One of the great cultural honors of the 1990s was to be featured in an episode of the Fox animated sitcom The Simpsons. The 1982 World’s Fair and the Sunsphere achieved that honor in the March 31, 1996, episode “Bart on the Road.”
The seventh-season episode saw Bart Simpson acquire a driver’s license and use it to rent a car. Bart, along with Milhouse Van Houten, Nelson Muntz and Martin Prince, take the rented car on a road trip during spring break.
The boys gleefully choose the World’s Fair over Disney World only to arrive in Knoxville to find the fair had ended 14 years earlier and the famous Sunsphere is now used for storage by a nearby wig store and has been renamed the Wigsphere.
Bart and company spend the last of their money on wigs and a talking Al Gore doll that says, “You are hearing me talk.” Their problems are compounded when Nelson accidentally knocks over the Sunsphere crushing the rental car.
With no other options, Bart turns to Homer and little sister Lisa to help get the boys home without Marge discovering that Bart spent his spring break in Knoxville and not at the National Grammar Rodeo in a Sheraton Hotel in Canada.