S03E14 - Lisa the Greek
"Lisa the Greek" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' third season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 23, 1992. In the episode, Homer begins to bond with his daughter, Lisa, after learning her unique and convenient ability to pick winning football teams, but, secretly, uses her ability to help him gamble. When Lisa finds out Homer's secret, she refuses to speak to her father until he fully understands her. "Lisa the Greek" was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky, and directed by Rich Moore. The episode was designed to satirize the Simpsons staff members' "love affair with gambling, particularly on football." "Lisa the Greek" references both the Super Bowl and the National Football League (NFL). It aired only days before Super Bowl XXVI, and correctly predicted that the Washington Redskins would win the game. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 14.2, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.
"Lisa the Greek" references both the Super Bowl and the National Football League (NFL). The episode aired only a few days before Super Bowl XXVI, and correctly predicted that the Washington Redskins would win the game. When a repeat of the episode re-aired the following year only days before Super Bowl XXVII, the staff redubbed the episode to mention the Dallas Cowboys instead of the Washington Redskins. The Cowboys won, making the episode accurate once again. It has continued to be accurate in later years when it has been redubbed (the last redubbing came on the week before Super Bowl XXIX to reflect an all-California Super Bowl, with the San Francisco 49ers in place of the Redskins and the San Diego Chargers in place of the Buffalo Bills), and Jean commented that he would always bet against Lisa's predictions, causing him to think "Why didn't I take Lisa's advice?" when he lost. As Lisa studies football at the Springfield library, she goes through the card catalog and finds an entry on Phyllis George, an American sportscaster. The title of the episode is a reference to the American bookie and sports commentator Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder. The Duff Bowl advertisement that airs during the Super Bowl halftime show is a reference to the Bud Bowl advertisements for Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser family of beers. In addition to the football references, the episode parodies the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. Homer tells Moe, who keeps his wallet in his shoe, "I used to hate the smell of your sweaty feet. Now it's the smell of victory," a play on a line from the film. In a commercial for his new television show, celebrity Troy McClure says that he plays "Jack Handle, a retired cop who shares an apartment with a retired criminal. We're the original Odd Couple!", referencing the television show The Odd Couple. With his gambling winnings Homer buys Marge a bottle of perfume by Meryl Streep. The perfume is called Versatility and the bottle is shaped like an Academy Award. The Globe and Mail's Liam Lacey commented on the similarities between the 2009 film Imagine That and this episode in a review of the film. He said the "message in each case is about the dangerous confusion of love and money. Naturally there's a turning point where the child begins to wonder whether her father really loves her or just her profitable talent."
Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. John Carman of the San Francisco Chronicle called it his favorite episode of the show. The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, wrote that "it's nice to see [Homer] and Lisa getting along so well for once." Nate Meyers of Digitally Obsessed gave the episode a 5/5 rating and commented that "any football fan will love this episode, but the reason why it is so good is the relationship between Homer and Lisa. The two truly are a father and daughter to one another, causing both laughter and touching emotion in the audience." Bill Gibron of DVD Verdict said "Lisa the Greek" is "a chance for Homer and Lisa to bond under less than ideal, but always amusing, circumstances. Oddly, for a show relying on actual events like the Super Bowl to guide its plotline, it doesn't have retread feeling.