‘The Simpsons’: Yeardley Smith Names Her Three Favorite Lisa Crushes

‘The Simpsons’: Yeardley Smith Names Her Three Favorite Lisa Crushes

Over the course of 34 television seasons and one feature film, Lisa Simpson has had a number of love interests. Some of them make a lot of sense like her attraction to the equally-nerdy Thelonius (voiced by Frankie Muniz); while others were an open-and-shut case of opposites attract, like when she fell for the school bully, Nelson Muntz. 

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Naturally, Yeardley Smith, who has been playing Lisa for 36 years, has a few personal favorites among Lisa’s romantic entanglements. Below are her three favorites. 

Sorry, Milhouse, you didn’t make the cut, which, honestly, is the most Milhouse outcome possible. 



“I love how goofy and head-over-heels Lisa is for Colin in The Simpsons Movie,” Smith explains. “Lisa has such control that any time she’s put into a situation where she loses control, it’s just magic — you have great compassion for it, but there’s also great hilarity there.”

Mr. Bergstrom


“I loved when Lisa fell for her substitute teacher, Mr. Bergstrom. They actually flew me to New York to record with Dustin Hoffman that day,” Smith says. “He was so game — we recorded all day, and there was so much ad-libbing. It was one of the best days of my whole career.” 

“At that point in the series (Season Two),” Smith continues, “we were just beginning to explore the idea of Lisa feeling like an outsider in her own family, which is a terribly lonely place to be. She wanted her father’s approval and connection more than anything, and she couldn’t get it. Then there’s this man who sees her and celebrates all of her precociousness and weirdness and recognizes her inability to fit in. That scene where he leaves on that train, as I was recording that, I was bawling my eyes out in real life. 

“In that scene, he hands her that note that says, ‘You are Lisa Simpson.’ I remember reading that in the script and going, ‘What the fuck is that? That’s nothing!’ I was 25 or 26 at that time, and I’m now so embarrassed that I didn’t get it back then. What he was saying was, ‘Everything you need is already inside of you.’ I didn’t get it then, but that was a direct reflection of the fact that, at the time, I didn’t feel that way about myself.” 

Nelson Muntz


“I love that Lisa dating Nelson bugs the shit out of Bart; I love the whole thing, to be honest,” Smith tells me. “What’s so great about that episode (“Lisa’s Date with Destiny”) is, of course, the ending, when they break up. The reason they break up is that they realize that they have nothing in common except that they’re both outcasts, but they both have so much respect and genuine affection for who they are as people. It’s one of the best, most beautifully nuanced breakup scenes you’ll ever see on any show.

“They wrote Nelson so beautifully in that episode, and Nancy Cartwright also acted him so beautifully. Nelson doesn’t have the language that Lisa has — he’s not that emotionally evolved — but somewhere in there, on the edges, Nelson has a quality that Homer has, where he recognizes what his own deficit is, and he accepts it.”

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