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Brush with Greatness
Lisa's Substitute
The War of the Simpsons

"Life is worth living!"
―Lisa on what Mr. Bergstrom taught her.

"Lisa's Substitute" is the nineteenth episode of Season 2, and the show's 32nd episode overall. Dustin Hoffman (credited under the pseudonym Sam Etic) guest starred in this episode as Mr. Bergstrom.


After Ms. Hoover announces that she's on medical leave for Lyme disease, Lisa finds a kindred spirit in her substitute teacher, Mr. Bergstrom, but when he leaves and Ms. Hoover returns, Lisa is crushed and angry that Homer doesn't care. Meanwhile, Bart runs for class president.

Full Story[]

Lisa's Substitute 12

Lisa's teacher, Miss Hoover, thinks she has come down with Lyme disease and is replaced by substitute teacher Mr. Bergstrom. Because of his unorthodox teaching methods, Lisa takes a liking to him, perhaps even getting a crush of sorts.

Bart's class, meanwhile, prepares to elect a class president. Mrs. Krabappel nominates Martin, while Sherri and Terri nominate Bart. During a debate with Martin, Bart tells jokes that win the class over. Mrs. Krabappel embarrassed by his shenanigans, quickly writes a note to Skinner for Bart to give. Later on, Marge suggests to Homer to spend more time with Lisa at a museum. Only problem is that he wants to spend his free time helping Bart with his campaign. Marge then puts her foot down and forces Homer to go regardless.

Lisa runs into Mr. Bergstrom at a museum and is embarrassed when Homer displays his ignorance. Sensing that Lisa is missing something in her relationship with her father, Mr. Bergstrom takes Homer aside to suggest he be a more positive role model. Bergstrom also admits he sees Homer as a negligent father towards his daughter. After venting to her mother about Homer ruining her 'one chance' to get to know Bergstrom outside of the classroom, Lisa is given permission to invite him to family dinner, only to be shattered when she finds that Miss Hoover is back and Mr. Bergstrom is gone. She rushes to his apartment and finds him having left for another job. She rushes to the train station to catch him, and confesses to him that she will be lost without him. To comfort her, he writes her a note and tells her that if she ever feels alone and can't rely on anybody, its contents are all she needs to know. He then boards the train and departs. The note reads, "You are Lisa Simpson." Meanwhile, certain of Bart's inevitable victory thanks to his popular campaigning, none of the children in his class -- including himself -- actually voted, giving Martin the victory with just two votes: one from himself, and the other from his best friend, Wendell Borton.

You are lisa simpson

Devastated by Mr. Bergstrom's departure, Lisa takes her grief out on Homer, calling him a baboon. Marge tells Homer to console Lisa, explaining how their daughter is very hurt emotionally and is in need of her father. Homer enters Lisa's room and finds her crying over her desk. He is uncertain of how to deal with Lisa's sadness, and is uncomfortable seeing his daughter crying. Homer explains to Lisa how he can't really understand how it feels to lose someone important: everyone he has ever loved and cared about still lives with him. He then alludes to Lisa calling him a baboon, and in a loving manner mimics a monkey, cheering her up.

The last hug

Lisa apologizes to Homer for calling him a baboon, and he accepts the apology. Finding Bart still seething over the election result, Homer cheers him up by reminding him that all the job of class president would have really meant was a lot of extra work with little reward, making Bart feel happy that he lost. Finally going by Maggie's room, he places her pacifier in her mouth. Proud that he helped all three of his children, Homer goes to bed with Marge happily that night, stating he is "on the biggest roll" of his lifetime.


Season 1 Season 2 Episodes Season 3
Bart Gets an "F"Simpson and DelilahTreehouse of Horror (aka "The Simpsons Halloween Special") • Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every FishDancin' HomerDead Putting SocietyBart vs. ThanksgivingBart the DaredevilItchy & Scratchy & MargeBart Gets Hit by a CarOne Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue FishThe Way We WasHomer vs. Lisa and the 8th CommandmentPrincipal CharmingOh Brother, Where Art Thou?Bart's Dog Gets an FOld MoneyBrush with GreatnessLisa's SubstituteThe War of the SimpsonsThree Men and a Comic BookBlood Feud