After 32 seasons and 706 episodes, The Simpsons may have lost some of its charm for fans, but for Yeardley Smith, there’s still great potential and delight in being part of Matt Groening’s long-running animated sitcom. Smith voices Lisa Simpson, the beyond-precocious 8-year-old who’s often been seen as the heart or conscience of show. The Emmy winner has starred in films like As Good As It Gets and TV shows like The Mindy Project and Mad Men, but she’s still happy to be known as the voice of Lisa, whom she describes as “a remarkable, beautiful, Simpsons lovable, multifaceted, complicated, perfectly imperfect little girl.” The fictional second grader’s actually taught Smith a lot about resilience: “For as many things as [the writers] give Lisa at the beginning of an episode, 22 minutes later, they’ve taken it away. [Laughs.] That that girl’s able to get out of bed ever again after 32 seasons is kind of a miracle.
Smith’s voice is one of the most recognizable in pop culture, and she’s been lending her talents to the true-crime podcast, Small Town Dicks, which she’s hosted for four years. But she never thought singing would become such a big part of her Simpsons gig, and she certainly never dreamed of duetting with performers like Lady Gaga, Emily Blunt, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Though Smith tells The A.V. Club the many musical moments create “a lot of anxiety” for herself (and “tremendous joy” for the writers who come up with them), she was eager to share her top seven musical numbers from The Simpsons.
But if we’re having a non-singing guest, I really want The Rock to come on and strike up a friendship with Lisa Simpson. I just think that would be one of those really special episodes, much like when Lisa Simpson befriended Sideshow Bob for that one episode. Two such disparate people, Simpsons who you would never think would find common ground, come together and find common ground, and it was magic. Kelsey Grammer actually came in and recorded with me on a separate recording day. He says he usually does this stuff separately, and it was brilliant. It was one of my favorite days of recording ever. So I just think we could get some real gold out of a friendship between Lisa and Dwayne Johnson. So put that in. Simpsons Maybe he’ll read it and go, “I want to do that.