In the commentary for "The Crepes of Wrath", the writers note that the bit about adding antifreeze to wine was a parody of an incident where some wine was found contaminated with antifreeze, but that, obviously, the contamination wasn't deliberate. Except that the contamination was discovered when a winery started listing antifreeze as a business expense, and it was very deliberately added to make the wine sweeternote This is definitely dangerous, though not as dangerous as it sounds. Ethylene glycol is indeed poisonous, but when mixed with sufficient quantities of ethanol, it passes harmlessly into urine..
While the writers may have known that a torus is one of the contenders for the shape of the universe, Homer certainly didn't know that when he told Stephen Hawking about his theory of a doughnut-shaped (which is what a torus is) universe.
Abe Simpson once recalls his father talking about America being the greatest thing since sliced bread. He then says that sliced bread had been invented the previous winter. It was just meant as an old joke, but given that he served in WWII and sliced bread was invented in 1928, the writers were surprisingly accurate with this one.
Actor Allusion: Both subverted and played straight at the same time with Rodney Dangerfield as Larry Burns. Instead of the actor's trademark Catchphrase of "no respect," Larry talks about how he don't get "No regard. No esteem either."
Done by new kid Alex (voiced by Lisa Kudrow) who says "Woah don't be a Phoebe" to Lisa alluding to her best known character Phoebe Buffay on Friends
Fat Tony mentions that he once "Hasn't cried this hard since he paid to The Godfather Part III. Joe Mantegna was in that movie.
Joe Mantegna played himself playing Fat Tony in a made for tv movie in the episode "Bart the Murderer."
After Phil Hartman's death in 1998, his characters (Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure) were retired after the remaining episodes Hartman had recorded aired, only appearing in crowd scenes after that before ultimately being retired from the show altogether in season 12.
With Marcia Wallace's death in October 2013, the producers announced that the same thing is to happen to Mrs. Krabappel once the remanining episodes Wallace had recorded have aired.
This did happen to Lunchlady Doris when Doris Grau died, but years later, Tress MacNeille took over as the voice of her.
Adored by the Network: Perhaps a bit too much, to the point that some of the show's remaining fansnote as opposed to the ones who stopped watching after whatever season they last felt was a good season, like seasons 5, 7, 8, 9, or 10 want it to end so as to preserve the humor and not let it fall into Seasonal Rot.
The show has rapidly been losing this status due to a lot of factors: money (new episodes are now a net loss for FOX), other cartoons becoming popularnote Family Guy and Bob's Burgers, particularly. American Dad! is leaving for TBS in 2014, The Cleveland Show got canceled in 2013, and FOX is looking to add some new material to their Sunday night line-up, not just from Seth MacFarlane, and FOX planning to revamp the Sunday night line-up). FOX refused to renew the show in 2011 until the cast and production staff agreed to pay cuts (which is why "Holidays of Future Passed" was written as the final episode), and is now only renewing the series in one-season installments (renewals have previously been for two or more seasons at a time), with the renewal for Season 26, set to run from Fall 2014-Spring 2015, coming unusually late, in October 2013. In Summer 2013, while renewal talks were ongoing, Fox was courting cable networks to run Simpsons reruns (including the possibility of creating a cable network that airs nothing but The Simpsons and Simpsons-related documentaries). Fox's contract with their local affiliates prevents them from even offering the show to other networks while new episodes are in production, so going to cable or creating a dedicated Simpsons channel would mean the end of the series. Recently, a deal was made so that way The Simpsons can rerun on FXX (that new FX spin-off that has old reruns of Arrested Development, Parks and Recreations, and is where It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is now airing new episodes) and appear on FX's streaming site, meaning that it's only a matter of time before the new episodes of The Simpsons stop being made (or, if the show is still going to air, then it will most likely move to a new channel, as Al Jean wants the show to run until its 30th season, but FOX is considering pulling the plug after season 26).
Banned Episode: Because of the 9/11 attacks, the episode "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" was pulled from syndication, as the episode centered on Homer waiting by the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. When the episode returned from being banned, some prints cut out all the scenes of Homer at the Twin Towers, making the episode incoherent and very short. Other syndicated prints just edit out the line, "Sorry, they stick all the jerks in Tower One" and cut out the part where after Homer finally finds a bathroom in the second tower, he screams after seeing his car get towed (though that may have been a typical syndication cut — the kind where parts considered superfluous or too long are cut to make room for commercials). The original uncut episode is on the season nine DVD (with commentary from the writers on how the episode is now in bad taste thanks to 9/11, but it still has its moments that have stood the test of time).
The later episode "New Kids On The Blecch," which aired seven months before the 9/11 attacks, was also temporarily pulled, and later edited to remove a scene involving the destruction of a tower (in this case, it was MAD headquarters).
The episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" was also pulled from syndication after Hurricane Katrina because of its references to New Orleans being a horrid, run-down hellhole. In the UK, Channel 4 did unknowingly air this episode around the time of Hurricane Katrina and ended up issuing a public apology for it after being barraged by complaints.
In the UK, the episode "The Cartridge Family" was omitted from the Sky One broadcast because it showed a violent, town-wide soccer riot, addressed the issue of gun control (which is taboo in the UK, especially in light of the Dunblane Elementary massacre), and contains scenes of characters irresponsibly using firearms (particularly the scene where Bart finds Homer's gun in the refrigerator and uses it to play William Tell with Milhouse). Channel 4 showed the episode, but the end where Marge decides to keep the gun because of how good she looked with it was cut. The BBC who previously had UK terrestrial rights for the show (on BBC Two during 1996-2002) were first to broadcast this episode in Britain, and made no cuts. When Sky One regained the broadcast rights for this episode in the mid-2000s, they finally showed this episode uncut. The episode was available on a PAL VHS called "The Simpsons: Too Hot for TV," which featured a lot of episodes considered too risque for British TV.
Sky One also partially banned the episode "Weekend at Burnsie's" due to scenes of Homer being assaulted by animals (the crows pecking Homer in the eyes and the drug dog biting Homer in the crotch when he was a teenager) and, of course, the drug themes (Homer smoking marijuana for medical purposes). In contrast, Australia and America have aired the episode, but with higher ratings than normal (in Australia, this episode is rated M and in America, the rating is TV-14, though it does run with a TV-PG rating in syndication, even though it's not edited for content). Sky have since shown this episode on very few occasions, but only after 9:00 pm with no promos about the episode.
Episodes involving lighthearted looks at medicinal use of drugs do seem to draw Sky's ire: "The Good, The Bad And The Drugly" (with its subplot about Lisa being put on anti-depressants after she freaks out over Internet articles predicting that Springfield will be a barren wasteland in 50 years) was also banned.
In an attempt to prevent controversy from Japanese viewers, Fox never aired the episode "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" in Japan or put it on the season 10 DVD set due to scenes that mock Japanese culture and society (The Simpsons having a seizure while watching a robot anime, Homer tossing the Japanese emperor into a sumo thongs Dumpster, and The Simpsons appearing on a sadistic Japanese game show).
Season 13's "Blame It on Lisa" was banned in Brazil for the same reasons why Japan banned "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" (stereotypical depiction of the country). No word on whether or not season 25's "You Don't Have to Live Like a Referee" will be banned.
The episode "E. Pluribus Wiggum" caused controversy in Argentina because of Carl and Lenny's exchange about military dictator Juán Perón making dissidents "disappear" and saying his wife, Eva, is Madonna. FOX Latin America has never aired the episode, skipping from "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind" to "That 90's Show" when rerunning the series in order. For anyone living in Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, or Mexico, the episode has aired there uncut and dubbed in the respective Spanish dialect.
Banned in China: Some episodes have been skipped over in other countries due to jokes against the country that really bordered on offensive:
"Goo Goo Gai Pan" was banned in China because of Homer's line about Mao Zedung being a "...little angel who killed 50 million people" and the scene parodying the Tiennamen Square incident (which any mention of in China will get your ass arrested and possibly deported),
"Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" was banned in Japan for the "Battling Seizure Robot" scenenote which parodied the infamous Pokemon episode that gave a large number of children seizures due to the constant blinking lights and the part where Homer tosses the Japanese emperor into a sumo thong Dumpster,
"E. Pluribus Wiggum" was banned in some Latin American countries due to Lenny and Carl's dialogue about Argentinean leader Juan Peron (who was implied to be behind the disappearances of a lot of political dissidents).
"Blame It On Lisa" was banned in Brazil for depicting the country as a run-down slum where everyone is into soccer and the children's shows are more risque than what airs in America. No word yet on whether or not "You Don't Have to Live like a Referee" will be banned.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Cowabunga: Although Bart admittedly said it twice in early episodes (The Telltale Head and Bart Gets An F), it was far from a Catch Phrase.
The reason people think it's a Catch Phrase is because lots of merchandise has him saying it. This is reflected in the DVD commentaries now and then. In fact, on the commentary for "Bart Gets an F," the writers actually express surprise when he does say it — thinking they never had him say it at all.
Lampshaded in Behind The Laughter, which shows T-shirts with him saying "Good grief, man", "You bet your sweet bippy, man", and "Life begins at conception, man".
"Cowabunga" also came up in that episode, too. After Bart says it for the show, the cameras cut and Bart complains that he's never said the word before in his life.
He never said he's "an underachiever and proud of it". Someone else, a school psychiatrist, said something to this effect in Bart Gets An F: "I think what we have here is a classic case of what lately is referred to as 'fear of failure'; as a result, Bart is an underachiever, and yet he seems to be…how should I put this…proud of it?" Note that this is a skilled professional honestly attempting to determine why Bart is such a bad student, not a cry of rebellion. (Given Bart's reaction when he initially flunks the history final, it's painfully obvious that "proud" is about the last word you'd ever use to describe how he feels about underachieving.)
There's a Call Back in "Skinner's Sense of Snow", where the students break into the school records and Bart finds a permanent record that describes him with this very phrase.
Bart: How old is this thing?
To be fair though, he did say it in Simpsons merchandise, which added fuel to the Moral Guardian's fire.
Cash Cow Franchise: Sales of merchandise, DVDs, and overseas syndication rights have grossed as much as $750 million a year.
"A Star is Burns" didn't sit well with Matt Groening, who felt it played out like a 20-minute ad for The Critic. This is the only Simpsons episode not to have Matt Groening's name in the credits
"The Principal and the Pauper" has been controversial among the staff. Showrunners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, as well as writer Ken Keeler, continue to defend this episode, but they appear to be in the minority. Groening has denounced it as one of his least favorite episodes, while Harry Shearer condemned it for mangling Principal Skinner's character. Shearer also alleged that even years after the fact, the writing staff acts like the episode never happened.
Fan Nickname: "Jerkass Homer" is the nickname that fans of the classic episodes give to post-Flanderization Homer. Lampshaded in "Mommie Beerest" when Homer says, "Duh, that's me! Jerkass Homer!" and again in "E. Pluribus Wiggum" with "Jerkass Homer brand cigars."
Fountain of Expies: Many elements in Krusty's background are borrowed from a number of real life celebrities:
Jerry Lewis (Krusty's Percodan addiction, his popularity in France, his feud with Sideshow Bob [which parallel's Lewis's real life feud with Dean Martin], Krusty's easily believing he could get the French Legion of Honour and his telethons for motion sickness [which parallels Lewis's real life telethons for muscular dystrophy]];
Woody Allen (like Woody Allen, Krusty had a tempestuous marriage with Mia Farrow);
Steve Allen (Krusty's show borrows many elements from The Tonight Show as hosted by Allen, including opening monologues, interviews with guests and wacky comedy skits, even to the point of directly plagiarizing some of Allen's own gags);
Johnny Carson (Krusty's thwarted a number of rival children's show hosts who've all tried to dethrone him as the number one children's show in America, similar to how Carson repeatedly beat various rival talk show hosts who tried to outdo him on late night TV)
Frank Welker voiced Santa's Little Helper, Snowball, most of the animals and several humans from 1990-2002, at which point he left due to the voices reportedly starting to strain his throat (Welker as Santa's Little Helper was later replaced with Dan Castellaneta). His fellow The Transformers star, Chris Collins/Latta was also originally cast as Moe Szyslak and Mr. Burns, but was rejected and replaced with Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, respectively.
The current voice of Minnie Mouse (Russi Taylor) is the voice of the purple-haired twins (Sherri and Terri) and fourth-grade nerd, Martin Prince.
Even more excellent, Lisa Simpson is Heather in Italy.
Magnum Opus Dissonance: Ken Keeler has said that "The Principal and the Pauper", widely regarded as one of the worst Simpsons episodes, if not the worst, has been his best work in television, even though he has done more favorably received episodes on Futurama.
"Saddlesore Galactica"note That really weird, really derivative episode from season 11 about the magic elves as horse jockeys has been cited by many fans as the point in which the show stopped being realistic and started slavishly following in the footsteps of South Park and Family Guy and is often cited as one of the worst episodes ever. The DVD commentary, on the other hand, cited this episode as a piss take against wacky adult cartoons like South Park and Family Guy (and a piss take against the show itself recycling old stories and the fans who complain about them, hence the part where the Comic Book Guy points out that the Simpsons taking in a horse as a pet has been done before, with Homer asking if anyone cares what he thinks) and is often hailed as a brilliant work of surrealism and fourth-wall breaking.
McLeaned: Maggie Roswell left over pay disputes, as her pay wasn't covering the travel expenses to get to the recording studio (she lived out of state). Maude was killed off in response. Roswell was eventually brought back to voice her other characters and Maude has been shown in the afterlife and alive in episodes set before her death.
On the DVD commentary for "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson", the writers said they felt really bad about the line "They put all the jerks in Tower One!" after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center.
The season one finale episode "Some Enchanted Evening"note The one where Homer and Marge have a romantic evening out while Bart, Lisa, and Maggie try to foil a female fugitive who had been hired as their babysitter — which in fact was supposed to be the show's first episode — caused Matt Groening a lot of grief in terms of overseas animation and coloring issues. There has been a long-standing rumor stating that if the following episode, "Bart the Genius" didn't come out well (which, fortunately, it did), then the show would at best have been held back until the 1990-91 television season, and at worst canceled outright.
If the commentaries and back stories are any indication, everyone (except perhaps Klasky-Csupo) was ashamed at how the first version of "Some Enchanted Evening" turned out, from an animation standpoint.
The Other Darrin: From seasons 11-13, all parts originally played by Maggie Roswell were played by Marcia Mitzman-Gaven, as Roswell was in the middle of a pay disputenote Roswell lived in another state and it was costing her a lot to be flown out just to record lines.
Doris Grau, the original voice actress for Lunchlady Doris, died during production of the season seven episode "Team Homer"note The episode where Homer creates his own bowling team while Springfield Elementary is put on a mandatory dress code after Bart's "Down with Homework" T-shirt causes a riot at school and was relegated to background scenes before being put out of sight — until the season 18 premiere episode, "The Mook, The Chef, The Wife, and Her Homer," where Lunchlady Doris returned, now voiced by Tress MacNeille.
Lampshaded on season 10's "Homer to the Max", when Homer comments that network TV loves airing cartoon shows because the producers pay the voice actors next to nothingnote which was true then, as the voice actors were in contention with FOX executives over money, and FOX threatened to have everyone in the cast fired and replaced with sound-alikes and Flanders (voiced by Karl Wiedergott for the sake of that joke) comes in and adds, "Plus, they can replace the actors and no one can tell the diddly-ifference."
Maggie Simpson has been "voiced" by Nancy Cartwright most of the time, but Elizabeth Taylor provided her first word of "daddy" in "Lisa's First Word" note which the staff came to regret, because they had to go through a lot of takes to get Taylor's "Daddy" to sound like it's coming from a one-year-old child and not a 20-year-old seductress.
Russi Taylor voices her in Bart's fantasy in "Bart Vs. Thanksgiving" and does her crying sounds in "Bart on the Road."
Artie Ziff was voiced by Jon Lovitz in "The Way We Was", "Half-Decent Proposal", "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner", and the recent Treehouse of Horror episode "Bart and Homer's Excellent Adventure,"note The story where Bart travels back to when Homer and Marge met in detention in 1974, and changes history to make it so that way Artie Ziff ends up with Marge. However, for his short appearance on "The Front" (which would be a foreshadowing to the events in "Half-Decent Proposal"), series regular Dan Castellaneta voiced Artie Ziff.
Mary Bailey (the governor of whatever state Springfield is in) was originally voiced by Maggie Roswell in "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish", while she was voiced by Tress MacNeille in "Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade".
Lurleen Lumpkin was originally voiced by Beverly D'Angelo in "Colonel Homer" (and later reprised her role in "Papa Don't Leech"), but was voiced by Doris Grau in "Marge vs. The Monorail" (justified because Lurleen Lumpkin's life had gone to Hell after Homer traded her to a new manager, which included drug addiction, repeated trips to rehab, and homelessness).
Mona Simpson was voiced by three women: Glenn Close (in the three episodes which prominently feature her — including the Inception parody, "How I Wet Your Mother"), Tress MacNeille ("D'oh-in' in the Wind") and Maggie Roswell ("Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", which featured a Mona Simpson that did not look like the one from later episodes).
Troy McClure, usually voiced by Phil Hartman, was briefly voiced by Dan Castellaneta in "Bart's Dog Gets an F" while Santa's Little Helper is "channel-surfing".
Russi Taylor usually voices Martin Prince, but in some early appearances, he was voiced by Jo Ann Harris.
In "The Tell-Tale Head", Jimbo Jones and Dolph Starbeamnote the bully with the red hair over one of his eyes had their voice actresses switched (Jimbo was voiced by Tress MacNeille while Pamela Hayden voiced Dolph). In all other episodes, Jimbo is voiced by Pamela Hayden (meaning that he shares a voice actress with Milhouse van Houten) and Dolph is Tress MacNeille. Pamela Hayden also voiced Dolph on a brief scene in "New Kid on the Block," when Kearney tries to hit on Laura, and Laura implies that Dolph and Kearney are gay (Dolph's only line in that episode was, "That chick's messin' with our minds.")
Fat Tony is usually voiced by Joe Mantegna, however in "A Fish Named Selma" he was voiced by Phil Hartman.
Several characters who were voiced by guest stars on their first appearance were later turned into recurring characters with a member of the regular cast taking over their voices. These include:
Akira, the Japanese waiter at Springfield's sushi restaurant, was initially voiced by George Takei (in "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish"), and afterwards by Hank Azaria.
Mrs. Glick, an elderly woman from the Simpsons' neighborhood, was originally played by Cloris Leachman (in "Three Men And A Comic Book") and then by Tress MacNeille.
Sylvia Winfield, a next-door neighbor to the Simpsons in early seasons, is initially voiced by Tracey Ullman and later by Maggie Roswell.
Roger Meyers Jr. was first voiced by Alex Rocco in "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge" note season two episode where Marge protests against cartoon violence after Maggie hits Homer with a mallet, then by Hank Azaria in "The Front" note season four episode where Bart and Lisa use Grampa Simpson's name to write "Itchy and Scratchy" episodes after watching a bad episode and claiming that they can do better while Homer goes to night school to make up a lost remedial science credit, "Lady Bouvier's Lover" note season five episode where Grampa Simpson dates Marge's mom — who falls for Mr. Burns — while Bart steals Homer's credit card to get an animated cel of Itchy and Scratchy, which turns out to be a poorly-made knock-off, and "Itchy & Scratchy Land" note season six episode where The Simpsons go to a theme park based on Itchy and Scratchy. However, Rocco returned to the role in "The Day the Violence Died" note season seven episode where Bart befriends a homeless man who is actually the original creator of Itchy the mouse who had his work stolen from him by Roger Meyers' dad, and "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" note season eight episode that introduced the fandom to Poochie the dog and provided a lot of TakeThats against whiny cartoon fans who immediately declare that a show is ruined forever if one change is made to it and Executive Meddling in the form of TV writers resorting to gimmicks to keep a moribund show alive.
Manjula, Apu's wife, was voiced by Jan Hooks when she first appeared as an adult in "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons", and continued to be played by her for several years afterwards, but eventually Tress MacNeille took over the role (she had already voiced Manjula in her very first brief appearance as a child in a flashback in "Much Apu About Nothing").
The Other Marty: Christopher Collins originally voiced Moe in "Some Enchanted Evening" and Mr. Burns on "Homer's Odyssey," but his track was never actually used for the final cut of those episodes, and was replaced with Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer.
Posthumous Credit: Writer/producer Don Payne wrote two episodes that only aired after his death in 2013 (in addition to other episodes which he was a producer on), "Labor Pains" and "White Christmas Blues".
Short Run In Peru: Al-Shamshoon, the Egyptian dub of the show, only lasted for 52 episodes, of which just 34 made it to air despite casting major Egyptian actors to do the voices. The poor reception was probably due to omissions and rewrites in the localization, such as cutting all pork and alcohol references, including all scenes at Moe's Bar, and giving Springfield a large Arab population.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: For years merchandise almost always had Bart with a blue shirt instead of an orange one. This was done to deter counterfeiters (and possibly as a reference to the Tracy Ullman Show episodes).
Shown Their Work: Though the show does like to warp facts for laughs or to make an Idiot Plotnote as seen in "Bart vs. Australia" with the toilet flushing clockwise vs. counterclockwise because of the Coriolis effect. The Coriolis effect is real, but it has no influence over how water drains, so the whole plot is really just an excuse for Bart and the Simpson family to wreak havoc in another country, there are times where the writers do exhibit some signs that they know something. In "The Spy Who Learned Me", Homer sustains a concussion on the job. Smithers states that Homer must be given time off, in compliance with contemporary research. In recent years, sports leagues have legislated whole sets of precautionary and disciplinary rules involving players who suffer head injuries.
The "Robot Richard Simmons" scene from "Burns' Heir" was cut because the writers and test audience thought it wasn't all that great, but apparently, it was a rave at animation conventions and guest lectures at colleges.
Richard Simmons originally wanted to voice himself, but declined when he discovered that he would be voicing a robot version of himself.
"Kamp Krusty" and "Bonfire of the Manatees" were originally supposed to be plots for The Simpsons Movie, but the writers didn't know how to make them compelling enough for 90 minutes (and already had enough problems making them compelling for 30 minutes, which is why "Cape Feare" has the Overly-Long Gag of Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes).
Hank Scorpio, the Villain of the Week from Season 8's "You Only Move Twice", was such a One-Scene Wonder that the writers seriously considered casting him as the Big Bad for the film. The writers decided against it because they found that he was way too likeable.
The episode where Homer meets a big, bald mental patient who looks, acts, and is voiced by Michael Jackson (under a pseudonym due to contractual stipulations) was supposed to have a sequel where that same big, bald mental patient now thinks he's Prince and encourages everyone in town to be free and open with their sexualities. Because Prince refused to do it (after penning the script, which was considered too out-there for network TV), that script is now the only Simpsons episode that has been written, but never produced.
Before his death, Phil Hartman had pitched the idea of doing a live-action movie about his washed-up B-movie actor character on the show, Troy McClure.
Marge was initially planned to become The Alcoholic out of boredom during "You Only Move Twice", having nothing better to do in a house that can clean itself. This was deemed too depressing, so the final version of the episode features a Development Gag where she just takes occasional sips of wine while the viewer is assaulted by Scare Chords and dramatic closeups.
The writers originally considered having Skinner wear a toupee, but it was dropped as Groening thought toupee jokes were cheap and predictable. Despite this, one image from "The Simpson's Guide to Springfield" (specifically one relating to King Toots) did have Skinner's top hair fly off in a similar manner to a toupee when covering his ears from Willie's bagpipe playing. Also, one of the blackboard punishment gags is, "The principal's toupee is not a Frisbee."
William H. Macy was picked to voice Frank Grimes for the infamous season eight episode "Homer's Enemy," but due to scheduling conflicts, Hank Azaria's beforehand recorded voices were used instead.
In 1994, Groening envisioned a live-action Krusty Spin-Off starring Castellaneta. The pilot script (co-written by Michael Weithorn) would've seen Krusty get a talk show based in L.A. The project never moved beyond the writing stage due failed contract negotiations with FOX. Purportedly, another reason it was shelved is a subplot would involve Krusty's house being built on stilts and slowly being eaten by beavers, but Groening out found that it would be prohibitively expensive to use either animatronic or trained beavers and lost interest.
Matt Groening once said that in the final episode, Marge was going to be revealed to have rabbit ears under her hair. This was scrapped due to inconsistencies and being deemed to surreal. This gag appears in the arcade game when Marge gets shocked.
Some other ideas that were dropped early on included Kang and Kodos being aliens that only Homer could see and the season six episode "Homer the Clown" actually being about Homer revealing that he is Krusty the Clown (as opposed to going to a clown college where he gets a job as a Krusty impersonator who appears at events that the real Krusty wouldn't touch with a ten-foot clown pole). The Kang and Kodos concept was dropped for being too surreal and the Krusty idea was phased out, as it would have royally screwed up the continuity, not unlike Principal Skinner's past as Armin Tamzarian or the entirety of "That '90s Show."
Back when The Tracy Ullman Show was searching for someone to do animated fillers, Matt Groening initially wrote material based on Life in Hell. When he realized that the licensing could have cut into his publishing rights, he immediately drew up a crudely-drawn family, named it after his family, and voila, that's how the longest-running, most influential and memorable series on American TV came to be.
There was supposed to be a season seven episode that dealt with racism called "Homer vs. Dr. Hibbert," but the writers ditched it after realizing how heavy-handed and preachy it was.
An episode parodying Scientology was drafted for season eight, but never produced as the writers feared that it would upset cast members who were Scientologists (such as Nancy Cartwright). Kinda funny, considering that South Park did a Scientology episode ("Trapped In The Closet") that did what the unmade Simpsons episode feared would happen (i.e., piss off a Scientologist who was a cast member on the show [Isaac Hayes, in South Park's case note Contrary to rumors, he wasn't outraged by it that he ended up quitting. Rather, he was a little annoyed by the portrayal).
Season eight's Very Special Episode "Homer's Phobia" was supposed to be called "Lisa Goes to Camp" in which Lisa finds an interest in kitschy collectibles and Bart gets into it too, only for Homer to worry about Bart's sexuality. The "Homer worries about Bart's sexuality" part was still there, but the rest of the story was changed to the story of Homer befriending the John Waters-esque antique store owner.
"Homer's Phobia" would have been the first Banned Episode in the show's history. Back in the 1990s, producers were wary over sitcom writers doing episodes dealing with homosexuality and homophobia, and when they saw the original script for "Homer's Phobia," they told the writers that they couldn't do it. It wouldn't be until FOX got a change in management that the episode would be made, albeit with some changes in dialogue for censorship reasons.
"Rosebud" originally had several darker scenes in Bobo's backstory, such as Bobo being involved in John F. Kennedy's assassination, and two more scenes before the robotic Burns finds Bobo, the first where Canadian troops invade and destroy Washington DC and find Bobo, the second where the earth is overrun by giant Redwoods and spotted owls. The scenes of Bobo's backstory, such as the one with JFK, were cut because the writers felt they were in poor taste, while the ending scenes were cut for time.
The original plot for "Insane Clown Poppy" dealt with Homer finding out he had a daughter with another woman (before he met Marge) out of wedlock. Al Jean didn't like this idea and they decided to make it Krusty's daughter instead.
The character Milhouse was originally created by Matt Groening for a Saturday morning cartoon show on NBC that never went past the planning stages. He was reused in a Butterfinger commercial that aired a month before the series premiere, then went on to be a recurring character.
Comic Book Guy's name originally was going to be "Louis Lane", and would have a Running Gag of being infuriated when someone mentioned the similarity to the name "Lois Lane".
Flanderization: Ned Flanders used to be only mildly religious, in that he was a typical "good American" who enjoyed going to to church on Sundays in earlier seasons; now he's a Bible-thumping Overprotective Dad. Other characters have been hit with it over the years.
Retirony: On the season 12 episode, "Homer vs. Dignity" (a.k.a, the one where Homer gets raped by a panda), Chief Wiggum tells his financial advisor that he's not going to save his money for the future because, like all cops on TV shows and movies, he'll be killed in the line of duty days before he retires.
Possibly counts as a Trope Codifier as well, since Wiggum constantly laments various people and things being "only two days til retirement".
Stupid Sexy Flanders: It feels like Ned Flanders is wearing nothing at all! Nothing at all! Nothing at all!
Think Unsexy Thoughts: Homer used this mantra whenever he was alone with Mindy (a new coworker he was infatuated with because she's basically his Distaff Counterpart, only with red hair, a slim figure, and the voice of Michelle Pfeiffer).
She used this as a mantra when in an elevator with Homer.
In Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade, when they get the new satellite dish and we get a shot of it going from the Earth to outer space, it's implied that they live in Springfield, Illinois, just shortly southwest of what looks like Lake Michigan.
However, recently Matt Groening stated that Springfield is in Oregon.
Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Marge asks this of Lindsay Naegle, who is one of four such recurring characters in the series. Naegle's answer: She's a sexual predator.
You Might Remember Me from...: Such trope pages as this one. Troy McClure (a washed-up B-list celebrity with an alleged sexual fetish for fish) would always introduce films, documentaries, and even two behind-the-scenes Simpsons episodes (the 138th episode spectacular and the episode featuring three pilots for spin-off shows) with this trope phrase and two fictional titles of movies/TV shows/specials, etc he's been in (such as "The Erotic Adventures of Hercules," "Zombie in the Endzone," "Mommy, What's Wrong With That Man's Face?" "2 Minus 3 Equals Negative Fun," "Lead Paint: Delicious But Deadly," "Here Comes the Metric System," "five fabulous weeks of The Chevy Chase Show," "Alien Autopsy," "Smoke Yourself Thin," and "Get Confident, Stupid!")