investments, which are not as good as he thinks, but his lawyers don't want to confront him. After Mr. Burns' investments make him bankrupt, he realizes his lawyers were afraid of telling him he was making bad decisions. Since Mr. Burns lost all of his money, the bank forecloses on the plant and sells Mr. Burns' house to pro wrestler Bret Hart.

He lives with Waylon Smithers, Jr. for a short while, then gets put in the Retirement Castle. Soon, Burns begs for the help of Lisa, who had been pestering him (and the rest of the neighborhood) about recycling. She declines, but after patience and irritation, she gives in, on the condition that he will lose his evil manners. She helps him, and the two start making money recycling cans. After a while Mr. Burns has made enough money to open the Little Lisa Recycling Plant, all made from recycled materials. Lisa is pleased, believing that Mr. Burns has truly changed, until Burns show her 'the best part': he is using people's recycled plastic to create giant six-pack holder nets, 'cleaning the sea' by hauling all the creatures out of it, and selling the meat as animal slurry.

Lisa, appalled, tries to convince everyone to stop recycling, but they are apparently brainwashed. Lisa is comforted at home, and receives a visit from Mr. Burns, who informs her he's sold the Plant for $120 million. He offers 10% to Lisa as a reward for 'being his advisor', but knowing where the money came from, she turns it down.

Homer has four simultaneous heart attacks (thinking she turned down $12,000 dollars). She later corrects him in hospital, saying that 10% would actually be $12 million. Homer suffers another heart attack.


The episode was directed by Mark Kirkland and written by John Swartzwelder. The writers had always thought about having an episode in which Burns lost all of his money and would have to interact with the outside world.[1]

The producers have joked about this being the final episode of the series due to the episode ending with Homer suffering from another heart attack after Lisa tells Homer what 10% of Burns' $120,000,000 check really is. Two alternate original titles for the episode were Cohen's "Lisa and Burns" and Swartzwelder's "Burns Goes Broke".[2][3][4]


"The Old Man and the Lisa" won a 1997 Environmental Media Award in Best Television Episodic Comedy.[5]


  1. Weinstein, Josh. (2006). Audio commentary for "The Old Man and the Lisa". The Complete Eighth season.
  2. Kirkland, Mark. (2006). Audio commentary for "The Old Man and the Lisa". The Complete Eighth season.
  3. Josh Weinstein tweet 1
  4. Josh Weinstein tweet 2
  5. Environmental Media Awards - "EMA Awards Past Recipients & Honorees"

The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to "The Old Man and the Lisa".
Season 8 Episodes
Treehouse of Horror VII You Only Move Twice The Homer They Fall Burns, Baby Burns Bart After Dark A Milhouse Divided Lisa's Date with Density Hurricane Neddy El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer The Springfield Files The Twisted World of Marge Simpson Mountain of Madness Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show Homer's Phobia Brother from Another Series My Sister, My Sitter Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment Grade School Confidential The Canine Mutiny The Old Man and the Lisa In Marge We Trust Homer's Enemy The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase The Secret War of Lisa Simpson