Sadist Teacher: Bart's kindergarten teacher was a total bitch to him by crushing his self-esteem (which is how Bart became the bad boy he is now). The rest of the school teachers at Springfield Elementary, however, are more apathetic than sadistic (at least Mrs. Krabappel and Miss Hoover are. The other teachers haven't been highlighted as much and are pretty much living props, only on for an episode, or have been put out of focus).
Ms. Cantwell to Lisa on "Black Eyed, Please," though, unlike Bart's kindergarten teacher, she doesn't get away with what she did (as Bart let the classroom go to hell and captured footage of Ms. Cantwell in the bathroom, complaining about Lisa) and does get fired.
Sadistic Choice: Parodied in "Rosebud" with an example more trivial than most. Burns takes over all television networks available to Springfield, telling the whole town that he's not giving them back their television until someone steals Maggie's teddy bear and puts it on his desk. Cut to an angry mob outside the Simpson home stealing the teddy bear from her, only to return it out of regret once they see Maggie, visibly upset, trying to crawl over to take it back.
Samus Is a Girl: Parodied in Homer Of Seville when Homer is saved by a motorcyclist opera fan and The Reveal is overplayed by the woman and by Homer. The former says it too overdramatically and the latter says it with Dull Surprise and with a comparison to The Twilight Zone.
In "Girls Just Want to Have Sums", Lisa (disguised as a boy named Jake Boyman) reveals that she's actually a girl to the entire school.
Sanity Slippage: In "Kill the Aligator And Run", Homer takes a longevity quiz on his issue of "Self-Test Monthly" and learns he has three years to live. Fearing he'd die in his sleep, he stays awake and ends up hallucinating that people on TV are threatening to kill him and thinking that he won't die if he becomes a mother.
Saw Star Wars Twenty Seven Times: In the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie," Milhouse brags about seeing the Itchy & Scratchy movie 15 times and Nelson brags that he saw it 17 times. Bart (who has been grounded from seeing the movie after failing to watch Maggie) tries to joke that the two must have been sick of seeing it and ends up getting chased by Nelson and Milhouse.
Scout Out: The Junior Campers in "Boy Scoutz 'n the Hood".
Screams Like a Little Girl: Homer does it the most, but Ned's screaming actually sounds like a woman's (his singing as well, which Bart finds disturbing [because he found it attractive]).
Sdrawkcab Alias: Mr. Burns "disguises" himself as "Mr. Snrub" in "A Star is Burns".
Smithers: I like the way "Snrub" thinks!
Second Person Attack: In "Husbands and Knives", a triple Second-Person Attack is made by Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes and Alan Moore, who all simultaneously punch Comic Book Guy when he was trying to destroy a rival comic book store that's ruining his business.
Marge's secret ingredient for pork chops is salt (even though she put more herbs and spices in there as seen in "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge").
The secret ingredient for making a Flaming Homer cocktail is "Krusty Brand Non-Narkotik Kough Syrup".
Secret Santa: In "'Tis the Fifteenth Seasons", Homer gets an extravagant present from his secret Santa (Carl). Homer forgets to bring something for Lenny, since he's Lenny's secret Santa, so he goes to a snack machine and buys him some Certs.
See You in Hell: "...from Heaven." ("Two Dozen and One Greyhounds", Lovejoy)
"See you in Hell, candy boys!" (throws explosive) ("Homer Badman", Homer)
"See you in Hell, God bless this house." ("Mom and Pop Art", Bart)
"See you in Hell, dinner plate." ("The Cartridge Family", Homer)
"Thank you for coming! I'll see you in Hell!" ("Homer the Vigilante", Apu)
"See you in Hell, punk!" ("Separate Vocations", Snake)
Selective Enforcement: In one episode, Barney and Lenny play pranks on Moe which involve setting him on fire and setting a cobra on him. Homer, in an attempt to join in the "harmless" fun loosens the lid on a sugar shaker. He gets kicked out of the bar.
Self-Serving Memory: In $pringfield, when Homer accuses Marge of being against the casino, flashes back to a very bizarre scene. Also used by Burns and Bart in the trial in Bart Gets Hit By a Car.
In "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace", Homer claims that Marge told him to quit his job and become an inventor, or she'd torch the house.
Self-Surgery: In "Rednecks and Broomsticks", Doctor Hibbert and his nurse go blind during an operation, leaving Hans Moleman to operate on himself.
Sequel Episode: "Brawl in the Family", which followed up on Homer's second marriage to Amber from "Viva Ned Flanders".
Similarly, "Papa Don't Leach" is a follow-up to "Colonel Homer".
"My Mother the Carjacker" and "Mona Leaves-a" both follow up on the "Homer's mother" plot thread started in "Mother Simpson".
The earliest example would probably be "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" being a follow up to "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"
"The Great Louse Detective", which was a follow-up to "Homer's Enemy" and the many Sideshow Bob-tries-to-kill-Bart episodes.
Sequential Symptom Syndrome: In "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", Homer eats fugu and thinks he's going to die. He experiences the five stages of grief as quickly as Doctor Hibbert can recite them.
Sesame Street Cred: Celebrity voices have been rumored to line up for years to get on the show. Even playing themselves.
The family appeared on Sesame Street itself on a celebrity cameo edition of the "Monster in My Mirror" music video.
Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Homer in "Bart's Friend Falls In Love", after getting a subliminal vocabulary-building tape since they were out of weight-loss tapes. It wears off after Homer learns that the alleged weight-loss tapes didn't work as advertised.
Severed Head Sports: The end of an episode which was spoofing MMORPGs shows Marge's player character playing with the head of Moe's.
Also happens on one of the "Treehouse of Terror" episodes, again with Moe as the victim of a Mayan sacrifice. His head rolls down the stairs and is used by kids as a soccer ball.
Yet another "Treehouse of Horror" had the zombified bullies use Zombie!Principal Skinner's head like a hacky sack.
Severely Specialized Store: A borderline example appears in "When Flanders Failed". Ned Flanders opens The Leftorium, a store with left-handed products for left-handed people; despite having a wide range of products, it initially fails due to interference by Homer.
Shaggy Dog Story: "Apocalypse Cow" seemed like a huge build up towards Bart getting an excuse to say, "I had a cow, man". Nonetheless, the episode did get a Sequel Episode called "Moonshine River".
Sheet of Glass: Subverted in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge": Marge's out-of-control car heads towards two workers carrying a giant sheet of glass. However, instead of the car smashing the glass to pieces, she merely knocks the glass down to the ground. The workers pick it up and comment on how sturdy the glass is.
Parodied in "Bart's Elephant", in which two workers manage to avoid having their sheet of glass get hit by both Stampy and Bart, then toss it into a recycling bin carelessly.
Burns was given the Hannibal Mask treatment once when he was dragged into court for illegally dumping radioactive waste in "Marge vs. the Monorail."
Bart, after being falsely assumed to have stolen the church's collection plate money, is given the Hannibal treatment at next week's service.
Marge: We really shouldn't have let them do this. It can't be helping his self esteem.
Shoe Shine, Mister?: The creator of Itchy & Scratchy is a homeless hobo who makes a living in part by shining shoes. After he successfully sues I&S Studios for all their money, he lives in a mansion, where he hangs out in front offering people a shine.
Shoo Out the Clowns: When Homer was an actor playing Jesus during his crucifixion. To everybody's surprise (specially for Flanders), he made a competent performance, and did not ruin it with any of his usual nonsenses.
(the robot drags itself off-screen with its "arms")
Shooting Gallery: "The Springfield Connection," with Wiggum pointing out the unarmed victims Marge didn't shoot (the mom with her baby and the blind man in the doorway).
In "The Cartridge Family," Homer joins his NRA buddies at a shooting range. We see him make some very clean shots through a series of soda cans. Pull out to reveal that Homer just took out the display at the snack stand.
Principal Skinner: Over here, Simpson! The detention room is dangerously overcrowded so you'll be spending your time in the cafeteria.
Student: Oxygen running out...
Principal Skinner: Yes, you should have thought of that before you made that paper airplane.
Aside from that example, The Simpsons provides another example that sort of toys with this. In "Lost Our Lisa", Lisa can't go to the Isis Exhibit because Marge has to take Bart to the hospital to get the novelty items he glued to his face removed, leading to this exchange:
Lisa: Oh! It's the last day of the Isis exhibit!
Bart: Well, you should have thought of that BEFORE I glued all this stuff to my face!
In "Mobile Homer", the movie Marge watches features dialog of this.
Man: I'm afraid your husband had no life insurance.
Woman: But what will I do?!
Man: You should've thought of that before you married a dead man!
Notably, the creators have said that they have parodied Citizen Kane so many times that one could recreate the entire movie just from The Simpsons clips. They have also said the same about the first two The Godfather movies.
A shout out to Family Guy (the not-quite-dead ostrich in "How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window?") is notable because the two shows tend to ignore each other.
Cheers has been explicitly given a Shout-Out a few times. One obvious nod is when Homer was looking for a new bar, and found Cheers, with suspiciously named characters "Sam-like character", "Woody-like character", and so on. In Flaming Moe's, a Diane Expy works at Moe's. She leaves, causing Moe to comment, "She left to pursue a movie career. Frankly, I think she was better off here."
The series has at least twice alluded to the movie Speed. In one episode, Homer used the video loop trick to skip work. When he told Lenny and Carl where he got the idea from and described the movie, he couldn't remember its name and called it "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down". In another one, Bart and Lisa Missed The Bus and Marge tried to catch up with it but Otto thought Marge wanted to race him. Milhouse said it looked like Speed 2 except that it had a bus instead of a boat.
One Shout Out that deserves attention in this form was in the 2012 episode The Spy Who Learned Me where Lenny asks Marge what brings her to the "SNPP" aka Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. This is a probable Shout Out to the original Simpsons Archive at www.snpp.com.
Season eight episode, Bart After Dark, the one where Bart has to work at a burlesque house: There is a scene where Bart is falling down a roof that looks a bit like in the Lupin III movie, "The Castle of Cagliostro" that even the people in the audio commentary mention it.
The Show Must Go On: In "Million Dollar Maybe", Marge and Homer are supposed to perform a singing toast at her cousin's wedding. When Homer doesn't show at the wedding reception because he is buying a lottery ticket, Marge attempts to perform the toast on her own, despite the fact that it is a duet. The results are horrific.
Shown Their Work: When Homer was recounting his previous trip to New York City he mentioned that he was traveling to Harrisburg to buy an irregular coat and had to transfer from a bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal to a train at Penn Station. This is entirely accurate as one would make such a walking transfer when traveling to Harrisburg and the PABT was accurately depicted as well in its pre-rebuild configuration.
Occasionally, it also airs "Worker and Parasite" and "Trans-Clown O Morphs".
The Shrink: A therapist attempted to cure Homer of his Bart-strangling obsession (or at least make him understand it's not acceptable to strangle children) by having somebody strangle Homer all time. When Homer was "cured", the therapist said the road of recovery was far from over but had a change of mind when Homer confessed to have lied about having insurance.
Shrunken Organ: Mr. Burns' heart has been shown as a shriveled black lump that beats every now and again. Additionally, after crawling out from beneath a landslide, Mr. Burns tilted his head and banged his ear in hope of clearing out the gravel from his other ear. The gravel came flying out that ear, along with his walnut-sized brain.
"Shut Up" Kiss: Nelson gives one of these to Lisa in "Lisa's Date With Density" when she won't stop talking. However, after a couple seconds, Nelson begins to enjoy the kiss.
Sick Episode: None of these occupy the entire episode, but: Homer gets food poisoning in "Selma's Choice". Lisa gets the mumps in "Bart's Dog Gets an F". Everybody except Lisa gets queasy from eating organic foods in "A Star is Torn". Lisa gets a cold in "Lisa Gets an A".
Significant Monogram: Subverted/averted with Marge, who in her high school days was a Straw Feminist known as Marge Bouvier; since her marriage to Homer and assumption of the name Marge Simpson, she has been (by and large) rather tolerant of her new position as the voice of reason Homer rarely heeds.
Single-Target Sexuality: Waylon Smithers, particularly in the early years, is "Burns-sexual;" Burns never catches on. It was decided early on to have Smithers be in love with Burns, but there was a lot of debate about whether it was a matter of Single-Target Sexuality or if he was just gay. The latter seems to have won out in recent years, with Smithers having ex-boyfriends and going to a gay resort on vacation, subverting this trope. However, some writers, like Al Jean, still play this straight with the character.
Silence, You Fool!: One example near the end of the second act from the episode "Bart Sells His Soul":
Homer: Bart, you didn't finish your spaghetti and Moe balls!
Homer's brain: Silence, you fool. It can be ours!
Homer: [eating] Run, boy! Run! Run for your life, boy!
Also, Bart says one to Lisa after she teases him about Laura and Bart in the episode 'The New Kid on the Block':
Bart: Maybe Laura could watch us.
Lisa: Oh, I get it. [seductively] Bart, the babysitter's here. Let me tuck you in. [making smacking noises]
Again in 'Skinner's Sense of Snow':
Skinner: All right, that's it. I'm writing all your names on the detention list in my mind.
Bart: Silence, Seymour. We're in charge now.
And again in 'Girly Edition'
Lisa: Bart, get out of my anchorchair.
Bart: Silence, Octopussy.
And again in 'Lisa the Skeptic' but from the so-called angel when it's revealed that it's not an apocalypse but instead turns out to be an opening for the Heavenly Hills shopping mall in Springfield:
Lisa: Well, there you go. I hope you all learned a valuable—
Angel: Silence! Prepare for the end... the end of high prices! Behold, the grand opening of the Heavenly Hills Mall.
Also one from Mr. Burns in 'Homer's Enemy', as well, when criticizing Frank Grimes in his office.
From "Sunday, Bloody Sunday":
Wally: Well, I'm convinced. Tell you what, Mr. Murdoch. Let's just split the difference. The boys and I will just crouch here quietly, and take it easy on the snacks ...
Murdoch: Silence! [he throws something on the ground, and two puffs of smoke appear, revealing three policemen] Seize them!
The trope also appears in the Gracie Films logo sequence in this episode, as well.
When Homer addresses the church congregation about Ned's age in "Viva Ned Flanders", Homer admits he's not a "fancy big city lawyer", to which the congregation gasps.
When ranting against the recent area code changes in "A Tale of Two Springfields," Homer takes on the mannerisms of and sticks his thumbs under dynamite straps, as though they were suspenders, like a country lawyer.
The lawyer from "The Monkey Suit" falls into this trope as well.
Lawyer: As the chick said to her mama, "I hope I don't cluck up!" (audience says "Awwwww")
Skewed Priorities: Agent Mulder in "The Springfield Files." A shipment of drugs and illegal weapons is coming into New Jersey that night, but Mulder thinks investigating an unsubstantiated UFO sighting is more important.
Skinny Dipping: In "500 Keys", Homer remembers going skinny dipping with Duff Man. This might be how he ended up with the key to the Duff brewery.
McBain, during one of his movies, after his partner is fatally shot:
An example from "Bart Gets Famous", after Homer thinks Bart turned into a box:
Homer_ DAMN YOU! A BOX!!!
When Bart and his elephant are missing. Homer had made a deal to sell the elephant, prompting:
Homer: He took Bart too? That wasn't part of the deal blackheart! THAT WASN'T PARRRRT!
Slap Yourself Awake: Bart smacks himself to stay awake studying in the episode where he actually buckles down and tries to get a passing grade.
Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 2 (Status Quo Is God). They're always the same family with kids of the same ages that have the same neighbors, etc. Lisa did permanently become a vegetarian, though, and some such minor happenings.
Small Name, Big Ego: The town of Springfield itself. Listing everything with "Springfield" in the name would be a fruitless endeavor. Hell, they even have the Hollywood sign-style "SPRINGFIELD" spelled out on the mountainside!
Smart People Know Latin: To cover going on a road trip, Bart tells his family he's going to the National Grammar Rodeo.
Lisa: I'm the best student in school, how come I never heard about this competition? Bart: Maybe because you are, as we say in Latin, a "dorkus malorkus." Lisa: That's not Latin. Mom, Bart's faking it. Marge: Lisa, you've had your glory. Now it's Bart's turn.
Smart People Wear Glasses: Homer finds glasses in one episode and immediately starts acting smart, even though the math he starts reciting is nonsense.
Skinner: You know, I think about you all the time.
Edna: Birthday's over, Seymour.
Smug Snake: Mr. Burns sometimes takes this trope to ridiculous extremes. For example, one episode involved a plan on Burns' part to block sunlight from reaching Springfield, and a town hall meeting was held about it. During the meeting, the town was being shown what Burns' oil drilling operation did to Bart's pet dog, who was shown needing to use wheels just to walk down the hallway. Burns walks in at EXACTLY this moment, and, with a big smirk on his face, says this:
Burns: Oh those wheels are squeaking a bit. Perhaps I could sell him a little oil.
Snub by Omission: have done this to Homer twice, with the Employee of the Week awards (which he loses to an inanimate carbon rod), as well as the Town Pride Awards (which everyone gets but him).
Sock It To Them: When Homer and his buddies become a vigilante force because the police can't catch the Classy Cat-Burglar stalking the neighborhood, Jimbo joins. He's told that his Weapon of Choice should be sack full of door knobs. A news anchor interviewing Homer later mentions that beatings with such a weapon have skyrocketted.
And that was the only folly the people of Springfield ever embarked upon. Except for the Popsicle stick skyscraper. And the 50-foot magnifying glass. [the sun focused through the magnifying glass sets the Popsicle stick skyscraper on fire] And that escalator to nowhere.
Soldiers at the Rear: In "Simpson Tide", Homer joined the US Naval Reserve expecting it to be like this. It doesn't quite go according to plan.
Sorry Ociffer: Homer and Barney get stopped by Chief Wiggum because he thinks they're both drunk (he's right). Then he asks Homer to dance and he does pretty well...Until Barney asks Wiggum to use the Breathalyzer.
Marge: (enters the kitchen) Why are you frosting that old throw pillow?
Homer: I could ask you the very same question!
Marge: Uh... should I just back out of the room?
Homer: Would you? (Marge leaves)
Sound Effect Bleep: Done in "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?" when Homer is driving and swearing at other drivers. Even worse, there are impressionable kids with him. Worse still, he's swearing at an ambulance.
Also present in other episodes like "Flaming Moe's" (on a TV program Homer was watching), "Homer and Apu" (in one of the scenes with James Woods), and "Treehouse of Horror IX" (the fact that one of the shorts features The Jerry Springer Show says it all).
Spin-Off: Of The Tracey Ullman Show. And the whole concept is spoofed in the episode "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase".
Spin the Bottle: The beginning of "The Way We Weren't" has Bart, Milhouse, Terri and Sherri (along with their cousin who has a crush on Bart) play this game in Bart's Treehouse. Milhouse spins the bottle and stops at Terri/Sherri's cousin. When Milhouse attempts to kiss her, he accidentally kisses Homer instead when he climbed Bart's Treehouse.
In "Colonel Homer", after being locked in the room with Lurleen Lumpkin and being kissed by her, flashbacks of Homer's kissing attempts is seen, when in his childhood, he is seen playing this game only to get slapped by the girl who the bottle is stopped at.
Spinning Paper: Used all the time. One time, this was lampshaded with the headline: "Spinning newspaper injures printer."
In "Lisa's Date With Density", Milhouse interrupts Lisa's confession on her crush on Nelson by taking a suave drink of milk. When she finishes, he spits it back into his straw, causing the carton to explode.
Invoked by Homer in "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes" when he sees the price of a top-of-the-budget computer and reacts by grabbing a cup of coffee, drinking it, and spitting it out.
The Sponsor: In the Season 4 episode "Marge in Chains", Lionel Hutz calls upon David Crosby when he's tempted by "...that bottle of delicious bourbon. Brownest of the brown liquors..."
Spoof Aesop: The end of "Blood Feud" has the family debating on what the moral of the story is, and eventually giving up by saying it was just a bunch of stuff that happened.
"Tennis the Menace" has one delivered by Homer, after all four have been replaced by professional tennis players on the court: "It's better to watch stuff than to do stuff."
Homer in the Scully-era episodes, especially during the ninth, tenth, and 11th seasons, which wore on fans' nerves and is cited as one of the reasons why the show's quality is in the toilet. The show is meant to have an ensemble cast, but more than half the episodes from season 10 focus on Homer finding a new job or hobby.
Lisa gets this in the more recent seasons, with many episodes focusing on her cause of the week or feeling out of place at home or school.
Stab The Salad: Several times, memorably in Sideshow Bob's first escape, Homer kept scaring Bart by wielding large deadly implements for innocent things.
Stalker Without A Crush: The Old Man And Lisa has Burns going broke because of his Yes-Man underlings, and feeling convinced that hiring Lisa would get him back on track what with her integrity. However, Lisa refuses to work for him, because she is convinced he does not deserve to be helped. Burns, in turn, follows her around in a very stalkerish manner, begging that she take the job.
Start My Own: Bart starts his own casino after getting kicked out of Burns's casino in "$pringfield", putting Squeaky Voiced Teen in his place.
In "The Joy of Sect", Mr. Burns attempts to create his own religion after he hears that the Movementarian's leader has tax exempt status. The unveiling ceremony went horribly wrong, however, as a wayward spark from a firework destroyed his costume, and he fell from the balcony trying to put himself out.
Lenny: Meh. He's alright, but he's no bowl of Special K!
Got a big Lampshade Hanging in "Pygmoelian", where Moe's face is crushed by a falling backdrop, undoing the Magic Plastic Surgery that made him handsome and reverting him to normal. The last scene has Moe asking why he got his old face back instead of being deformed; the episode ends before he can say "It makes no sense."
From "Bart vs Lisa vs the Third Grade"
Skinner: Well, if this episode has taught us anything, it's that nothing works better than the status quo. Bart, you're promoted back to the fourth grade.
Skinner: And Lisa, you have a choice. You may continue to be challenged in third grade or return to second grade and be merely a big fish in a small pond.
Lisa: Big fish! Big fish!
Homer: [satisfied] The status quo.
"The Principal and the Pauper", anyone? The episode ends with the town agreeing that they should ignore the new real Seymour Skinner and stick with the fake one that they've known for years, including his own mother.
We now have a worse with "Donnie Fatso" After killing Fat Tony off his cousin Fit Tony takes over, puts on weight, and becomes known as Fit Fat Tony, or Fat Tony for short.
A similar (more minor) case with the death of Snowball II. Lisa finds replacement cats and eventually came upon an identical cat who she calls her "Snowball II" rather than "Snowball V" (to save money on a new dish). Lampshaded when Principal Skinner overhears this and Lisa replies with his real name mentioned above.
The Season 22 episode "The Blue and the Gray". Marge stops dying her hair and lets it revert to a natural gray color. This causes an uproar throughout the family and the town residents, and makes Marge the subject of many stereotypes about seniors. As it turns out, her sisters, Patty and Selma, have been dyeing their hair too. At the end, Marge goes back to blue, and everyone except Homer, in an interesting blue twist, he dyes what's left of his hair blue laughs it off and life in Springfield goes on as normal.
Stealing from the Hotel: In the fifth season episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", we get this hilarious piece of conversation:
Principal Skinner: You're stealing a table?
Homer: I'm not stealing it. Hotels expect you to take a few things. It's a souvenir!
Principal Skinner: Ah. Is that my necktie you're wearing?
Stealth Pun: Any title with "Annoyed Grunt" in the title.
The captain's name in "Simpson Tide" is Tenille.
Sting: Used many, many times in the show by composer Alf Clausen.
Stock Footage: "Another Simpsons Clip Show" not only is a Clip Show, but also re-uses old animation in new contexts and with new dialog. Only a few short scenes were animated specifically for this episode.
Aside from that, the earlier seasons had a few scenes reused. For instance, footage of Homer comforting a concerned Marge from the end of "Lisa's Substitute" was later reused in "Bart the Murderer". And "Marge on the Lam" has a brief scene of Bart saying "We don't need a babysitter." that is clearly from season 2. A list of reused animation can be found here.
Strange Minds Think Alike: In the episode where Homer gets a new assistant who turns on him and takes his job, he uses a secret Flanders told him to turn the tables. When asked where he learnt the secret, he declines to say, but states the initials are S.F. She immediately recognizes this as Stupid Flanders.
Stuck on a Ski Lift: This happens to Homer. He tries to get off but ends up hanging upside down. ("Come on, gravity! You used to be cool!")
Stuffed into a Trashcan: Bart in "Bart the General"; Milhouse and Homer in "24 Minutes" (though in the latter's case, it's actually a dumpster).
Stupid Crooks: In "Dumbbell Indemnity", Moe spends so much money on things for his new girlfriend that he decides to come up with a plan with Homer to steal his car, have it destroyed, and collect the insurance money. Homer steals Moe's car and is supposed to leave it on the train tracks, but he gets sidetracked by a showing at a drive-in theater for a movie about a monkey who is president. Having missed the train, Homer decides to drive the car off a cliff in plain view of everyone, including the police, which gets himself arrested.
Moe: Homer, you moron.
Homer: Homer, you genius!
Subverted Trope: The show subverted most of these tropes at one point or another.
Subways Suck: In "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" Bart attempts to scam a bunch of indifferent New Yorkers while riding the subway. After licking a pole, he admits defeat.
Homer: That's ridiculous. How could I even get all five necessary drops into her cereal? (Beat) What?
In "The Great Money Caper":
Willie: I was alone in me unabomber-style shack. I had nothing to do with that carjacking.
Blue-haired lawyer: Carjacking? Who said anything about a carjacking?!
Suspiciously Specific Sermon: In "The Telltale Head", Reverend Lovejoy's sermon was about gambling and watching pro football on Sundays instead of attending church; cut to Homer, who is listening to headphones broadcasting a football game he's betting on.
Marge: Homer, there's someone here who can help you!
Homer: Is it Batman?
Marge: No, he's a scientist.
Homer: Batman's a scientist.
Marge: It's not Batman!
In "Bart After Dark":
Marge: I'm here to share my moral outrage. But this time it's not about that giant inflatable "Dos Equis" bottle. It's about a certain house in our town.
Moe: Yeah, well what's wrong with this house? Is it the plumbing?
Marge: No. It's a house of ill fame. A house of loose ethics.
Kent Brockman: Is there a building code violation? A drainage issue? A surveying error?
Marge: (annoyed) The house is perfectly fine!
Chief Wiggum: Well, then quite bad-mouthing the house!
Otto: Yeah, leave the house alone!
From "Much Apu About Nothing":
Lisa: You know, in a way, all Americans are immigrants. Except, of course Native Americans.
Homer: Yeah, Native Americans like us.
Lisa: No, I mean American Indians.
Apu: Like me.
Lisa: No, I mean...
Swallow the Key: In "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister", the manager of the Sprawl Mart locks his employees inside the store, and then taunts them by swallowing the bathroom key.
The Swear Jar: Homer having to deal with one of these whilst he's building a doghouse for Santa's Little Helper. He ends up shouting things like "Fiddle-dee-dee!" after stepping on rusty nails, and puts enough money into the jar to enable the purchase of a rather large and cosy doghouse — which is good, since the one Homer built sucked.
In one episode, James Woods researches the job of a Kwik-E-Mart employee as a reference to The Hard Way.
Another episode had Mr. Burns hire Michael Caine to impersonate Homer in order to convince Bart that he (Homer) didn't love him (Bart) any more. Later in the episode Homer mentions that Caine had followed him around trying to get a handle on his character.
Take That: Several different targets, frequently for unknown reasons. For example, Arby's must have pissed some of the writers off really good, being the recipient of at least 4 cheap shots.
Soldier: Welcome, son! To survive, all we must do is eat your flesh.
Marge: Hold it right there, bub! What kind of civilized people eat the body and blood of their saviour?
Cue Reverend Lovejoy looking visibly awkward.
The Amendment to Be cartoon details how if the amendment does not get through they'll sue Ted Kennedy, and claim he's gay if he fights back. This sounds suspiciously (as is, it is) the grubby tactics used by Senator Joe Mccarthy.
One one occasion the show even took a shot at it's origins:
Homer: It all happened in 1990! Tracey Ullman was entertaining America with songs, sketches, and crudely drawn filler material.
Writer Bill Oakley insists that the episode "Two Bad Neighbors" is not a political attack on George Bush. "It's a personal attack on George Bush."
They're not too fond of the Grammys, either. In one episode, Homer compliments Elton John, and Elton John gives him a Grammy for it. Homer throws it into a trash can almost immediately.
In an episode where Abe is revealed to have been a 1950s wrestler and a heel, Homer tell him wasn't a winner because he had to cheat at a fake sport. Burns replies (in a fourth wall joke) "wrestling is fake? Why if that were true, (turns to face the camera directly) that would make every fan in the history of the sport a complete moron."
The episode "Apocalypse Cow" has a short segment of Bart driving a combine with funny results. For instance he drives it over some clothes and they come out neatly folded. He drives it through a river and makes a literal cube of water. Then he goes over a pile of manure with it. The result? Pirates of the Caribbean 3 DVDs.
The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Subverted in "I'm Goin' to Praiseland": While on a rollercoaster ride, the coaster stops and a King David animatronic asks the kids in the coaster who disturbs King David. Nobody responds and a couple seconds later, King David says, "...Silence!"
The foundation repair instructional video from "Marge Gets a Job":
Troy McClure: Now, do you have extruded poly-vinyl foam insulation? Homer: No. Troy McClure: Good.
Western Union X) SPR CGN PO=SPRINGFIELD 1 935= OCT 11 PM 6 Mr. Simpson STOP Your constant letters are becoming a nuisance STOP If you do not cease I will be forced to pursue legal action STOP Boris Karloff Hollywood CALF.
Mr. Burns: There's no way I can lose this bet. Unless, of course, my nine all-stars fall victim to nine separate misfortunes and are unable to play tomorrow. But that will never happen. Three misfortunes, that's possible. Seven misfortunes, there's an outside chance. But nine misfortunes? I'd like to see that!
He didn't get nine, just eight.
Actually seven, one of them got fired for non-existent sideburns.
Ten Paces And Turn: In "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)", Homer takes to slapping in the face with a glove and challenging them to duels to intimidate them into giving him whatever he wants. However, when he does it to a Southern Gentleman, the gentleman accepts his challenge. After spending most of the episode living on a farm to avoid the duel, Homer returns home and has to fight it. He gets shot in the arm.
Thanatos Gambit: Homer spreads his mother's ashes, sabotaging Mr. Burns's missile launch.
Also, there's Sideshow Bob's fake funeral, a ploy to kill Bart when he's saying goodbye to his old nemesis.
Another episode the family is touring a stamp museum when they come to a talking stamp of Alexander Graham Bell saying he's the inventor of the telephone. Next to him is a talking stamp of Elisha Gray who claims it was stolen from him, to which Bell replies "Read the patent, bitch!"
This Just In: In "The Joy of Sect", Kent Brockman is negatively editorializing about The Movementarians, but is soon handed some papers from off-screen.
Kent Brockman: Ladies and gentlemen, I've just learned of a change in the station's management. Welcome, Movementarians! Continue to improve our lives! I love you, perfect Leader.. and new CEO of KBBL broadcasting!
Three Shorts: Besides the annual Treehouse of Horror episodes, the following taken on the three shorts format:
Simpsons Bible Stories
Trilogy of Error (though this one is debatable, as all three stories are interconnected at points)
Tales From the Public Domain
Margical History Tour
Simpsons Christmas Stories
The Wettest Stories Ever Told
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times
Love, Springfieldian Style
Four Great Women and a Manicure (this one is actually four stories, due to the new commercial formatting for season 20 and beyond. This aspect is also lampshaded)
Through a Face Full of Fur: He has no fur on his face technically, but in "Mobile Homer", Homer's face turns blue from a lack of oxygen when a garage door repeatedly lifts up and down on him while he's lain in the garage's doorway, crushing his windpipe (or chest), caused by a book he tries throwing at a spider hits the garage door button instead.
In "Bart On The Road", Homer's face turns red frontally for a moment, after learning from Lisa of Bart and his friends' trip to the World's Fair, before angrily yelling some muffled obscenities while wearing a nuclear plant suit's helmet.
In "Stop or My Dog Will Shoot", Bart gets a python he names Strangles for a pet in place of Santa's Little Helper and Homer's whole head turns red, when Strangles wraps his coils around his neck, after Homer does the strangling routine with Bart.
In a Simpsons short from The Tracey Ullman Show ("Bath Time"), Bart is turned blue entirely and is shivering from the cold water with which Homer runs, and fills the bathtub. Bart regresses to his normal color when he mixes the hot water with the cold.
In "Home Sweet Home Diddily-Dum-Doodily", Rod and Todd turn pale in horror at the violence in an Itchy and Scratchy short they just watched with Ned, Bart and Lisa.
In "Selma's Choice", Lisa is pale from hypothermia after swimming in the beery river at Duff Gardens. In the same episode, Homer later turns pale when he falls ill from eating a tainted or stale sub sandwich.
In the couch gag of "Bart Stops To Smell The Roosevelts", a John Kricfalusi/Spumco-esque Homer turns red when he thinks he broke wind, but Bart, who along with other members of the nuclear family were redesigned by John K. and Spumco here, placed a whoopee cushion in his spot on the couch on which he sits. Typically, Bart laughs at the prank and Homer gets ticked off, strangling Bart and as he does this, Bart's face gradually turns blue.
In "Brother's Little Helper", Krusty's face turns blue when a remote-controlled gag bow tie spins rapidly and uncontrollably, choking off the air supply from his lungs to his windpipe while in the middle of hosting his show.
In "Lisa's Substitute", Martin Prince is later seen pale from the pressure and stress of running against Bart in the classroom presidential campaign.
In "The Ten Per-Cent Solution", Homer gets green-faced when he lies on the floor, acting as a bloated corpse.
In "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo", Homer's face turns magenta as a result of red tide poisoning from eating a can of expired plankton.
In "Mommie Beerest", a health inspector named Frankie is pale as a result of eating Moe Syszlak's pickled eggs and dies.
Throwing Out The Script: Homer rips up his notes, then realizes he can't think of anything to say and tries to put them back together again.
Throw It In: A number of times, various cast members have ad-libbed lines during recordings. Perhaps the most well-known example is Homer's "I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean, S-M-A-R-T!" Dan Castellaneta misspelled by accident, but went with it because Homer is stupid.
Tickertape Parade: In "Deep Space Homer", the carbon rod credited with saving the space shuttle from burning up in Earth's atmosphere gets a tickertape parade in its honor.
In "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson", there's a gag where the family hold a fake parade (with Lisa as an astronaut) so they can drop leaflets for Marge's pretzel-selling business. Marge stages a tickertape parade to avoid littering laws when she throws flyers for her pretzel business off the buildings.
Chief Wiggum: Welcome back, space girl. (sniffs)
Time for Plan B: In "Trash of the Titans", Springfield's contingency plan, aka "Plan B", is to move the entire town five miles down the road.
When Burns decided to pick a local boy to be his heir, Milhouse was one of the rejects. After that, Lisa tried to persuade Burns into accepting the possibility of his heir being a woman but he was quite clear on that: no girls. Cut to a scene with Milhouse dressed as a girl commenting "So much for Plan B".
Tired of Running: Homer, in "Beyond Blunderdome", eventually grows tired of running away from the studio execs who want to stop he and Mel Gibson from screening the alternate ending version of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", and decides to fight back instead.
Title Montage: "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" features a montage of couch gags from previous episodes as part of its opening sequence.
Toad Licking: Homer in episode "Missionary: Impossible" is depicted at one point lying on a hammock and picking up toads at random and licking them to get high while stranded on a South Pacific island.
One of the winter hazards faced by Lewis and Clarke (a.k.a. Lenny and Karl) in "Magical History Tour".
Homer gets his tongue stuck to the ice sculpture at Otto's wedding.
In "The Springfield Files", Channel 6 News uses a file photo of Homer that shows him with his tongue stuck to a lamppost.
"My Fair Laddy'', Bart stores Lisa's saxophone in the freezer and then hands it to her. Her tongue gets stuck when she attempts to blow it
Tonight Someone Dies: The promos for "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily" literally asked: "Who will die?", and proceeding to list off a bunch of potential victims. Unfortunately, word got out before the episode aired that Maude would be the unfortunate one, so these promos didn't generate the expected suspense.
Tontine: In "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish", it's revealed that Abe Simpson and Mister Burns served together during World War II, and their squad (the Flying Hellfish) acquired a set of priceless German paintings, with the agreement that the last member of the Hellfish to die would get them. It ends when government officials and the descendant of the person they stole the paintings from arrive and reclaim them for the German. The descendent is not too worried about their safety, either.
Marge:: *singing* It's a desperate criminal, on the run from the law! Please spare my children... Homer:...and their Depp-trousered Pa! Snake: *singing* A singing family?! It's worse than I feared! For hostage purposes, you're just too weird! Bye! *Exit: living room window*
Too Much Information: After Lisa is promoted to third grade in "Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade", Bart blurts out:
Bart: She's not so great! She got diarrhea when we went to Carlsbad Caverns!
Too Quirky To Lose: Bart entered a school science fair with an entry called "Can Hamsters Fly Airplanes?" Even though his "experiment" clearly did not prove or disprove any hypothesis, Principal Skinner was so charmed by the sight of a hamster wearing flight goggles and a scarf and sitting in a model airplane that he pronounced Bart the winner.
Bart has just been "taken" by a monkey at a local zoo, and Homer tries to save him by putting a tranq-dart into a tube and putting it into his mouth. He then inhales, and it gets self-explanatory after that.
Subverted in another episode when Barney is shot with a bear tranquilizer dart. He actually pulls out the dart and drinks the remaining sedative before passing out.
Translation: Yes: In "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", Homer's "D'oh!" is much longer in Japanese.
Travel Montage: Seen in "Dog of Death" when Santa's Little Helper goes off on his own; a map of the locations he travels to is shown while "Peter and the Wolf" plays.
Tree Buchet: Homer launched a rabbit into the horizon with one of these.
Triple Nipple: In "Kamp Krusty", Lisa uses Krusty the Clown's superfluous third nipple to confirm his identity.
Triumphant Reprise: In The Otto Show, where Otto is temporarily fired from his job as school bus driver, Seymour Skinner tries to fill in for him. Earlier on, the students sing "Hail To The Bus Driver" on the bus trip; at first Skinner sings along with it and laughs, but as he gets delayed longer and longer in traffic (because of his inexperience) he starts getting very irritated at the song, eventually shouting "shut up" at the only student still singing it. Toward the end of the episode, Otto gets re-hired. When the students sing "Hail To The Bus Driver" again, Skinner, who's overhearing the singing from a window, looks at the bus and says "yes, hail to the bus driver" in a more serious but happy manner, with a few electric guitar notes playing in the background.
Troll: Milhouse claims to be one in the "Homer the Whopper" episode in which the Comic Book Guy says he posted his comic on the internet and names some accounts that deride it. Bart tells him that they were just "lame-os" and Milhouse says "Two of them were me!"
Troperiffic: You'd be hard pressed to find a series more troperrific than this.
Trope2000: The Spine-Melter 2000 from "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"
Trouser Space: Scorpio's offer of sugar and cream to Homer in "You Only Move Twice".
True Love Is Boring: Zig-zagged. Despite the amount of separations (and a divorce at one point), Homer and Marge are still together.
Trying Not to Cry: Marge says she didn't want to cry in "Kamp Krusty" when she and the family have the last meal together before Bart and Lisa go off to summer camp. She immediately starts crying when Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie start hungrily eating.
Tsundere: In "Moonshine River", Bart runs into the fastest moodswinging exemplar ever (albeit only for seconds).
Nelson: I won't give you a "B", but I'll rip you a new "A"!
Two Rights Make A Wrong: Apu and his wife Manjula end up with octuplets, almost going broke due to the resulting expenses, when every member of the Simpson family independently decides to help along their desire to conceive by secretly slipping them fertility drugs.
Two Shots From Behind The Bar: Moe keeps a sawed-off shotgun handy in case of cheapskate customers or when he loses his temper, which happens all the time.
In "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife", Dr. Marvin Monroe appears at a book signing. When asked where he's been all these years, he replies that he's been very sick. Of course, we've seen his gravestone in previous episodes, but never mind.
Unfortunate Implications: In-Universe example: When Krusty was doing one of his comedy gigs on TV (filmed at the Apollo Theatre, no less), the show he was doing was "Krusty Komedy Klassics." When he turns around and saw the sign on the stage, he realized in shock that it also had the same acronym as the Ku Klux Klan, causing Krusty to giggle nervously and say "Not good..." before the (obviously) offended audience decided to throw objects at him.
Unicorns Are Sacred: In this couch gag, the workers manufacturing the Simpsons merchandise are depicted as miserable slaves made to work for cruel masters at Fox. There is a unicorn chained up in the underground sweatshop, looking malnourished and unhappy.
Selma: *Refusing to marry Apu* [My name's] already long enough without Nahasapet-apeet-whatever.
Chief Wiggum: Homer Simpson, you are under arrest for the murder of Moe Szyslak and Apu Nahasa... pasa... ah, just Moe. Just Moe.
When Apu joins The Be Sharps, their agent tells him that his name will never fit on a marquee, and says "From now on, you're Apu Du Beaumarchaise". Apu replies "It is an insult to my culture and my country, but okay."
In one episode, Homer experiences a very frustrating version during a Dream Sequence. He's having money problems and he dreams about an invention that will make him rich, but he's never able to actually see the invention because someone is standing in the way.
Unrobotic Reveal: In the show's parody of Robot Wars, after completely failing to build a battlebot, Homer covers himself in armour plating and enters the arena himself.
Skinner: Look, let's can the euphemisms. No more bullspit.
Unwanted Glasses Plot: Bart gets thick glasses to correct his lazy eye in "The Last Temptation of Homer". Along with hair salve, throat spray, and heightened shoes, making him look and sound like a stereotypical nerd.
Up to Eleven: Krusty quotes this trope for word at the beginning of The Man In Blue Flannel Pants.
Vandalism Backfire: Bart is angry at Lisa, and darkly announces that as vengeance, he tore the head off of a stuffed animal named Mr. Honey-Bunny. Lisa then reminds Bart that that was his beloved childhood toy.
Bart:Agh! Mr. Honey-Bunny! (places the head back on and kisses it desperately)
Vehicular Sabotage: In order to smoke out a person trying to kill Homer, he is made the King of the Mardi Gras parade. The person trying to kill him as tampered with the brakes of his float so he can't stop.
In the Clip Show episode "So It's Come To This", Homer, who just woke up from a coma, walks to a vending machine. It crashed into Homer, putting him back into a coma.
In "Marge on the Lam", Homer puts his arm inside a vending machine to get a free "invisible cola" (actually a Crystal Buzz Cola). When he reaches into it Carl warns him, telling him that someone lost an arm doing that once. (We see the inside of the machine where there's a skeleton arm from the last guy who tried to get a free soda, still holding onto a can of Fresca.) Homer eventually grabs the soda, but his arm gets stuck and Lenny and Carl run off screaming. Then, Homer gets his other arm stuck inside a candy vending machine. (In a scene cut from syndication, he imagines himself at Maggie's wedding with his arms still stuck to the vending machines.) Just as the rescue workers are about cut off Homer's arms, it turns out this could've been avoided if he let go of the can in the first place. The firemen write a note up for Marge to prove that the incident wasn't some wild excuse to avoid going to the ballet (with said note mentioning that while they were wasting their time with Homer, a lumber mill burned down).
Senator Paine: I believe the Senator has yielded the floor. Mr. Smith: Yield this, Senator Paine.
Vertigo Effect: Seen more in the earlier seasons, such as "Principal Charming" (parodying Vertigo), "Bart Gets Hit By a Car" (when the camera zooms in on Marge), "Lisa's Substitute" (when the camera zooms in on Lisa when she's shocked to see Miss Hoover back), and "Treehouse of Horror" (when Lisa first sees the UFO).
Victory By Endurance: Homer has Homer Simpson Syndrome ("ohh, why me!?") where his brain is surrounded by 1/8 inch more cushioning fluid than usual, making him the perfect boxer. He just waits for the other guy to tire himself out punching him, at which point Homer can just push the other guy down for a KO.
Video Phone: One episode taking place in the future, "Lisa's Wedding," showcased a conversation between Lisa and Marge using a "picture phone." Marge kept forgetting that Lisa could see her over the phone, and her body language made it more obvious to tell when she was lying.
Video Wills: Used a couple times, once in "Selma's Choice" where Lionel Hutz dubbed over the deceased Bouvier's voice (Hutz told Marge she'd be surprised with the number of times the trick works), and again in "Mona Leaves-a" with Mona:
Mona: If you're watching this right now, I am dead. Or if not, you've gotten into my stuff. But if I'm dead, this is my will. And if I'm not, get out of my stuff.
Homer also attempted to film one in "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish":
Homer: Hi, Maggie! I'm speaking to you from beyond the grave. (makes ghostly noises and laughs) Hope that didn't scare you.
Visual Pun: Several. One example took place when Homer became a photojournalist for a tabloid. When the editor commented a photo had "Page One" written all over it, it was because Homer wanted to remember the book page where he stopped. That's right, Homer took Book Dumb to that level.
Vocal Evolution: Dan Castellaneta originally voiced Homer by doing a Walter Matthau impersonation; around the halfway point of season 2, he began to give him new vocal inflections and a larger range. Any similarities to Matthau were essentially abandoned by "Blood Feud".
Nelson began with a very high-pitched voice. However, around season 7, Nelson began to have a deeper, scratchier voice.
The Voiceless: Maggie, with a couple exceptions. In "Lisa's First Word", she utters her first word: "Daddy." In "Treehouse of Horror V", she is voiced by James Earl Jones in one of the alternate universes Homer created: "This is indeed a disturbing universe."
Lampshaded in "Lisa's Wedding" when a teenage Maggie keeps trying to talk (or sing), but is either interrupted before she can say anything or has her mouth full of food and is unintelligible.
Comic Book Guy: Correction; I do not believe I have ever bought you... (realizes) Oh.
The Walls Are Closing In: When spoofing The Ten Commandments and the story of Moses, Milhouse and Lisa (as Moses and Aaron) are thrown in a room with spiked walls that close in on them. However, the spikes have all been installed opposite each other, so that the walls stop when the tips touch, leaving plenty of room for them to climb to safety (and for Lisa to remark, "Slave labor. You get what you pay for.").
This happens to Marge on many occasions, ranging from running from the law with her friend after stealing her ex's car, taking part in a monster truck rally and gaining road rage from a Canyonero. Driving seems to be her recurring Berserk Button.
In "Separate Vocations", Lisa becomes a delinquent after getting "Homemaker" in an Inept Aptitude Test and being told that she'll never become a professional Jazz musician due to her stubby fingers. This culminates with her committing an expulsion worthy offense (stealing all of the teachers' guides) to which Bart takes the fall, not wanting her to ruin her life.
"Lisa's Pony" in a scene where Homer's playing tea party with Lisa and Bart and Milhouse make fun of him. Homer notices them and immediately charges at them. He runs towards the camera and his stomach fills up the screen making it completely white.
"Girls Just Want to Have Sums" where Nelson is about to beat up the disguised Lisa
"The Dad Who Knew Too Little" where Homer is about to charge towards some free sample stands
"Brother's Little Helper" The scene where Bart walks into an army base where soldiers are taking showers. He is walking into the camera with a twitchy look on his face
"Homer Defined": with Homer about to push a random button to stop an alarm; with his finger.
"Selma's Choice" Bart and Lisa try to get Selma off a bench and ride a rollercoaster.
"Much Apu About Nothing" near the beginning where Homer tries to get beer from the fridge. "Let's all calm down. Everyone's going to be just fine. As long as I have enough beers."
Wasn't That Fun?: Said by Bart when the family goes to Itchy and Scratchy Land and survive a rather deadly roller-coaster that ended in the family jumping out of the way of a buzz saw onto mattresses.
In "Brother From Another Series", Bart wants to go again after he, Lisa, and Sideshow Bob rode down the drainage pipe.
Bart: Let's go again! Let's go again!
Lisa: (still catching her breath) NO!
Wasteful Wishing: In "Homer and Apu", Homer wastes his three questions to the C.E.O. of the Kwik-E-Mart by asking three times if the man is really the head of the Kwik-E-Mart.
Water Hose Rodeo: This occurs in "Last Exit to Springfield", due to Mr. Burns's incredibly weak strength.
Watering Down: In "The Crepes of Wrath", the French winemakers dilute their wine with antifreeze, then test it on Bart.
Way Past The Expiration Date: We learn that Apu sells products that are over a decade old. "And the clerk who runs the store, can charge a little more for milk (for milk) and meat (and meat) from 1984!"
We All Live in America: Quite some examples. One example is when the Simpsons visit Ireland, and the local police cars have "POLICE" written all over them instead of "GARDA".
The Simpsons is a gold mine of this trope. A lot of the people the Simpsons have met (besides the celebrities) and the things the Simpsons or Springfield have disappeared and are no longer mentioned, or are mentioned later on, but only en passant.
A subversion is with Mike Scioscia. He appears in "Homer at the Bat" and suffers from acute radiation poisoning in the end. He appears MUCH later in "MoneyBART", eighteen years later, and when Marge reminds him that he suffered from poisoning, he said "I did. But it ended up giving me super-managerial powers."
Lampshaded now and then, such as in "Homerazzi," where Homer complains about celebrities not acknowledging him in any way after their first meeting. (Betty White then approaches him and asks him questions about the family.) Another episode has Homer mention "my seldom-seen half-brother Herb."
This trope was essentially why "Mother Simpson" was produced, as the then current writing team couldn't believe that Homer's mother had never been seen outside of a couple flashback cameos.
What Have I Done: Bart sawing off the Jebadiah Springfield statue head in 'The Tell Tale Head'.
What the Hell, Hero?: Flanders tries to force the Simpson children into getting baptized (without discussing the matter with their parents) while he and Maude have temporary custody.
Kent Brockman: Big game fever is reaching a fever pitch as the fevered rivalry between Springfield U. and Springfield A&M spreads like wildfever. This is writing?
Intern: Sorry, Kent, I lost my thesaurus.
Kent Brockman: (muttering) "Lost your thesaurus." You'll lose more than that. In preparation for the big game, Springfield Stadium has caught additional seating capacity fever.
In "Children of a Lesser Clod", Krusty complains about the writing at the award ceremony. It turns out Mr. Teeny is his writer.
Krusty: Now, every year we find one good Samaritan so deserving that not recognizing him would make Santa Claus himself vomit with rage. Ugh, who writes this stuff?!
Whoa, Bundy!: In one episode Homer, Moe, Apu and Barney Whoa Bundied when deciding upon the name of their barbershop quartet, minus the hand raising/lowering. Chief Wiggum wanted to join in ("You can't blame a guy for trying."), but he just gets glared at.
Whole Episode Flashback: "The Way We Was", "The Way We Weren't", "That '90s Show", "Dangerous Curves", "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story", the episodes about the birth of the kids ("I Married Marge", "Lisa's First Word", and "And Maggie Makes Three").
Also "Dancin' Homer", which begins with Homer at the bar telling his friends about his short-lived stint as a baseball mascot. There's really no reason for the episode to be told in flashback, but it was done that way because the writers didn't know how to end the episode.
This appears the most often in the Halloween episodes.
Who's Watching the Store?: Seen in "Lisa the Beauty Queen" when both Apu and Sanjay are at the beauty pageant. Marge asks them who's watching the Kwik-E-Mart, and the scene cuts to Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney stealing the Squishy machine.
Widely-Spaced Jail Bars: The episode "The Frying Game" has Marge and Homer in jail together, in a cell whose bars are clearly too close together for Homer but Marge could walk right through them. She doesn't, making this a Serious Type.
William Telling: In "The Cartridge Family," after Bart finds the handgun Homer acquired stowed in the freezer, he aims it at Milhouse who sticks an apple in his mouth. Marge manages to find the two just before Bart could pull the trigger.
Window Watcher: In an early episode of The Simpsons Homer takes the whole family out on a Window Watching escapade in order to demonstrate to them that their family's personal interactions aren't normal.
Working on the Chain Gang: The episode "Kill The Alligator And Run" sees the entire family (yes, even Maggie) sentenced by the State of Florida to forced labor on a chain gang after Homer kills an alligator named "Captain Jack" (the Florida town's most famous resident) and addresses the jury at their trial as "Drunken Hicks."
Worthless Foreign Degree: Apu works in the Kwik-E-Mart despite being a top-of-the-class computing scientist back in India.
Wraparound Background: Lampshaded in "The Front" when Roger Meyers Jr. says that a common way to keep costs down on a cartoon is to re-use the same backgrounds over and over again... meanwhile, he, Bart, and Lisa walk by the same background numerous times.
Write What You Know: "Marge Be Not Proud" was based on a real experience that happened to Mike Scully, the writer of the episode.
Write Who You Know: The Simpsons are named after Matt Groening's Real Life relatives, except Bart, whose name was chosen as an anagram of "brat". Other characters (such as Flanders) are named for streets near where Matt Groening grew up. Krusty the Klown was based on a real clown called Rusty Nails, who Matt Groening said kind of frightened him as a kid.
In-Universe example: Bart based the character in his web cartoon series Angry Dad on Homer Simpson, as well as a sidekick based on Lisa (A bit of an In-UniverseThrow It In moment, as he created her so the person she's based on, Lisa Simpson, won't complain about the series' ripping off on Homer). Homer was initially not to happy with it, although after it was revealed that his angry reactions are the only reason he's still alive, he allows Bart to continue with the series, although only under the condition that he only does it semi-based on real experiences.
Writers Suck: "The Front," "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show," and "Homer to the Max" have a lot of jokes about how awful television writers are (especially the ones who work on cartoons).
In "Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade", Homer laments the wave of reality shows, and blames the writers and actors for pricing themselves right out of the business.
In "The Great Money Caper", Homer and Bart walk around Springfield conning people with the help of a book called "A Child's Garden of Cons". Later, Abe joins them in their grifting, saying he wrote the book on flimflamming. Bart verifies.
In the Spinoff Showcase's Lovematic Grandpa segment, Moe claims to have written the book on love. Abe responds, "Yeah, 'All Quiet on the Western Front'."
In the third opening: Lenny Carl are changing the "days without an accident" one higher, then the Quitting Time Horn goes off and Homer runs out, knocking them over in the process.
A prison holds a sign counting the number of days since the last break.
A redneck bar has a sign counting the number of days without a tornado. And it's reset between scenes.
When Apu takes his citizenship test, the sign outside says something like "130 years without a civil war".
Xtreme Kool Letterz: Krusty's Komedy Klassic, whose initials provided a funny, yet unfortunate implication ("K.K.K? That's not good!") Made worse by the fact that the letters are in white and the TV special itself was set at the Apollo Theater, where Showtime At the Apollo (a variety show featuring black performers) is filmed.
Yakuza: After Homer hires the Mafia to help Marge's pretzel business, the Investorettes hire the Yakuza to fight back.
Yank the Dog's Chain: In "Moaning Lisa", Bart keeps winning against Homer in a boxing video game. Homer gets lessons from a kid at the video arcade and that night, he uses the tips to wallop Bart in the game, but just before he's about to deliver his finishing blow, Marge unplugs the TV. So Homer didn't technically win the match, and Bart announces his retirement from the game.
Oh, but wait! In "Homer Goes To College," Bart and Lisa are watching an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon called "Burning Down the Mouse," the one where Scratchy finally gets Itchy, (of course, Bart's purpose in life is to "witness this moment"), but just as soon as everything is about to blow up, Doug, one of Homer's nerd college-mates yanks the plug on the TV to plug in their "rock tumbler." Bart and Lisa anxiously tell him to plug the TV back in, but as soon as he does, the cartoon is already over. Krusty remarks, "WOW, they'll never let us show that again, not in a MILLION YEARS!" Understandably, Bart and Lisa are anguished.
Yawn and Reach: Homer tries to teach it to Abe in "Lady Bouvier's Lover". Skinner does this to Patty in "Principal Charming", but she doesn't like it.
Smithers is more of a subversion, though. Some of Burns' more extreme schemes had Smithers actually standing up to him, even risking getting fired for it. Then again, Smithers did go back to working for Burns later in the episode.
Homer: You want the truth? You want the truth?! You can't handle the truth! 'Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do.
and from "Sideshow Bob Roberts":
Sideshow Bob: You want the truth? You can't handle the truth! No truth-handler, you! I deride your truth-handling abilities! Judge: Will you get to the point?
and from "Mommie Beerest":
Jack playing card: You can't handle the twos!
You, Get Me Coffee: Lisa wanted to be in a jazz band but was told she could sit in a chair instead.
You Get What You Pay For: In the second segment of "Simpsons Bible Stories", which spoofs the story of Moses, Lisa and Milhouse escape a badly designed Death Trap. Lisa notes, "Slave labor. You get what you paid for."
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Marge and the van Houtens have blue hair. Marge actually dyes her hair that color, though it's assumed from flashbacks to her childhood that she was a natural blue(until she turned 17).
Homer: She's been gray as a mule since she was 17.
Bart to Mr. Burns in "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part 1)": "You twisted old MONSTER!"
Homer will drop this one for any reason. Any.
You Must Be This Tall To Ride: Bart attempts to subvert the trope by applying ice cream bars to the bottom of his shoes to meet the height requirement. It gets played straight when the ride starts and he nearly falls out going through a loop because he is not big enough for the safety bar to catch him.
Homer Simpson: In season four's "Lisa the Beauty Queen," Homer tries his luck at the school carnival's "Guess Your Age and Weight" booth. The fortuneteller guesses that Homer is 53 years old and 420 pounds. Homer laughs at the man and reveals that he's 36 years old and 239 pounds. Later episodes would have Homer as 38 or 39, depending on writer.
Hans Moleman: During the Alc-Anon meeting in season four's "Duffless," Hans reveals that he's 31 years old (which is true, according to his driver's license on "Selma's Choice" that shows he was born in August of 1961. It would make him around 31 at the time of the episode's premiere — 1991), implying that Hans Moleman's alcohol addiction has rapidly aged him. As usual, Negative Continuity has discredited this, as Hans was seen at the Springfield Retirement Home in "The Old Man and the C Student" and in "Little Girl on the Big Ten," a character pointed out that Hans was 80. Though given Moleman's status, and how incompetent just about every laborer in Springfield seems to be...
Mr. Burns: Before "Homer the Smithers," Burns revealed that he was 81 years old and looked older because he went bald around the time he was in college. After "Homer the Smithers", it's since been retconned that he looks his age (or is older than he looks) and has had a head of hair as recently as the sixties.
Mr. Burns' age following "Homer the Smithers" has tended to vary. Generally, it was established since then that Burns is 104 years old, although in the S15 episode "Fraudcast News", Burns is 89 years old. Again, this depends on the writer.
You Sound Familiar: Albert Brooks has voiced a number of guest characters over the years, including Cowboy Bob ("Call of the Simpsons"), Jacques ("Life on the Fast Lane"), Brad Goodman ("Bart's Inner Child"), Hank Scorpio ("You Only Move Twice"), Tad Spangler ("The Heartbroke Kid"), and Russ Cargill (The Simpsons Movie).
Jon Lovitz has appeared as Artie Ziff (several episodes), Professor Lombardo ("Brush with Greatness"), Aristotle Amadoupolis ("Homer Defined"), Llewellyn Sinclair ("A Streetcar Named Marge"), Jay Sherman ("A Star Is Burns"), and Enrico Irritazio ("Homerazzi"). In "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner", all these characters just happen to be in Moe's Tavern at the same time.
Your Favorite: Matt Groning's favorite candy bar is Butterfinger, the reason he allows the characters to sell them.
In "And Maggie Makes Three", Homer's head suddenly explodes during the Whole Episode Flashback, which is immediately revealed to be Bart hijacking the story. When the flashback resumes... Homer is still headless, crying about how his perfect life is ruined.
Marge: Homer, you had a head. Homer: Check. (Flashback-Homer's head reappears) Marge: And your bottom was a little bigger. Homer: Aw. (Flashback-Homer's ass grows)
You Would Do the Same for Me: In "Homer the Heretic", Ned says this to Homer after he saves Homer from a burning house. In a daydream, Homer thinks differently, though he responds: "That's right, old friend."