Noodle Incident: The Simpsons
The Simpsons, being a Long Runner, has been a rich source of noodle incidents since 1989—oftentimes without even trying. As a series that thrives on Rule of Funny while reveling in its Negative Continuity, that really can't be helped. Happily, the show's extensive experience with the trope, along with its masterful use of Rapid-Fire Comedy and breathless non sequiturs, has elevated the comic Noodle Incident to an art form; many are among the funniest, most quotable, and most remembered jokes in given episodes. Go Back to the main page here, or find examples from other western animation here.
- An amusing occasion has Mr. Burns going through his checkbook, appearing to find out about his (drugged-up) $500 check for Homer's bowling team, only to be corrected:
Smithers: Uh, sir, that's a check for your boweling.
Burns: Oh, yes. That's very important.
Smithers: Yes, sir. Remember that month you didn't do it?
Burns: Yes, that was an unpleasant incident for all concerned.
- In Marge Gets a Job:
Burns: Do you think we could dig up Al Jolson?
Smithers: Don't you remember? We did that once before.
Burns: Oh yes, he's dead. And rather pungent. The rest of that night is something I'd like to forget.
- In season 10's "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace," Homer has to do research in the Springfield Elementary School library because he was banned from the "'Big people's'" library over some... unpleasantness."
- In "Homer and Apu", Lisa plays an Indian instrument called a shenai, and Homer comments that it's "worse than the album Grandpa released" (with no flashback or further information about the matter).
- In the season 8 episode, "My Sister, My Sitter," Lisa is trying to get her brother medical attention at a clinic and Smithers won't let Lisa in front of him because of a serious injury that seemingly makes it painful for him to sit down (though this could be taken as a Double Entendre, considering Smithers's closeted homosexuality).
- The entire waiting room in that episode was full of people bizarrely injured in Noodle Incidents. Including a line specifically for wheelbarrows.
- There's an in-episode one for Treehouse of Horror XI: Homer gets through the day without dying, even though his death was predicted by his horoscope. He tells Marge to stop worrying, as the only threats to his life that day were a nasty paper-cut, a tree felled by lightning, a giant globe rolling down the street, a pickaxe to the forehead, a snake bite, and "the testicle thing" (which was never shown).
- Many of Bart's blackboard punishment lines could be considered Noodle Incidents (like "I will not teach others to fly," "I am not a licensed hairstylist," "Science class should not end in tragedy," "Making Milhouse cry is not a science project," "Organ transplants are best left to the professionals," "The boys' room is not a water park," "I do not have power of attorney over first graders," and "Next time, it could be me on the scaffolding.") since what Bart did to get detention during the opening credits is only implied.
- The season 1 episode "Homer's Odyssey" has Ms. Krabappel mention an infamous trip to the Springfield State Prison, to which Bart replies, "Ms. Krabappel, I didn't open that door!"
- "Eight Misbehavin'" features a scene that skips ahead nine months to the Simpson Family riding in the car, and they all discuss events that happened during that year. Marge had a short but memorable run as "Sideshow Marge", Bart learned the true meaning of Columbus Day, and winter, while Lisa became the most popular girl in school but blew it by being conceited.
- In Burns Baby Burns, at the dinner table, Homer says, "It's not like anything interesting happened to anyone else today." We then pan to Bart studying a diamond under a jewellers glass, Lisa with a broken arm, and Maggie wearing a "Cutest Baby" sash.
- In Moe Baby Blues, Moe is a roomful of angry mobsters wielding pistols:
Moe: Uh, that's the second most guns ever pointed at me.
- From "They Saved Lisa's Brain" (during the subplot of Homer posing for erotic photos):
Homer: You're not going to ask me to pose nude, are you?Photographer: Well, yes, unless you have issues about revealing your body.Homer: I don't, but the block association seems to. They wanted a "traditional" Santa.
- From "Itchy & Scratchy Land"
Homer: (Fumbling with map): North. South. Nuts to that, I'm taking a shortcut.Marge: No, Homer. You'll get lost.Homer: Relax Marge. With today's cars, you can't get lost. What with the silicon chips and such.(Cut to car pulling up to the amusement park parking lot, severely destroyed, with a wagon wheel in place of a tire, a Homecoming banner being dragged behind, a U.S. Army missile sticking out of the chassis, a school traffic sign stuck to the side, and chickens in Marge's hair)Homer: All right, we're here. Now let us never speak of this shortcut again.
- "That is not something a lion would want to see on his X-ray!"
- Chief Wiggum, to Smithers:
"Oh Smithers, if I didn't arrest you that night in the park, I'm not going to arrest you now..."
- In "Mayored to the Mob", Homer asks Fat Tony's henchman Legs how he got his nickname:
Legs: That's actually a very interesting story! See, President Kennedy's father... note
- However, Homer's attention is diverted before we can hear any more of it.
- In Monty Can't Buy Me Love, when Mr. Burns single handedly captures the Loch Ness Monster during a popularity-increasing scheme:
Groundskeeper Willie: That was amazing, Mr. Burns!Mr. Burns: I was a little worried when he swallowed me, but then, well you know the rest.
- From "Lisa's Date With Density":
Nelson: Wait till he finds what I left in his bird bath!Skinner: NOOOOOO!!!
- From "Homer Simpson in Kidney Trouble":
Peter Lorre-esque character: And when Mr. Dinkley saw what I had done, I was banned from the car wash forever!
- In the "Lost Verizon" episode, Homer offhandedly mentions an "unpleasantness in Ecuador" that they have behind them. (And a brief cocoa leaf addiction.)
- In The Canine Mutiny, Santa's Little Helper runs away, and Bart is looking for him; Bart has followed the trail to the church, where Rev. Lovejoy and Mrs. Skinner admit he'd been there but had to be turned out because of some mischief. Mrs. Skinner snaps, "He UN-HOLY'ED the HOLY water!"note
- Many of Kent Brockman's news broadcasts fall into this trope: "...And that kitten played with that ball of yarn... all through the night."
- "...leaving the Vice President in charge".
- Another episode has him bid the audience goodnight and then remember that he forgot about "The President being arrested for murder." he tries to squeeze it in but runs out of time.
- "...which, if true, means death for us all."
- "...making this the most recent Segway accident to claim more than 1000 lives."
- "Paris is no more. The legendary city of lights has been extinguished forever as a massive-" (the television is switched off before we hear what happened).
- Krusty has a few. For example, in "Black Widower", Sideshow Bob appeared on Krusty's telethon and apologized for sending him to jail, to which Krusty replied, "Hell, if they ever open the books on this telethon, I'm right back in there!"
- Then in "Round Springfield", Krusty opens his show by talking about his sexual harassment suit, which because of his plea bargain, requires him to introduce Ms. No-Means-No to the cast. He doesn't say anything about the actual incident.
- On the season ten episode Lisa Gets An "A", Bart is about to let Lisa into the boys' bathroom. Lisa objects, and Bart replies, "Relax. There's nothing here you didn't see when Dad boycotted pants."
- Principal Skinner, recalling the time he almost discovered a comet.
Once... but by the time I got to the phone, my discovery had already been reported by Principal Kohoutek. [A cloud covers the moon; the music and everything else suddenly turns very sinister:] I got back at him, though... him and that little boy of his... [Cloud passes; everything's suddenly not sinister again] Anyway, that's why I always keep a cellular phone next to me.
- We may never know why the Simpson family is banned from 47 US states (which causes Fridge Logic: If the Simpsons have been banned from nearly all of the U.S., exactly where do they live and where the heck is Springfield? Are we to believe that Springfield is in another English-speaking country [possibly an American territory, like Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands] or do they live in one of the only three states that haven't thrown them out yet?), though, considering the chaos Homer caused in "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" and what happened in "Kill the Alligator and Run" (which is the episode that revealed that the Simpsons have been banned in nearly all of America), it's not much of a surprise.
- In "Sideshow Bob Roberts", after Sideshow Bob throws Bart out of his limo, Homer is seen being thrown out of a car by Archie and friends and is warned by Moose to "Stay outta Riverdale!" The same episode shows that Bart somehow made an enemy of Dr Demento.
Bart: I'm only ten, and I've already got two mortal enemies!
- In Papa's got a Brand New Badge:
Homer: Aww, every time Santa and me get together something bad always happens.
- Possibly a Call Back to the pilot episode where Homer had to work as a mall Santa, or even the example in "They Saved Lisa's Brain".
- In Bart-Mangled Banner, Dr. Hibbert had some people dressed as him to distract Bart while Hibbert gave him some vaccination. Something Moe did as Hibbert got the doctor banned from the library.
- In the 200th episode, "Trash of the Titans," when Homer announces his candidacy for sanitation commissioner, the courthouse clerk points out that Homer is in a line for people who have to register as sex offenders. In that line are Patty and Selma, Jimmy the Scumbag note from "Lisa's Date with Density," Mayor Quimby's nephew from "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" note , and Moe Szyslak, who complains that the lines for registering sex offenders are always long. The viewer can understand why Moe, the mayor's nephew, and possibly Jimmy the Scumbag would be sex offenders (Moe's a creeper [or at least that's what he's become in later episodes, especially with the running gag about hitting on Marge], Mayor Quimby and his entire male family members are expies of the Kennedys (whose legacy is mired in sex scandals in which no one knows what exactly happened — or someone knows, but he or she doesn't want to talk about it), and Jimmy the Scumbag is...a scumbag), but what's the story with Patty and Selma? Why are they in the registered sex offenders line, and why didn't they leave when the clerk revealed what the line is for? Either they did something so bad that it can never be mentioned or — like Homer in that scene — they too suck at picking lines.note
- In "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", before Mr. Burns started showing a movie about outsourcing, he asked for a minute of silence for the workers who died in some heroic, well, whatever it was, we never got to know because "heroic" was the last word Mr. Burns said before Homer chanted for the movie and the subject of the heroic deaths was never brought up again.
- At one point in the episode "The Joy of Sect," Rev. Lovejoy is spreading gasoline around the church and muttering "I never thought I'd have to do this again."
- At one point in "The Burns and the Bees", when it was suggested Lisa used an abandoned greenhouse to house the bees she's trying to save, Homer commented it used to be a prosperous greenhouse before he was hired to manage it.
- One episode had Homer and Lisa breaking into the Springfield museum to see the Isis exhibit. Homer asked Lisa to open the window, because apparently, the police have his prints on file note .
- In a Costco-esque store, a drunk Barney accidentally knocks over a giant Mrs. Maple bottle (which he confuses for a human) which spills everywhere to which he screams, "Oh, I've killed her! It's all happening again!" note
- At the beginning of "Simpsons Christmas Stories", when Flanders is called by Lovejoy to be a substitute pastor and deliver the Christmas sermon.
Flanders: I feel like I'm born again ''again!'
- Unless he's using "born again" to mean "converted to Christianity", which some people do.
- In Grift of the Magi, Homer tallies his Christmas record:
Homer: Let's see, this'll make three Christmases I saved, versus eight I ruined...two were kind of a draw. note
- Similarly, in The Old Man and the Lisa, Kent Brockman reminded his viewers who Mr. Burns is with two continuity nods, and a noodle incident:
- The season 11 episode "Bart to the Future" note had Future Bart tell Future Ralph that he'll get a settlement for either the spider bite at Disney Land or the incident with the oversalted French fries (neither of which are explained any further, though obviously being Frivolous Lawsuits, they probably don't need to be).
- One could make educated guesses, but it's never explained exactly what Marge's friend Ruth Powers did to wind up in prison, which she was released from in "The Strong Arms of the Ma". (The charges of car theft in a previous episode had been dismissed.) Also, she had earned the title of "Miss Mexican Mafia" while in prison, but never explained why.
- At one point, Selma was briefly married to Disco Stu, although we never see how they met, we never see them dating, and we never see the proposal or the wedding. All we know is that Disco Stu saw fit to petition the Catholic church for an annulment (successfully) and Marge says Disco Stu was her favorite of all of Selma's husbands.
Homer: (on the phone) Hello, Selma? Selma my dear, how are you?... Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. Listen, shut up for a second. How would you like to marry Apu so he doesn't get deported?Selma: I'd rather eat poison. My name's already Selma Bouvier Terwilliger Hutz McClure. God knows it's long enough without Nahassapeema-whatever. From now on, I'm only marrying for love... Mmm, possibly once more for money.
- Selma was also married to Lionel Hutz for a brief period off camera (sometime between her marriages with Sideshow Bob and Troy McClure) and this was first mentioned when she rejected Homer's idea of marrying Apu Nahasapeemapetilon to avoid him getting deported.
- Marge, while drunk and impersonating Homer, says "Gee Marge, sorry I set the bed on fire."':
- From Behind the Laughter:
Homer: I just want to set the record straight. I thought the cop was a prostitute!
- Another example was the death of Dr. Marvin Monroe. Prior to Troy McClure saying he was dead in "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular", the only clue that it had happened was an episode where a place called Marvin Monroe Memorial Hospital is seen. (The word "memorial" is added to a place named for a deceased person.) How it happened and when was a mystery. (Matt Groening claimed that the character was retired because Harry Shearer, his voice actor, strained his throat playing him, and as the character himself had admitted in one episode, his voice became downright annoying.)
- In a further episode, Dr. Marvin Monroe shows up when Marge is signing her first book. Marge mentions that she hadn't seen him in a real long time, to which he replies "I've been really sick".
- In the beginning of season 5 episode 'Last Temptation of Homer', Homer and his buddies are in a situation where they are trapped in a room with toxic gases coming at them from all sides. We then cut to Mr. Burns' office with Charlie saying, "Well, sir, I won't bore you with the details of our miraculous escape..." It's partially subverted as we know how the men got in that mess (In fact, they caused it!).
- Apparently, no matter what business the Springfield Historical Society is discussing, their meetings all end the same way:
Mayor Quimby: Can't we have one meeting that doesn't end with us digging up a corpse?!
- From 'The Springfield Files', Agents Mulder and Scully make cameos, and we hear this conversation.:
Mulder: Worse than the time we were attacked by the flesh-eating virus?Scully: No, this is much more irritating.
- A subsequently-aired episode of The X-Files does deal with such a virus, though.
- The season one episode "Bart the Genius" had Bart Simpson make faces at Martin Prince and Mrs. Krapabbel ask Bart "Are those naughty dogs back again?" No other details are given other than supposedly two dogs mated in full view of Springfield Elementary's fourth grade glass some time in the past.
- In season 17's "See Homer Run", Dr. Pryor explains to Homer and Marge that Lisa now hates men because of a lack of a positive male role model in her life, illustrating this by showing them pictures she drew herself showing several mishaps involving Homer that Lisa was there to see and traumatized by. One of them is titled "The Day The Policeman Came To My Soccer Game" and shows Homer being carted off by police screaming "I'LL SUE YOU ALL!" while an annoyed referee looks on. note
- In the same episode, Lisa asks Homer why can't he take her to the zoo frequently like Janey's father, making him remind her that he's not allowed in the zoo anymore.
- During the "We Put the Spring in Springfield" musical number in season 8's "Bart After Dark", Grampa and Jasper sing that the burlesque house has given them the most fun "since March of 1961".
- In season 25's "Steal This Episode", Marge is annoyed that Homer is illegally downloading movies and screening them to the neighborhood in the backyard. Bart says that it's "not even the worst kind of pirate Dad's been".
- In "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", Lisa is offended by the sexist Malibu Stacy dolls and asks Marge to take her to the doll factory tour to complain in person.
Marge: Honey, you're not going to throw red paint at the executives, are you? The Keebler people were very upset.
- In the first segment of "Treehouse of Horror VIII", what exactly was the "frog's legs" joke Mayor Quimby made that pissed off the French enough to make them nuke Springfield?. We don't know, but Kent Brockman thought it was hilarious.
- In “My Mother the Carjacker” Homer’s mother Mona states that she remembers Homer's friends Carl and Lenny when they were children. She says, Carl, Lenny and another boy named Stevie "were like the Three Musketeers", to which they both reply: "Poor Stevie. They never found his head."
- From Homer the Vigilante, when he starts a neighborhood watch, he tells the family about what happened that day.
Homer: So I said to him, "Look, buddy, your car was upside down when we got here. And as for your grandma, she shouldn't have mouthed off like that!"
- In "New Kid on the Block", Marge calls Abigail: one of the kids' past babysitters to watch them while they go out to dinner. Abigail's sister answers instead, saying she takes care of her because something Bart did caused her to have a mental breakdown and is now sitting on a rocking chair with a thousand-yard-stare muttering to herself.
Abigail: No Bart put it down... put it down Bart... Bart put it down...
- In "Simpson Tide", when Kent Brockman announces that Homer has (seemingly) gone rogue with a submarine full of missiles, he brings up an old photo of a drunken Homer in a fur hat and coat, doing That Russian Squat Dance. Marge is horrified; Lisa's only response is "I knew that photo would come back to haunt him".
- In "Make Room for Lisa," Homer damages an original copy of the US Constitution. To pay off the damage he caused, Homer agrees to let a cellular phone company build a tower on top of their house. When Lisa is understandably upset that her room is now filled with the tower's electrical equipment, Marge tries to offer some comfort by assuring her that the situation is only temporary:
Marge: It's just until we pay off Daddy's desecration of a priceless artifact. [Beat] I thought I'd never have to say that again.