The Simpsons

Season 2 Episode 19

Lisa's Substitute

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Apr 25, 1991 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
298 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

With Miss Hoover out sick, an influential substitute teacher takes over for Lisa’s class. Meanwhile, Bart runs for class president against Martin Prince.

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  • Not bad

    With Miss Hoover out sick, an influential substitute teacher takes over for Lisa's class. Meanwhile, Bart runs for class president against Martin Prince.

    Overall, a perfect episode that deserves a ten out of ten from me.

    10 OUT OF 10

  • this was a good ep

    in this ep of the simpsons lisas class is getting a subitute and this new teacher of lisas makes her feal special like a person she can connect with it was a really good lisa ep and bart in this ep he is tring to be martin as class president. and lisa is connecting well with the teacher by sharing poetry and reading and then she comes into school the next day and she finds that her teacher is back and goes back the way things are making lisa ano it all and other things . i really liked this ep it was really goodmoreless
  • Good!

    Seasons one and two of the Simpsons were more introductory seasons then the others, obviously because they were the first two years of such a soon-to-be popular show. One of those seasons' best episodes in Lisa's Substitute. Why is this such a good episode?

    Lisa's class gets a new substitute teacher when Miss Hoover gets sick. The sub's name is Mr. Bergstrom, and he is a very cool, hip teacher, that Lisa eventually gets a crush on {in some ways}. Lisa wants to spend time with Mr. Bergstrom and him, Homer and Lisa go to a museum where Homer embarrasses Lisa. He gets told off by Bergstrom. Lisa likes him more and wants to invite him over to dinner- little does she know, Miss Hoover is back and Bergstrom is leaving, forever. This breaks her heart, as she goes to the train tracks to say a tearful goodbye to her sub.

    Bart's sub plot is Bart running for class president, and it seems like he is going to win because of his promises, but he realizes that only a mere 2/3 people in the class voted, all for his competitor, Martin.

    Bart is sad because he lost, Lisa is sad because of Bergstrom. When Homer shows no signs of caring, Lisa calls him a baboon, and cries, leaving to her room. Homer comes in and makes things right, tells Bart how it would be bad to be class president, and even helps Maggie sleep. Homer proclaims he is a good dad. The end.

    Such a good episode. It has humor {SEX! Now that I've gotten your attention, vote Bart}, good story, and the train tracks scene is probably their best serious moment, IMO, that left a legacy {You Are Lisa Simpson}. I think this is a good episode for those who want to watch an episode with some emotion and not just all humor. Of all the characters they have been bringing back In recent years, I sincerely hope they don't bring back Bergstrom, because this is such a good episode, bringing him back could kill his character.moreless
  • In this episode, Lisa's teacher, Ms. Hoover, becomes ill, and requires a substitute teacher. That substitute is Mr. Bergstrom, a kind and caring man who shows Lisa that she is a truly special person. Meanwhile, Bart runs for class president.moreless

    "Lisa's Substitute" is a delightful and truly underrated episode that shows the contrasting lives of the two oldest Simpsons children, and has both of them, in the end, learning a valuable life lesson. This episode consists of one major plotline, showing Lisa's experiences with an illuminating substitute teacher named Mr. Bergstrom, and a smaller subplot, showing Bart running for class president. The Bart subplot comprises much of the comic relief of this episode.

    In this particular subplot, we see Bart running versus Martin Prince - the class genius - for the coveted title of class president. Because of his ebullient attitude and increasing popularity, Bart feels that he is surely going to win the title of class president, much to the dismay of his teacher, Ms. Krabappel. It turns out however, that during the election, only two people bother to vote: Martin Prince and Wendell. Bart loses the election that was assuredly his. This can be easily compared to the Dewey-Truman election of 1948, in which many people believed Dewey to be a lock for the presidency. The Chicago Tribune even declared on its front page: "Dewey Defeats Truman!", before the official word was ever in. Perhaps Bart learned from this experience that one can never be too sure of a "sure thing". Which just goes to show you, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

    The main plotline of this episode follows Lisa Simpson as her teacher, Ms. Hoover, becomes ill, and requires a substitute teacher, named Mr. Bergstrom. This plot is not merely played out for laughs; instead, it shows just how much heart this comedic show can have. In my opinion, Lisa Simpson is one of the most underrated characters on all of television today; to me, her character represents the undervalued and underappreciated souls in society, a role of which some people - myself included - can truly relate to. In this episode, Mr. Bergstrom is a nurturing and caring teacher, who tries as best as he can to get all of his students - especially Lisa - to reach their full potential. He does not merely teach his students; no, he engages them; he brings books and history to life, incorporates song into the learning process, and makes school and learning better for all of his pupils. Mr. Bergstrom especially touches Lisa's heart; in my opinion, this is because she has never been encouraged to reach her full potential - which, undoubtedly, is very great - by any of the adult figures around her. Mr. Bergstrom make Lisa feel as though she is indeed something special; which, of course, she most certainly is. She not only keenly observes and comments and the world around her, but she also does not fall prey to the many fads and trends around her, rendering her my favorite character on the Simpsons. This episode helps to put Lisa in the spotlight, and show her full potential, rather then putting her in the background, again. One of my favorite scenes in this episode is when Lisa, Homer, and Mr. Bergstrom are at the museum. This scene shows the importance of having a strong male role model in a young girl's life, especially when her father is not up to the task of fulfilling that role. In one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in all of the Simpsons history, Lisa goes to the train station to meet and talk to Mr. Bergstrom before he leaves for his next substitute teaching job. Before he leaves, he hands Lisa a note. When she opens it, it is revealed that the note says: "You are Lisa Simpson".

    "Lisa's Substitute" ends with Homer consoling both of his downtrodden children: Bart is sad because he lost the election that he was sure to lose; and Lisa was upset because Mr. Bergstrom had left, possibly for forever. Even though Homer and Lisa had just had a large fight that consisted of Lisa calling her father a baboon, Homer puts that aside to console his daughter and be there for her when she needed him most. This moment truly shows that Homer is not such a bad parent all the time, and has his good moments as well.

    This episode is truly great not just for the laughs it provides with Bart's class president subplot, but also with many of the great life lessons it provides. In addition to the ones mentioned in my review above, "Lisa's Substitute" does a great job of spelling out a few more invaluable life lessons. One such lesson is the importance of not caring what other people think. This can be seen in the scene where some of Mr. Bergstrom's lesser students draw a mean-spirited picture of him, and calling him names. Instead of being hurt by this cruel endeavor, Mr. Bergstrom laughs it off. This lesson also relays the message that it is truly not the worst thing in the world if you do not fit in; you just need to remember who you are (I.e., "You are Lisa Simpson), and stay true to yourself. "Lisa's Substitute" also shows how much impact a truly great teacher can make on your life. Mr. Bergstrom, a truly great teacher, showed Lisa just how wonderful a person she is, and helped her to belief in herself, even when nobody else does. This episode truly touched my heart, and I sincerely hope that it touched yours as well.

    Some may argue that since this episode is not brimming with humor and jokes, that it is not worth watching. I however, could not disagree more; I find that several of my favorite Simpsons episodes are more serious ones that deal with real problems that face real families in today's society. This wonderful episode simply furthers my opinion that a great show like the Simpsons does not need to be stuffed with laughs in order to make a truly great and unforgettable episode. I recommend "Lisa's Substitute" for anyone looking for not only a few laughs expected of a show like "The Simpsons", but also for a few touching moments that give this show its heart and soul.moreless
  • Good, but not the best episode in season 2

    Miss Hoover comes down with Lyme Disease and Mr Bergstrom (pictured) takes over the class. Lisa develops a crush on this new witty heartwarming teacher. She runs into him at the museum and is embarassed when Homer displays his stupidity. The next day at school, Lisa is shattered to find Miss Hoover has returned, and Mr. Bergstrom has left town. Lisa takes her grief out on Homer and calls him a baboon. Homer decides to act more like the father he should be, and Lisa apologises. A good Lisa episode. Little did we know that this would be the first of many.. Anyways good, but not the best episode in season 2.moreless
Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman

Mr. Bergstrom

Guest Star

Marcia Wallace

Marcia Wallace

Edna Krabappel

Recurring Role

Jo Ann Harris

Jo Ann Harris

Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones, and others

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Miss Hoover: He didn't touch my lesson plan. What did he teach you?
      Lisa: That life is worth living.

    • Miss Hoover: You see, class, my Lyme Disease turned out to be (Spells on blackboard) psychosomatic.
      Ralph: Does that mean you're crazy?
      Janey: No, that means she was faking it.
      Miss Hoover: No, actually, it was a little of both.

    • (Bart shows the whole classroom the tape for his project called, "How Kittens Are Born: The Ugly Truth")
      Bart: …and here comes Snowball II. This is the one we kept.
      All: EWW!!
      Bart: We were gonna keep the gray one, but the mother ate her.
      All: EWWWWW!!
      Martin: Mrs. Krabappel, he's traumatizing the children!
      Mrs. Krabappel: As usual, I agree with you, Martin. Bart, shut that off and take your seat immediately!
      Bart: Oh, look! This is really cool. When I hit reverse, I can make 'em go back in.
      (The whole classroom screams)

    • Homer: Lisa, don't hold anything back, you can tell me. Are you crying 'cause you called daddy a baboon?
      Lisa: No!
      Homer: Nuts.

    • Lisa: You, sir, are a baboon!
      Homer: (gasp) Me?
      Lisa: Yes, you! Baboon! Baboon! Baboon! Baboon!
      Homer: I don't think you realize what you're saying…
      Lisa: BABOON!

    • Mr. Bergstrom: There is a wonderful girl's future at stake.
      Homer: Well, if she's so wonderful, give her an A!
      Mr. Bergstrom: I am giving her an A.
      Homer: Great, but don't tell her it was a favor to me. Tell her she earned it.
      Mr. Bergstrom: Mr. Simpson, she did earn it.
      Homer: You are smooth, I'll give you that.

    • Homer: What do you mean by "suggested donation"?
      Clerk: Pay any amount you wish, sir.
      Homer: And uh, what if I wish to pay... zero?
      Clerk: That is up to you.
      Homer: Ooh, so it's up to me, is it?
      Clerk: Yes.
      Homer: I see. And you think that people are going to pay you $4.50 even though they don't have to? Just out of the goodness of their... (laughs) Well, anything you say! Good luck, lady, you're gonna need it!

    • Homer: Oh, oh, Marge, I'd love to, but I was planning on... [thinks to himself] Sleeping? Eating a big sandwich? Watching TV? Spending time with the boy! (speaks up) Spending time with the boy! The boy needs attention, Marge.
      Marge: Homer, I've been talking to Lisa, and I'm concerned about your relationship with her.
      Bart: Me too, Mom. I think you're drifting apart.
      Homer: Shut up, boy.
      Marge: Homer, please.
      Homer: Marge, you don't understand. I can't do it because... [thinking to himself] You're trapped. If you were smarter, you might think of something. But you're not, so you just might as well... (speaks up) All right, all right, I'll take her.

    • Ralph: Dear Miss Hoover. You have Lyme disease. We miss you. Kevin's biting me, come back soon. Here is a drawing of a spyrokeet. Love Ralph.

    • Mr. Bergstrom: Lisa, your homework is always so neat. How can I put this? Does your father help you with it?
      Lisa: No. Homework's not my father's specialty.
      Mr. Bergstrom: Well there's no shame in it, I mean, my dad ...
      Lisa: Not mine.
      Mr. Bergstrom: You didn't let me finish.
      Lisa: Unless the next word was burp, you didn't have to.

    • Ralph: What's Lyme Disease?
      Principal Skinner: I'll field that one. Lyme disease is spread by small parasites called ticks. When a diseased tick attaches itself to you, it begins sucking your blood. Malignant spirochetes infect your bloodstream, eventually spreading to your spinal fluid and on into the brain.
      Miss Hoover: The Brain? Oh dear god!

    • Mr. Bergstrom: I'm Mr. Bergstrom. Feel free to make fun of my name if you want. Two suggestions are Mr. Nerdstrom and Mr.Boogerstrom.

    • Homer: Did you hear that, Marge? She called me a baboon! The stupidest, ugliest, smelliest ape of them all!
      Bart: Whoa! Somebody was bound to say it one day, I just can't believe it was her.

    • Homer: Just because I don't care doesn't mean that I don't understand.

  • NOTES (8)


    • Starland Vocal Band
      Before Mr. Bergstrom's train leaves the announcer calls it the "Afternoon Delight." This is an allusion to the famous song of the same name by the Starland Vocal Band.

    • Mr. Bergstrom: Mrs. Krabappel, are you trying to seduce me?
      This line, as well as the layout of the scene, is a reference to a scene in the 1967 film The Graduate. Benjamin Braddock, also played by Dustin Hoffman, is seduced by his much older friend of the family, Mrs. Robinson, and says, "Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?"

    • A Streetcar Named Desire
      Lisa yelling at the window outside of Mr. Bergstrom's apartment is a reference to the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire.

    • Mr. Bergstrom: The life of a substitute teacher is a lonely one.
      This line is a parody of the line, "The life of a fugitive is a lonely one," from the 1947 film The Fugitive.

    • Dewey vs. Truman Presidential Election
      When Martin is elected class president, he poses for the school paper with a headline that says "Simpson Defeats Prince." This is a parody of the Chicago Daily Tribune's mistaken 1948 headline predicting Thomas E. Dewey would defeat the incumbent Harry S. Truman. Truman held up the erroneous headline at one of his press conferences for the New York Times to print.