Every member of the Simpson family has a potent bond with the show’s patriarch, Homer. Bart (Nancy Cartwright) antagonizes Homer but wants to be like him, Marge (Julie Kavner) is equal parts exhausted and exhilarated by her husband’s shenanigans, and little Maggie loves her dad with reckless abandon. But Lisa’s relationship with Homer is special, because, despite how disappointingly selfish and sophomoric he can be, he is Lisa’s hero. And in true, brilliant “The Simpsons” fashion, the Season 4 episode “Last Exit to Springfield” shows Homer being the type of hero he so often is — an accidental one.
The episode centers around Lisa needing braces as Mr. Burns takes Homer and the rest of the nuclear power plant workers’ dental insurance away. And inept though he may be, Homer somehow becomes a union leader and helps regain the dental insurance — with a little help from Lisa’s “Union Strike Folk Song.” It’s one of those full-circle moments where Lisa believes in her father, and her belief sees that the two of them rise above their circumstances to snatch victory from the hands of defeat. Homer gets to quit as union leader and Lisa gets her braces.
Yeardley Smith revealed that fans love Lisa’s song and the episode it was used in. “The ‘Union Strike Folk Song’ was a pretty perfect fit,” she told The A.V. Club. “I love that she was out there by herself. I love that it’s sort of an old school way to stake your protest. And I was so surprised, I’m still surprised, that it’s a fan favorite. I’ve had a lot of correspondence on Twitter and stuff about that song and people remembering it fondly.”
“The Simpsons” is streaming now on Disney+ and Hulu.