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Recap / The Simpsons S 2 E 19 Lisas Substitute

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Episode - 7F19
First Aired - 4/25/1991
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After Ms. Hoover announces that she's on medical leave for Lyme diseasenote , 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.


This episode provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: To the famous moment from The Graduate, which is kind of odd since Dustin Hoffman was credited under the name "Sam Etic" rather than his actual name.
    Mr. Bergstrom: Mrs. Krabappel, you're trying to seduce me.
    • Incidentally, the same happens in the Japanese dub in an odd way, as Ryusei Nakao, Mr. Bergstrom's dub voice, appeared as a singer during a cameo in Denshi Sentai Denziman.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Mr. Bergstrom encourages students to make fun of his name and is amused by a picture of him captioned with "the singing dork".
  • Alan Smithee: Guest star Dustin Hoffman is listed as Sam Etic.
  • Bumbling Dad: Homer, of course.
    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 "burped", you didn't have to.
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  • But Now I Must Go: Mr. Bergstrom accepts a job at another town and leaves Springfield.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Lisa drops a major eye-opener on Homer when it seems like he doesn't care about Mr. Bergstrom leaving or why she's sad about it, one that shocks even Bart simply because no one expected her to say it:
    Lisa: I didn't think you'd understand...
    Homer: Hey! Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.
    Lisa: (Stands up angrily) I'm glad I'm not crying, because I would hate for you to think what I'm about to say is based on emotion, (points angrily at a startled Homer) but YOU sir...are a BABOON!
    Homer: (gasp) Me?
    Lisa: YES YOU, BABOON! BABOON, BABOON, BABOON!
    Homer: (stricken) I don't think you realize what you're saying...
    Lisa: BABOON!!! (Runs off crying)
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Bergstrom is an intelligent, sophisticated, dedicated, loving, excellent teacher who really does care about the students. He becomes a giant inspiration for Lisa.
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  • Crack Defeat: Deconstructed. Everyone is so sure that Bart will win the election that only two students (Bart's opponent Martin and a friend of his) voted, and Martin won.
  • Crowd Chant: "More Asbestos! More Asbestos! More Asbestos!"
  • Decided by One Vote: Two, actually. Bart and his would-be voters were so sure of Bart's impending victory they didn't bother to vote. Martin won 2 - 0.
  • Dewey Defeats Truman: Parodied after Martin wins.
  • Dynamic Entry: Mr. Bergstrom shows up in cowboy attire and fires off fake gunshots into the air, scaring the wits out of Vietnam veteran Skinner. These days, doing something like that wouldn't be tolerated, even if the guns were fake.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Mr. Bergstrom says this when he sees Homer wallowing in self-pity.
    Mr. Bergstrom: Mr. Simpson, you have got to be a bigger man.
    • Marge makes Homer well understand the context of why Lisa snapped at him and called him a baboon rather than let him complain about being called one.
      Marge: Homer, you're not allowed to have hurt feelings right now! There's a little girl upstairs that needs you! Her confidence in her father is shaken, and no little girl can be happy unless she has faith in her daddy!
  • Friend to All Children: One of the reasons Mr Bergstrom's so beloved.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Mr. Bergstrom was drawn to resemble Dustin Hoffman. They even threw in a Shout-Out to The Graduate.
  • Landslide Election: Martin wins with two votes, the amount of people who bothered to vote anyway.
  • Master of None: Mr Bergstrom tells Lisa that in reality he and other substitute teachers are this knowledge wise, they know just enough about a whole bunch of subjects to teach it for a day or two.
  • Nice Guy: Mr Bergstrom is easily one of the best people to ever have been in Springfield.
  • Precocious Crush: Lisa to Mr. Bergstrom.
  • Reaction Shot: Bart brings a video of his cat giving birth for Show and Tell. We only see the class' squicked-out reaction, and then Bart says "If I hit rewind, I can make them go back in!". Cue Screaming at Squick.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Mr. Bergstrom openly cries at the end of Charlotte's Web.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: In the end, from Bart's (and Homer's) POV. Bart is dejected at first when he loses the election to Martin, but Homer convinces him that as a class president, he would have to do more work without any special reward.
  • Special Guest: Dustin Hoffman as Mr. Bergstrom (credited as Sam Etic).
    • This is lampshaded in "Itchy And Scratchy: The Movie" when Lisa mentions that Dustin Hoffman and Michael Jackson had cameos but didn't use their own names.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Subverted, as Mr. Bergstrom reads some of the actual text of Charlotte's Web. The commentary notes that they used the absolute maximum they could get away with before having to pay for it.

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