simpsons episode

does any one know the origin of the story line for the episode where lisa makes a mini-world in a jar, and the people in the jar consider bart the devil? i think the episode was called “The Lisa Project” but i’m no realy sure…


I believe that was a portion of a halloween episode…one of 3 short shows within the show. Lisa was entering a science fair by making mold grow on bread. The mold grew into a civilization, and shrunk Lisa down to their size with some sort of machine. They were unable to unshrink her, however. Bart then came along and smashed the project, as Lisa wasn’t around (in a large enough size) to stop him, IIRC.


I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine - Kurt Vonnegut

The story is on the Simpsons’ Halloween Special VII also known as The Treehouse of Terror VII. It occured in season 8 and aired Oct 27, 1996, and the segment was the second of the three part episode, and was titled The Genesis Tub. For kicks I’ve included the entire scenes lines. Heres a link to everything and more that you’d want to know about this episode:

This is the relavent references included in this segment:

  • “SimCity 2000”, computer games {dga}
  • That’s what Lisa’s city looks like
    **+ “Battleground”, short story by Stephen King {av}
  • someone is attacked by tiny spaceships / army men who seek revenge**
  • note that the next story in the book (“Trucks”) was made into the movie “Maximum Overdrive”, co-starring Yeardley Smith
  • “Star Wars” {dp}
  • spaceships attacking Bart similar to attack on the Death Star
    **+“Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” {hl}
  • Miniature alien race retaliate by sending miniature space fleet to earth (Bart)**
  • “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” {bjr}
  • The man who asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people,” must have read this book

In bold are the two that your most likely recalling.

Segment two title: “The Genesis Tub”

In front of her mirror, Lisa looks at the newest gap in her dentition.

Lisa: This tooth will be perfect for my science project.
[sets up her exhibit: “Will cola dissolve a tooth?”]
Science has already proven the dangers of smoking, alcohol and
chinese food, but I can still ruin soft drinks for everyone!
– A lifetime mission, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

Bart: Hey, Lis. Check out my science project. [rubs a balloon over
his head, then touches Lisa with a spark of static electricity]
Lisa: Ow! What’s that’s supposed to prove?
Bart: That nerds conduct electricity. [touches her again]
Lisa: Ow!
– “Treehouse of Horror VII”

Bart runs away laughing, and Lisa gets back to her exhibit. When she
touches her tooth, now soaking in cola, she gets a shock again.
“Stupid Bart” she grumbles, not making much a case of it.

Throughout the night, Lisa sleeps deeply, while the tooth and the cola
seem to undergo some sort of strange electrical reaction. Come
morning, Lisa wakes up and looks at her experiment.

Oh boy, mold! That’s science fair pay dirt.
– I can’t hold my excitement, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

She brings the tub under her microscope for further analysis. “Looks
about the same” she complains, until she notices the microscope is set
for 1x magnification. She brings it to 10x, then 100x, to find
something shocking: miniature prehistoric human lifeform.

Lisa: [gasps] Tiny little people! My God! I’ve created life!
Marge: Lisa! Breakfast! We’re having waffles!
Lisa: Ooh! Waffles! [runs down]
– The meal of choice of Darwin, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

She gets disappointed once she reaches her seat, as the promised
waffles are “just square pancakes”, the waffle iron being in the shop.
“The waffle iron’s been in the shop forever” she grumbles back to her

Taking another look at her microscope, she is stunned to observe that
her “little stone age tub dwellers” have already evolved into the

Wait, one of them is nailing something to the door of the cathedral.
[gasps] I’ve created Lutherans!
– Lisa, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

During the night, light emerges from the tub, lighting up the whole
room. The following day, the tub has already evolved well beyond our
own world. Lisa marvels to this sight of our own possible future.

Bart steps in and inquires about her project; when he sees what seems
like a model city, he squashes some bits of it (“Oops, my finger
slipped”), and runs away laughing. Looking back at her microscope,
Lisa witnesses the damage he’s caused.

The following night, a squadron of spaceships launch from the tub and
proceed to attack Bart for a short time before they come back to their
base. Bearing many bumps on the face, the boy bursts into Lisa’s room,
ready to strike back. Lisa stops him in time.

Bart: Your micro-jerks attacked me!
Lisa: Well, you practically destroyed their whole world.
Bart: You can’t protect them every second. Sooner or later, you’ll let
your guard down, and then flush: it’s toilet time for Tinytown.
– “Treehouse of Horror VII”

Bart leaves, and Lisa sits next to the tub, expressing a long sigh.
Her attention is suddenly caught by a whirring sound from the tub,
followed by some sort of energy which surrounds her, shrinking her and
bringing her into the tub. She is dropped on a tooth-shaped seat, in
front of an audience which seems to comprise every man and woman in
this world.

A Frink-like man rejoices.

It worked! The de-bigulator world!
– Tiny Frink, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

The audience hails her, and what seems to be a spiritual leader greets

Leader: Welcome to our world, most gracious Lisa.
Lisa: Your world is incredible. And you speak English.
Leader: We have listened to you speak since the dawn of time, O Creator.
And we have learned to imatoot you exarktly.
– Close enough, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

The audience bows, revealing a statue of Lisa. She then realizes that
she is granted the status of godhood, as she is the one who created
this world. In that aspect, those people are counting on her to save
them from the devil, ie. Bart.

When she announces that the devil is her brother, murmurs emerge from
the audience. Gradually, people come forward with the usual boring
theological questions (why does a good god allow bad things).

Lisa: Listen, I can take care of everything. All you have to do is
unshrink me.
Frink: Unshrink you? Well, that would require some sort of a
re-bigulator, which is a concept so ridiculous is makes me want
to laugh out loud and chortle, and… [Lisa looks at him] uh…
but not at you, O holiest of gods, with the wrathfulness and the
vengeance and the blood rain and the hey-hey-hey-it-hurts-me…
– “Treehouse of Horror VII”

His words are quickly covered by screams from the audience, as the
grinning face of Bart appears in the sky. He closes the tub, which is
later opened by… Principal Skinner.

First-rate work, Bart. This universe you’ve created is even more
impressive than Martin’s milk-carton ukulele.
– Principal Skinner, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

Skinner nominates Bart as winner, and instructs Willy to throw out the
other projects. Children moan.

Principal Skinner, wait! I created the universe! Give me the gift
– Lisa, “Treehouse of Horror VII”

Lisa: Oh, great. I’m stuck in this lousy tub for the rest of my life.
[people stare at her]
Shouldn’t you people be grovelling?
[they do]
And bring me some shoes. Nice ones.
Man: She’ll want socks, too. I’ll get socks.
– “Treehouse of Horror VII”

[End of Act Two. Time: 12:52]

I’d like to point out that the microcosmic world was a pretty popular idea in the pulp era of science fiction. Probably the best version was Theodore Sturgeon’s “Microcosmic God (1942).”

I feel obligated to point this out, since most people today think science fiction started with “Star Trek.”

Yet another micro-world story was written by Harlan Ellison, entitled “The Brute that Shouted “Love” at the Heart of the Atom”. It was adapted into an Incredible Hulk comic book by Roy Thomas around 1971. Ellison is a devoted comic book fan

Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it. Georges Santayana

Why does it say “Treehouse of Horror VII” so many times?

Would Gulliver’s Travels be considered science fiction?

That’s the style of the episode capsules. When they quote actual dialogue (as opposed to summaries, or brief one or two word snippets) they identify the episode at the bottom of each quoted section. I think it has something to do with “fortune”-like programs.

Boris–yes, Gulliver’s Travels is considered science fiction.

Don’t forget the tiny city that Superman has in his Fortress of Solitude. What was that city called, anyway?



Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

Kandor, and it was shrunk by Brainiac as part of a project to collect representative life-forms from the entire galaxy.

Now, wouldn’t it have been interesting if, before Kal-El set the city up as a little reminder of home / ant farm, Brainiac’s ship had entered a yellow-sun system? Imagine a whole city-full of tiny super-people zipping around your space-ship and holding a grudge against you.

Now, as to why Kal-El never seemed to get around to un-shrinking them, I don’t want to imagine. The Big Blue Boy-Scout had some serious issues, shall we say…

After many years of effort, in August of 1979 (Superman #338), Superman and Kara finally succeeded in enlarging Kandor on a planet orbiting a red sun. Supergirl decided not to stay with her parents on the planet “Rokyn” (Kryptonese for “Rao’s Gift”) but to return with Superman to Earth.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Kandor:

[Note: This message has been edited by Nickrz]

ok I am a HUGE fan of the Simpsons but you know what?? I have no Idea about this one sorry!

Love Always,
Heather Lee

Don’t forget Horton Hears a Who.

There was also a sci-fi story whose author I can’t recall called “Sandkings,” concerning a scientist who keeps small, sand-dwelling, extraterrestrial creatures in a tank in his home. They come to worship him as a god, constructing sculptures of him which change depending on whether he treats them nicely or cruelly.

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

The author of “Sandkings” was George R.R. Martin. If you’re interested, it was adapted for “The Outer Limits”, starring Beau and Lloyd Bridges.

Unfortunately, and, inexplicably, the NYC and Philly FOX stations will not be showing Treehouse of Terror VII this year on Halloween weekend. They will be showing 3, 4, 6, 9, and premiering 10.

The Halloween episodes are among the Simpsons’ best, IMO.


In the “miniature” cities catalog, let’s not forget the stories
“Submicroscopic” and “Awlo of Ulm” which ran in successive issues of “Amazing Stories” in August and September 1931, where the hero finds miniature worlds in the grains of sand under his feet. (Luckily for him, the miniature people speak a form off Hawaiian?!? which he happens to understand.)

Then there’s “He Who Shrank” by Henry Hasse, Amazing Stories, August 1936. Each atom is in fact a mini-universe.

J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.

The segment of the Halloween episode with Lisa’s tooth was based on a Twilight Zone episode. I just finished reading a Simpsons trivia book which gave the TZ episode title, but alas, I mailed the book off to a friend about 12 hours ago.

What about the classic ‘He Who Shrank’ by H.G. Wells? One of the more bizarre microcosmos stories.