- Packed Hero: Parodied. Bart goes missing on a school trip at a box-making factory. Homer sees a completely ordinary cardboard box with Bart's lucky red hat on it, and immediately assumes the worst.
- Painful Body Waxing: Referenced in one episode. They let Sideshow Bob out of jail to catch a man attempting to murder Homer. He must wear a device that acts as a Restraining Bolt. "And don't bother trying to take it off. Because it's duct-taped to your leghairs. And that really hurts!"
- Pants-Positive Safety: In "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes", Homer becomes a bounty hunter and starts carrying a taser, which he shoves down the front of his pants because it looks cool. The results are predictable.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
Homer: (disguised as Ed McMahon) You've just won $10 million from that Publisher's Cleary Dealie!
- Parallel Porn Titles: Occurs quite frequently on the show whenever there's a theater on the screen. Some examples: "Sperms of Endearment", "I'll Do Anyone", "Five Sleazy Pieces", "The Godfather's Parts, II", and "Jeremiah's Johnson", among many others.
- Parental Hypocrisy: Homer claims that Bart getting his ear pierced as a 10-year-old is completely different from the crazy things he did as a kid, like getting his ear pierced as a 10-year-old. Well, Bart called it earring and Homer believes "God" and "The Lord" to be "different" guys.
- Parking Problems: Homer tries to park the family's station wagon in a stall marked COMPACT ONLY against his passengers' advice. He squeezes the vehicle in, grinding both sides of the station wagon against the parked vehicles on either side and asks Marge in the passenger seat: "How am I doing on your side?"
- Parodic Table of the Elements: The Oscar Meyer periodic table.
- Parrot Expo-what?:
Lisa: Dad, how could you? We were connecting in such a meaningful way.
Homer: We were what what in the what what?
- Paste Eater: Ralph Wiggum is known for eating glue, crayons and worms, among other things.
- Patriotic Fervor: Parodied in "Bart Mangled Banner".
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Subverted in the "Who Shot Mr. Burns" two parter; Burns is portrayed as an opportunist with no moral restraint. When he decides to block sunlight from Springfield, a town hall meeting is called on the subject, and everyone brings a gun to the meeting. But when someone actually SHOOTS Burns (hid behind a Shadow Discretion Shot) he is perceived as a victim, despite his obviously evil nature, and the attempted murder is investigated anyway. This is VERY out of character for Springfield, the kind of town that would leave a boy in a well for previously pranking the town into thinking someone else fell into a well.
- Paying in Coins: * Homer once tried to pay a $900 gas bill by sending a water-cooler bottle full of pennies in the mail. When he puts it down next to the mailbox, it falls into the earth.
? A little help?
- Another instance, although offscreen: The family pays for a doghouse from the change inside a Swear Jar.
- Bart pays for his fat camp w/ 2 bags of change from some vending machines.
- Homer buys a motorhome with the change from a savings jar Marge started. How they did it wasn't shown.
- The Peeping Tom: Groundskeeper Willy outs himself as one when he reveals he has a videotape proving that Homer didn't sexually harass a college girl.
Willy: "Homer! I love amateur video, and your show is the most amateur video I ever saw. My hobby is secretly videotaping couples in cars. I dinna come forward because in this country, it makes you look like a pervert — but every single Scottish person does it!"
- Performance Anxiety: Seen in "The Lastest Gun in the West" when Krusty tells Buck McCoy not to be nervous.
Krusty: Just remember: There'll be millions of people watching you. MILLIONS. (Buck takes a drink from his flask) And TV Guide's Cheers and Jeers editor! And he's already given out all his Cheers.
- Permanent Elected Official: Mayor Quimby, through lack of opposition, general corruption, and general apathy from the population.
Birch Barlow: You know, ther— there— there are three things we're never going to get rid of here in Springfield. One: the bats in the public library. Two: Mrs. McFeerly's compost heap. And three: our six term mayor. The illiterate, tax-cheating, wife-swapping, pot-smoking, spend-o-crat, Diamond Joe Quimby.
- Perpetual Motion Machine: Lisa is going crazy while the teachers are on strike and creates a perpetual motion machine. Homer later tells Lisa that no physics law should be broken in his home.
Homer: This "perpetual motion" machine that she made today is a joke — it just keeps going faster and faster.
- Persecuted Intellectuals: Used several times as throwaway gags to illustrate how much of a Crapsack World the town is (at least once to the point that even the corrupt mayor gets sick). Torches and Pitchforks are a common sight.
- Seymour Skinner saying that the Earth rotates around the Sun almost has him torched on the stake once.
- When tests of a mysterious skeleton fail to prove that it was the remains of an angel, the citizens of Springfield become enraged at science. The resulting riot culminates in the local research laboratories being bombed with Molotov cocktails and the museums being thrashed.
- Phoneaholic Teenager: In the episode of where a fortuneteller tells Lisa about her future wedding, teenage Maggie is shown to have her own home phone and always be on it. The joke is, we never hear her voice during the whole episode because Maggie is The Voiceless.
- Phony Degree: Dr. Nick, maybe. In one episode he says he got his medical degree from "Hollywood Upstairs Medical College".
- Phosphor-Essence: Subverted: the green-glowing space alien who claims to come in peace turns out to be Mr. Burns addle-brained from the side effects of his pain medication and glowing due to years of irradiation from nuclear power (which he remains somewhat bitter about).
- Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Parodied in "Much Apu About Nothing": When Proposition 24 comes into the public awareness, the Springfield Elementary students harass foreign exchange students like Üter. Willie cuts through the crowd and says, "You want to pick on immigrants? Then pick on Willie!" Skinner replies with, "Willie, please. The students want to pick on someone their OWN size."
- Picked Last: The episode "King of the Hill" simultaneously plays this straight and subverts this in a few ways with Bart and Rod Flanders picking teammates for a game of Capture The Flag. Bart picks Nelson over his best friend Milhouse, who naïvely comments on how he must be "saving the best for last." Rod, on the other hand, chooses his brother Todd as his first pick.
- Ping Pong Naïveté: Bart.
- Pink Elephants:
- When the town is accidentally dosed with peyote, The Alcoholic Barney is able to drive off his threatening hallucinations by consuming enough liquor to summon a friendlier pink elephant hallucination. Curiously enough, the pink elephant seen here looks exactly like the ones seen in Dumbo.
- In another episode, Barney is beating on the ground, yelling "Take that, snakes!" Lenny complements him on rehearsing for Whacking Day (where the townsfolk whack snakes). Barney's reply: "What's Whacking Day?"
- Invoked in a Halloween Episode where aliens come to earth and Homer sees them land; they make sure Homer isn't believed by spraying him with rum to make people think he hallucinated the whole thing.
- In "The Springfield Files" episode Homer sees what he thinks is an alien while going home from Moe's bar. The creature he saw was real but nobody believed him.
- Invoked again with the Duff Days beer festival in "Pygmoelian", where pink helium balloons shaped like elephants are available for sale. Homer buys a balloon for Maggie, but it gets loose and floats into a meeting of Log Cabin Republicans who are trying to choose a logo.
- Pink Is for Sissies
- Pinned to the Wall: In the version of The Odyssey, when Odyssyus comes home he finds a bunch of suitors for his wife's hand and throws a spear through all of them, pinning them all to the wall.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: Grampa Simpson is shown doing this in his flashback to World War II in "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"".
- Piss-Take Rap: In "Pranksta Rap", Homer and Marge embarrass Bart by rapping to him about why he can't go to the rap concert:
Homer: You did it on the straight / Got your dad's permission / But your mom dropped a bomb / So I flipped my position!
Marge: Don't argue with Marge / I know what's best / The only rap in this crib / keeps sandwiches fresh!
- Planet of Hats: Bronson, MO.
Child: 'Ey ma, how 'bout some cookies?
Mother: No dice.
Child: Dis ain't ova.
- Playboy: The cover girl for the November 2009 issue? Marge Simpson herself.
- Playing Pictionary: In "A Milhouse Divided," the Simpsons host a dinner party with a game of Pictionary. Maude Flanders guesses "cornstarch" from three dots drawn by Ned, while Kirk Van Houten is unable to draw "dignity."
- Plea of Personal Necessity: After Bart and Lisa proved Sideshow Bob rigged the election to win his Engineered Public Rant ends with one of these. Essentially making this statement the source of his downfall.
Sideshow Bob: Because you need me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king. That's why I did this, to protect you from yourselves! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a city to run.
Judge: Bailiff, place the mayor under arrest.
*Bob is handcuffed*
Bob: What!? ...oh yes, all that stuff I did.
- Plumber's Crack: Marge once became a carpenter but nobody would hire a woman to do that kind of job. As she commented to Homer that it seemed people expected carpenters to be overweight people with visible buttcracks, she immediately thought about using Homer as a facade.
- Pointless Civic Project: Springfield seems to be a magnet for these:
- The Monorail project in "Marge vs. the Monorail". In it, the townspeople are sold on the idea by the slick-talking salesman, despite the fact that Springfield has no need for a monorail. The end of the episode reveals that the city routinely builds pointless things, such as a Popsicle Stick Skyscraper, a 100ft Magnifying Glass (that sets the Popsicle Stick Skyscraper on fire) and a huge escalator to nowhere (whereupon reaching the top, riders simply plummet to their death).
- In another episode, Kent Brockman mentions the Clamatorium, described as "a million dollar boondoggle based on nothing more than clever word play."
- Another example revolves around a music hall in "The Seven-Beer Snitch". Because Springfield is filled with a bunch of "stupid hicks", they leave after hearing the first five notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and the music hall becomes a porno theater, "An Evening with David Brenner", and finally, a prison.
- Police Are Useless: Given it's Wiggums who's running the show...
- This is even lampshaded in a song.
- Police Code for Everything:
- "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder":
Chief Wiggum: Alright smart guy, where's the fire?
Homer: Over there.
Homer points at a fire at the police station
Chief Wiggum: Okay, you just bought yourself a 317, pointing out police stupidity... Or is that a 314? Nah nah, 314 is a dog uh, in, no or is that a 315?... You're in trouble pal.
- In another episode, Wiggum reports "an 812 - Waking a Police Officer".
- Politicians Kiss Babies: An episode has Mr. Burns running for governor, and there's a scene where he mentions that he needs to go off and do this.
- Poor Man's Porn: On the season seven premiere, "Who Shot Mr. Burns, part II," Moe is forced to admit under a lie detector test that he spends his evenings ogling the women in the Sears catalogue.
- Moe invokes this trope again when he brings up "this porn channel I'm too cheap to descramble," which turns out to be an infomercial for shoe inserts.
Moe: I've been writing creepy letters to that?
- Porn Stash: Subverted in the episode "Million Dollar Maybe"; Homer offers Barney access to the hollow tree where he keeps his "adult" magazines... Namely, "The Economist".
- Played straight on "All's Fair In Oven War," where Homer finds his old Playdude magazines in the wall of the house (all of which have the pornographic pictures cut out) and Bart uses them to act like a swinging bachelor.
- In "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", "We have searched every square inch of this base and all we have found is porno, porno, PORNO!"
- Portmanteau Couple Name: Nedna, in-universe.
- Portrait Painting Peephole: Demonstrated in "Bart Gets Hit By a Car" when Burns listens to Homer and Marge's conversation while staring at them through the eyes of his own portrait.
- Post Mortem Conversion: The stonecutters claim that (among others) the signers of The Declaration of Independence and Washington were Stonecutters, according to their Secret World History.
- Post Robbery Trauma: Marge, after having her pearls stolen, in "Strong Arms of the Ma".
- Posthumous Character: Snowball I
- The town's founder, Jebidiah Springfield
- Potty Dance and Potty Emergency: Happens a lot to Homer, particularly in the following episodes: "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?", "The Otto Show," "Marge Gets a Job" (while Smithers was cleaning the urinals), "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" (probably the most popular example of a Potty Emergency next to the Animaniacs episode of the same name), "Homer the Heretic" (only it wasn't as blatant as the other examples. For one thing, Homer was in bed, content on staying in it all day, until he feels the urge to go to the bathroom. He then decides after a few minutes to just go to the bathroom) and "The Cartridge Family."
- Marge had a Potty Emergency on "Waverly Hills, 9021-D'oh" when she drank several bottles of Vitamin Water.
- Grampa's Potty Emergency led to a kidney blowout (which, in Real Life, is medically impossible) thanks to too many drinks of sarsparilla and Homer wanting to get home so he can see Inside the Actor's Studio.
- Powersuit Monkey: There's a duck named Stuart who works at the power plant. And outranks Homer.
- In "Homer's Enemy", Mr. Burns hires a dog to fill the job he originally planned to give Frank Grimes.
- Practical Joke: Bart violently shakes Homer's beer can, hoping it will merely spray him in the face when opened. It backfires when the beer can opening actually causes an explosion.
- The Pratfall: Bart awakens after falling, to find himself staring into the eyes of an attractive young girl.
Bart's brain: She's beautiful! Say something clever.
Bart: I fell on my bottom.
Bart's brain: D'oh...
- Prayer Is a Last Resort: From "Bart Sells His Soul":
Bart: Are you there, God? It's me, Bart Simpson. I know I never paid too much attention in church, but I could really use some of that good stuff now. I'm... afraid. I'm afraid some weirdo's got my soul and I don't know what they're doing to it! I just want it back. Please? I hope you can hear this.
- Played for laughs in "Lost Our Lisa":
Homer: I'm not normally a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman!
Bart: Well, old timer, I guess this is the end of the road. I know I haven't always been a good kid, but, if I have to go to school tomorrow, I'll fail the test and be held back. I just need one more day to study, Lord. I need your help!
Lisa: Prayer: The last refuge of a scoundrel.
Bart: A teachers strike, a power failure, a blizzard... Anything that'll cancel school tomorrow. I know it's asking a lot, but if anyone can do it, you can! Thanking you in advance, your pal, Bart Simpson.
- Prayer of Malice: When Sideshow Bob's after Bart, Bart prays to God to kill him.
Bart: ...and please, God, kill Sideshow Bob!
Marge: No, Bart! You can't ask God to kill someone!
Homer: Yeah! You've got to do your own dirty work!
- Precedent Excuse:
- A flashback in the episode "Homer The Great". To clarify, Homer as a kid was barred access to a club because they don't allow people named Homer. Kid!Homer points out that they let a kid named Homer Glumplich in, only for the club to respond that it is called No Homers. It repeats himself at the end of the episode with the Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers.
- This is also Parodied in the episode "Simpson Tide". When Homer joins the Navy, Bart asks him to bring him back some torpedoes. When Homer says no, Bart argues that Flanders got his kids torpedoes and Homer vows to bring him a "weapon of unimaginable destructive power". Luckily, Marge vetos it.
- Another example is from the episode "The Great Wife Hope". In it, Marge told Bart to stop fighting with Nelson, Bart pleads that he is only copying the moves he saw at a Martial Arts match. Marge then goes on a crusade to ban those matches too.
- The Precious, Precious Car: In "The Italian Bob", Homer and his family get sent to Italy to pick up Mr. Burns' new Lamorgotti Fasterossa car. While tooling around Italy, the car is crushed by huge wheels of Mortadella and cheese.
- Precision Crash: Played for laughs in "Bart's Comet": Springfield is hit by a comet; fortunately most of it burns up in the atmosphere so only a small rock lands. It scores a direct hit on Ned Flanders' bomb shelter, which everyone had left mere minutes before.
- Precocious Crush:
- The episode "Lisa's Substitute", where Lisa gets a crush on substitute teacher Mr. Bergstrom.
- Lisa's obsession with Corey magazine (and the hotline) in earlier seasons, all full of boys who were at least in their teens. One example in the "Brother From The Same Planet" subplot, when Marge found out about Lisa's phone calls to the hotline, she revealed to Lisa that she was in the same situation in her childhood when she had a crush on Bobby Sherman:
Marge Simpson: Oh, honey, I know how you feel. When I was a girl, I had a crush on Bobby Sherman...
[Lisa bursts out laughing]
Marge Simpson: [annoyed] The point is, I want you to stop making these calls!
Lisa Simpson: [serious] All right, Mom. I promise you, you will never be billed for another call.
Lisa Simpson: Bobby Sherman?
- Bart had a crush on new neighbor Laura Powers, who was in her mid teens. When he found out she was going out with Jimbo, one of the bullies who picks on him, he arranged a plan to break them up. It was successful — by the end of the episode, Laura had broken up with Jimbo and even told Bart that she would date him if he were older. The character was never seen again.
- In one episode, in regards to Marge, Milhouse says "She's HOT! ...sorry it just slipped out."
- It happens in "The Devil Wears Nada" with Nelson and Milhouse looking at a pin-up calender featuring Marge.
- Preemptive Apology: Marge told Lisa, "Don't hate me for this" right before she bared her breasts to Krusty in "Large Marge" (thus causing Krusty to say the magic word, "magumbo", to cause Stampy to spit out Homer, Bart, and Milhouse).
- Premature Encapsulation: "Homer's Odyssey" is a season 1 episode that has nothing to do with Homeric epics. Later episodes that actually do Whole Plot References to The Iliad and The Odyssey are therefore forced to have less intuitive names.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace".
Willie: [to a Latin-speaking Martin]
You may have mastered a dead tongue, but can you handle a live one?! [strangles Martin with his tongue, Freddy Krueger-style]
- Present Peeking: In one Christmas episode, Bart wakes up very early to see the gifts before the others. He ends up destroying all the presents and the tree in a fire.
- Pride Parade: In one episode, a gay pride parade goes through town.
Marchers: We're here, we're queer, get used to it!
Lisa: You do this every year. We are used to it!
Crowd: We're here, we're queer, we don't want any more bears.
Lenny: Hey, that's a pretty catchy chant. Where did you hear it?
Homer: Oh, I heard it at the mustache parade they have every year.
- Primal Scene: In "Lisa's First Word", there was a flashback to Bart's first words. He's walking down the hall and sees Homer and Marge fooling around, to which he says "¡AY CARAMBA!" For obvious reasons, Marge thought it better not to bring it up.
- In another episode, Bart walks in on his parents again, worried about having seen a UFO - he doesn't figure out what they were doing, but both Homer and Marge scream "Don't turn on the light!" in panic as they cover themselves with the pillows.
- Also happens in "The Haw-Hawed Couple," when Bart and Lisa walked in on Homer and Marge 'Snuggling', despite the boombox playing the fake argument tape Homer and Marge made, leaving Bart traumatized.
- Until he gets some perspective from Milhouse: "Trust me, Bart, it's better to walk in on both your parents instead of just one of them."
- Prison Episode: Several of them, mostly involving the villains, but occasionally major characters (especially Homer, sometimes Marge) end up in jail as well.
- Private Tutor:
- In "The PTA Disbands" when the teachers of Springfield Elementary go on strike all the kids treat it as an extra vacation from school - but Milhouse's parents get him a tutor in order to bridge the gap.
- In another episode Superintendent Chalmers takes Bart under his wing, giving him private lessons outside of school. Eventually all the bully characters start taking these lessons
- Produce Pelting: Happens to Krusty in "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" when he realizes his comedy special of Krusty Komedy Klassic is abbreviated as "KKK".
- A variant occurs in "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson" when the angry baseball spectators throw pretzels onto the field at Whitey Ford in response to Mr. Burns winning the Pontiac Astro-Wagon.
- Product Placement: Parodied in "Lady Bouvier's Mother".
I remember Lisa's third birthday. She and Bart did this adorable little song and dance routine. Abe:
Oh, heh heh! That was a real horn-honker! Let's see it. (Bart and Lisa feel uneasy)
Now! Do it! (They groan) Do it! Bart and Lisa: (get into position and singing flatly)
Hot dogs, Armour hot dogs... Abe:
Sing it like you mean it! (They fully launch into a song and dance routine at this point, complete with Homer walking by with a sign promoting the hot dogs at the end.) Lisa: Doesn't this family know any songs that aren't commercials? (Lisa walks off while everybody else does the Chicken Tonight song and dance)
- Product Promotion Parade: Featured as part of a larger spoof of Merchandise-Driven kids' shows, The Mattel and Mars Bars Choco-Bot Hour. The group's leader tells them to "put down those fun Mattel toys, we've got work to do!" This is followed by An Insert showing the characters' hands as they place the toys very carefully on a blank background to show kids what they should ask their parents for this Christmas.
- Professional Slacker: Homer, when the need arises.
- Progressively Prettier: Marge, twice. She was quite dumpy in the Tracy Ullman show shorts. Early in the show's run she was more of an example of Hollywood Homely. Now of course she's treated as if she's supermodel-attractive.
- Prove I Am Not Bluffing: Spoofed in "You Only Move Twice":
Good afternoon, gentlemen. This is Scorpio. I have the Doomsday Device. You have 72 hours to deliver the gold or you'll face the consequences. And to prove I'm not bluffing, watch this. UN Man 1:
[all the men look at the explosion] Oh My God, the Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge! UN Man 2:
Maybe it just collapsed on its own. UN Man 1:
We can't take that chance. UN Man 2:
You always say that. I want to take a chance! Scorpio:
"Collapsed on its own"...? You...
You have 72 hours. See ya!
- Pro Wrestling Episode: "Gorgeous Grampa"
- Public Secret Message:
- In "My Mother the Carjacker", Mona Simpson encodes secret messages to her son in the newspaper, in food articles, using the first letter from each word.
- Homer sends a message to Lisa in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. Defictionalized by the NY Times running that same puzzle.
- Pun-Based Title: "A Star is Burns", "You Kent Always Say What You Want", "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken", etc. These would only increase over time, to the point where nearly every episode title was a pun of some sort.
- Including three different puns on "Mona Lisa".
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In "The Old Man and the Key", after Grampa drives Homer's car through his yard, Homer shouts:
'''Oh that's IT! Abraham J. Simpson, you are NEVER. DRIVING. AGAIN. EVER!!!
- Pursue the Dream Job:
- Homer once quit the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to become a pin-monkey at the local bowling alley as soon as he got out of debt. He loved every minute of it.
- Ned left his job as a company clerk to open a store for left-handed people.
- Put Me In, Coach!: Parodied in "Bart Star"; at the big game, Chief Wiggum announces that Nelson has an arrest warrant and wants to know which one of the players is Nelson. Homer laments that he's about to lose his star quarterback, but Bart says, "It's OK, dad: I can fill in for Nelson!" But instead of assuming the role of quarterback as expected, Bart is next seen in the back of Wiggum's police car.
- Put Off Their Food: In the episode where Homer becomes a food critic, some chefs plan to assassinate him with a lethal eclair. After other attempts to stop Homer from eating it fail, Lisa tells him that it's low-fat, causing him to throw it away in disgust.