One Of The Greatest Moments In ‘Simpsons’ History Almost Didn’t Make The Episode


With over 600 options to choose from, it’s hard to pick a Best. Simpsons. Ever.

There’s “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet,” and “Cape Feare,” and “Deep Space Homer,” and “Secrets of a Successful Marriage,” and those are from season five alone. But if I had to name a best episode, or else Mr. Honeybunny gets it, I would go with the season four classic “Last Exit to Springfield,” which gave us not only “hired goons?” and “I tied an onion to my belt,” but also the greatest extended gag in Simpsons history. And it almost didn’t make it the episode.

You know which scene I’m talking about.

It’s the bit that separates casual and hardcore Simpsons fans — if you say the words “dental plan” around someone who claims to love the show and they don’t respond “Lisa needs braces” (repeat: at least five times), they probably prefer Family Guy. Homer’s inner monologue has inspired memes, remixes, and last year, an Australian TV station played the clip on a four-hour loop.

“Dental plan, Lisa needs braces” is a beloved moment in a quintessential episode, but Mike Reiss, who was co-showrunner with Al Jean for The Simpsons at the time, initially didn’t think it worked. “It went on for a page and a half! We gotta cut this,” he told The Wrap in an oral history of the episode. “This doesn’t make any sense at all. And [Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky, who wrote the episode] said, you gotta do it. Trust us on this.”

Reiss wasn’t the only one who was skeptical. “Early in the show’s history, Homer wasn’t as dumb. He got progressively dumber in this time, and I remember Jay and Wally liking the really dumb Homer,” director Mark Kirkland said. “That one might’ve pushed the envelope of, oh my God, he’s this dumb? But it works.” It works as much as Lisa needs braces.

Dental plan.

Lisa needs braces.

Dental plan.

Lisa needs braces.

(Via The Wrap)