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Hero Overview
Goldstar


Do-gooder
Lisa Simpson
Background information
Origin The Simpsons
Hero information
Full name Lisa Marie Simpson
Alias Li'l Lisa

Jake Boyman
Toilet
Truth Teller
Lie Smeller
Lady Penelope Ariel Ponyweather
Ravencrow Neversmiles

Occupation Student of Springfield Elementary

Member of Mensa

Powers / Skills High intelligence

A powerful imagination

Hobbies Complaining to her family

Being an activist
Eg "Free Tibet" and save the Amazon
Trying to make the world a better place and playing her saxophone
Getting into fights with Bart

Goals Make the world a better place and defeat Mr. Burns (all succeeded)
Family Abraham Simpson (grandfather), Mona Simpson (grandmother), Homer Simpson (father), Marge Simpson (mother), Bart Simpson (brother), Maggie Simpson (sister), Santa's Little Helper (pet dog), Snowball II (pet cat)
Friends / Allies Janey Powell, Colin, Nelson Muntz, Groundskeeper Willie, Seymour Skinner, Kent Brockman, Database, Milhouse Van Houten, Bart Simpson (Sometimes), Elizabeth Hoover (Sometimes), Ralph Wiggum, Lindsey Naegle, Professor Jonathan Frink, Jeffrey Albertson, Seymour Skinner, Meg Griffin, Philip J. Fry
Enemies Bart Simpson (Sometimes), Sideshow Bob, Mr. Burns, Lucille Botzcowski, Elizabeth Hoover (Sometimes), Bart Simpson's Creatures, The Fat In The Hat, Art Teacher (Lisa the Drama Queen), Cregg Demon, Blue-Haired Lawyer
Type of Hero Passionate Kid


Aside from the fact that he has the same frailties as all human beings, he’s the only father I have. Therefore, he is my model of manhood, and my estimation of him will govern the prospects of my adult relationships. So I hope you bear in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me. And I am far too young to defend myself against such onslaughts.
~ Lisa to Patty
Well, whatever the answer is, I'm glad I'm a girl, and I'm glad I'm good at math.
~ Lisa's famous quote

Lisa Marie Simpson (born April 2) is one of the two tritagonists of the Simpsons franchise, the other being her brother Bart. She is the intelligent middle child of the Simpson family. Voiced by Yeardley Smith, Lisa first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Cartoonist Matt Groening created and designed her while waiting to meet James L. Brooks. Groening had been invited to pitch a series of shorts based on his comic Life in Hell, but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the elder Simpson daughter after his younger sister Lisa Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family were moved to their own series on Fox, which debuted on December 17, 1989. At eight years old, Lisa is the second child of Homer and Marge, younger sister of Bart and older sister of Maggie.

She plays the baritone saxophone. She has been a vegetarian since season 7, converted to Buddhism in season 13 and advocates for a variety of liberal political causes, including the Tibetan independence movement. She has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons – including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials and comic books – and inspired a line of merchandise. Yeardley Smith originally tried out for the role of Bart, while Nancy Cartwright (who was later cast as the voice for Bart) tried out for Lisa. Producers considered Smith's voice too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. In the Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa was something of a "female Bart" who mirrored her brother's mischief, but as the series progressed she became a more sophisticated and intellectual character. Because of her unusual pointed hair style, many animators consider Lisa the most difficult Simpsons character to draw. Lisa is one of the most enduring characters on the series.

TV Guide ranked her 11th (tied with Bart) on their list of the "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time". Her environmentalism has been especially well received; several episodes featuring her have won Genesis and Environmental Media Awards, including a special "Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award" in 2001. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals included Lisa on their list of the "Most Animal-Friendly TV Characters of All Time". Yeardley Smith won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992, and in 2000 Lisa and her family were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Voice Actor and Nominations

Yeardley Smith originally tried out for the role of Bart, while Nancy Cartwright (who was later cast as the voice for Bart) tried out for Lisa. Producers considered Smith's voice too high for a boy, so she was given the role of Lisa. In the Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa was something of a "female Bart" who mirrored her brother's mischief, but as the series progressed she became a more sophisticated and intellectual character. Because of her unusual pointed hair style, many animators consider Lisa the most difficult Simpsons character to draw. Lisa is one of the most enduring characters on the series. TV Guide ranked her eleventh (tied with Bart) on their list of the "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time".

Her environmentalism has been especially well received; several episodes featuring her have won Genesis and Environmental Media Awards, including a special "Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award" in 2001. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals included Lisa on their list of the "Most Animal-Friendly TV Characters of All Time". Yeardley Smith won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992, and in 2000 Lisa and her family were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Role in The Simpsons

The Simpsons uses a floating timeline in which the characters do not physically age; as such, Lisa is always depicted as eight years old. The show itself is perpetually set in the year of broadcast (except for occasional flashbacks and flashforwards). In several episodes, events have been linked to specific time periods, although this timeline has been contradicted in subsequent episodes. Lisa's year of birth is given in "Lisa's First Word" (season 4, 1992) as 1984, during the Summer Olympics. The episode "That 90's Show" (season 19, 2008), however, contradicts much of the established backstory; for example, it presents Homer and Marge as being childless in the late 1990s. Lisa is a lover of music, especially jazz.

She enjoys playing the saxophone and became friends with jazz musician, the late Bleeding Gums Murphy, whom she regards as an idol. Murphy helps pull Lisa out of her depression in "Moaning Lisa" (season 1, 1990). She is later deeply saddened by Murphy's death in "'Round Springfield" (season 6, 1995). Lisa has been friendly with several boys, including Ralph Wiggum in "I Love Lisa" (season 4, 1993), Nelson Muntz in "Lisa's Date with Density" (season 8, 1996) and Colin in The Simpsons Movie (2007). Bart's nerdy best friend Milhouse Van Houten has a crush on her, but despite dropping unsubtle hints about his feelings, he has been unsuccessful in winning her affection, though more recent episodes suggests that, while often exasperated and denial of Milhouse's numerous attempts to be her boyfriend, Lisa in the inside appreciates Milhouse's affection on her and she can be very jealous if he gets dating with other girls.

Lisa is the most intellectual member of the Simpson family, and many episodes of the series focus on her fighting for various causes. Lisa is often the focus of episodes with "a real moral or philosophical point," which according to former writer David S. Cohen is because "you really buy her as caring about it." Lisa's political convictions are generally liberal and she often contests others' views. She is a vegetarian, feminist, environmentalist and a supporter of homosexual rights and the Free Tibet movement. While supportive of the general ideals of the Christian church in which she was raised, Lisa became a practicing Buddhist in the episode "She of Little Faith" (season 13, 2001) after she learned about the Noble Eightfold Path. In the Christmas episode, in 2043, Lisa is seen to be a terrible mother to wayward daughter, Zia. She is married to Milhouse, but may have had affairs with Nelson. It was revealed that Lisa may have been a lesbian before her daughter was born.

Character

Creation

Matt Groening first conceived Lisa and the rest of the Simpson family in 1986 in the lobby of producer James L. Brooks's office. Groening had been called in to pitch a series of animated shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show and had intended to present an adaptation of his Life in Hell comic strip. When he realized that animating Life in Hell would require him to rescind publication rights, Groening went in another direction, hurriedly sketching his version of a dysfunctional family, named after members of his own family. Lisa was named after Groening's younger sister, but little else was based on her.

In The Tracey Ullman Show shorts, Lisa displayed little of the intelligence for which she later became known. She was more of a "female Bart" and was originally described as simply the "middle child", without much personality. Lisa made her debut with the rest of the Simpson family on April 19, 1987 in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night". In 1989, the shorts were adapted into The Simpsons, a half-hour series on the Fox Broadcasting Company. Lisa and the Simpson family remained the main characters on this new show.

Design

This image illustrates how to draw Lisa's head and hairline using the three-three-two arrangement.The entire Simpson family was designed to be easily recognized in silhouette. The family was crudely drawn, because Groening had submitted basic sketches to the animators, assuming they would clean them up; instead, they just traced over his drawings. Lisa's physical features are generally unique. In some early episodes, minor background characters occasionally had a similar hairline.

However, in the later seasons, no character other than Maggie shares her hairline. While designing Lisa, Groening "couldn't be bothered to even think about girls' hair styles". At the time, Groening was primarily drawing in black and white; when designing Lisa and Maggie, he "just gave them this kind of spiky starfish hair style, not thinking that they would eventually be drawn in color". To draw Lisa's head and hair, most of the show's animators use what they call the "three-three-two arrangement". It begins with a circle, with two curving lines (one vertical, one horizontal) intersecting in the middle to indicate her eyeline.

The vertical line continues outside of the circle to create one hair point, with two more added towards the back of her head. Three more points are then added in front (in the direction Lisa is facing), with two more behind it. Several Simpsons animators, including Pete Michels and David Silverman, consider Lisa the most difficult Simpsons character to draw. Silverman explains that "her head is so abstract" due to her hairstyle.

Appearance

Her hair is yellow/blonde like Bart but is styled like a starfish. She wears a white pearl necklace, a reddish-orange strap-less dress, frilly white panties and reddish-orange strapped Mary Jane shoes.

Personality

Lisa and Bart

Baby Lisa with her elder brother Bart

"Lisa is a good soul. She is so compassionate. She is wise beyond her years. She has remarkable optimism, despite the fact that she's disappointed so often".

Lisa is a little girl who sees herself as a less misfit within the Simpson family due to her knowledge. She shows characteristics rarely seen in Springfield, including spirituality and commitment to peaceful ways. Lisa's knowledge covers a wide range of subjects, from astronomy to medicine, and she is notably more concerned with world affairs than her life in Springfield. Although her rebellion against social norms is usually depicted as constructive and heroic, Lisa can be self-righteous at times. In "Lisa the Vegetarian", an increasing sense of moral self-righteousness leads her to disrupt her father's roast-pig barbecue, an act for which she later apologizes. Episodes often take shots at Lisa's idealism. In "Bart Star", (season nine, 1997) Lisa, apparently looking for a new cause to crusade over, defiantly declares that she, a girl, would like to join the football team. When coach Ned Flanders reveals that several girls already play for the team, she hesitates and claims football is "not really her thing". She then expresses distaste about a ball made of pig's skin, but one of the girls informs her that their footballs are synthetic and that proceeds are donated to Amnesty International. Visibly upset, Lisa runs off.

Lisa playing the saxaphone

Lisa playing the saxophone for the very first time

Lisa is said to have an IQ of 159, and in "They Saved Lisa's Brain" (season ten, 1999) she becomes a member of the Springfield chapter of Mensa. When unable to attend school due to a teachers' strike in "The PTA Disbands", (season six, 1995) she suffers withdrawal symptoms because of the sudden lack of praise. She even demands that her mother grade her for no obvious reason. In Planet Simpson, Chris Turner writes that these traits make Lisa more realistic because "No character can aspire to realism without a few all-too-human flaws." Although she is intellectually gifted and despite her cuteness and beauty, Lisa experiences typical childhood issues, sometimes requiring adult intervention. For example, in "Lost Our Lisa" (season nine, 1998), she tricks Homer into allowing her to ride the bus alone, only to become hopelessly lost and in need of aid from her father. Chris Turner writes in Planet Simpson that incidents like this illustrate that "Even when Lisa's lecturing like a college professor or mounting yet another protest, she never becomes a full-grown adult trapped in a kid's body."

In The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer, Aeon J. Skoble states that although Lisa is an intellectual, she is still portrayed as a character who enjoys normal childhood and girl activities, plays with Malibu Stacy dolls, loves ponies, obsesses over teenage heartthrobs such as Corey, and watches The Itchy and Scratchy Show. He writes, "One might argue that this is typical childhood behavior, but since in so many cases Lisa is presented not simply as a prodigy but as preternaturally wise, the fondness for Itchy and Scratchy and Corey seem to be highlighted, taking on greater significance. Lisa is portrayed as the avatar of logic and wisdom, but then she also worships Corey so she's 'no better than the rest of us'." Lisa occasionally worries that her family's dull habits will rub off on her, such as in "Lisa the Simpson" (season nine, 1998) she worries that the "Simpson gene" will make her less intelligent later finding out the gene only goes through the male side.

She is often embarrassed and disapproving of her eccentric family: of her father's poor parenting skills and buffoonish personality; her mother's stereotypical image and social ineptitude; and her brother's delinquent and low-brow nature. She is also concerned that Maggie may grow up to be like the rest of the family and tries to teach her complex ideas. Chris Turner writes in Planet Simpson that "Lisa embarks on quests to find solace for her yearning spirit [...] but the most reliable source of truth she finds is the one she always believed in: her family. It is from the other Simpsons that Lisa draws stability, meaning, contentment." Her loyalty to her family is most clearly seen in the flashforward "Lisa's Wedding" (season six, 1995), in which she must reconcile her love for them with the distaste of her cultured fiancé. In the episode "Mother Simpson" (season seven, 1995) she meets her paternal grandmother Mona Simpson for the first time. Mona is also well-read and articulate, and the writers used the character as a way to explain the origins of Lisa's intelligence. Due to constant worry yet about above average intelligence, she is believed to have OCD.

Voice

Yeardley Smith

Yearley Smith as Lisa Simpson

While the roles of Homer and Marge were given to Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner because they were already a part of the Tracey Ullman Show cast, the producers decided to hold casting for the roles of Bart and Lisa. Nancy Cartwright intended to audition for the role of Lisa, but disliked the character's bland description—Lisa was described simply as the "middle child"—and read for the role of Bart instead. Casting director Bonita Pietila brought Yeardley Smith in for an audition after seeing her performing in the play Living on Salvation Street. Smith was hesitant to audition for an animated series, but her agent had persuaded her to give it a try. Smith originally auditioned for the role of Bart but Pietila believed her voice was too high. Smith later recalled: "I always sounded too much like a girl, I read two lines as Bart and they said, 'Thanks for coming!'". Pietila offered Smith the role of Lisa instead.

Voice actress Yeardley Smith and the show's writers worked to give Lisa a more defined personality, and she has developed greatly during the series. In her 2000 memoir My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy, Cartwright wrote: "with the brilliant wit of the writers and the wry, in-your-eye, honest-to-a-fault interpretation, Yeardley Smith has made Lisa a bright light of leadership, full of compassion and competence beyond her years. Lisa Simpson is the kind of child we not only want our children to be, but also the kind of child we want all children to be. But, at the time, on The Tracey Ullman Show, she was just an animated eight-year-old kid who had no personality." Lisa is the only regular character voiced by Smith, who increases the pitch of her voice slightly for the role.

In some earlier episodes she provided some of Maggie's squeaks and occasional speaking parts, and has voiced other characters on very rare occasions. Usually they are derivative of Lisa, such as Lisa Bella in "Tap Dance in Springfield" (season 11, 2000) and Lisa, Jr. in "Missionary: Impossible". (season 11, 2000) It's a happy fluke. When she was cast back in 1987, I just liked the sound of her voice. She's also a great actress. In general, people who make their living doing voices on cartoons aren't always great for us. Most cartoons want things peppy and cartoony. Yeardley is able to go through moments of great emotion and wring it for all she's worth. Despite the fame of Lisa Simpson, Smith is rarely recognized in public, which she does not mind. She said, "it's wonderful to be in the midst of all this hype about the show, and people enjoying the show so much, and to be totally a fly on the wall; people never recognise me solely from my voice."

In a 2009 interview with The Guardian she commented that "It's the best job ever. I have nothing but gratitude for the amount of freedom The Simpsons has bought me in my life." Although Smith received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992, she considers it unimportant, saying "there's part of me that feels it wasn't even a real Emmy." The award is a Creative Arts prize not awarded during the primetime telecast and, at the time, a juried award without nominations. Still, Smith considers her work on the show a success. "If I had to be associated with one character in fiction," she said, "I will always be thrilled that it was Lisa Simpson." Matt Groening has described Smith as being very similar to Lisa: "Yeardley has strong moral views about her character. There are lines that are written for Lisa that Yeardley reads and says, 'No, I wouldn't say that.'" Former Simpsons writer Jay Kogen praised her performance on the show, particularly in the episode "Lisa's Substitute", as able "to move past comedy to something really strong and serious and dramatic."

Until 1998, Smith was paid $30,000 per episode. A pay dispute erupted in 1998, during which Fox threatened to replace the six main voice actors with new actors, going as far as preparing for casting of new voices. The dispute was soon resolved, and Smith received $125,000 per episode until 2004 when the voice actors sought an increase to $360,000 per episode. The issue was resolved a month later, and Smith earned $250,000 per episode. New salary negotiations took place in 2008, and the voice actors currently receive approximately $400,000 per episode.

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