When Phil Hartman passed away, The Simpsons simply retired Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz/Miguel Sanchez. It was sad not having them around anymore, loosening juice and negotiating for old birdcages, but a has-been actor and never-was lawyer are easy to write off. Unlike when the voice of Mrs. Krabappel, Marcia Wallace, died, and The Simpsons had to find Bart another teacher. Last season, Willem Dafoe guest starred in an unmemorable one-off appearance; next season, it’s Sofia Vergara as the “highly attractive” Mrs. Berrera.
After Bart starts drinking a milk substitute filled with bad hormones, he experiences early puberty and grows a little mustache — as well as feelings for Mrs. Berrera.
Mrs. Berrera winds up in the middle of a romantic rivalry, as she has also drawn the attention of Principal Skinner. “We thought it’d be interesting if both Bart and Skinner have a crush on the same woman,” notes [Al] Jean. “She feels Skinner is a wounded soul that she wants to take care of. She is a vet like Skinner, and that’s his attraction.” (Via)
Jean says that Vergara, who films Modern Family on the same lot as The Simpsons, “may or may not come back,” depending on whether he hears the wind whisper “Sofia.”