"Lisa the Vegetarian" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. This episode establishes Lisa's status as a vegetarian, an idea that was first hinted in the episode "Lisa's Wedding". The episode featured guest star Paul McCartney and his late wife Linda. One of Paul McCartney's stipulations for doing the guest spot was that Lisa's conversion to vegetarianism be a permanent one. Thus, it is an instance of continuity in the Simpsons universe that has been strictly held to. This episode received an Environmental Media Award.
visit Storytown Village
, an amusement park
for 1 to 7 1/2 year olds. They visit the park's petting zoo
, where Lisa
is enraptured by a cute little lamb. That night, Marge
serves lamb for dinner, and Lisa cannot eat it. Her mother, trying to help, offers up chicken breast, rump roast and hot dogs
instead; Lisa makes the connection between these entrees and their living counterparts, and rejects them. At school, her newfound vegetarianism
becomes a problem, and the students are forced to watch a propaganda film
depicting why meat-eating is a good thing (with the rather dubious assertion that cows would consider eating humans, and that humans are at the top of the food chain
Reaction at home is no better, where she is razzed mercilessly by her father
for rejecting meat, particularly since Homer is ready to host a barbecue complete with roast pig. Lisa brings gazpacho
, a classic -- and meat-free -- Spanish dish, to her dad's shindig, but the partygoers laugh in her face. Humiliated, she runs to her room. Enraged, she returns, climbs aboard a riding mower, and drives away with the roast pig in tow. Homer and Bart chase after her, but she pushes the pig off a slope and they are too late. The pig rolls through bushes, into the river, and is shot into the air by a hydroelectic dam's suction. At that moment, Burns and Smithers are snickering over not giving money to an orphanage unless pigs fly
. When they see the "flying" pig, Burns still decides to keep the money.
At home, Homer scolds Lisa for ruining his party and sends her to her room (which is exactly what she wanted to do), but she rebukes him for serving meat. They fight and she leaves the house. As she walks along, she finds the pressures to conform to an omnivorous society finally become too great, prompting Lisa to grab a hot dog off of the grill at the Kwik-E-Mart and take a bite. However, Apu, himself a vegan, reveals that she has eaten a tofu dog, and takes her through a secret passageway to the Kwik-E-Mart roof to meet Paul and Linda McCartney. One brief heart-to-heart later, Lisa is committed once more to vegetarianism, but is now also endowed with Apu's belief that one should not go pushing one's own views on everyone else. Before leaving, Paul asks her if she wants to hear a song. Lisa says that she would but immediately regrets it when Apu butchers the song "Sgt. Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band", apparently to the enjoyment of the McCartneys. Lisa sneaks away. Inspired, Lisa begins to walk back home and finds Homer frantically searching for her. She apologizes to Homer, admitting she had no right to ruin his cookout; he forgives her and offers her "a piggyback--I mean, a veggieback ride."
- The pig that Homer roasts and blasts into the air, flying over the nuclear power plant, is a direct reference to the Pink Floyd's Animals album cover, which shows a pig flying over London's Battersea Power Station (see also Pink Floyd pigs).
- I Spit on Your Grave, a notorious exploitation film, is listed on the billboard for the drive-in cinema.
- Apu's T-Shirt, which says "Don't have a cow, man" is a direct reference to one of Bart Simpson's catchphrases.
- The version of "Maybe I'm Amazed" that plays over the end credits is an original mix by the Simpsons staff that, when played backwards, contains snippets of Paul McCartney reciting a recipe for lentil soup – a throwback to an earlier gag. One of the backwards snippets says "Oh, and by the way, I'm alive." - a reference to the Paul is dead theory. The recited recipe can be found on the "Extras" section on Disc 1 of The Simpsons: Complete Season 7 (box set).
- Numerous references to The Beatles are present in the episode. Paul claims to have met Apu during the Maharishi period. The Beatles' visit to the Guru in India was a big media story in 1967. Apu then claims to have been called "The Fifth Beatle".
- In Apu's garden Linda says "...resting in Apu's garden in the shade" which may be a reference to the 1969 Beatles song Octopus's Garden.
- While describing how he met Paul, Apu mangles the title of the Wings song "Live and Let Die," calling it "Live and Let Live".
listed the episode as their second favorite in the show. They called the “You don’t win friends with salad” song "one of those archetypal “Simpsons” moments, one in which the writers hit a joke so long that it goes from funny to unfunny and back to funny again.