“What a feeling! I’m as happy as a smoker taking that first puff in the morning.” – Pageant Girl
“That could be Lisa!” – Homer Simpson
As usual with these early season commentaries, there are a small enough number of people that they can have an actual conversation, the topic never strays far from the episode, there’s lots of genuine laughter, and Jean sounds like he’s actually having fun instead of watching the clock and trying to fill time while everyone else sits silently as some horrible Zombie Simpsons crap parades across the screen. Plus this one has a Bob Hope story.
Just four guys here, Groening, Mark Kirkland, Jean, and Jeff Martin.
0:20 – Groening asks Jean about the origin of this episode. Apparently, Jean and Reiss were among the few people still under contract when this was getting going, and they came up with it hoping guys like Jeff Martin would come back, which they did
1:30 – Noting that they were ahead of the curve on making fun of little girl beauty pageants, but that they didn’t realize the seedier side of it at the time.
1:45 – Disney never complained, so they just kept making Disney jokes.
2:15 – Jean jokes that the lawyer is based on Roy Cohn, “which the kids always find hilarious”.
2:20 – Nelson spraying Martin was based off of something that a National Lampoon writer once did to Jean.
3:40 – Martin used to draw caricatures when he was a teenager at Astro-World, the amusement park next to the Astrodome in Houston. He drew the Lisa one, and the regular artists were nice enough to use it.
5:00 – The big raffle prize at Martin’s school really was a ride on the blimp.
5:30 – Lots of praise here for Yeardley Smith as always putting a lot of emotion into Lisa.
6:00 – Groening notes that Lisa is a character who isn’t completely ruled by her impulses, which causes Martin to joke, “Yes, and as a result she’s in pain a lot of the time.”
6:45 – Krusty’s “heartily endorse” came from the old board game Life which had a picture of Art Linkletter on the front saying he “heartily endorsed” it. Reiss knew exactly where it was from the first time he read the script.
7:45 – Lona Williams, who did the voice of Amber Dempsey, was an assistant on the show at the time. She actually had been in beauty pageants and gave Martin a tape of one of them if he promised not to show it to anyone else.
8:50 – Everyone cracks up as Homer cries while singing the blimp song and holding a pickle.
9:30 – They just made up the Jack Nicklaus thing, none of them are sure whether or not he was actually considered handsome.
11:00 – Jean’s not sure if Homer’s fantasy of Marge mowing the lawn while he lies in a hammock is based off of it, but there did used to be a Flintstones cigarette commercial where Fred and Barney were lying in hammocks smoking while Wilma and Betty mowed the lawn. (Though Jean accidentally called Fred “Homer”. Groening cracks on him for it.)
11:30 – Grau plays the ice cream parlor lady, which leads to everyone talking about how great she was to have around. Groening then confirms my suspicion that losing her wasn’t just losing Lunchlady Doris: “Also, she was a little bit of a voice of reason because she would actually comment on things. That was good, that was no good.” I can think of many places where a voice of reason definitely could’ve come in handy post Season 7.
12:40 – As the pageant starts, Kirkland comes on to note that this is the part where the director starts to feel faint at all the crowd shots and action.
13:15 – Krusty’s seldom seen assistant Miss Pennycandy helps him with his jacket before he goes on here. That causes Jean to note that her first appearance was the one where Krusty reconciles with his father, but he couldn’t remember the title right away. He just remembered that Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky called it “Krusty the Jew”.
14:10 – Speaking of Wolodarsky, he pitched the line where Lisa calls loving your country “real Melvin”.
16:20 – According to Groening, Brockman switching instantly from “Oh, the humanity!” to “Anyway” got a big laugh.
17:25 – Martin went to a hall of Presidents wax museum in Boulder, Colorado that had obviously mismatched bodies, and that’s where Lisa getting Dr. Ruth’s body came from.
18:00 – Conan O’Brien and Martin went over to Bob Hope’s house to record his lines. Groening then mentions that O’Brien wrote about Hope for The New York Times. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can read that here.
19:50 – Everyone laughs at Azaria’s Santa wanting to know what the hold up is. He’s got a real flair for those cranky old guy parts.
21:15 – It took them a long time to figure out the ending, but Jean thinks it was Frank Mula who came up with the thing about Homer writing “OK” on the application. I did that for years on standardized tests.
21:30 – Everybody cracks up again when Lisa says “Possibly” after Homer asks her if he was drunk.