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They Saved Lisa's Brain

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki
Season 10 Episode
224 "Monty Can't Buy Me Love"
"They Saved Lisa's Brain"
"Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" 226
"They Saved Lisa's Brain"
They Saved Lisa's Brain.png
Episode Information
Episode number: 225
Season number: S10 E22
Production code: AABF18
Original airdate: May 9, 1999
Chalkboard gag: "No one wants to hear from my armpits"
Couch gag: The Simpsons are on the couch, which is floating in the open sea; an iceberg crashes into it, sinking the couch.
Guest star(s): Stephen Hawking as himself
Showrunner: Mike Scully
Written by: Matt Selman
Directed by: Pete Michels
DVD features

"They Saved Lisa's Brain" is the twenty-second episode of season 10 of The Simpsons and the two-hundred and twenty-fifth episode overall. It originally aired on May 9, 1999. The episode was written by Matt Selman and directed by Pete Michels. It guest stars Stephen Hawking as himself.


"Lisa is invited to join the local MENSA society after penning an inspiring letter over Springfield's complete humiliation at the hands of her father."


Promo image for the episode

After the show Ethnic Mismatch Comedy #644 is canceled, a commercial for the How Low Will You Go? competition, sponsored by Grandma Plopwell's Pudding, plays. The competition takes place at KBBL Radio and many people of Springfield participate. After the acts all take place, Rainier Wolfcastle, who was one of the judges on the panel, declares himself the winner for having to put up with all the losers taking part. This annoys the contestants, who start a riot. Whilst Lisa watches the riot take place, she gets embarrassed over how the people are acting.

When Lisa gets home, she writes a letter for the newspaper, complaining about the fact the people of Springfield had lost their last bit of civility. Homer then enters Lisa's room and reveals that he managed to steal the second place prize from the competition. He opens the envelope to find that it's a ticket for a free photography session from Boudoir Photography. The next day, Lisa goes around town asking people if they had read her letter in the paper. Nobody she speaks to had done which upsets Lisa. Lisa goes to her room and a paper airplane comes through the window. Lisa opens the plane up and finds a note telling her to go to 13 Euclid Street. When Lisa arrives, she finds the headquarters of Springfield's division of Mensa.

Lisa gets to know the other members of Mensa and is invited to join them. They tell Lisa that they had considered asking her to join already, but her letter was what made them ask her. Lisa then started to hang out with the other Mensa members. Back at home, Homer decided to call Boudoir Photography and get his session booked. At dinner time, Lisa tries to tell her family what she's been up to, but Homer doesn't care. The next day comes along and Homer has his photography session. The session gets interrupted by Bart, who ends up looking through the window to see what Homer was doing. Homer then organizes to reschedule the session with the boudoir photographer.

At the Springfield Park, the Mensa members find that the gazebo they had booked for a Renaissance reenactment had been taken over by the barflies. Principal Skinner asks them to leave as they had the gazebo booked, but they refused. Chief Wiggum then refused to help them too and started to drink with the barflies. The Mensa members head to the Town Hall to confront Mayor Quimby about the laws about gazebo bookings. However, Quimby got scared, thinking they were there about his corruption, and fled the town. After reading the town charter, the Mensa members realize that they had the right to rule the town, being learned citizens.

The Mensa members get to work trying to improve the town in their own ways. Meanwhile, Homer had his rescheduled photography session in the basement of the house, which had been dressed up with drapes and cushions. However, when he showed the photographs to Marge, she was more interested in how the basement looked rather than Homer. Back at Town Hall, the members of Mensa started to argue over the things they wanted to implement. They eventually all came up with different plans, without informing each other. When they went to announce these plans to the people of Springfield, people weren't impressed, including the other members of Mensa. This led to arguments between them and the townspeople.

Whilst everyone was arguing, Stephen Hawking showed up after coming to Springfield to see the utopia that the Mensa members had promised. Hawking was not impressed and said that they had been corrupted by power. A fight breaks out as the townspeople try to attack the smart people and the gazebo gets destroyed in the process. As everyone escapes the gazebo, Stephen Hawking grabs Lisa, using an extension from his wheelchair, and flies them both to safety. Hawking tells Lisa that she shouldn't feel bad about what happened. Homer and Stephen Hawking then go to Moe's Tavern together for beers.


The idea for the episode was pitched by George Meyer. The competition was based on a phase where gross-out contests were "sweeping the nation" back in 1998. Grandma Plopwell's was inspired by Aunt Freshly, which the writers ate.[1]

Stephen Hawking arrived at the recording session for his role about 40 minutes late.[2] Every line Stephen Hawking said was recorded from Hawking inputting the lines into is dialogue computer.[1] Getting the machine to say some of the words in the script, in particular "Fruitopia", was challenging and the writers and Hawking had to figure out what syllables to make the machine say to get the word out.[3] Hawking's only note that he gave the writers was that he didn't want to be portrayed as drunk.[1]

This episode featured the first named appearance of Lindsey Naegle.[4] Her surname came from Matt Selman's agent, Sue Naegle. The boudoir photographer's design is based on photographer Annie Leibovitz.[1]

The episode features shadows around the characters in some scenes. This is a result of the cel lines being painted too thick, which was then picked up by the camera.[2]


A joke in the episode showed that Springfield had moved up the list of worst places to live, overtaking East St. Louis. When writer Matt Selman was asked why they chose East St. Louis, he joked that it was because it was a "crack-ridden slum".[1] This comment made people angry and the show got a lot of calls and complaints. To play a joke on Matt Selman, who was on vacation at the time this was happening, the producers brought in Marc Wilmore to pretend to be the mayor of East St. Louis.[4] Matt Selman immediately tried to shift the blame, saying that all the writers participated.[5] Eventually, Selman realized that it was a joke when he turned around and saw all the other writers were laughing.[1]

As of January 2022, the episode has a 7.3 rating on IMDb.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Selman, Matt (2007). Commentary for "They Saved Lisa's Brain", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michels, Pete (2007). Commentary for "They Saved Lisa's Brain", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season.
  3. Hauge, Ron (2007). Commentary for "They Saved Lisa's Brain", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Scully, Mike (2007). Commentary for "They Saved Lisa's Brain", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season.
  5. Wilmore, Marc (2007). Commentary for "They Saved Lisa's Brain", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season.
  6. IMDb - "They Saved Lisa's Brain"

The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to "They Saved Lisa's Brain".
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