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- Abandoned War Child: In "The Regina Monologues", the Simpsons visit England, with Grandpa Abe Simpson going to try and find a woman he had a one-night stand with the evening before D-Day. In the epilogue they find each other in the airport, and it turns out Homer has a half-sister named Abbie. Abe panics and runs for the plane.
- 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.Marge: Homer, your spine!
- Maggie has also done this before, as seen on the episode where The Simpson kids are sent to live with the Flanders family by Child Welfare officers.
- 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":Smithers:"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 Dedicated Worker: In "Simpson and Delilah", Homer uses a hair grower to get his hair back and is promoted and gets an assistant who then takes the blame for something Homer did, gets fired, and still writes Homer's speech for him even after having been fired. The assistant is absurdly faithful to Homer.
- 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.
- Absurdly Long Limousine: An episode had a rapper's limo that had a wax museum in its basement.
- A Cappella: Be Sharps in "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" perform several songs A cappella.
- 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 Misnaming:
Patty: So, you finally left Durwood.
- Referenced in the "Easy-Bake Coven" segment of "Treehouse of Horror VIII", with Marge and her sisters as witches (which makes this also an actual Shout-Out to Bewitched).
Marge: His name is Homer!
- Moe often calls Marge things like Madge or Midge, though this is more of affectionate nicknaming since it's obvious he has a crush on her. There's also this scene from "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe":Homer: See Marge, it's just what you wanted. Me spending the day with Mugsy.
Homer: Marge, you're not naggy. You just set the bar impossibly high.
Marge: Well can you at least bring a sweater for Maggie?
Homer: Impossibly high.
- The season two episode "Bart's Dog Gets an F" had the dog's name read as "Satan's Little Helper" by the dog trainer instead of "Santa's Little Helper".
- When Bart fills out a credit card application in "The Canine Mutiny" using Santa's Little Helper's name, he gets a card in the name of "Santos L. Halper." Reverend Lovejoy even uses the "Satan's Little Helper" name in the episode.
- In "Grade School Confidential":Homer: Wait... Bart's teacher's name is "Krabappel"? I've been calling her "Krandal"! Why didn't someone tell me?! Oh, I've been making an idiot out of myself!
- 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." He just wanted the candy.
- Accidental Proposal: In "Apocalypse Cow", Bart accidentally becomes engaged to Cletus' daughter Mary when he gives her a stolen cow to look after (It Makes Sense in Context).
- Acquainted with Emergency Services: The Simpson family, mainly Homer and Bart, are prone to this.
- In Season 5, "Homer Goes to College", after Homer causes a meltdown in class when the professor asks him to demonstrate how a proton accelerator works. The clean-up crew arrives to stop the problem:Homer: (glowing green, gesturing over shoulder) In there, guys.
Crew: Thanks, Homer.
- In Season 12 "Worst Episode Ever", Bart makes a bet with Homer to eat spoonful of rotten baking soda which he agrees to:Lisa: (dialing Poison Control) I'll call Poison Control. (talking on the phone) Fran, it's me. Just a heads-up.
- In Season 13, "The Parent Rap", the Simpsons go to court when Bart and Milhouse get in trouble for stealing Chief Wiggum's squad car. Judge Roy Snyder is shown to know Bart already pretty well when he is brought to court. Bart knows him pretty well too, since he knows that he will let him off the hook, since "boys will be boys".Marge: I love our court days. It's about the only thing we do as a family anymore.
(the Simpsons walk past a bailiff)
Lisa: (to the bailiff) Hey, Karie.
Karie: Hey, Lisa.
- In Season 5, "Homer Goes to College", after Homer causes a meltdown in class when the professor asks him to demonstrate how a proton accelerator works. The clean-up crew arrives to stop the problem:
- 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, 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). Krusty's own Judaism, as well as the reasoning that no one would ever do anything that stupid, apparently failed to tip the balance in his favor.
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.
- Another having nothing to do with sharing an initialism:
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.
- From "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses":
- Acting Unnatural: Skinner and Chalmers do it in "500 Keys" while waiting to snatch the key to the hidden classroom of Lisa.
- Action Insurance Gag: Subverted in "Strong Arms of the Ma". After Homer has talked a roided-up Marge out of totalling Moe's Tavern, Moe decides to set the place on fire to cover for his losses. After he starts by burning down the counter, he's reminded of a little something:Carl: Oh, whoa, wait a minute. Don't you have to buy insurance first?
Moe: Oh, crap.
- Action Mom:
- Homer's mother is pretty badass.
- Marge was a policewoman.
- Actually Pretty Funny: In "Bart-Spangled Banner", Skinner shows photos of disabilities and injuries Bart faked, including one, "railray-spike through head Bart", that Skinner says is his favorite.
- Adam Westing: Adam West plays himself in the "Mr. Plow" episode.
- Added Alliterative Appeal:
- Adoring the Pests: Homer doesn't see anything wrong with possums infesting a monorail and crawling around on a fire extinguisher.
- Adult Fear:
- Episode "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily", where due to several misunderstandings, child welfare accused Homer and Marge of negligence and their children are taken away from them. It was particularly heartbreaking when Homer and Marge wander in their house to each of their kids' empty bedrooms. And when Marge and Homer heard Bart's signature ring, they rushed down to the front door, faces joyful, only to see nobody was there.
- There was the episode where Homer's mother Mona dies. Homer has been reunited with his mother for the first time in a while, after being abandoned by her again, and he's genuinely angry at that. So he tells her that he doesn't want to forgive her, and goes away... only to find, later that night when he comes down to apologize to her, that poor Mona died in her sleep. For many adults, the realization that they are highly likely to see their parents die, and the idea of a parent (or any loved one really) dying after an argument is... sobering.
- The episode where Lisa finds a beached whale and tries desperately to save it hits us with the "not every life can be saved and parents can't solve everything" message, made even more painful by Lisa's Hope Spot dream where Bumbling Dad Homer of all people rescues the whale by organizing a ton of different people for the sole purpose of making Lisa happy.
- In "500 Keys", Maggie is locked alone in the car. She's smart enough to get out on her own, but it's still pretty scary.
- Parodied when Lisa tricks Homer into letting her go downtown by herself on the bus. He casually tells Lenny and Carl this, and they're horrified. Cue Homer making up a story about how Lisa is so smart she overloaded a computer, which Lenny and Carl don't fall for, and Homer finally running off to save Lisa.
- "Alone Again, Natura-Diddly" — Ned and Maude Flanders go to a racetrack and Maude, naturally offended by Homer's inevitable antics, gets up to go get her family some hot dogs. They look away, and Maude dies in a freak accident moments later.
- "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" — Homer and Marge look back with regret when Bart runs away because of their rather harsh punishment of him. Topped off with Homer lamenting "Will we ever see him again?".
- 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.
- Aesop Amnesia: Homer and Marge can’t seem to get it in their heads that Bart responds far better to positive reinforcement than negative.
- As seen in Lisa’s Sax where they gave up on helping Bart merely because it would be inconvenient in helping Lisa it comes across more as laziness on Homer and Marge’s part. As seen in many episodes the combination of Parental Neglect and abuse makes them doing little things such making sure he does his homework and giving him a legitimate punishment (i.e not straggling him) when he does something wrong and not letting him off the hook if enough to make him a far better person. Unfortunately Status Quo Is God by the next episode.
- This reaches the point of disturbing at time as Love Is a Many Strangled Thing and Postcards From the Wedge show even the little they do now as bad as it is is enough to keep him from taking his behavior up to eleven as at least it’s attention which is all he really wants.
- And it’s not just Homer and Marge as "Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts" and "The Wreck of the Relationship" show giving him a less apathetic teacher has the same effect.
- Basically, they treat him like a human being and he will act like a human being.
- This could probably be seen as more of a case of Status Quo Is God then this trope as you wouldn’t really have many conflicts if bart was a normal kid
- Affair Letters: In "Homer's Paternity Coot", a frozen mailman is discovered and his letters are finally delivered; one of them is a letter from a Mason Fairbanks, whom Homer's mother Mona cheated with, causing him to doubt if Abe really is his father.
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In an educational film, Troy McClure does this to little Tommy at the end.Tommy: You're...hurting...me.
- Affectionate Pickpocket:
- 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.
- After-School Cleaning Duty: Bart has been punished in this manner more than a few times.
- 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."
Bart: All plays suck, all the time, and always will, and everyone knows it.
- From "The Seven Beer Snitch":
- 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.Smithers: I'm afraid he's got us, sir.
- The Ahnold: Rainier Wolfcastle.
- Alan Smithee: "The Simpsons 138th Spectacular" was directed by David Silverman under the pseudonym "Pound Foolish".
- In-show example: At the end of the power plant commercial, Mr. Burns is credited as "Alan Smithee".
- Matt Groening hated the episode "A Star Is Burns" accusing it of being nothing more than an advertisement for The Critic and after failing to have the episode cancelled, he attacked the episode in an interview calling it an abomination to The Simpsons. In turn, he refused to have his name in the credits.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Displayed often by Homer (and sometimes Barney).
- 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.
- Aliens Speaking English: Subverted the hell out of with Kang, Kodos, and their entire species: They are actually speaking Rigelian, which just happens to be identical to English.
- The Alleged Boss: Carl is apparently Homer's supervisor. He mentions this only once to get him to stop insulting him and for the rest of the series acts as Homer's drinking buddy and even joins in on some of his antics.
- 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". "Put it in H!"
- The Alleged Computer:
- The school's aptitude tests are scored by a huge mainframe-like machine named "Emma" which takes some Percussive Maintenance to operate. It said Bart should be a cop and Lisa a homemaker.
- When Lisa's dishonest exam result pushes the school's average into the boundaries of acceptability, the school is awarded some money which is spent on, among other things, an IT department consisting of a single desktop computer, which was visibly about 15 years out of date at the time of the episode.
- All Gays Are Pedophiles: The show, unfortunately, regularly finds humor in depicting homosexuals as predators. A couple of examples include Doctor Smith of Lost in Space attempting to lure Bart in "Fear of Flying" and the ghost of Oscar Wilde showing an interest in Bart in "Father Knows Worst".
- It usually averts this trope, however. "Fear of Flying" was Marge's phobia mixing with other rational fears like someone hurting her child. Contrast regular character Mr. Smithers; John, in "Homer's Phobia"; or Karl in "Simpson and Delilah", to name a few.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Including Lisa.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Lisa having a crush on Nelson Muntz in "Lisa's Date with Density."
Jessica: [walking up] You're bad, Bart Simpson.Bart: [plaintive] No, I'm not! I'm really —Jessica: Yes, you are. You're bad...and I like it.Bart: [suave] I'm bad to the bone, honey.
- Also in "Bart's Girlfriend":
- Little would he know that she's even worse than him. And she's Rev. Lovejoy's daughter, mind.
- Alliterative List: In "The Itchy & Scratchy Movie", Homer tells the class that he taught Lisa the three R's: "Reading TV Guide, writing to TV Guide, and renewing TV Guide."
- In "Viva Ned Flanders", Ned tells the church he kept his youthful appearance with the three C's: "Clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin church."
- All-Natural Gem Polish: The diamonds in the African mine owned by the crazy woman who used ape slave labor.
- All Take and No Give: Played with with Bart and Lisa while they fight a lot (though double standard abuse is usually in play when they do) they both have many instances of awe they do love each other. However while Lisa does do nice things for boss (buying his soul, telling their parents when he was going to jump spring field gorge) Bart regularly sacrifices himself for Lisa. Such as giving up his future for her twice, using all of his money to buy bleeding gums murphy’s record, and agreeing to stay crippled so she can be the better musician.
- What makes this worse is that On A Clear Day I Can See My Sister shows that Lisa doesn’t even acknowledge these incidents.
- A great example are the episodes The Secret War of Lisa Simpson and A Test Before Trying. In the former Bart secretly trained Lisa for test and on the day of the final even though it would most assuredly get him beat up he loudly cheered her own. However in the later Lisa aided Bart in his test less for his benefit and more for hers as a failing grade would get the school shut down for having low scores. And on the day of the test instead of cheering him on she gave him a death glare while ominously tapping the window.
- 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)
- The waitress at Flaming Moe's is named Colette according to Simpsons-related sites.
- All Women Love Shoes: Rather downplayed with Marge. From her point of view, you only need one pair of shoes and you're set for life.
- 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 Architecture: in "Homer the vigilante", a criminal claims to have buried a fortune under a big letter T. The entire town then goes mad hunting for it, and several sight gags include T-shaped buildings such as the "Big T Burgers & Fries", the "Big T Building", and the "Big T Theatre" ( with Ice-T appearing with Booker T. in concert)
- Alphabet News Network: In the year 2010 in "Lisa's Wedding", Kent Brockman is now a news anchor on CNNBCBS (a division of ABC).
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: On "Krusty Gets Kancelled" a drunken Barney chants "We want Chilli Willi!" as the Red Hot Chili Peppers dispute with Moe, who booked them to play his bar. This is a reference, by way of Stealth Pun, to seventies rock band Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers - Phillip Lithman, session guitarist for The Residents (of whom Groening was a huge fan), played in it.
- Always in Class One: "Remedial Science 1-A" in "The Front".
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Almost every character, the Caucasian and Asian ones at least, has yellow skin.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Agnes embarrasses Skinner more than once.Agnes: Seymour needs to use the toilet! His bladder's full! Full of urine!
- Homer and Marge turn into these whenever they find themselves interacting with Bart and Lisa's classmates (or future fiances).
- Ambiguously Gay: Waylon Smithers in earlier seasons; Lenny and Carl in later ones.
- Mr. Largo, the Springfield Elementary music teacher.
- Also, Milhouse is Ambiguously Bisexual.
- Amnesiac Lover: The episode, "Regarding Margie," has the plot based on this trope.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Laddie, the turtle from Terrapin Wax, and Itchy & Scratchy.
- Amusing Injuries: Homer suffers many of them. So does Hans Moleman. Hans even made a short film entitled "Man Getting Hit By Football."Homer: But... the ball! His groin! A-ha! It works on so many levels!
- In Cape Feare, Sideshow Bob gets trampled by a marching band, followed by six elephants.
- Anal Probing:
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!
- 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.
- 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-Lisa: Please don't say any more!
- And I Must Scream:
- 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.
- Also, when Homer got stuck apparently forever in the Third Dimension.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Parodied, of course, in "Bart Star":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)
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 "Bart the General":
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.Lance: We signed J. C. up yesterday.J. C.: What? (is dragged away) Nooooooooo!
- In "New Kids on the Blecch":
- Androcles' Lion: Parodied in "Blood Feud", where Homer tries to tell the story to Bart just to teach him the moral that you should help wealthy people because they can give you money.Homer: Don't you know the story of Hercules and the lion?
Bart: Is it a Bible story?
Homer: ...Yeah, probably. Anyway, once upon a time, there was a big mean lion who got a thorn in his paw. All the village people tried to pull it out, but nobody was strong enough! So they got Hercules, and Hercules used his mighty strength, and — bingo! Anyway, the moral is, the lion was so happy, he gave Hercules this big... thing... of riches.
Bart: How did a lion get rich?
Homer: (Dismissively) It was the olden days.
- 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."
- In the Treehouse of Horror segment "The Homega Man", after Springfield is destroyed by an atomic bomb, Homer mourns the apparent loss of li'l Bart, li'l Lisa, li'l Marge... and the rest◊.
- And Then I Said: From "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer":Bart: So then I says to Mabel, I says...
Homer: Hi, kids!
Bart: I'll finish this later. Hi, Dad.
Homer: So then I said: "You can take your free tetanus shot and shove it!"
- From "Maximum Homerdrive":
Bart: You told her, dad!
Homer: You better... (jaw locks shut; says next line through gritted teeth) believe I did!
Homer: (drunk) So I sez, "Yeah, if you want that money, come and find it, 'cuz I don't know where it is, ya baloney. You make me wanna retch." (immediately falls asleep)
- From "New Kid on the Block":
Homer: (drunk) So I says, "Blue M&M, red M&M, they all wind up the same color in the end."
- From "The Springfield Files":
Barney: So the next time someone tells you carnies are good honest people, you can spit in their face for me!
- From "Homer Defined":
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!"
- From "Homer the Vigilante":
Lenny: So I says to the cop, "No, you're driving under the influence — of being a jerk!"
- From "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses"
- Finally: From "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer":
- 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.
- Angelic Aliens: Subverted in the episode "The Springfield Files". Homer sees in the woods what appears to be a glowing, smiling Grey saying, "I bring you peace" and "I bring you love." It turns out to be Mr. Burns, disoriented and high after a medical treatment "to cheat death," with the glow coming from his exposure to nuclear plant radiation.
- 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.
Impound Lot Owner: Shake harder, boy!
- There's also an episode where Abe shows a clipping from the newspaper doing this to clouds for his driver's license photo.
- In "Lemon of Troy", when the Springfieldians finally get the lemon tree back from Shelbyville, the owner of the impound lot and his son get "revenge" in this fashion.
- 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.)
Officiator 1: And the winner is nature's greatest killing machine... man!Audience: Boo!Officiator 1: Show me where in the rulebook it says that a human can't be a robot.Officiator 2: Right here. Rule one.
- Homer participated in a robot fighting league disguised as a robot. When he's found out, two officiators share:
- Animation Bump: At the expense of consistency, the animation during the earlier seasons (roughly seasons 1-8) is a lot more expressive and fluid compared to the other seasons.
- The movie, for obvious reasons.
- The first 3 seasons and the Tracey Ullman shorts in particular were animated by Klasky-Csupo, and as such the episodes were more expressive and vivid in movement. And this is very noticeable in the shorts and the first season, oftenly bordering into animation mistakes.
- Specific examples:
- While the 1920's shorts featured in "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie" are, true to the era, fairly simple and low on details, the Wartime Cartoon features complex character designs more in line with a Tex Avery short, fluid, fast-paced lines of motion, and a fully airbrushed background.
- The heart attack in "Homer's Triple Bypass" is extremely intricate, with Homer contorting and smearing into multiple bizarre positions in his agony while the inset of his heart shorts out and shatters itself.
- The couch gag done by veteran Disney animator Eric Goldberg. Naturally, it features Disneyesque fluid animation, while notably keeping the characters mostly on model (despite the obvious different Art Shifts for each character).
- Animeland: The Simpsons were attacked by Kaiju on the plane back home.
- Another Story for Another Time: In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Bart and Lisa have so many questions after Homer's story of a Beatles-esque career.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.Homer: Apu is cheating!Krusty: (somber) That's sad. All those kids.Homer: I think he's building to something.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Mr. Burns seems to have a lexicon dating back to roughly 1911.
- 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)
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. Someone on a bike actually addresses him has "mein Führer." 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!
Burns: Oh, you all talk big, but who here has the guts to stop me?
Marge: (to Lisa) Why do you always have to question everything I do?!
- From "Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield":
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Trope formerly known as "Bus Full Of Nuns".
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 donkey.
- 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:
- In "Itchy and Scratchyland", at the entrance of said amusement park, there's a sign saying: "Rides not operating today: Head Basher, Bloodbath, Mangler and Nurse's Station".
- 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.
- 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-colored animation in the 15th season, so recent episodes look somewhat different.
- This also works backwards too, as while the colors are more vibrant, backgrounds more pretty and characters more consistent. The animation itself has become bland and less expressive, more so after the switch to HD.
- Don Hertzfeldt's Couch Gag parodies this trend to horrifying effect — first Homer fiddles with a time-traveling remote that viscerally morphs him back to his crude 1989 model, then in a panicked attempt to undo the rewind he launches into a far future where he and his family are grotesque mutant caricatures that barely resemble their original selves.
- Artifact Title: The original Halloween episode was called "Treehouse of Horror" because it involved Bart and Lisa telling ghost stories inside of Bart's treehouse. None of the subsequent Halloween episodes have anything to do with treehouses but still bear the name "Treehouse of Horror" anyway.
- 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 – Geography: In Blame it on Lisa, when the family travels to Brazil, some kidnappers takes Homer from Rio to the Amazon Rainforest and back to Rio again in a single day, before sunset. As Rio de Janeiro is located in Brazil's Southeast, while the Amazon Rainforest is in the North, in real life those travels would take days. Unless the kidnappers used a supersonic plane, which is very unlikely.
- Artistic License – Traditional Christianity: In the episode where the kids are given to Ned and Maude Flanders as foster parents. Aside from the legal absurdities of the episode, Ned attempts to baptize the kids, and Homer intervenes, fearing that the baptism will make Ned and Maude their parents in the eyes of God. Quite a few things wrong with that. Although many Christian denominations allow baptism of children, it can only be licitly done with the consent of someone with the right to give such consent: i.e. a parent or permanent guardian. As foster parents, Ned and Maude lack the authority to baptize the Simpson kids according to the rules of most denominations. Also, although a licit baptism of an underage child does require the consent of parents or permanent guardians, a valid baptism does not confer a parent-child relationship. Technically, any baptized Christian can validly baptize anyone who is unbaptized, with no relationship being conferred between the two, certainly none that would supersede the natural relationship of parent and child. Therefore, even if the Simpson kids had been validly (if illicitly) baptized, Ned and Maude would not be considered their parents in the eyes of God.note
- 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.
- Artistic License – Law: In "The Otto Show," Otto comes home to find his door padlocked, the locks changed, and an eviction notice on the door. He seems completely surprised, but this is not how eviction works in real life. Before padlocking the door, his landlord is required to give him the chance to go to court; Otto has the right to appeal the eviction before the lockout, even if the reason is nonpayment of rent. If Otto failed to show up in court or failed to comply with the payment plan set up there, then a warrant of removal would be placed on the door at least three days before the door would be padlocked.
- Let's just say that the entire show thrives off of this, almost always for Rule of Funny or Hilarity Ensues.
- From "The Canine Mutiny": creditors, by law, are not allowed to call you after 9:00 P.M. (your time, not theirs) On the other hand, it is a good indicator of how much trouble Bart's in.
- Art Shift:
Homer: Holly Maccaroni!
- The couch gag for Bart Stops To Smell The Roosevelts done by John Kricfalusi.
- Ren and Stimpy's cameo in "Brother From The Same Planet"
- Bart's "Dark Stanley" story in "Yokel Chords."
- Lisa's daydream about the politicians in "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington."
- The Amendment Song in "The Day the Violence Died" is done in the style of Schoolhouse Rock.
- The California Raisins parody in "Tis the Fifteenth Season" is done in claymation, as is the Gumby couch gag.
- The "Cards" parody in "Mommie Beerest" is done in CG, as is Homer in the 3D world in "Homer³" (part of "Treehouse of Horror VI").
Krusty: What the hell was that?!
- The Davey and Goliath parody in "HOMЯ".
- The Tintin cutaway in "Husbands and Knives."
- 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 Rudeness: Cookie Kwan. Stay off the west side!
- 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'!"
- At Arm's Length: Done to Bart by Nelson in "Bart the General".
- 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.
- Audience Shift: Thanks largely to much more risque shows like Family Guy and South Park hitting the airwaves and inability of The Simpsons to be as provocative as it once was, the show's target audience has shifted towards a younger age range, with many of the guest stars (I.E. Lady Gaga) being popular with a younger demographic.
- Author Appeal: Mike Scully is a fan of the band NRBQ. Many of their songs ("Always Safety First", "12 Bar Blues", "It's a Wild Weekend", "I Like That Girl", "Mayonnaise and Marmalade") were used in the show during his tenure as showrunner, to the point where they were declared an "unofficial house band" for the show.
- 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 Mc Coolname: 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.
- Babysitting Episode:
- In what was originally the very first episode, but was delayed to the first season finale, concerns Homer & Marge going out for the evening while the kids are sat by what turns out to be "the Babysitting Bandit," who gets a babysitting job and then ties up the kids and steals everything from the house.
- In another episode, 8-year-old Lisa offers her services as a babysitter, but the only ones who will take her up on it are Homer & Marge, who have her watch Bart and Maggie. Bart does a lot of stupid things mostly for the sake of being contrarian, which eventually lends him in the hospital (she even has to drive him there in a wheelbarrow because he prank-called them earlier), but she still gets work afterwards.
- While healing from a work injury, Homer starts a Daddy Day Care-type in-home babysitting service.
- Back Blocking: In the episode "Bart the Murderer". Fat Tony fills the screen as he and his boys corner Principal Skinner in his office and Skinner asks how they got past the hall monitor.
- 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).
- Backwards-Firing Gun: Mr. Burns moves the power plant to India. When one of Moe's patrons comments that the bar is being powered by imported electricity, Moe sees no problem and points out other imported stuff. When he's asked if he has anything made in America, he shows his shotgun and tries to shoot, causing it to backfire.
- Badass Family: It's a bit of a Running Gag that Maggie Simpson is the most badass member of the family.
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!
- 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.
- 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 Terrible Anti-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.
- Badass Boast: In "Missionary:Impossible" Bart pledges $10,000 to the Fox network and a hilarious caricature of Rupert Murdoch shouts "You've saved our network!" to which Bart replies, looking at the camera, "Wouldn't be the first time". This is of course Lampshade Hanging as the popularity of the Simpsons has ensured the ongoing success of Fox despite their long list of failed, forgettable live action shows. This came right after Betty White discussed the importance of saving 'lowbrow and crude' shows on the network and the Family Guy logo showed.
- 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 .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.
Homer: Well, there were script problems from day one.Bart: Didn't seem like anybody even read the script.Homer: That was the problem.
- 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.
- 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.
- In the "Clown in the Dumps" Couch Gag, Homer finds himself in the year 10,535, where he is deformed and sees his entire family becoming deformed blobs uttering non-sequiturs, broken catchphrases, and advertisements on merchandise. He then reminisces through the millennia of how his family wasn't so deformed and could still communicate with each other; his family tried telling him that they were still a loving family and would not forget him as the millennia passed on, and the series became more dependent on shock humor, non-sequiturs and merchandise schilling that through time the family would become more deformed and ultimately forget him.
- Bad Job, Worse Uniform: The teenagers who work at Krusty Burger or Phineas Q. Butterfat's ice cream parlor.
Barney (after his diaper flies away in the breeze and he runs naked down the street): Hi, Ma!
- 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).
- 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.
Homer: What a bleak and horrible future we live in!
- Lampshaded in "Bart to the Future":
Bart: Don't you mean, "present"?
Homer: Right, right, present.
- Bags of Letters: When Homer files a lawsuit against a seafood restaurant whose definition of "all you can eat" differed from his, the defendant asked for a display of how much Homer ate that night. At that point parodying the film Miracle on 34th Street, a huge convoy of people carrying large sacks enter the court, but it turns out that they just contain letters for an adjacent courtroom (People of Springfield vs Santa Claus, IIRC).
- 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.
- Ballistic Discount: Homer attempts this in "The Cartridge Family" while checking out a gun he wanted to buy, actually pointing it at the clerk and pulling the trigger multiple times - but accomplishing nothing because it wasn't loaded. The clerk seems oddly unfazed by this, as well as by Homer's thinly-veiled threat when the clerk takes the gun back and informs him of a five-day waiting period before he can get the gun.
- Banging Pots and Pans: In a Flash Back to when Bart was two and Marge was pregnant with Lisa, we see Bart with a pot on his head, banging another pot.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!
- Barefoot Suicide: Played with. In "Homer the Moe" Moe goes back to his alma mater to talk to his old professor because he is getting tired of his bar. The professor confesses to Moe that he's dying, and then walks into the local pond to commit suicide. Moe: "Hey, don't you want to take your shoes off before you go swimming? Professor? [realizes] Oh. Oh.
- Bathtub Scene : 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.
- Bat Scare:
- 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.Bart: Hey look! Is that Dad?
- Bawdy Song and Take Our Word for It: On "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo," The Simpsons are seated at a restaurant table shaped like Massachusetts:Homer: Hey, you know, I once knew a man from Nantucket.Bart: And?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".
- Beard of Sorrow: Homer has grown one before when separated from Marge.
- Bear Trap Bed: Seen in "Pokey Mom".
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- Run through the gamut in the first segment of "Treehouse of Horror II," which itself is based on "The Monkey's Paw," one of this particular trope's codifiers. The segment revolves around a monkey's hand that grants four wishes.
- Averted with Maggie, who uses the hand's first wish for a new pacifier.
- Played straight with both Bart and Lisa, who use the second and third wish for "the Simpsons to become rich and famous" and world peace, respectively. The town gets sick of the family's image appearing everywhere, leading to the Simpsons being ostracized, and Lisa's world-peace wish leads to a destruction of all the planet's weapons, which allows Kang and Kodos to take over the globe and enslave its people.
- Played for laughs with the last wish: Homer, determined to "make a wish that can't backfire," decides to request a turkey sandwich. He's even smart enough to make various codicils for the wish, including "no zombie turkeys," not being transformed into a turkey, and not wanting "any other weird surprises." And yet Homer still winds up on the losing end, as the sandwich is a disappointment (the turkey is a little dry!) and he ends up throwing it away.
- Finally, it's invoked and averted again in the ending. As Homer goes to throw out the hand, he instead gives it to Flanders, hoping to see Ned suffer because of this trope. Ned uses his first two wishes to get rid of the aliens and "spruce up the ol' homestead," transforming his house into a castle, with no repercussions, much to Homer's chagrin.
- Brick Joke version: In one episode Marge tells Homer not to wear a tie with a short sleeved shirt; Homer counters that "Sipowicz does it...I wish I was Sipowicz." In a later episode Homer gets in trouble for molesting a babysitter (he was reaching for a gummi that had stuck to her jeans). During that episode the family watches a terrible Made-for-TV Movie very loosely based on this incident starring Dennis Franz (who plays Sipowicz on NYPD Blue) as a hypersexual, lusty Homer.
- Run through the gamut in the first segment of "Treehouse of Horror II," which itself is based on "The Monkey's Paw," one of this particular trope's codifiers. The segment revolves around a monkey's hand that grants four wishes.
- Bedsheet Ladder: Used by the couch to escape from the Taj Mahal in a Couch Gag.
- 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."
- Befriending the Enemy: Bart's tried to befriend his bully and antagonist. Nelson Mutz, in some episodes. The first time to become popular, which resulted in Bart being bullied even harder when Nelson found out he was being manipulated. In later seasons however, Bart and Nelson have become friends over time, and Bart even calls him “his other best friend” in one episode.
- Belly Buttonless: In one episode, Homer's life is invaded by an army of clones of himself. The clones, predictably enough, lack belly buttons.
- Bestiality Is Depraved:
Louie: Troy McClure!? You said he was dead!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.
- A lot of people have made fun of Bill Clinton's promiscuity, but probably no-one else has gone quite as far as "Hell, I done it with pigs. Real, no-foolin' pigs!" from "Homer to the Max".
- It's heavily implied that Troy McClure's career went down the drain at least in part due to the fact that he has a sexual fetish for fish. Naturally, this is all he is remembered for, his many B-movie roles notwithstanding.
- 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.
- Big Damn Movie: The Simpsons Movie is about rescuing Springfield from ecological destruction.
- Big Eater: Homer, bordering on Extreme Omnivore
- Bigger Than Jesus: In the episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet," Homer's titular band with a history that very much resembles that of The Beatles is alleged to have frequently boasted to be "bigger than Jesus" and even titled their sophomore album as such with a cover that shows the band Walking On Water in the Abbey Road Crossing pose.
- A later episode referenced The Beatles controversy when it turns out that Ned Flanders has a huge collection of Beatles memorabilia. Why? Because they were bigger than Jesus!
- Bilingual Bonus: Done frequently with Bumblebee Man sketches; whilst they're always non-sequiturs, what is gibberish to the layman becomes funny gibberish to the bilingual:Original "¿Dónde Está Justice?" transcript:Plaintiff: ¡El Ford Escort que me vendío es un limón!Defendant: No no no no no. No es un limón. Es un carro fuerte.Judge: Hmm, limón... fuerte... limón... fuerte... limón... ay-yi-yi-yi-yi, ¡mi estómago!Translated:Plaintiff: The Ford Escort he sold me is a lemon!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).
- Big "NEVER!"
Lisa (as Martha Washington): Wouldn't it just be easier to give in to the British?Ralph (as George Washington): NEVER! (audience applauds)
- Particularly in "Two Bad Neighbors":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":
- Particularly in "Two Bad Neighbors":
- Big "NO!" and Slow No: Many, many instances in several episodes:
Lisa: "My name is now Lisa Bouvier"Nelson: Hi, Mr. S. Lisa B.Homer: "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!"Janey: "Want to buy some band candy?"Homer: "YESSSSSS!!!!!"
- "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.
- The German dub turns all of Homer's D'ohs into Little Nos (Nein!)
- "Elementary School Musical": Lisa says this after spending a week in an arts camp, which Lisa explains to Marge via digital camera.
- "Marge's Son Poisoning": Marge shouts this when she envisions herself and Bart as older singing karaoke together.
- "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words":
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: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! 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!
- "I Love Lisa": Said by Lisa in a live audience at the Krusty Anniversary special:
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]
- "And Maggie Makes Three": Happens the moment Homer finally finds out about Marge's pregnancy:
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]Ned: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
- "Hurricane Neddy":
- 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.
- Big "WHY?!": In the episode "Brother From The Same Planet" Homer yells this as he dreams Bart having turned into a skeleton. He then yells "Why?.... Who?....When?.... How?..."
- A Birthday, Not a Break: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.
- Birthday Episode:
Lisa it's your birthdayHappy birthday Lisa!
- In one episode Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday - despite 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.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: It depends on the writer whether it is intentional or not (see Amazingly Embarrassing Parents) but Marge Simpson is very much this. For example in "Eight Misbehavin'" knowing how bad Apu and Manjula had it Marge decided bake them banana bread to make them feel better. However the sheer magnitude of their situation made this gesture seem outright insulting.Apu: [sarcastic] Oh hallelujah, our problems are solved. We have banana bread.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: They mocked Fox (and the many Dueling Shows The Simpsons has had over the years, including Family Guy) countless times.
- Black and Gray Morality
- 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.
- Black Comedy Burst: The examples listed under Darker and Edgier. "Homer's Enemy," in particular, is among the series' darkest episodes.
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Inverted in "Tennis the Menace", after Homer replaces Lisa with Venus Williams as his tennis partner. The following exchange occurs:Lisa: You're replacing me?
Homer: "Dumped" is such a strong word. Let's just say I'm "replacing" you.
- Bland-Name Product:
- Malibu Stacy, obviously based on Malibu Barbie).
- One episode featured Red Umbrella Insurance, a takeoff of the Travelers Insurance Company logo.
- The Mapple MyPod.
- The Fjord Fjiesta from "The Saga of Carl".
- Blatant Lies: Played with on a couple occasions:
- 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.
- Also in "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", after the Loch Ness Monster is put on display, Mr. Burns falls around from the camera flashes in a spoof of "King Kong".
- Blipvert: GABBO! GABBO!! GABBO!!!
- Bluffing the Authorities: Parodied in this encounter between Mafia boss Fat Tony and Chief Wiggum.[Fat Tony approaches the lake with a bag with feet sticking out of it]Chief Wiggum: Sorry, no dumping in the lake.Fat Tony: Fine. I will go and put my [air quotes] "yard trimmings" in a car compactor. [Leaves]Lou: You know, Chief, I think he had a dead body in there.Chief Wiggum: I thought that too, right up until he said "yard trimmings." You gotta learn to listen, Lou.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bold Inflation: Kang and Kodos.
- 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.
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)
- Later, in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", this is subverted:
- Book Dumb: Most of Springfield qualifies.
- Bookends: Word of God has stated that, should the series ever end, the final episode will build up to the Christmas Pageant in the first episode (making the entire series an infinite loop).
- Boomerang Bigot: Played for laughs by Willie.Groundskeeper Willie: "Damn Scots! They ruined Scotland!"
- Also subverted when Krusty comes to doubt his own credentials as a Jew:"I thought I was a self-hating Jew, but it turns out I'm just a plain old anti-Semite!"
- In the episode in which they want to throw out the illegal immigrants, Moe is one of the most vocal about it, but he turns out to be an illegal immigrant himself.
- Also subverted when Krusty comes to doubt his own credentials as a Jew:
- Boot Camp Episode: "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson": Bart is sent to Military School for doing mischief; Lisa joins so she can attend the camp's superior school.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: In "Summer of 4'2''", Lisa says "Ay caramba!" and "Don't have a cow, man!"
- In "Natural Born Kissers", Moe says "Won't somebody please think of the children?!", which is usually said by Helen Lovejoy.
- Bart, Lisa, Marge, Grampa, and Mr. Burns have all said Do'h at one point. Though Mr. Burns may be an aversion because he was in a mental state where Homer Simpson was literally all he could think about.
- One episode in which a public speaker insisted Springfield let loose and release their rebellious inner child. (In other words, act like Bart) Principal Skinner later attacks Bart with a slingshot "Eat my shorts young man!"
- Bottomless Magazines: Just about any time gun usage is shown, usually per Rule of Funny.
- In "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", Lisa fires an M-16 wildly for almost 10 seconds ("Help! It's stuck on auto-fire!").
- In "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" and many other episodes where Chief Wiggum uses his gun, he fires well over six times despite of it being a revolver. (He's also a terrible shot.)
- Box-and-Stick Trap: Homer tries to lure Bart with a bottle of Focusin pills. The string tied to his finger went all the way into Moe's Tavern while he waited.
- The Boxing Episode: "The Homer They Fall"
- A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family
- Boy Band: Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph form The Party Posse in "The New Kids On The Blecch," which is being used as a recruitment tool for the US Navy.
- Boys Like Creepy Critters:
- One episode of Bart talk about "letting Bart Jr. hanging out". Bart Jr. turns out to be a frog inside his pants.
- The episode with the Bolivian tree lizards, in which every member of the family except Bart is shocked and disgusted when the bird eggs he's been incubating turn out to be lizard eggs.
- Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: The Trope formerly known as "Lisa Needs Braces".
- Brain Drain: One company attempted this, first unsuccessfully on Smithers, then successfully on Homer. It was successful for them for a brief while — Homer's ideas worked for them.
- Brake Angrily: Ned in "Viva Ned Flanders".Ned: Gosh darn it! Am I that pre-diddly-ictable?
- Brand Names Are Better: One of the running jokes in the show is how The Simpsons can't afford the brand name products and have to get generic, obscure brands instead.
- Brandishment Bluff: Happens during "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story", as Moe, Mr. Burns and Rich Texan are facing off:Rich Texan: (taking the gold from Marge) I'll take that gold...Mr. Burns: No so fast, Shady Bird Johnson!(Burns steps out from behind a stalagtite)Burns: I'll take that gold...Moe Szyslak: (enters from the shadows, holding a baseball bat) Yeah, you'll take it, and then you'll give it to me if you know what's good for ya.(Burns and Rich Texan aim their guns at Moe)Moe: You guys have guns?! Well, so do I! (steps back into shadows, making gun-cocking noises) Heh? Heh?
- Brats with Slingshots: Bart Simpson in the early episodes and on early 1990s merchandise.
- Brawn Hilda: Bart's impression of an East German woman consists of a fake moustache and saying "Kiss me or I crush you!" in a deep voice.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded EggsMr Burns: I suggest you leave immediately.Homer: Or what? You'll release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you?
Ned: Horseplay? Rough-housing? Horse-housing?!
- 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":
- From "Itchy & Scrathy The Movie" when Homer and Marge leave for a parent-teacher conference:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Played with, after Mr. Burns is shot. Dr. Hibbert says "I couldn't possibly solve this mystery. Can YOU?" points and stares directly at the audience. Then the screen pans over showing he was actually pointing at Chief Wiggum. Wiggum: "Sure, I mean of course I can, that's my job right?"
- 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 Kirk's possessions and then sets fire to the box.
- Bribe BackfireWiggum: 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.
- Season 1's Homer's Odyssey has Mrs. Krabappel warning the children before a field trip not to stick their arms out of the bus' windows and mentions a story about a boy who lost his arm this way. Two episodes later, in Bart the General, Grandpa Simpson introduces Bart to Herman, an one-armed military antiques dealer. How did he lose his arm, you ask? By sticking it out of a moving bus during a field trip.
- 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 Show Do 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 Rockstar
- 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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Broken Record:
Marge: "Lisa needs braces."
- Young Bart: "Can't sleep. Clown will eat me."
- Lenny Leonard: "Dental plan."
- 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!"
- Homer: "Can't sleep. Gonna die."
- 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.
Milhouse: So are my parents. I think.
- 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.
Homer: Yep, this place is great. And some day, when Lisa and Bart get married, it'll all be theirs.Bart and Lisa: Yuck!Marge: You mean when they marry other people.Homer: Okay, but I ain't paying for two weddin's.
- 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:
- Brought Home the Wrong Kid: Inverted; Grandpa is meant to babysit Bart and Lisa and goes to the Flanders' house by mistake.
- Played with in one episode, Homer was taking care of a bag of sugar in placement of a baby, yet when he holds it out, it's a blanket with a real baby. "Where's my sugar?" the scene changes to Cletus fondling the bag of sugar Cletus: Jr. feels more granulated than usual.
- Bubble Pipe: Bart blows in one when he falls in love with an older girl and ends up dressing like Hugh Heffner. And again when he visits the actual Hugh Heffner.
- Buccaneer Broadcaster: In "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken".
- Buffy Speak: In "Homer the Smithers", after Mr. Burns gives a series of tasks to Homer:Homer: Um, can you repeat the part of the stuff where you said all about the...things? Uh... the things?
- Bullet Catch: In the pilot episode of "Police Cops", Detective Homer Simpson catches a bullet with his fingers and throws it back at the bad guy who shot at him in the first place.
- Bullet Dancing: Parodied in "Burns' Heir", in a flashback where Mr. Burns recalls performing this trick with a single shot pistol - firing, manually loading a bullet and powder into the muzzle, cocking the hammer, and firing again while the victim dances obligingly.
- The Bully: Nelson, Jimbo, Kearny and Dolph.
- 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.
- Bumbling Dad: Homer.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Ralph Wiggum, perhaps the most thoroughly and consistently moronic character in the whole show, shows a remarkable acting talent in the School Play biopic of George Washington. On the other hand, this was an early episode before his idiocy underwent Flanderization.
- Ralph was once set up to run for president as a joke candidate. After becoming an In-Universe Ensemble Darkhorse, he becomes a brilliant candidate. His campaign ad has the narrator state he doesn't need to know words like 'curiosity' and 'tough' because he is those words, and the ad ends with Ralph sitting on the statue of Abe Lincoln's statue, saying "I'm Ralph Wiggum, and I've been a good boy!" Despite being so popular, the episode ended after this line, and Ralph, naturally, did not make it into office.
- Burning the Flag:
Bart: Here they come: raise the flag!Homer does so; it sparks as it touches something electricalMarge: Oh, Lisa!Homer: Yo, Hugh! Here's a little bit of US hospitality: whaddaya think of that?unbeknownst to Homer the flag is now on fire. Hugh gaspsLisa: Dad!Homer: Aah!he and Bart pull it down and stomp on itMarge: Now throw compost on it! they do soHomer: Whew! hands the flag to Hugh Er, enjoy.Hugh: Oh...a tear forms it's still warm.
- In a Flash Forward episode Homer & Bart greet Lisa's British fiance by running the UK flag up their flagpole.
There's a lot of flag-burnersWho have got too much freedomI want to make it legalFor policemen to beat'em.'Cause there's limits to our libertiesAt least I hope and pray that there are'Cause those liberal freaks go too far.
- "An Amendment to Be", a "campy '70s throwback for Gen Xers", deals with flag burning, and how it would be unconstitutional to outlaw it. Then the amendment gets ratified, and other, wilder bills get passed.
So burn that flag if you must! But before you do, you'd better burn a few other things! You'd better burn your shirt and your pants! Be sure to burn your TV and car! Oh yeah, and don't forget to burn your house! Because none of those things would exist without six white stripes, seven red stripes, and a helluva lot of stars!!
- In the episode "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" Nelson writes a superpatriotic essay for a contest, for which this is his theme.
- 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")
- By "No", I Mean "Yes": From "The Springfield Files":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.