25 years ago, The Simpsons aired one of the episodes that many people point to as the best the series ever made. But it turns out the episode’s best jokes nearly got cut.
“Last Exit to Springfield” features Homer Simpson becoming a union leader to help save his dental plan. It features several movie and TV parodies, a folk song and countless jokes that have led many to call it the best episode the show ever produced. The Wrap wrote an oral history on the making of the episode, and it included a tidbit about the producers nearly cutting the episode’s best joke.
The nuclear power plant workers are given a free keg of beer at all their meetings in exchange for giving up their dental insurance. This leads to a 30 second clip where Homer has the words “dental plan” and “Lisa needs braces” bouncing around his head, before finally realizing that he’d have to pay for the braces if his dental plan gets taken away. It’s meant to show how…uh…”dim-witted” Homer truly is.
The 30 second bit is now fondly remembered by Simpsons fans, but when the script was submitted, the producers thought it should be cut.
“It went on for a page and a half! We gotta cut this. This doesn’t make any sense at all,” Mike Reiss, who was co-showrunner of “The Simpsons” at the time, says. “And Jay and Wally said, you gotta do it. Trust us on this.”
They kept the bit in, and it led to one of the show’s greatest episodes ever.
Head over to The Wrap to read the full oral history.