In its original broadcast, "Lisa's Date with Density" finished 63rd in ratings for the week of December 9–15, 1996, with a Nielsen rating of 7.4, equivalent to approximately 7.2 million viewing households.
It was the fifth-highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Party of Five.
The influence of Nelson's friends Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney proves to win out when they convince him to throw rancid Cole slaw at Principal Skinner's house.
Principal Skinner orders a search of every student's locker, and it is discovered that Nelson Muntz is the culprit.
As punishment, Nelson is forced to return all stolen items to their owners and is sentenced to be a janitor alongside Groundskeeper Willie. Largo catches Lisa looking outside at Nelson during a music lesson, and as a result, she is given detention.
At Springfield Elementary School, Superintendent Chalmers visits Principal Skinner to show off his newly purchased 1979 Honda Accord.
However, he becomes distraught when he discovers the car's hood ornament is missing.
Nelson takes refuge with Lisa, proclaiming his innocence.