If The Simpsons are known for one thing, it’s celebrity cameos. Here are seven of the very best.
Episode: “Lisa’s Substitute”
“I’m Mr. Bergstrom. Feel free to make fun of my name if you want. Two suggestions are Mr. Nerdstrom and Mr. Boogerstrom.”
One of the first major actors to do a cameo on a show that has come to be known for celebrity cameos, Dustin Hoffman was credited as Sam Etic in case it wasn’t well received. He shouldn’t have worried. This episode about a kind and unorthodox teacher who takes the time to encourage Homer to be a better dad is one of the most touching scenes in the entire series.
Episode: “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”
“Your theory of a doughnut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer. I may have to steal it.”
Allison Taylor is a year younger than Lisa, does better on tests, is better at saxophone, and completely shatters Lisa’s confidence, so much so that she imagines she’s part of a band with Garfunkel, Messina, and Oates, who have a Number Two song called “Born to Runner Up.” Unrelated to Winona, this episode is also chock-full of classic Simpsons quotes, such as “My cat’s breath smells like cat food.” Good for you, Ralph.
Episode: “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”
“Your old man sure loves pork chops!”
Where else but on The Simpsons could comedy legend Danny DeVito play a tall, suave, hard-charging automotive executive?
Episode: “Marge vs. the Monorail”
“A solar eclipse. The cosmic ballet goes on.”
Why does a monorail opening need a grand marshal? And why is it, Leonard Nimoy? Presumably, because Mayor Quimby thinks he’s one of the original Little Rascals. Nimoy went on to have another major guest appearance in an episode parodying The X-Files, which beats some of his other artistic output. Fun fact: Conan O’Brian thinks that he made the Simpsons cross a line when he had Nimoy beam away at the end of the episode.
Episode: “Lard of the Dance”
“Don’t be such a Phoebe.”
Lisa Kudrow’s turn as Alex Whitney saw poor Lisa Simpson under pressure to pierce her ears, wear perfume, dress older, and take Milhouse to a school dance. Lisa is so often the mature voice of reason on the show, it’s a pleasure to watch her act like a kid.
Episode: “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer”
“Are you kidding? If anything, you should get more possessions. You don’t even have a computer.”
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Homer eats a bunch of mystical chili peppers and hallucinates a space coyote as his spirit animal . . . and the space coyote is voiced by Johnny Cash. Lots of Simpson’s cameos have the titular family improbably meeting celebrities, but the cameos are usually better when the celebrity is voicing something or someone unexpected. Like a space coyote.