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Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily
Bart Sells His Soul
Lisa the Vegetarian

Listen: you don't have a soul, I don't have a soul, there's no such thing as a soul!
Bart Simpson
Ok. If you're so sure about that, why don't you sell your soul to me?
Milhouse Van Houten

"Bart Sells His Soul" is the fourth episode of Season 7.


After conducting a prank on the First Church of Springfield, Bart sells his soul to Milhouse for five dollars. Bart comes to regret his decision, and goes on a desperate quest to regain his soul.

Full Story

On a Sunday morning, when the Simpson family serve as church ushers, Bart uses the opportunity to change the intended hymn to a song called "In the Garden of Eden" by "I. Ron Butterfly" as part of a prank. The song is actually Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida". Reverend Lovejoy initially fails to notice anything amiss (or the lewd behavior of congregants including Homer and Marge), but eventually catches on. At the end of this 17-minute song, the exhausted organist collapses on the organ.


An outraged Reverend Lovejoy assembles the children into his office and demands them to repeat what he is saying and that the culprit will identify himself or herself. When Milhouse sees a crow caw at him menacingly, he immediately rats out Bart. As a punishment for his prank, Bart is instructed to clean the organ pipes, and for being "snitchy", Milhouse is forced to assist Bart. Bart blames Milhouse for snitching on him, and when Milhouse says he feared crows pecking at his soul for eternity if he didn't tell, Bart scoffs at the very notion of having a soul, saying there is no such thing. Milhouse calls his bluff, and tells Bart that he would like to buy it (in the form of a piece of paper saying "Bart Simpson's soul") for $5.


After an absurd fantasy with a Dino Sponge, Lisa tells Bart that he will regret selling his soul, but Bart still doesn't believe her. Santa's Little Helper growls at Bart, and Snowball hisses at Bart. Soon however, Santa's Little Helper won't play with him, automatic doors fail to open for him, and when he blows on the freezer doors at the Kwik-E-Mart, no condensation forms. He no longer finds The Itchy & Scratchy Show funny (he actually still understands that they are funny, but he simply can't laugh any longer without his soul), to which Lisa quotes Pablo Neruda saying "laughter is the language of the soul." Bart begins to suspect that he really did lose his soul, and sets out on a quest to regain it back.

He finds Milhouse playing with the piece of paper. Bart offers to buy back his "soul", but Milhouse asks for $50 in return. Bart leaves while Milhouse bursts into mad laughter. That night, while Marge is tucking Bart in, she senses that there is something different about his hug. Bart tries to explain, but Marge insists on trying to figure it out. She quickly rules out nuclear war and swim-test anxiety to him. She concludes that it feels like he is "Missing something. Something important".


That night, Bart has a nightmare; in a spectral playground, every other child in Springfield has a soul to play with, whether it is pushing on the swings, rough and tumble, or laughing together. Suddenly all the children rush to two-person boats with their soul as their first mate, and together they row to a beautiful amusement park. Bart gets into a boat, but without a soul, he can't get anywhere. Meanwhile, Milhouse has his soul and Bart's, and they do the rowing for him, making it easy. Bart is left behind in the middle of the sea, all alone. Bart wakes with a scream.

Lisa also taunts Bart with a dinner-time prayer at Moe's new Family Feedbag, convincing him to make a desperate, all-out attempt to get the piece of paper (his "soul") back.

In desperation, Bart makes a late-night attempt to retrieve his soul, having to travel across town where Milhouse and his parents are staying with his grandmother. However, the 2:00 a.m. visit is in vain; Milhouse had traded it to Comic Book Guy for Alf pogs, while a frustrated Bart camps the rest of the night in front of The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop in order to get his soul back.

The citizens holds candles after a "hymn". Seems like they are tired.

However, the next day, Comic Book Guy tells Bart that he does not have the said piece of paper anymore, and refuses to disclose who he sold it to. A disappointed Bart walks home in the rain, and later dejectedly prays to God for his soul in his room. Eventually, floating down from above is a piece of paper, with the words "Bart Simpson's soul". Lisa had purchased the piece of paper for Bart and he is grateful. While she tries explaining philosophers' opinions on the human soul, Bart eagerly eats up the paper and ignores her. Realizing this, Lisa tells him off that she hoped he learned his lesson from this. That night, he rests easily with the pets curled at his feet. In his dream, Bart and his soul are having fun with their quirks and they win their boat race to the lovely amusement park after purposely hitting Martin's boat making his soul fall in the water, proving that he did learn his lesson in the consequences of selling his soul.


In the subplot, Moe wants to expand his customer base by turning his tavern into a family restaurant called Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag, themed after "T.G.I. Friday's" and "Applebee's", and if he doesn't smile when he hands over his check to customers, the meal is free. To cook all of his food, Moe buys an army surplus deep fat fryer which he claims, "will flash fry a live buffalo in 40 seconds."

Moe's surly demeanor and the stress of running a family restaurant by himself ultimately unnerve him, and it isn't long before he finally snaps at a little girl (who complains that her ice-cold soft drink "makes her teeth hurt"), followed up by Todd Flanders saying "Ow! My freakin' ears!," prompting the horrified customers to leave. Flanders says the restaurant is a resounding failure, forcing Moe to revert the restaurant back into his run-down tavern.

Behind the Laughter


The episode was written by Greg Daniels and was directed by Wesley Archer. Matt Groening, the creator of the series, listed it as one of his favorite episodes.


The episode is often used by secondary schools in religious education courses as a teaching resource.


Season 6 Season 7 Episodes Season 8
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)Radioactive ManHome Sweet Homediddly-Dum-DoodilyBart Sells His SoulLisa the VegetarianTreehouse of Horror VIKing-Size HomerMother SimpsonSideshow Bob's Last GleamingThe Simpsons 138th Episode SpectacularMarge Be Not ProudTeam HomerTwo Bad NeighborsScenes from the Class Struggle in SpringfieldBart the FinkLisa the IconoclastHomer the SmithersThe Day the Violence DiedA Fish Called SelmaBart on the Road22 Short Films About SpringfieldRaging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"Much Apu About NothingHomerpaloozaSummer of 4 Ft. 2