Why Lisa's Date With Destiny is my favourite Simpsons episode

When looking at best episode lists of The Simpsons, understandably, most of the episodes that are highly regarded are from the second season, finishing off around season nine/season ten. While I am someone who likes the off-putting, bad animation of the first season, I can understand why people would cite the second season on-wards, until the dawn of season 11, as the best of the bunch when it comes to episodes from The Simpsons.

The thing about doing a best of episode list for this show is there are SO many episodes to pick from. For those that don't know, The Simpsons is my favourite TV show. Irrelevant of how badly it has deteriorated now, I would have never had as much of an education on popular culture without The Simspons, nor would I have been able to journey back to a show with episodes I have seen 100's of times, and find something new while still laughing at the jokes I know off by heart. Whenever this show does go off air, despite steering well clear of the current episodes, I'll be genuinely sad. Regardless of the quality now, The Simpsons is one of, if not, the best written show that has existed. (Disagree with me now, I'm armed and at the ready.)

With that said, the episode I am about to talk about (spoiler, it's in the title of this post), is one that I rarely hear anyone speak of. Why? I honestly have no fucking clue. It's genius. Every scene, every joke, it's all so good that if someone were to ask me what my favourite episode of the show is, no matter how many amazing ones there are, I would always come back to Lisa's Date With Destiny.

The story-line to this episode is pretty basic, as most old Simpson episodes are. Lisa develops a crush on bad boy, Nelson. Taking advice from Marge, Lisa sets out to transform Springfield Elementary's biggest, hardest bully, into a kind soul. But trying to change a bad egg out of his ways doesn't turn out to be so easy...

Quote of the episode: 
"He's (Nelson) not like anybody I've ever met. He's like a riddle wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a vest. He sure is ugly, though."

Let's start off with out with the episodes titular character, Lisa. She's had her fair share of rough times on the show, and, more so then any of the other characters, I identified with her most - especially when it came down to her relationship with her dad. The episodes focusing on Lisa and Homer's relationship, like Lisa's Pony, Lost our Lisa, and Lisa's Substitute, always have a special place for me. The Simpsons was always at its peak when it combined touching moments and provided the 'lols' in equal measure (one of the reasons why it doesn't work in the current seasons).

We've seen Lisa develop crushes (the Cory hotline, her substitute teacher), but not on this kind of level - someone her age and something that is more plausible. In later seasons, she does have crushes her own age - or close to - but mostly with people who share common interests with her, whereas Nelson, as we know, is the complete opposite of Lisa. She's intelligent, honest, and kind, and Nelson, well he's a bit of a dumb brute. (Though you find there really is more to him than what meets the eye in this episode.)

Quote of the episode:
"You? Why would you like me? No girls like me! Are you wearing a wire?"

It took me quite a few years to come to the conclusion that Nelson is my favourite Simpsons character. While in the newer episodes, he and his bully crew are too overused, his one liners in the odd episode here and there worked so well, that to this day when I hear Nelson's infamous laugh, I bawl up into a little ball, trying to contain myself from crying with laughter.

Before this episode, Nelson was the typical bully, there honestly wasn't much else to him. His first proper outing as a key character in an episode was in Bart The General. In that episode, Nelson wasn't much more than the thug, but here, he has a real, formed personality. You see his home life for the first time, and though it is sad, it is equally funny. You see that he does have some sorta-good bones in his body. He admits that he liked Lisa because she saw some good in him, and that really was enough. There is some kind of remorse at the end of their brief, whirlwind romance, that kinda sucks.

Quote of the episode:
"Sure! What's a big sister for?"

It's common knowledge that Milhouse has a special place for Lisa. So many 'time-skip' episodes are referenced to these two,whether they're in a relationship, whether they're not, etc. Milhouse always gets the last draw of the straw, but it's funny every, single time. Without question the best scene in this episode is when Milhouse hands Nelson Lisa's love note. (See clip below.) There are only a few moments in television and film combined that have had me crying with so much laughter, I had to actually pause the show/film. That scene was one of the few and it's all thanks to that lovable Van Houten boy. 

"Lisa likes Milhouse!"

"Guess Who Likes You?"

The Kwik-E-Mart doormat outside of Nelson's house

"Joy to the world, the teachers dead, we barbecued her head!"

Nelson's make-over (and the fact he even allows Lisa to do it)

"This ought to shut her up. Hey, this isn't so bad."

"Aw man, you kissed a girl? That is so gay" 
(Said from the mouth of Jimbo, who was seen making out with Laura, Bart's first crush, in New Kid on the Block many seasons ago)

The two-year outdated Krusty Burger coleslaw

"Whose out there? Give me your names so I can tell the police!"

Agnes: I want to see what's going on
Skinner: No Mother, don't look out the window!
Agnes: (screaming) AHHHHHHHH!

 The End
Milhouse: You got anybody in mind for your next crush?
Lisa: Well, I'm really not thinking about that right now (starts to walk away). I suppose it could be almost anybody.
Milhouse: YES!

If you have one, what is your favourite Simpsons episode?


  1. What an excellent post. Choosing a favorite Simpsons episode is like choosing a favorite child. Well, if someone had a couple hundred kids anyway.

    I haven't watched the show in years...but I swear I know more about the Simpson family than my own. And I know more about Springfield than any other city in the world. Easily.

    But...anyway...favorite character? Maybe...immediate...Chief Wiggum. Or Frink. Ah, shit. I don't know.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, M!

      Agreed, choosing a favourite Simpsons episode is a difficult one! For some reason, though, over the last few years in particular, I am always drawn back to Lisa's Date With Destiny. It's probably a slight bias towards my love for Nelson, but it is a stand-out episode and it is a shame that no one really regards it as highly as I think it should be.

      Again, I can agree with you on that! My Simpsons knowledge, to this day, knows no bounds.

      Chief Wiggum is an excellent pick! He has quite similar style to Nelson, come to think of it. They're not featured heavily in the show (at least not in the older seasons, in the current episodes he is a MASSIVE character, again, like Nelson) but he has some classic lines.

      Frink is a great choice, too. I bought a Frink t-shirt years ago and it shockingly still fits! If it wasn't lime green I'd probably wear that one out more often...

  2. Wait you like The Simpsons too, dude we got so much in common ;-)

    I would be hard pressed to pick just one favorite episode off the top of my head. I think they are starting season 25 this year. That is a lot of episodes to recall.

    My favorite character has got to be Homer, the older I get the more I seem to relate to him. I hope that doesn't mean in a few years grandpa is my fave.

    1. Simpsons for life, man, Simpsons for life! Good to see another fan in the ranks. It's hard after so many damn bad episodes over the portion of more than half the seasons that I think people forget how brilliant the show was at a time.

      Homer, classic choice. He really is a legend that man. I can't hear anyone hating on Grandpa, though, he is great! The real question is, who wouldn't want to be Grandpa?




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