20% More Awesome: One member of the committee creating Poochie says, "I feel we should rasta-fy him by ... 10 percent or so."
When the Simpsons went to Japan, they checked in a hotel with a sign reading "Now with 20% more bowing".
The Itchy and Scratchy Movie is advertised as having 53% new footage.
Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: In "When You Dish Upon a Star", Homer twists his neck around 360 degrees while giving the stink eye to the kids in the backseat of the car and then looking out his window without turning his head back to normal.
Abnormal Ammo: Lampshaded in "Take My Wife, Sleaze", where Homer and a biker duel using full-sized motorcycles like swords.
Meathook: We all knew it would come to this. Homer: You and me... chopper to... chopper!
Aborted Arc: Most episodes since some years (season 8) ago begin narrating a story, and after the first minutes the story moves to a completely different direction. Sometimes the original story is not mentioned again, other times the characters lampshade that there's Something We Forgot.
Aborted Declaration of Love: Smithers, to Mr. Burns in "Bart's Inner Child": "I... love you. (Burns looks up) I-in those colors!" (after Burns walks away) "Oh, who am I kidding? The boathouse was the time!"
Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: On the episode where there was a hurricane coming, Homer removed the back door of the house and then nailed it diagonally over the now-exposed doorway, leaving a big gap at the top & bottom of the doorway.
Accidental Art: In "Mom and Pop Art," Homer's failed attempt at making a backyard grill is discovered by an art critic, who thinks it's art.
Accidental Athlete: Several examples, most notably Lisa as goalie and Bart as a ballet dancer.
Accidental Pervert: Homer being branded a pervert after he peels a gummi candy off a college-aged babysitter's butt while drooling and muttering, "Precious Venus."
Acrofatic: Homer in "Sex, Pies, and Idiot Scrapes," who does complex acrobatics to escape Ned. This is rather odd, since Homer has often been shown out of breath from even the simplest movements (like running only a few feet in "The Springfield Connection" and "New Kids on the Blecch").
Then again, one flashback shows him to be a very talented gymnast in high school (until his dad screwed up his floor routine by yelling, "You're gonna blow it!")
He also performed ninja-like feats of acrobatics while practicing killing snakes for Whacking Day.
Acronym Confusion: One Running Gag example of the "sharing an initialism" variety, like when Krusty named his TV special Krusty Komedy Klassics and, not only was ignorant that the initials spelled out KKK (which is associated with the incredibly racist Ku Klux Klan, who are notorious for their hatred of black people. Other minorities too, but mostly blacks), but had the initials in white onstage at the Apollo Theater (which is home to Showtime at the Apollo, a variety show known for launching the careers of a lot of talented black artists).
Another having nothing to do with sharing an initialism:
Chief Wiggum: Uh, Mrs. Simpson, I have some bad news. Your husband was found DOA.
Marge: Oh my God! He's dead?
Chief Wiggum: Oh wait, I mean DWI. I always get those two mixed up.
Mrs. Phillips walks in.
Mrs. Phillips: My name's Mrs. Phillips. You said my husband is DWI?
Chief Wiggum: Uh, why don't you talk to that officer over there? I'm going out to lunch.
From "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses":
Barney: My name is Barney, and I'm an alcoholic.
Clerk: I feel for you, pally, but, uh, you want AA; this is Triple A.
Acting Unnatural: Skinner and Chalmers do it in "500 Keys" while waiting to snatch the key to the hidden classroom of Lisa.
Actor Allusion: Both subverted and played straight at the same time with Rodney Dangerfield as Larry Burns. Instead of the actor's trademark Catchphrase of "no respect," Larry talks about how he don't get "No regard. No esteem either."
Done by new kid Alex (voiced by Lisa Kudrow) who says "Woah don't be a Phoebe" to Lisa alluding to her best known character Phoebe Buffay on Friends
Fat Tony mentions that he once "Hasn't cried this hard since he paid to The Godfather Part III. Joe Mantegna was in that movie.
Joe Mantegna played himself playing Fat Tony in a made for tv movie in the episode "Bart the Murderer."
Adoring The Pests: Homer doesn't see anything wrong with possums infesting a monorail and crawling around on a fire extinguisher.
Adults Are Useless: While not every adult is useless, most adults on the show are fairly incompetent. Creator Matt Groening talks about many of the adult characters as morons. He said in an interview that authority isn't always quite as smart as it should be, and people like teachers and doctors all have flaws.
Advice Backfire: In "The Love-Matic Grampa" (part of "Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"), Abe tells Moe to tell his date that her rump is as big as the queen's, and twice as fragrant. Moe reluctantly does so, and in the next cut, he's covered in food dumped on him by his date.
Aerosol Flamethrower: In "Pranks and Greens", Homer attempts to put out a burning pile of snack foods by spraying it with Kool Wip. The topping catches fire and burns back up the stream to the can, which explodes.
In "Curse of the Flying Hellfish", Mr. Burns forces Grampa to give up his key to the Hellfish fortune. Bart throws himself at Burns and wraps his arms around him, saying "Can I go with you to get the treasure? I won't eat much and I don't know the difference between right and wrong." This seems like a very in-character thing for Bart to do; but when Burns leaves (without Bart) Bart shows to Grampa that he picked Burns' pocket, so now he has both keys needed.
In "Bart Carny", Bart swipes Marge's pearls while hugging her, a move taught to him by Spud.
Ageless Birthday Episode: Lisa has had a number of these but remains 8. Averted in the episode where the mental patient who thinks he's Michael Jackson shows up, which is when she turns 8, the age she will remain for the rest of the series.
Aggressive Categorism: Played straight with Lampshade as Moe Szyslak explains why he doesn't want Mr. Burns on the bowling team: "Call this an unfair generalization if you must, but old people are no good at everything."
From "The Seven Beer Snitch":
Bart: All plays suck, all the time, and always will, and everyone knows it.
Ahem: In "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder", Homer is late for work and says he'd hate to see the look on Mr. Burns's face. Sure enough, Mr. Burns is right behind him and lets out an "Ahem." After realizing who it is, Homer refuses to turn around, stating that he can't get in trouble if he can't see him.
Burns: Turn around, Simpson.
Homer: No! I can't get in trouble if I can't see you.
Alien Autopsy Video: The episode "Worst Episode Ever" sees Bart and Milhouse uncover a secret room in Comic Book Guy's shop which houses a secret stash of bootleg videos and other illegal video clips. Among the video titles mentioned are "Alien Autopsy" and "Illegal Alien Autopsy".
Alien Geometries: Homer and Marge's bedroom's orientation changes often. Including in some impossible ways.
The Alleged Car: Many examples, especially the car Crazy Vaclav tries to sell Homer in "Mr. Plow." It has three wheels, comes from a country that no longer exists, and does "300 hectares on a single tank of kerosene".
All There in the Manual: Although rare, some information tidbits only come from Word Of God, such as how the family escaped The Island after The Computer Wore Menace Shoes. (the army raided the Island, arrested the villains and saved the captives, including the Simpsons)
All Work vs. All Play: Marge and Lisa are All Work while Homer and Bart are All Play. This gets lampshaded a couple of times.
Alphabet News Network: In the year 2010 in "Lisa's Wedding", Kent Brockman is now a news anchor on CNNBCBS (a division of ABC).
Bart and Lisa are chased around an Air Force base and see an airman open a door before quickly closing it again after seeing a Grey with a glowstick. The airman proclaims, "Look out, he's got his probe!"
When Homer and Flanders marry floozies in Vegas, Homer decides they should tell their wives they were abducted by aliens, who "gang-probed" Ned.
Ned: Do we really have to tell them I was "gang probed"?
Homer: Would you rather tell them the truth?
Ned: [Sigh] What do the aliens look like?
Homer: Well, I only saw them from the back 'cause they were so busy gang probing you!
Analogy Backfire: In "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation", Homer tries to deliver an analogy which he believes will prove he doesn't hate his family. It doesn't work.
Homer: Marriage is like a coffin, and each kid is another nail. But as coffins go-
While it's a funny gag and meant purely for laughs, one still can't help but feel bad for Ozzie Smith's fate in "Homer at the Bat." The guy is being catapulted through space and time in an unknown dimension, with no possible way of getting out ever. It's made even worse by the fact that he did nothing wrong to deserve such a fate.
Though it's apparently amazing enough to him to whip out his camera and start sight-seeing.
Joe Namath: (as Bart is taken to jail in Wiggum's cop car) Hehe, poor Bart. You know, we had a lot of fun tonight. But, there's nothing funny about... vapor lock. It's the third most common cause of stalling. So please, take care of your car and get it checked. I'm Joe Namath. Good night. (Beat)
In "Bart the General":
Bart: Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: the American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy. If you'd like to learn more about war, there's lots of books in your local library, many of them with cool gory pictures.
In "New Kids on the Blecch":
Justin:You know, we've had a lot of fun tonight, at the expense of the U. S. Navy.
Lance: But they're out there every day protecting us from Godzilla.
Chris: And don't forget pirates!
J. C.: And jellyfish.
Joey: Those whack invertebrates will sting you, old-school!
Justin: So check out the Navy for a two, or four-year hitch.
And The Rest: In the episode "Eight Misbehavin'," Apu and Manjula's octuplets are made the stars of a show called "Octopia" at the Springfield Zoo. Only four of the babies are explicitly given stage character names and are introduced to the audience. The others are introduced as "And The Rest."
And You Were There: Said in "Bart Gets Hit By a Car" (at the end of pointing everyone out, he mentions that he's never seen Lionel Hutz before)
In "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'" Abe wearily recounts how several family members were there when an assassin made an attempt on his life. In actuality, the assassin, Mr. Burns, and Smithers had dressed as the Simpsons to get close to Abe.
Animal Athlete Loophole: Parodied; after adopting a horse, Homer spends hours training it as a placekicker, then checks the rulebook to see whether horses can play in the National Football League. (Turns out, there is a rule.)
Homer participated in a robot fighting league disguised as a robot. When he's found out, two officiators share:
Officiator 1: And the winner is nature's greatest killing machine... man!
Officiator 1: Show me where in the rulebook it says that a human can't be a robot.
Officiator 2: Right here. Rule one.
Angry Fist Shake: In "Fly vs. Fly" from "Treehouse of Horror VIII", Fly!Bart tricks a spider into thinking that he's caught in his web. When he's about to be eaten, he slaps him and flies away. The spider watches him in anger, shaking his four legs in synchronized movement, probably swearing revenge. A youtube vid link.
Animeland: The Simpsons were attacked by Kaiju on the plane back home.
Lisa: How come we never heard about this until today? Bart: Yeah, and what happened to the money you made? Lisa: Why haven't you hung up your gold records? Bart: Since when could you write a song? Homer: (laughs) There are perfectly good answers to those questions, but they'll have to wait for another night.
Anti-Advice: Homer has a card in his wallet that tells him "Always do the opposite of what Bart says."
Anti-Humor: In "The Sweetest Apu", when Homer and Marge find out about Apu cheating on Manjula:
Homer: Let's tell Krusty.
Marge: What would that accomplish?
Homer: That guy's hilarious. His reaction would be priceless.
Abe Simpson also tends to lapse into long, meandering stories full of 1940s slang.
Apocalypse Anarchy: After Springfield is nuked by France Homer takes the opportunity to dance naked in the First Church of Springfield.
Apocalypse How: Class-Z, when aliens open up a wormhole that's powerful enough to even suck God into it, leaving nothing but a blank slate. Of course, this was done as a joke.
Applied Mathematics: When Homer is an inventor. During a montage, he's shown writing equations on a blackboard. After he's done, the camera moves to shot of the house — where there's a massive explosion. Cut back to Homer: who examines his equation and replaces his less than symbol with a greater than or equal to symbol. This results in another, bigger explosion. He goes back to the board, and removes "TNT" from the equation.
Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Demonstrated in "Take My Wife, Sleaze" when Marge is surprised that the bikers who kidnapped her don't want to have sex with her.
Marge: Could you at least tell me what you're planning to do with me? Meathook: Oh, don't worry, you're completely safe. None of us finds you sexually attractive. Marge: None of you? Really? I could have sworn that Ramrod... (Ramrod shakes his head) Hmm. Well, did you see that picture of me in... (gang nods) And you still don't... (gang shakes their heads) Meathook: Sorry. Marge: Well, good, I guess.
In "Rednecks and Broomsticks", when a bunch of hillbillies pull guns on Moe, he says he expects they're going to violate him now. When the hillbillies complain that this is a nasty stereotype and that they have no intention of violating him, Moe rides off complaining about how he thought they had a connection and how they'd never know what they missed.
Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?: Subverted where Homer is dangling in a gorge and Marge asks Bart to drive the car, to pull Homer up using a rope attached to the bumper; Bart at first acts nervous about it, but then reveals he has his own set of keys and his own driving gloves.
Bart stole Otto's bus. In front of Metallica.
Argentina Is Naziland: The international prank calls by Bart in "Bart vs. Australia" almost reaches a Hitler-lookalike in Argentina.
Its not a look alike, someone on a bike actually addresses him has "mein Fuerher." Apparently Hitler survived WWII and went on to live out his days in South America.
"New Kids on the Blecch" showed an aged Hitler at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.
Armor-Piercing Question: Burns of all characters asks one in Who Shot Mr. Burns, when Springfield's hatred of him was even more intense than usual.
McCallister: Arr, Burns, your scurvy schemes will earn ye a one-way passage to the boneyard! Ned: I'd like to hear from Sideshow Mel! Mel: I'll see to it that Burns suffers the infernal machinations of hell's grim tyrant! Otto: Yeah! Burns: Oh, you all talk big, but who here has the guts to stop me?
From "Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield":
Marge: (to Lisa) Why do you always have to question everything I do?!
To elaborate, Snake received the death penalty from the three-strike system by burning down an orphanage, blowing up a bus full of nuns (which he claims was in self-defense), and smoking inside the Kwik-E-Mart.
The show's overall style is full of "Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking" moments. Plenty of "lists" in various episodes end off with the least significant example of something. Arguably the clearest example is in "The Crepes of Wrath", when Bart describes to a policeman, (in French, but with the on-screen subtitles translating it) what the winemakers were doing to him. Here is what the subtitles say:
Bart: You gotta help me! These two guys work me night and day! They don't feed me. They make me sleep on the floor. They put anti-freeze in the wine and they gave my red hat to the donkeynote On the subject on that last one, there may be a bit of hidden Fridge Brilliance. In the earlier seasons, Bart's hat, when it appeared was considered to be his "lucky red hat," and to him, that fact may have been the worst offense..
Art Evolution: The oldest episodes seem remarkably crude, when compared to the standard of the more recent ones.
The original shorts on The Tracy Ullman Show look even more crude.
The show shifted to computer-based animation in the 15th season, so recent episodes look somewhat different.
Artistic License: The writers will do extensive research on the place the family is going, and then ignore many of the facts because they aren't funny, preferring instead to make things up.
Artistic License - History: If The Simpsons were to be believed, a voice actress named June Bellamy (voiced by Tress MacNeille) provided the "meep meep" for the Road Runner, whereas in actuality it was done by background artist Paul Julian.
Homer's fire pepper hallucinations in "The Mysterious Voyage of Homer."
The puppet/live-action story featuring Katy Perry on "The Fight Before Christmas."
In one episode, Homer briefly imagines Bart and Lisa as their real-life equivalents. Of course, they're hideous.
There is a definite difference in art quality from Maggie's P.O.V. whenever she feels threatened or terrified, namely, everything from her angle appears to look distorted and monstrous. Even in "Hello Gudder, Hello Fadder", when at a father-child swimming class, when she imagined Homer as a Kappa-like creature, the water around him began to take on a distinct orange color.
The opening to "The Love-Matic Grampa" in "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase".
The 1930s cartoons couch gag, where the characters are drawn in rubber hose style and the picture is black and white.
Some of the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons in "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie" were a parody of the animation style of the 1920s and 1940s cartoons. In "The Day The Violence Died" parodies of Fritz the Cat, 1920s cartoons and Schoolhouse Rock can be found.
The "Worker and Parasite" cartoon segment from "Krusty Gets Kancelled"
Ascended Meme: "D'oh!" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
As was "meh" (an adjective describing something boring or mediocre or an interjection expressing boredom or indifference), "cromulent" (an adjective describing something that's valid, adequate, or appropriate for a certain situation), and "embiggen" (a verb meaning "to empower or raise someone's spirits").
A critic once wrote a negative article on the subject of The Simpsons, which was titled "Worst Episode Ever!" Since then, the phrase "Worst. X. Ever!" became Comic Book Guy's catchphrase.
Ascended To Carnivorism: In "Helter Shelter", the retirement home residents are watching a nature show about elderly animals. An elderly lion runs out of energy, whereupon the zebra turns around and takes a bite out of it.
Ashes to Crashes: Homer's mom wants him to spread her ashes at a certain place at a certain time; it turns out it was her last act of uncivil disobedience, as her ashes interfere with the launch of a missile sending nuclear waste from the power plant to the Amazon rain forest.
Asian Store Owner: Apu (who is from India), Apu's Korean counterpart in "Lemon of Troy," and a man who looks like Apu if he were from the Middle East in "Summer of 4'2''".
Apu even has a counterpart in India.
Aside Comment: In "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?", Homer says, "We'll be right back" to the camera.
In "Pygmoelian", Carl tells the camera, "See, this is why I don't talk much." when he insults Homer, Barney, and Lenny and they break down crying.
Aside Glance: In "Little Big Girl", Mr. Burns gives one to the camera when Smithers, who is on fire, shouts that he's flaming.
Assurance Backfire: When Lisa is feeling depressed after seeing an unflattering caricature of her, Marge attempts to cheer her up by singing "There Once Was an Ugly Duckling," but then Lisa says, "So you think I'm ugly, then?" and Marge hastily says, "No, you're one of the good-looking ones...who makes fun of the ugly one."
As The Good Book Says: Used many times, often for comedic effect. Some examples: "Homer the Heretic" (Matthew 7:26 and 21:17), "Bart's Girlfriend" (Matthew 7:1), "Lisa's Sax" (John 8:7), "The Otto Show" (Matthew 25:40), "Dead Putting Society" (Matthew 19:19).
Subverted in "Catch Them If You Can", where Homer says, "As the Bible says... 'Screw that'!"
Attack Backfire: From one episode parodying stories from The Bible, when Moses (Milhouse) sends a plague of frogs to vex the Pharoah, (Principal Skinner) he and the other Egyptians just end up eating the frogs' legs. The Pharoah comments that Ra must be rewarding them for punishing their slaves.
Attack of the Political Ad: When Sideshow Bob ran for Mayor of Springfield, his campaign took out an ad against Mayor Quimby parodying George H.W. Bush's "Revolving Door Prison" attack ad from the 1988 election. In the ad, prisoners are seen leaving the Springfield State Prison through a revolving door and over the walls on escalators and ski lifts while a narrator lets us know,
"Mayor Quimby supports revolving door prisons. Mayor Quimby even released Sideshow Bob, a man twice convicted of attempted murder. Can you trust a man like Mayor Quimby? Vote Sideshow Bob for Mayor."
Audience Murmurs: When the Flanders walk into church after Ned is arrested in "Homer Loves Flanders", the congregation immediately start murmuring disparaging things about Ned, including someone who thinks Ned is the one who wrote "Homer" all over the bathroom.
Audience Participation: The Season 22 finale ended with an invitation for viewers to vote online on whether or not they want Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel to become a couple. Others include: the "Who Shot Mr. Burns" contest and a recent one where viewers get to design their own couch gag for the season 24 finale episode.
Author Avatar: Comic Book Guy is this for Matt Groening. According to Matt, "He's what I think I look like to other people".
Awesome McCoolname: Max Power! He's the man whose name you'd love to touch, but you musn't touch!
Homer's other choices for his new name included Hercules Rockerfeller, Rembrandt Q. Einstein, and Handsome B. Wonderful (which the judge rejected as they were all misspelled, though the judge really has no say in how Homer should spell any of his new names).
Bart has stated that when he grows up he plans to change his name to Joe Kickass, a name that is so cool Homer doesn't mind that it will be the end of the Simpson family name.
Baby Doll Baby: Homer takes a quiz that indicates he's going to die and goes a little crazy. At the plant he's found "nursing" a doll (missing an arm). His theory is that if he's a mother he can't die.
Back from the Dead: Dr. Monroe (though now he's gone again), Dr. Nick, and Poochie (even though "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" established that Krusty went through the trouble in getting a legal document stating that Poochie, by law, is not allowed back on the show).
Strangely, Homer shows some elements of this, especially in the movie. In the main series, he's often got involved in car chases that required him to kick someone's ass.
He is also handy with a chain and cement block (which he calls "The Defender"), as well as being able to wield a motorcycle. Marge has thrill issues. Bart can hit a target with his slingshot at what is practically sniper range, and was able to perfectly wield a grenade launcher on his first use, even managing to hit Skinner's car at Springfield Elementary from his new military school (Springfield wasn't visible in the background). Really, all the characters have occasional flashes of this. With the possible exception of Lisa.
Lisa has her moments, most notably with the episode Lisa on Ice.
There's also the time that Lisa one-hit KO'd Bart in a MMA ring.
She also connects a gloriously-animated punch on Bart in the movie.
Lampshaded by Marge of all people in an early episode, when Homer worries about his parenting.
Marge: The way I see it, if you raise 3 kids that can knock out and hog-tie a perfect stranger, then you must be doing something right!
Badass Adorable: Again, Maggie Simpson. She shot Mr. Burns (though that was said to be an accident, as Burns' gun fell from his holster, and he didn't have the safety on). Oh, and she also shot the mobsters who were threatening to murder Homer. Homer didn't know she did the latter, but when he heard the gunshots and saw those mobsters fall to the ground, he said "I must have a guardian angel with a rifle." This might actually have put her into a borderline Enfante TerribleAnti-Hero category if not for how obvious it was that her targets deserved it. In a later episode when Homer was imprisoned in a basement of a tow truck driver, Maggie saved him by riding on Santa's Little Helper to the place, and attaching the guy's towhook to the cellar window bars.
Maggie also led a Great Escape-esque mission through a daycare in order to secure pacifiers for all of the babies there.
Badass Grandpa: Abe Simpson is usually shown to be a rambling, partially senile old man who crushed his son's self-esteem and abused him the same way Homer abuses Bart. However, "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in, 'Curse of the Flying Hellfish'" revealed that he was a competent military officer and he kicked Mr. Burns' ass for trying to steal the stolen art tontine and for nearly drowning Bart.
Bad Bad Acting: In the episode "Burns's Heir", Mr. Burns hires actors to portray the rest of the Simpson family in order to persuade Bart that they don't love him. They do this in the most wooden way imaginable (even though the actors picked to play the family only gave a crummy performance because of how bad the script wasnote the actor playing Homer couldn't understand the motivation behind playing someone like Homer, who most likely suffers from neurological impairments, and the actress playing Marge states that the dialogue doesn't have the wit and sparkle of Murphy Brown.
Fake Homer: *Monotone* I do not miss Bart at all.
Fake Marge: *Also monotone* I am glad he's gone.
Fake Lisa: *Also monotone* As am I.
Fake Homer: *Drops his sandwich* B'oh! (and later, "Duh-Oh")
Bart: It's probably my imagination, but something about them just didn't feel right.
Another example of bad acting occurs in "D'oh-in' in the Wind": Homer, Lenny, and Carl acting in Mr. Burns's Power Plant commercial.
Homer: Well, there were script problems from day one.
Bart: Didn't seem like anybody even read the script.
Homer: That was the problem.
Bad Future: The year 1,000,000 A.D. at the end of "Rosebud": The Earth is a barren place, the only human alive is Homer (who has been cloned and used as slave labor to apes, who have taken over the world), and Mr. Burns and Smithers are still alive, albeit as cyborgs (with Smithers as a cyborg dog).
"The Good, The Sad, and the Drugly" mentioned this trope in the subplot where Lisa researches what life will be like in 50 years, and becomes paranoid and depressed (to the point that she has to be put on anti-depressants) over predictions of Springfield becoming a barren wasteland.
Also Barney, when he was hired to pass out flyers in front of a baby furniture store called Lullabuy$, clad only in a diaper and bonnet (it was the dead of winter at the time).
Barney (after his diaper flies away in the breeze and he runs naked down the street): Hi, Ma!
Bad Present: In "The Springfield Files", a man wakes up from a 23-year coma and asks if Sonny and Cher still have "that stupid variety show". Kent Brockman replies that Cher won an Oscar and Sonny (before he died in the mid-to-late 1990s) is a Congressman. The man says, "Good night!" and dies.
Lampshaded in "Bart to the Future":
Homer: What a bleak and horrible future we live in! Bart: Don't you mean, "present"? Homer: Right, right, present.
Bait and Switch: The absolute master of this form of humor, and arguably one of the first comedies to use it on a regular basis.
Bart: I am so great! I am so great! Everybody loves me, I am so great! Marge: Honey, honey, honey, honey, honey. Could you please be quiet? Bart: Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quie —- Marge: Bart, get out!
Banned Episode: In the episode "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson," much of which takes place in and around the World Trade Center, was withdrawn from syndication after the attacks on September 11th, 2001. However, in a reversal of the "Too Soon" situation, fans protested the removal of the episode (since it's one of the most popular episodes of the series) and it was quickly reinstated, albeit with the jokes and scenes centered around the Twin Towers either heavily edited or cut entirely on some local affiliates. Other affiliates have shown the episode uncut and uncensored, save for some time cuts and a man's line about how, "They stick all the jerks in Tower One." The original uncut episode is on the season nine DVD (with commentary from the writers on how the episode is now in bad taste thanks to 9/11, but it still has its moments that have stood the test of time).
The later episode "New Kids On The Blecch," which aired seven months before the 9/11 attacks, was also temporarily pulled, and later edited to remove a scene involving the destruction of a tower (in this case, it was MAD headquarters).
The episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" was also pulled from syndication after Hurricane Katrina because of its references to New Orleans being a horrid, run-down hellhole. In the UK, Channel 4 did unknowingly air this episode around the time of Hurricane Katrina and ended up issuing a public apology for it after being barraged by complaints.
In the UK, the episode "The Cartridge Family" was omitted from the Sky One broadcast because it showed a violent, town-wide soccer riot, addressed the issue of gun control (which is taboo in the UK), and contains scenes of characters irresponsibly using firearms (particularly the scene where Bart finds Homer's gun in the refrigerator and uses it to play William Tell with Milhouse). Channel 4 showed the episode, but the end where Marge decides to keep the gun because of how good she looked with it was cut. The BBC who previously had UK terrestrial rights for the show (on BBC Two during 1996-2002) were first to broadcast this episode in Britain, and made no cuts. When Sky One regained the broadcast rights for this episode in the mid-2000s, they finally showed this episode uncut. The episode was available on a PAL VHS called "The Simpsons: Too Hot for TV," which featured a lot of episodes considered too risque for British TV.
Sky One also partially banned the episode "Weekend at Burnsie's" due to scenes of Homer being assaulted by animals (the crows pecking Homer in the eyes and the drug dog biting Homer in the crotch when he was a teenager) and, of course, the drug themes (Homer smoking marijuana for medical purposes). In contrast, Australia and America have aired the episode, but with higher ratings than normal (in Australia, this episode is rated M and in America, the rating is TV-14, though it does run with a TV-PG rating in syndication, even though it's not edited for content). Sky have since shown this episode on very few occasions, but only after 9:00 pm with no promos about the episode.
Episodes involving lighthearted looks at medicinal use of drugs do seem to draw Sky's ire: "The Good, The Bad And The Drugly" (with its subplot about Lisa being put on anti-depressants after she freaks out over Internet articles predicting that Springfield will be a barren wasteland in 50 years) was also banned.
In an attempt to prevent controversy from Japanese viewers, Fox never aired the episode "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" in Japan or put it on the season 10 DVD set due to scenes that mock Japanese culture and society (The Simpsons having a seizure while watching a robot anime, Homer tossing the Japanese emperor into a sumo thongs Dumpster, and The Simpsons appearing on a sadistic Japanese game show).
Season 13's "Blame It on Lisa" was banned in Brazil for the same reasons why Japan banned "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" (stereotypical depiction of the country).
The episode "E. Pluribus Wiggum" caused controversy in Argentina because of Carl and Lenny's exchange about military dictator Juán Perón making dissidents "disappear" and saying his wife, Eva, is Madonna. FOX Latin America has never aired the episode, skipping from "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" to "That 90's Show" when rerunning the series in order. For anyone living in Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, or Mexico, the episode has aired there uncut and dubbed in the respective Spanish dialect.
Banned In China: Some episodes have been skipped over in other countries due to jokes against the country that really bordered on offensive:
"Goo Goo Gai Pan" was banned in China because of Homer's line about Mao Zedung being a "...little angel who killed 50 million people" and the scene parodying the Tiennamen Square incident (which any mention of in China will get your ass arrested and possibly deported),
"Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" was banned in Japan for the "Battling Seizure Robot" scenenote which parodied the infamous Pokemon episode that gave a large number of children seizures due to the constant blinking lights and the part where Homer tosses the Japanese emperor into a sumo thong Dumpster,
"E. Pluribus Wiggum" was banned in some Latin American countries due to Lenny and Carl's dialogue about Argentinean leader Juan Peron (who was implied to be behind the disappearances of a lot of political dissidents),
"Blame It On Lisa" was banned in Brazil for depicting the country as a run-down slum where everyone is into soccer and the children's shows are more risque than what airs in America.
Bat Scare: Once when the family get lost in some caves. Bats also fly out of the card catalogs at the public library.
Edna gets one in "Bart the Lover" when she reads "Woodrow"'s love letter.
Selma gets one in "Black Widower" (also reading a love letter she got from a man).
Homer gets one in "A Milhouse Divided" (when Bart breaks a chair over Homer's head to see if he can withstand the pain from the hit).
Homer and Marge try to spice up their romantic life by having a bath together in "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" (which fails, as Homer is too fat to fit in the tub, the water kills the light on all the candles, and the two have to call the kids in to get out).
Marge gets one in "Homer Alone" (the scene where she watches Thelma & Louise while eating a hot fudge sundae with a chocolate chip cheesecake and drinking tequila)
Batman in My Basement: In "The Fool Monty", Bart finds a brain-damaged Mr. Burns in the woods and takes him home, attempting to hide him in his bedroom.
In "The Seemingly Never-ending Story", the Simpsons get stuck in caves. The obligatory flock of bats appears, and everybody is scared but baby Maggie; being the Badass Adorable that she is, she enthusiastically greets the bats with waving.
Bats fly out of the card catalog drawers at the public library.
Bat Signal: Accidental example when Homer stands in front of a lighthouse, causing his silhouette to be projected onto the clouds.
Homer: Hey, you know, I once knew a man from Nantucket.
Homer: Let's just say the stories about him are greatly exaggerated.
Another time, Homer referred to the poem in a very Purple Prose manner, still stopping before he got to "the good part".
Beach Bury: Ned is buried like this and Homer parks his car on top of him.
Flanders: Homer, is that my muffler?
Beat Still, My Heart: On "New Kid on the Block," after Bart is crushed to hear that Laura has a boyfriend, he imagines Laura ripping his heart out and kicking it into a garbage can, complete with blood trail. In "Goo Goo Gai Pan," a monk rips Homer's heart out and puts it back in, without Homer feeling any pain. Also, "Homer's Triple Bypass" had an inside look on Homer's heart reacting to Mr. Burns yelling at him.
The Beard: Apu pretending to be married to Marge so he won't have to go through with an arranged marriage in "The Two Nahasapeemapetilons".
Before I Change My Mind: In "Simpson and Delilah", Mr. Burns almost fires Homer for making a "mockery" of the morning meeting (merely due to being bald), but decides not to because he can empathize with Homer's baldness. He lets him return to his Sector 7G job, but states "Now get outta here before I reconsider."
Belly Buttonless: In one episode, Homer's life is invaded by an army of clones of himself. The clones, predictably enough, lack belly buttons.
Best Before Decade: We learn that Apu sells products that are over a decade old. "And the clerk who runs the store, can charge a little more for milk (for milk) and meat (and meat) from 1984!"
Fat Tony: No, what I said is that he sleeps with the fishes! You see...
Louie: Uh, Tony, please, no. I just ate a whole plate of dingamagoo.
Be Yourself: Tacked on at the end of "Homer to the Max" to explain why Homer changed his name back from Max Power to Homer Simpson. Also the Aesop for the episode "Lisa Goes Gaga".
The B Grade: Lisa freaks out in "Kamp Krusty" when she's given a "B" in "Conduct". She also stresses when she gets an "A-" in "Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade", especially since Bart scored a solid "A".
Bigger Bad: Bart's Kindergarten Teacher from Lisa's Sax and Mr. Burns' grandfather qualify as such.
Defendant: No no no no no. It's not a lemon. It's a strong car.
Judge: Hmm, lemon... strong... lemon... strong... lemon... ay-yi-yi-yi-yi my stomach!
Big Little Man: Moe has a date set up with a dwarf girlfriend, but he thinks she's bigger since her online photo was of her looking tall in front of the Empire State Building (actually the one in Lego Land).
Homer: For the last time, Bush, apologize for spanking my boy! Bush: Never! You make him apologize for destroying my memoirs. Homer:(to Bart) You didn't tell me you destroyed his memoirs... (to Bush) Never!
In the school play about the founding of America in "I Love Lisa":
Lisa (as Martha Washington): Wouldn't it just be easier to give in to the British?
Ralph (as George Washington): NEVER! (audience applauds)
"Bart's Comet": Skinner shouts this three times: Once, when he hears the other end of a phone conversation that congratulates Bart for discovering a comet; twice, when he accidentaly releases the "Hi! I'm Big-Butt Skinner" balloon and it floats away; and third when a paperboy throws a paper at Skinner's feet with the headline: "Prez Sez: School is for losers."
"Duffless": Shouted in slow motion when Lisa's giant tomato is thrown at Skinner's butt.
"Homer: Bad Man": Shouted by Godfrey Jones when Homer comes towards him during the interview.
"King-Size Homer": Homer shouts this when he's forced to join the calisthenics class.
"On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister": Played with, as Grampa is actually shouting "Gnomes!"
"She Used To Be My Girl": Marge shouts this after a daydream.
"Bart's Dog Gets an F": Homer shouts this after SLH eats apart his brand new ASSASSINS sneakers. Only it morphs into a howl when Homer says it at the same time.
"I Love Lisa": Said by Lisa in a live audience at the Krusty Anniversary special:
Krusty: And is this your girlfriend, Ralph?
Ralph:Yes, I love Lisa Simpson, and when I grow up, i'm going to marry her.
Lisa: Noooooooooooooo!!! Now you listen to me. I don't like you. I never liked you. And the only reason I gave you that stupid valentine is that nobody else would!
"And Maggie Makes Three": Happens the moment Homer finally finds out about Marge's pregnancy:
Maude: By the way, congratulations on your new job, Homer.
Homer: New job? ...Marge is pregnant?! [pulls hair out] Noooooo! [runs up stairs screaming, slams bedroom door]
Ned: I just attacked all my friends and neighbors just for trying to help me. I'd like to commit myself.
Nurse: Very well. Shall I show you to your room, or would you prefer to be dragged off kicking and screaming?
Ned: Ooh, kicking and screaming, please.
Nurse: As you wish.
[two men in white grab hold of him and drag him away]
In "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily", when Homer stops Ned from baptizing Bart.
In "Homer Alone", when Marge has a nervous breakdown after Maggie spills milk all over the car.
In the first minute of "The Bart Wants What It Wants", one of the Olympic Administrators do this when they survive the plane crash, but realize the Olympic Flame is not lit anymore. Oh, and a 'Big No' it is.
Homer: I can't believe it. I'm being mocked. By my own children. On my birthday! Bart: It's your birthday? Homer: Yes! Remember, it's the same day as the dog's. Lisa: Santa's Little Helper, it's your birthday? Ooh! We've gotta get you a present.
In one episode Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday - dispite the fact that she doesn't bowl. He even got it inscribed with his name, on the assumption that she'd give it to him to use. She takes up bowling just to spite him, claiming that Homer is the name of her ball.
In the Michael Jackson episode, Lisa turns 8. Nobody pays attention. In the end, Michael & Bart write a song for her.
Black Belt In Origami: In one episode, Homer tries to bluff his way into getting a veteran's discount by pretending to have served in Vietnam. He shouts several Asian words (up to and including Margaret Cho) as reference to specific battles he was supposedly involved with.
Black Comedy: Progressively more so over the years. Most fans blame "Homer's Enemy" as the episode that brought about the use of Dead Baby Comedy on a frequent basis.
"The Boys Of Bummer" from season 18 is an oft-cited example. While it did have moments of comic relief (i.e., the subplot of Homer being a mattress tester and the end where Marge tells Homer that ghost sex isn't the same as real sex), the main plot of Bart losing the big Little League game and becoming a town pariah (to the point that he goes insane and attempts suicide) just crossed the line.
In "Homer vs. the 18th Amendment", when Homer is questioned by Marge about where he's going (that is, to go to the bowling alley to roll alcohol in bowling balls to Moe's), Homer replies with, "I'm not gonna lie to you, Marge...... so long!"
In "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore", Marge questions where Homer's getting all the extra money. Homer replies that he's not going to lie to her... only to not say another word and continue reading the paper.
In "Lisa's Sax", Homer flashes back to having said to Barney as a kid "Let's Never Drink Again!" Then in the present day he says, holding a beer, "And we never did!" as he proceeds to take a sip.
Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: The Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenango, also known as the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper. Homer has to lacquer his mouth and esophagus in order to eat one.
Bleep Dammit: At a yard sale in "Two Bad Neighbors", the Simpsons sell a T-shirt with "Ayatollah A*saholla" written on it, with one of the S's in the second word always censored by Marge's hand, a fold, etc.
Blinding Camera Flash: Used as a weapon against crazed robot Itchys and Scratchys at Itchy And Scratchy Land. Flashing them causes their brains to go haywire.
Blunt Yes: Nelson uses this twice in a row during "22 Short Films About Springfield," when confronted by someone he pointed and laughed at.
Very Tall Man: Do you find something comical about my appearance when I'm driving my automobile?
Nelson : ... yeah.
Very Tall Man:: Everyone needs to drive a vehicle, even the very tall. This was the largest auto that I could afford. Am I therefore to be made the subject of fun?
Nelson: ... I guess so.
Blond Guys Are Evil: In an episode where the Simpsons play up the Dumb Blonde jokes, Lisa is offended by them and asks why Bart finds them funny, cue lampshade hanging by Bart, "Only blonde girls are dumb, the boys are evil!"
Note that Bart and Lisa are themselves blonde.
Technically, Bart's hair is naturally red, but he intentionally sun-bleaches it to evade being called "Rusty."
Bold Explorer: "Margical History Tour" features Lenny and Carl as Lewis and Clark, exploring the American Northwest, and Lisa as Sacagawea, the native woman who helped them—or, in this case, tried to help them, but gets frustrated by their stupidity.
Bond One-Liner: McBain has quite a few of these: "Ice to see you." after breaking out of an ice sculpture and shooting up the place; "Meeting adjourned" after shooting up a villain board meeting.
Principal Skinner in "Lisa the Beauty Queen": "Copyright expired."
Bond Villain Stupidity: In "Cape Feare", Bart is successfully able to stall Sideshow Bob from killing him by saying he has such a beautiful voice and asking him to sing the entire score of the H.M.S. Pinafore.
Later, in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", this is both averted and played straight:
Bart: So, Krusty double crossed you. But your basic plan was pure genius. Where do you get your ideas?
Sideshow Bob: Oh please. Let's not embarrass us both with that hoary old "stall the villain with flattery" scheme.
Bart: I...should have known you were too smart to fall for that.
Sideshow Bob: Really? What type of smart? Book smart? Because there are a lot of people who are book smart but it takes a special type of genius to... (Chief Wiggum tells him to come out with his hands up)
From "Itchy & Scrathy The Movie" when Homer and Marge leave for a parent-teacher conference:
Marge: So long, kids. We'll bring back dinner.
Lisa: What are we having?
Homer: Well, that depends on how kids have been. If you've been good: pizza. If you've been bad... Let's see, uh... Poison.
Lisa: What if one of us has been good and one of us has been bad?
Bart: Poisoned pizza.
Homer: Oh, no! I'm not making two stops!
In "The Wettest Stories Ever Told":
Ned: Horseplay? Rough-housing? Horse-housing?!
Break the Cutie: Subverted in Dog Of Death. When Burns gets a hold of Bart's friendly, gentle pet dog, he does to the dog what was done to Alex in A Clockwork Orange to, as Burns himself put it, turn the dog into "a vicious, soulless killer." However, when Burns sends said dog after Bart, the dog's memories of good times with Bart prompt him to lick Bart's face instead of attacking him. When the other dogs come after Bart, said pet dog growls at the other dogs and scares them off, only to proceed to lick Bart's face AGAIN. Burns' attempt at breaking the dog's spirit yields, if any change in the dog at all, a result of the dog taking a level in badass while no longer being on Burns' side in the long run.
Break Up Bonfire: When Milhouse's parents get divorced, Luann carefully boxes up all of Kurt's possessions and then sets fire to the box.
Wiggum: I hope you're not suggesting that I would take that necklace as a bribe. Think again, dirtbag, cause I can swipe it later from the evidence locker.
Wiggum: (As a reaction, when Bart tries to bribe him with precious wedding day dishes) What does it say on my badge? (badge says: Cash Bribes Only)
Subverted in "Bart Carny": Wiggum is actually the one who initiates the bribe idea, but Homer is so clueless that he doesn't realize Wiggum is asking for a bribe. Wiggum shuts down Homer's carny game as a result of his failure to bribe Wiggum to keep it open.
Brick Joke: During "24 Minutes", Bart makes a phone call that accidentally gets crossed with that of Jack Bauer, so he leaves him a prank call. At the end of the episode, Bauer arrives to arrest Bart for the call.
We get a triple-whammy in "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder". In the opening, Moleman is seen being hassled by a pushy New Yorker, and is seen as defenseless. When he reappears later in the episode, he is revealed to be the king of the Mole People, and about to use an earthquake machine. His CMOA and Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, "No One Escapes From The Fortress Of The Mole People", is immediately dashed, as the bungie cord both Homer and Otto were on rebounds and sends them back to the surface, to which Moleman dejectedly says "Well, except for that."
In "Alone Again, Natura-Diddly", Homer presents a dating video he made for Ned, warning him, "The audio needs some tweaking and there's some footage of Maggie being born that I couldn't get rid of." They watch the tape, and at the end the video abruptly cuts to Marge in labor with Maggie, to Ned's disgust.
Brilliant, but Lazy: Bart in "Bart Gets an F" (especially where Bart cries over failing his test, cites a failed battle fought by George Washington, and ends up passing), and "Lisa the Simpson" (which revealed that he was smart as a kid, but became dumb due to the Simpson gene — though "Lisa's Sax" revealed that Bart became a bad student because his kindergarten teacher hated him and he had a bad first day of school).
British Brevity: Parodied with the Show Within a ShowDo Shut Up from the episode "Missionary: Impossible". The PBS hosts describe it as Britain's longest-running series, then say they'll be showing "all seven episodes".
British Royal Guards: The episode "The Regina Monologues" sees the family vacation in London, where Homer crashes their car through the front gate at Buckingham Palace and into the Queen's carriage. Royal guards beat Homer senselessly but stop half-way through to observe the Changing of the Guard. Homer's beating continues at the hands of the next group of guards on duty.
In "Bart Vs. Australia," Homer mistakes a US Marine posted outside the American Embassy for one of these guards. The Marine punches Homer in the face after he starts making funny faces at him and curtly explains that he is not a British Royal Guard.
Homer: Hey! Are you like one of those English guards who can't laugh or smile or anything? [makes noises and faces at him][gets punched in the face] Ow!
Marine: No, Sir! US Marine Corps, Sir!
And yet another episode has Homer mistake Shaolin Monks as the British guards. He's met with similar results.
Broken Glass Penalty: With a remote-control plane instead of a ball. Although it was technically Nelson and Milhouse that crashed it, Bart goes to get it and gets caught, setting off the episode's A plot of Bart working in a burlesque house.
Bart and Lisa: "Can we have a pool, Dad? Can we have a pool, Dad? Can we have a pool, Dad? Can we have a pool, Dad? Can we have a pool, Dad?"
Bart and Lisa: "Will you take us to Mt. Splashmore?"
Ned Flanders: "We're done-diddly-doodily, done-diddly-doodily, done-diddly-doodily, done-diddly-doodily—" (SLAP!)
Bart and Lisa: "Are we there yet?"
Homer and Apu: "Are we in India Yet?" "No." "Are we in India Yet?" "No." "Are we in India Yet?" "No." "Are we in India Yet?" "No." "Are we in India Yet?" "No." "Are we in India Yet?" "No... wait... now we are!"
A literal example in "The Great Wife Hope": When all the men of Springfield abandon their usual hangouts to watch an MMA fight at the stadium, we get a shot of an empty Moe's Tavern, where the record player is stuck on a few-second-loop of "Monster Mash".
Brother-Sister Incest: Cletus and Brandine are related to each other in all sorts of ways. One of them being as brother and sister.
Subverted in "Money BART" in which Nelson makes an incest joke about Bart and Lisa's conversation, but Lisa retaliates that they're brother and sister, nothing more.
Lisa: I need to do a little research.
Bart: A little is not going to be enough, honeypie.
Subverted in the episode, "Little Girl in the Big Ten", where Lisa is pretending to be a college student. When asked if any of the boys in her house are cute, she responds with "Well, Bart is kinda... NO!"
Subverted in "Dangerous Curves". In the beginning of the third act of the episode, Bart and Lisa, while driving a pedal car along with Maggie, argue as if they're a 'married couple'.
Subverted in "Kill the Alligator and Run" with this quote:
Homer: Yep, this place is great. And some day, when Lisa and Bart get married, it'll all be theirs.
There's also Francine Rhenquist in "Bye Bye Nerdie". The Francine example is an interesting case, as it reveals that she's a bully because she has an adverse reaction to the sweat that emanates from nerds. It was shown that it also affects Nelson (Lisa demonstrates by swabbing nerd sweat on boxer Dreaderick Tatum and Nelson compulsively begins beating him).
Bully Hunter: Bart pulls the trope off in "Bart the General" when he and the entire class bombard Nelson and his gang with balloons until they surrender... literally, as in sign a treaty.
Busby Berkeley Number: There are no lyrics, but in "Bart of Darkness", the swimmers perform a choreographed routine, part of which is shot from above and features a visual very similar to what's on the trope page.
Butt Monkey: Quite a few, actually: Hans Moleman, Milhouse, Milhouse's dad after he got divorced, Grampa Simpson, Sideshow Mel, Gil, Homer, Bart (sometimes; see episodes "Bart's Girlfriend," "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace," "The Boys of Bummer," and "The Telltale Head")
Leonard Nimoy: I'm Leonard Nimoy. The following tale of alien encounters is true. And by true, I mean, false. It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies. And in the end, isn't that the real truth? The answer, is no.