%% Please remember that many YMMV tropes have their own pages.
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* AcceptableTargets:
** The elderly.
** In the first several seasons both political parties, with jokes about how Republicans were Evil and Democrats were Incompetent. The bashing of conservatives versus the lionization of democrats is relatively new.
** Arby's Restaurant is also considered fair game.
** Hell, almost ''everything'' is acceptable at one point or another.
* AccidentalAesop:
** ''Homer's Enemy'': "Don't let your jealousy consume you and prevent you from accepting apologies from people who genuinely want to befriend you". The intentional Aesop is "Being the OnlySaneMan actually sucks".
** [[WordOfGod The DVD commentary for "Trash of the Titans"]] states that the episode's GreenAesop was entirely unintentional.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: ''Homer's Enemy''. Even though Frank Grimes has worked extremely hard in his life, he also comes off as a myopic pedant and a hard worker working for all the wrong reasons- Considering how he attempts to work and function in a society that is possibly morally and ethically broken beyond repair and is just asking for it, and how he looks at what Homer and his family has as "normal", and is pure straight out jealous of him, he also reeks of EpilepticTrees of self entitled, self pitying, and uninsightful idiots that believe that playing the same IdiotBall game of materialistic society will make them the kings of the Idiot Ball, instead of saying [[ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules "Screw the money, I have standards."]] Plus it also doesn't help that Springfield was mentioned and is constantly shown in infamous light in all of America, episodes PRIOR to his employment in "America's Crudbucket." Even though Homer is portrayed as stupid, Grimes' brand of stupidity got him what he deserved.
* {{Anvilicious}}: Most of the later plots/subplots involving [[SoapboxSadie Lisa]] (though the only episode that had Lisa as a SoapboxSadie that most fans don't object to is "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy," as the family calls her out on her activist behavior and she doesn't win in the end).
** Some argue that the show becomes this when it discusses politics, though for others it may be a case of SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped.
** One of the worst SoapboxSadie Lisa episodes was "Lisa the Skeptic", in which Lisa was extremely emphatic that religion and science cannot coexist, despite her consistently showing religious beliefs from the past (earlier) episodes.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic:
** "High to be Loathed" from "Gorgeous Grandpa."
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlwtgaQZYDI Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and/or roll.]]
* BaseBreaker: Really depends on the writer (and what season you watch).
** Homer Simpson. He's a lovable not-too-bright {{jerk with a heart of gold}} or a VillainProtagonist-cum-jerkass with no respect for anyone, not even his own family.
** Marge is this, mostly due to her constant meddling and interfering in things that aren't her business and never learning from her mistakes. Whether she makes up for this by being a decent mother and the show's occasional voice of reason is debatable, as is whether her negative qualities are funny or even tolerable.
** Lisa. She's either loved for being a smart, sensitive, progressively-thinking young girl or hated for being too preachy and seen as a CanonSue.
** Comic Book Guy, after {{Flanderization}} turned him into a StrawFan. The debate is over whether or not he's actually ''funny'' as one.
*** Many fans' problem with him is that most of the writers apparently believe ''every single fan'' is like him. That or they use him as a way to ignore valid criticism of the show's quality.
*** That, and some of his deflections are a blatant TakeThat to anyone who dislikes the recent seasons.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment:
** Homer's "The Land of Chocolate" ImagineSpot in "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk".
** Homer eating the JoeMillionaire promo in "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington."
** In "Simpson Tide", in the middle of UN negotiations, the Russian ambassador reveals that the Soviet Union never broke up, and was only pretending to have dissolved. Cut to Red Square, where the floats in a parade all abruptly stop, and open up to reveal they were concealing tanks, Germany is no longer united, and Lenin rises from the dead, moaning "must... crush... capitalism".
** In "The Cartridge Family", the episode where Homer buys a gun, he brings it into the Kwik-E-Mart, which causes Apu to believe that he is going to rob him. He denies this, but then fantasizes what life would be like if he did rob the store, which ''somehow'' leads him to become a State senator (sitting in a rocking chair and sporting a monocle, no less) and for Marge to be a go-go dancer as a 60s-inspired jaunty tune nonsensically plays.
* BizarroEpisode: The "Treehouse Of Horror" episodes are this by design. "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", "Saddlesore Galactica" and "Moe Goes from Rags to Riches" may also count.
** Apart from having a title in Spanish, ''El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer'' (''The Mysterious Voyage of our Homer'' in English) is mostly centered around Homer tripping from eating extremely hot peppers.
** "Missionary: Impossible" is mostly set on a remote island, and ends with the reveal that it was all a [[ShowWithinAShow PBS pledge drive within a show]] on FOX.
** "Das Bus": The whole episode is a ''Lord of the Flies'' parody set on a tropical island, and ends with Creator/JamesEarlJones saying there isn't really an ending, so let's just say [[AssPull Moe saved them]].
** "Behind the Laughter", the 11th Season finale: It turns out the Simpsons were all [[AsHimself actors playing themselves on the show]], and that they had nearly broken up and stopped work on the show.
** "Simpsons Bible Stories": The episode ends with the Apocalypse descending upon Springfield. As the Flanders ascend to Heaven, the Simpsons literally go to Hell.
** The episode "The Man Who Came To Be Dinner," where The Simpsons go to a crappy theme park and ride a space attraction that takes them into outer space and Homer becomes the main course for Kang and Kodos.
* BrokenBase: The first two seasons. Were they really the "good old days" of the show or just so rife with EarlyInstallmentWeirdness and [[OffModel horrid art and bizarre animation]] that it's hard to watch them again and take them seriously, considering how much the show has changed?
** Latin American viewers are divided in regards about [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks the new voice actors]]. (changed in 2004).
** In the same vein, should the show keep making new episodes? Many fans who don't like the new seasons still don't want to see it go off the air, and some of the people who do like them would rather see FOX or Matt Groening MercyKill the series before it stops being good.
** "Homer's Enemy" (the episode with Frank Grimes): Brilliant deconstruction of the show's absurdity, or painfully and humorlessly dark? The only thing fans agree on is that the episode is only accessible to long-time viewers.
** Season 8 is felt to be better than Seasons 9-24 but worse than Seasons 1-7, whether it's SeasonalRot or fun despite its flaws is debated. Seasons 9 and 10 are either considered flawed but better than later seasons, or the moment the show went downhill. The only thing fans seem to agree on is that Season 9 is the better of the two (and probably where the series should have ended).
*** Speaking of the later seasons, Seasons 11 through 25 are generally agreed to be worse than seasons 1 through 8, but beyond there's little consensus on how they compare to each other.
** Who was the better showrunner: Al Jean or Mike Scully? For Jean's episodes as showrunner, which were better: Seasons 13-16 when he tried to emulate Seasons 1-8, or Seasons 17-24 when the show has turned into a watered-down ''Family Guy'' and ''South Park''?
** Over "Saddlesore Galactica", bordering on LoveItOrHateIt. Many fans hate this episode and call it one of the worst ever, but a fair number enjoy it because it spoofs the {{Flanderization}} and [[DenserAndWackier absurd plots]] that started to crop up in Season 9. The other "meta" episodes, like "Behind the Laughter", are also divisive-some fans think the self-referential humor is just obnoxious and dull, while others like that the show has a sense of humor about itself, but none of them are as controversial as "Galactica".
** In "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show," a focus group asks kids if they'd prefer Itchy and Scratchy to have more down-to-earth plotlines like people have every day or wacky, far out adventures with robots and magic powers. The kids answer enthusiastically to both options. The writers commented that at the time they felt stuck between these two avenues of the fanbase, with half the fans wanting the show to stay grounded in reality, others wanting it to get crazier and crazier.
* CrazyAwesome: Groundskeeper Willie, a drunk, insane Scottish janitor who fistfights with animals and apparently thinks movies are real.
* CreatorsPet: People feel Marge and Lisa are becoming this because they're always treated as CloserToEarth even when they're coming off as preachy or passive-aggressive. It doesn't help that the show runs on AesopAmnesia, meaning they're just as prone to forgetting the lessons they've learned as the rest of the cast.
* CreatorWorship: Matt Groening gets little of the blame for the series' decline (having only a "Creative Consultant" credit for most seasons) while James L. Brooks gets none (likewise having no real involvement in the series for most of its run). Al Jean and/or Mike Scully usually get blamed for running the show into the ground (or any outside circumstances, like hiring writers who can't capture the magic of the early seasons, excessive celebrity cameos, or Phil Hartman's death, which means no more Troy [=McClure=] or Lionel Hutz appearances).
* DesignatedHero:
** Homer used to be a well-intentioned moron, but has been an outright {{Jerkass}} for the last 10 or so seasons, in part because he's become much crueler towards his family.
** The use of Recycled scripted also makes Lisa this a lot of time as she will be presented as in the right or at least the ending will be happy yet when someone else does the exact same thing they are treated as a jerkass. For example when Bart missed a fly ball in The Boys of Bummer and was harassed to the point where he tried to commit suicide. Yet when he intentionally threw the game in MoneyBart he was met with cheers because even though Lisa learned a lesson she was still technically right. In addition Both Homer and Lisa have gotten the plant shut down for safety violations. When Homor did this in HOMR it is treated as a moral event horizon as he ruined every ones jobs. Yet when Lisa did the exact same thing in Homerland she is in the right.
* DesignatedVillain:
** Bart, in later episodes; Homer, in a lot of the Mike Scully episodes where he's written as a [[{{Jerkass}} childish jerk]].
** Horst and the other Germans from "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk", which also makes Homer the DesignatedVictim. Aside from not being threatening or even the least bit unpleasant like everyone expected them to be (barring their "threat" to Mr. Burns at the end of the episode) and the numerous and expensive repairs in need at the plant which were still out of Homer's reach even as the safety inspector, his own incompetence and inability to explain his job or provide any ways to improve productivity at the plant got him fired, and rightfully so. Even a later scene had him complaining that they had no right to fire him, ''[[WhatAnIdiot while using a fork inside of a toaster oven.]]'' In spite of his SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome of telling off Mr. Burns at Moe's, you can't blame the men for taking action, especially since he was the only employee to be let go.
* DorkAge: The earlier seasons ruthlessly mocked sitcom conventions, but the more recent ones generally play them straight, and the remaining satire tends to be in the form of blunt exposition, rather than being worked into the script.
** The episodes from Mike Scully's time as showrunner (Seasons 9-12) are accused of this due to {{Flanderization}}, [[DenserAndWackier crazy off-the-wall plots]] (and for some, too much focus on [[SpotlightStealingSquad Homer]]), and, in Season 11, the show trying to be just like more "in-your-face" satirical cartoons like ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' and ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' [[WereStillRelevantDammit just to keep up]]. There were also issues with tone: Some of the episodes, including the infamous "The Principal and the Pauper" and "Saddlesore Galactica", tried to mock their own absurdity, but the parody was so subtle that it came across as {{Flanderization}} and bad writing.
** Al Jean's time as showrunner, Seasons 13-present: His first few seasons were attempts to imitate Seasons 3 through 7, but to some the show became a milder clone of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' and ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' around Season 17. The heavy reliance on recycled plots, [[WereStillRelevantDammit dated pop-culture references]], and [[SpotlightStealingSquad celebrity]] [[AsHimself cameos]] throughout hasn't helped. DependingOnTheWriter characterization has also become a problem, especially with Homer and Bart: characters' personalities have been reduced to whatever the plot of the week requires.
** This might be a consequence of the show's age, but [[RecycledPremise reusing plots]] has also become a problem: Homer's health, the Simpsons' teetering marriage, and Lisa's {{Wangst}} have all been beaten to death over the years, but keep coming back regardless.
* DoubleStandard: Lisa can be just as petty and mean as Bart, but generally gets rewarded for her behavior, and the show usually tries to justify her actions, while he gets punished. The good side of this is that whenever Lisa gets punished, it's usually an awesome episode because it stands out.
** In the shorts Lisa was often as mischievous and impudent as her brother, but [[KarmaHoudini usually avoided any comeuppance]], either by being wily enough to avoid the same consequences as her brother or [[SelectiveEnforcement simply having it ignored by her parents]]. Allegedly this was because writers were dead against planned gags having [[WouldntHitAGirl Homer violently discipline her in the same way as Bart]].
** Marge can sometimes benefit from this: She can be a {{jerkass}} on the same level as Homer, but her bad behavior is a sign that she's unappreciated or overworked, so she's really the victim here; when Homer does this he's [[WhatTheHellHero chewed out by everyone in town]].
* EarWorm: [[http://youtube.com/watch?v=e_9eMNwia5I "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders"]] from the episode "Dude, Where's My Ranch?"
** ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVPpz_X-QU0 Duff Beer for me/Duff Beer for you/I have a Duff/You have one too]]''
** ''Moe, Moe, Moe! How do you like me, how do you like me? Moe, Moe, Moe! Why don't you like me, nobody likes me...''
** ''See my vest/see my vest/made from real gorilla chest/See this sweater/there's no better/than authentic Irish Setter...''
** Overlapping with StylisticSuck is Kirk Van Houten's demo tape. ''Can I borrow a feeling?/Could you lend me a jar of love?/Hurtin' hearts need some healin'/Take my hand with your glove of love!''
* EnsembleDarkHorse:
** Apu is a good example of recurring Ensemble Darkhorse. First he started out as the typical Indian cashier, and then he got a few episodes centered around him. For CharacterDevelopment, he even got a wife and eight children. He might also act as the Simpsons' SixthRanger, as seen in ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsHitAndRun''.
** Milhouse, even before his [[MemeticMutation memehood was disputed]].
** [[TheDitz Ralph Wiggum]] became this after he [[TookALevelInDumbass transformed from an average kid to the show's village idiot]].
** Sideshow Bob. Originally he was going to be a one-shot villain, but has kept coming back. He has been voted the 66th greatest villain of all time. It helps that Kelsey Grammer is his voice actor. The writers even wanted him to be included one episode every season, but even they could not come up with reasons for him to show up all the time.
** A popular one-time character is Linguo, Lisa's GrammarNazi robot from "Trilogy of Error."
** Also Hank Scorpio, a one-off character who was a [[{{Supervillain}} Bond villain]] whose gimmick was [[AffablyEvil caring greatly for his employees]].
** Both Troy [=McClure=] and Lionel Hutz - voiced by the late Creator/PhilHartman - deserve a mention as well, especially the former - before Hartman's death, there were talks about a potential live action film featuring the character. It can't be ''just'' a coincidence that the retirement of both characters coincides with the point in the show's history when it developed a BrokenBase.
** Bleeding Gums Murphy only had a major role in two episodes and a number of background appearances in-between these before his character's death, but his role as a kindred spirit and mentor to Lisa is fondly remembered by older fans of the show (especially those who watched the first season). His death was one of the show's truest TearJerker episodes.
** Professor Frink was introduced as a wacky MadScientist character who wanted funding for his death ray--which Grandpa Simpson talked him out of developing without even trying. He quickly became a regular character. He even had a website dedicated to him before FOX had it removed.
** Disco Stu was originally just a one-shot character meant as a joke. Homer was selling a custom-made rhinestone jacket at a yard sale that said "Disco Stu" on the back. When Marge asked who it was, Homer replies "Well, it was supposed to say 'Disco Stud' but I ran out of space." He's since made several appearances.
** The same goes for Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel and Gerald Sampson, the baby with one eyebrow.
** The late Frank Grimes appeared in only one episode and yet is one of the most memorable Simpsons characters ever.
** Groundskeeper Willie has priceless moments. He appears fairly regularly, but he had to wait till the 17th season to have an episode which would focus on him.
** Lenny, for being a regular ButtMonkey, his obsession with Carl, and often bizarre quirks.
** CrazyCatLady for the win! It's amazing what you can do with what is basically an exaggerated character stereotype.
** Out of any one-timer children, [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter Allison Taylor]] and [[BitchInSheepsClothing Jessica Lovejoy]] are possibly tied for having the most fans.
* EvilIsCool: Hank Scorpio is a fan favorite villain for being a criminal mastermind who was also a BenevolentBoss to Homer.
** Mister Burns is one of the most evil characters in the show, but being BornInTheWrongCentury and taking joy in his wickedness has provided some really interesting quirks that make him stand out to other antagonists, especially in the early seasons.
** Sideshow Bob. He's voiced by Kelsey Grammer and his plans tend to be well thought out and the only reason he loses is someone outgambits him in some way, but he comes pretty close to succeeding.
* FanonDiscontinuity: Many, given the show's longevity and fans' strong preference for the older seasons:
** "The Principal and The Pauper", for messing with continuity: [[spoiler:"Principal Skinner" is revealed to be a street punk named Armin Tamzarian, who began impersonating Skinner when sent to deliver the news of the real Skinner's death in Vietnam to his mother]].
*** This one also deserves mention because the show itself basically did this at the end of the episode, declaring that the entire town [[LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain agrees to pretend the reveal never happened]].
** "That 90s Show", also for continuity snarls: The episode "documents" the Simpsons' lives in the 90s, in the process eliminating Seasons 1 through 11 from the show's canon and rewriting how Homer and Marge got together. The episode may have been upgraded to CanonDiscontinuity, since newer seasons rely on the old canon where Homer and Marge got together in the late 70s-early 80s.
** "Homer Vs. Dignity", for the panda rape scene and recycled plots.
** "Brother From Another Series" realized that Bob had nowhere to go as a villain after trying to nuke Springfield, and gave him a pretty graceful sendoff, featuring his redemption and reconciliation with Bart. Later Bob episodes largely ignored this, and Bob suffered major VillainDecay as a result, leading some to declare it "the last Sideshow Bob episode."
** "Little Orphan Millie" due to Milhouse's parents getting back together when their divorce had been considered CharacterDevelopment.
* FanPreferredCouple: Seymour and Edna, to the point where "Nedna" received a lot of backlash.
* FlameBait: Ask any internet forum which of ''WesternAnimation/The Simpsons'', ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', ''Futurama'', and ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' is the best -- or better yet, ask them when ''The Simpsons'' stopped being worth watching. You'll be surprised how many people think the show is still good after all these years.
* FranchiseZombie: Matt Groening said ''The Simpsons'' would be around a couple more seasons, but couldn't guarantee anything beyond that because SeasonalRot was becoming a real concern and he wanted the series to end on a high note. That was in ''1999''.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: [[FunnyAneurysmMoment/TheSimpsons It has its own page.]]
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: Lisa. She's a BaseBreaker in the United States, but Lisa is very popular with Japanese audiences, due to her studiousness and Buddhism. Promotional material for ''The Simpsons'' in Japan even portrays her as the main character.
** The show is extremely popular abroad-French Canadians love the series[[note]]''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' is one of the only foreign shows airing in French Canada to be dubbed into Canadian French, rather than international or even European French[[/note]].
** In South America, this is the only non-Latin show to air nowadays in over-the-air channels (aside from occasional Brazilian soaps). ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie'' confirmed the show's popularity, being the highest-grossing movie of 2007 in Argentina, as well in the rest of the region, [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome bringing back audiences to theaters after decades]].
*** Note that the "classic" Latin American dub (until season 15) was notable among imports for replacing most North American-centric references to more localized ones (as well as translated names). This largely ended after the (infamous) voice actor "switcheroo", with more recent episodes becoming less popular.
* GrowingTheBeard: Seasons 2 and 3, as the show became funnier and the characterization improved while the animation issues from Season 1 were resolved.
** Late season 2 onward especially, as the show became less and less Bart-centric and embraced the idea of being a wider ensemble piece.
* HellIsThatNoise: That horrifying background music at the end of "Rosebud" when a cyborg Mr. Burns and his faithful robot dog Smithers run off into the sunset in the year 1,000,000 A.D., which was also used at the beginning of "Bart's Girlfriend" when the kids try to ditch going to church (and a Jewish kid named Schlomo ditching his violin lesson).
* HarsherInHindsight: In "Fear of Flying", Homer didn’t want Marge to go to therapy because he thought it would turn her against him. In "Specs and the City", he finds out that she is in therapy and he is her biggest complaint.
** In "Lisa’s First Word", Bart spent the entire episode resenting Lisa because he felt that his parents were disregarding him as she was getting all the attention. Eventually, he is about to run away until Lisa says her first word, "Bart". Then comes "Lisa’s Sax" where that is exactly what happens.
*** Taken even further when Marge eventually admits she sees all of her children as ReplacementGoldfish, making Lisa a serious case of the MiddleChildSyndrome.
** In "Beyond Blunderdome" guest star Creator/MelGibson is genuinely shocked when audiences react badly to his ultra-violent climactic blood bath ending to his remake of ''Mr. Smith Goes To Washington'' (see WhatAnIdiot! below). A few years later Gibson's life and career would spiral out of control when he couldn't cope with general audiences reacting badly to his very bloody 2004 Crucifixion film ''The Passion of the Christ'', seriously damaging his reputation in the process as he suffered a serious nervous breakdown complete with alcohol relapse and the end of his long standing marriage to Robin Moore.
** ''Bart of Darkness'': Bart worrying that Maude is dead doesn't seem so funny now that Maude [[KilledOffForReal really]] ''[[KilledOffForReal is]]'' [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS11E14AloneAgainNaturaDiddily dead]].
** Speaking of which, in ''Holidays of Future Passed'', Future Ned mentions that Homer killed Edna, and he is now married Maude's ghost. In 2013, Edna's voice actor, Marcia Wallace, passed away, and the next episode to air is ''Four Regrettings and a Funeral'', Bart's chalkboard gag was [[http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2745957_orig.jpg this]]. In ''The Man Who Grew Too Much'', Ned dreams about Edna while wearing a black arm band implying that Edna passed away.
** Due to the repeated use of RecycledScript many episodes become this for Bart for example in “The Boys of Bummer” Bart became a social pariah after missing an easy fly ball. Yet the crowed cheered in “MoneyBart” after Bart intentionally lost the game by trying to steel base three times in a row. Because even though Lisa was proven wrong she was technically right making it a happy ending. The same thing when you compare Bart and Lisa’s roles and actions in The Secret War of Lisa Simpson and A Test Before Trying
** Dr. Hibbert's whole situation (by original design and {{Flanderization}}) of being the anti-[[Series/TheCosbyShow Cliff Huxtable]], in light of the ''RealLife'' crimes that BillCosby has done, even ''during'' the filming of said show. Especially in "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister", where Hibbert makes a reference to dealing a sexual harassment lawsuit.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** The Flaming Homer/Moe episode centers around a mixed-drink spiked with cough syrup. Flash forward a few years and we have [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_drank Purple Drank]].
** In an earlier season, after Maude dies Ned goes on a date with Edna Krabappel, who only dates Flanders to get back at Principal Skinner. Come Season 23, the two (Ned and Edna, not Edna and Skinner) are now married. [[spoiler:However, Edna was killed off in 2013.]]
** The season 11 premiere "Beyond Blunderdome" had Mel Gibson (voicing himself) and plays on the idea that he is so admired by the public that it makes him uncomfortable. With ''The Passion of the Christ'' and news about his anti-Semitic and sexist remarks, it looks as if Mel's got his wish. It's both funny and depressing.
** In the Treehouse of Horror short "Clown Without Pity", a naked Homer runs screaming from his bathtub to escape a harpoon-wielding demonic Krusty the Clown doll and passes by Patty, Selma, and Marge as they have lunch together. Patty puts down her fork and says, "There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality." Years after this throwaway joke in a non-canonical Halloween episode, Patty came out of the closet.
*** Similarly, in "Homer's Phobia", once Homer learns of John's sexuality he says "Now we can never say only straight people have been in this house". Patty had been visiting for years by that point.
** A similar situation happened in "Itchy and Scratchy Land" where JohnTravolta is shown reduced to working as a bartender in a 70s themed bar. The episode was released in the same year that ''Film/PulpFiction'' came out, which single-handedly [[CareerResurrection resurrected]] Travolta's career with a scene set in a retro-themed diner.
** Despite the touching undertones and Bart [[EarnYourHappyEnding earning his happy ending]], the fact that [[StatusQuoIsGod Bart is still in the fourth grade after all these years]] makes the events from "Bart Gets an F" seem senseless.
** In "You Only Move Twice" Homer is disappointed when his BenevolentBoss, Hank Scorpio, gives him the Denver Broncos as a gift instead of the Dallas Cowboys. The Denver Broncos are seen practicing on the Simpsons' front lawn, and are portrayed as bumbling and laughably bad at football. The NFL season after this episode aired the Denver Broncos would win the Super Bowl, and then do it ''again'' the season after that.
*** After the 2014 Super Bowl where the Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks by an embarrassing score of 43-8, the clip of Homer bemoaning owning the team received renewed interest online.
** In "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie", Bart watches a trailer for the fictitious ''Franchise/StarTrek'' film ''Star Trek XII: So Very Tired'', which lampoons the increasing age of the TOS cast. In May 2013, the 12th Star Trek film, ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'', got released and also features the TOS crew, albeit played by much younger actors.
** ''The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase'' is a lot funnier when you realize that (a) Matt Groening originally had a ''Simpsons'' spin-off planned called ''Tales of Springfield'' (it was rejected and reworked as the season seven episode "22 Short Films About Springfield"), and (b) SethMacFarlane (Matt Groening's friend and professional rival) created a spin-off of his [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Simpsons knock-off animated sitcom]]: ''Series/TheClevelandShow''.
*** The ''Chief Wiggum, PI'' segment is based on the premise of a successful TV show creating a spinoff featuring "exciting, sexy adventures" amid the "colorful backdrop" of TheBigEasy. 17 years later, cue the debut of ''Series/NCISNewOrleans''.
** In the Season 2 episode "Three Men and a Comic Book", Homer and Bart discuss how ''The Cosby Show'' was being taken off the air to keep it from becoming stale, and [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall joke about how they would "run that sucker into the ground" if they were in Cosby's position]]. More than 20 seasons later, ''The Simpsons'' is still on the air and, in some viewers' eyes, feels as if it's been run into the ground.
** Matt Groening criticized the episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS6E18AStarIsBurns A Star is Burns]]" because he promised his sitcom would be different from others and one of the sitcom conventions he hated is the crossover episode that plays out like a 20-odd minute advertisement for another show, even removing his name from the credits in protest. Since then, ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has had an ''X Files'' crossover ("The Springfield Files"), a brief scene in "Hurricane Neddy" where Jay Sherman ends up in a mental hospital endlessly saying his catch phrase "It stinks!", a ''24'' crossover ("24 Minutes"), a ''Terminator'' parody featuring the characters from ''Futurama'' and a ''Family Guy'' parody where The Simpsons bond with The Griffins.
*** The Family Guy one is actually a double length episode of ''Family Guy'' (even though it's set in Springfield instead of Quahog!), and not a parody. Preview stills have shown Bart teaching Stewie to use a skateboard, and Homer and Peter fighting in the street over which beer brand is better (Duff, as Homer regularly drinks at Moe's, or Pawtucket's, the brand served at the Drunken Clam and who Peter works for).
** The 1996 episode "Two Bad Neighbors," in which former president UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush moves next door to the Simpsons, includes a scene where Homer tries to trick Bush into opening his door by propping up two cardboard cutouts of his sons Jeb and "[[UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush George Bush, Jr.]]" According to the Season 7 DVD commentary, the writers (and the mid-90s audience) [[AluminumChristmasTrees had no idea at the time that there actually]] ''[[AluminumChristmasTrees was]]'' [[AluminumChristmasTrees a George Bush, Jr.]], and figured that Homer was just being stupid by making up a name on the spot.
** Remember that Bonestorm commercial that started out with a couple kids playing a fighting game where you fight a tank? Enter ''VideoGame/AkatsukiBlitzkampf'', a Japanese doujin fighting game where [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1w-GBFf8Sc one of the bosses]] is ''literally'' a tank.
** Remember Yvan Eht Nioj? Well it seems Katy Perry may or may not have devised a similar plan for the marines...
** Back in the very first Treehouse of Horror, Bart makes a comment on the first ''Film/{{Friday the 13th|1980}}'' film, saying that "[[SeinfeldIsUnfunny it's pretty tame by today's standards]]." In wake of much more controversial adult animated shows like ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead'', ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', and ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', ''The Simpsons'' has often been thought of as "tame" by modern audiences.
** In the [[VideoGame/TheSimpsons old Konami arcade]], one of the enemies are [[AnthropomorphicFood donuts]] in the Dream Land level. Cut to the Season 9 episode "Simpson Tide", it begins with Homer's dream he's on the [[Franchise/PlanetOfTheApes Planet of the Donuts]].
** The scene in Homerpalooza when Homer, worried about being out of touch with the music scene, revisits his old favourite record store ('Good Vibrations', since renamed to 'Suicide Notes'). When he mentions the Us Festival being sponsored by 'That guy from Apple computers', the Gen X cashier holds up a music CD and sardonically asks "''What'' computers?" - Amusing at the time as an example of Homer being out of touch. Funnier still decades later, after the rise of iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone...
** In "Lisa's Sax", a parody bumper for Creator/TheWB had Michigan J. Frog lamenting on how nobody watches the network. In 2006, The WB went off the air.
** The episode "Trouble With Trillions" had Homer, Burns and Smithers landing in Cuba at the same time Fidel Castro is considering the possibility of abandoning Communism. About fifteen years later, Cuba and the U.S. restored diplomatic ties, with many pointing that socialism in the island may have its' days counted once the embargo is lifted.
*** The fact that Castro took the trillion dollar banknote while leaving the trio to their fates contrasts with many Cuban exiles and Tea Party supporters who have decried the detente as the deal was ambiguous regarding any important changes to Cuba's political system.
** "Bart Star" has the family buying Bart's football gear at a store called [[LazyTown Sportacus]]. In the same episode, the "WHO ARE WE? WILDCATS!" cheer is made funnier by making just a minor switch to "[[HighSchoolMusical WHAT TEAM?]]"
** "That 90s Show", an episode aired in 2008 and set in the early 1990s, has a scene where Homer and Marge divide their belongings. The joke is supposed to be that Homer keeps all the stuff that ends up being worthless by the 2000s: "I'll keep the [=LPs=], and you take the [=CDs=]. I'll take the typewriter, you take the computer. I'll take the Enron stock, you take the Microsoft stock." Except that in 2008 vinyl records were already making a comeback among the music cognoscenti, and downloaded files were well on their way of replacing [=CDs=] as the main form in which people consume digital music. A few years after the episode aired, those [=LPs=] would probably sell for a lot more than the [=CDs=].
** In the 2011 episode "A Midsummer's Nice Dream" [[PopCulturalOsmosisFailure Bart doesn't know who Beavis and Butt-Head are]]. Their show was revived that same year.
** [[https://twitter.com/theharryshearer/status/598707703020658688 Harry Shearer]] leaving the show in 2015 becomes quite ironically hilarious considering they did [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHaXdl20Prg a gag]] about the subject, with another VA replacing Shearer as Ned Flanders, over a decade prior in "Homer to the Max". The comment "they don't have to pay the actors squat" is just the icing on the cake, as there is speculation that [[http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/14/8604495/harry-shearer-leaves-the-simpsons-no-mr-burns-flanders money had something to do with Shearer deciding to leave.]] [[note]]The joke was originally a jab at Fox for threatening to hire a new cast during a contract dispute with the voice actors in 1998.[[/note]]
** In 'When Flanders Failed" Flanders accounts having his house and assets repossessed by "nice" people who were only doing their job. This seems like a standard ExtremeDoormat disposition from the character, until "I Married Marge" features the Simpsons couple having a visit from a repo man who genuinely ''is'' cheerful, affable and apologetic about collecting their possessions ("Repossessing is the hardest part of my job").
* HoYay:
** Smithers' relationship with Burns can be seen in this context. Originally, Smithers' character was supposed to be an exaggeration of the YesMan (the sycophantic worker who always sucked up to his boss) and was later his personal servant when Burns was shown more at home than in his office at work, but then came gags like Smithers going to The Maison Derriere just to please his parents -- and being disappointed in it -- in "Bart After Dark," Smithers cringing and moaning as female strippers gyrate all around him in "A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love," Smithers imagining Mr. Burns jumping out of a cake in only a sash and seductively singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. Smithers" (as seen in "Rosebud"), Smithers having a computerized version of Mr. Burns on his desktop that says, "You're quite good at turning me on" (as seen in "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy"), Smithers' vacation at an island of men in "Homer the Smithers," and the "flying in through the window" fantasy (as seen in "Marge Gets a Job"), and soon, you have obsessive viewers wondering if Smithers is gay and in the closet or [[SingleTargetSexuality if he has a massive crush on his boss, regardless of gender]].
*** Considering that recent episodes have Smithers openly admitting that he's gay (something that was even a plot point in one episode), it's probably the former.
** Karl from Season 2 and Carl and Lenny.
* IKnewIt: There were quite a few people who called out that [[spoiler: Krusty's father]] would be the one to die in the Season 26 opener, particularly due to Al Jean specifically saying that he was "an Emmy-winning" character, and [[spoiler: Jackie Mason had been one of the few guest stars to win an Emmy for the show]].
* InformedAttribute: Marge being a good parent, yet all we see is her being nagging, smothering, condescending and unaccepting of anything beyond her views and when Lisa becomes a Buddhist and Bart goes Catholic, she tries to force them back to her denomination of Christianity.
* JerkassWoobie: Bart, Homer, Lisa and Grandpa Simpson. DependingOnTheWriter, Nelson Muntz, Moe, and Milhouse sometimes qualify.
** Mister Burns, whenever he tries to atone for what he's done (he usually gets rejected).
** Frank Grimes is another example. He's had a god-awful life after being abandoned by his parents, was such a NoRespectGuy that everyone laughed at his funeral, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking has had to work with Homer's stupid antics.]]
* LauncherOfThousandShips: Bart. Marge too, must run in the family.
* LoveToHate: Sideshow Bob and Mister Burns are incredibly sinister and LaughablyEvil.
* MagnificentBastard: ''Sideshow Bob''. He's devious, brilliant, manipulative, and of course funny. Though they always fail, his plans have included faking his own death and [[BatmanGambit guilting Bart into coming to see his corpse]] so he can burn him in the cremation oven, impersonating a man about to be released from prison to escape and move in next to the family, stealing a nuclear bomb and holding the town hostage, rigging an election to become mayor of Springfield, and hypnotizing Bart into being a suicide bomber to kill Krusty. Those last two plans in particular are notable because they ''worked'': his election scam was uncovered after he won the election, and his suicide bomber plan had him intervene when he was overcome with newfound love for Krusty.
** Considering he's managed to outsmart Sideshow Bob at nearly every turn, Bart Simpson himself could very well qualify.
** Hank Scorpio, no doubt. [[Film/JamesBond SPECTRE]] might've been able to actually accomplish something if they took some management lessons from this guy.
* MagnumOpus: The entire show is this for most of the cast & crew, especially Matt Groening.
* MemeticMutation: [[Memes/TheSimpsons Has its own page.]]
* MoralEventHorizon:
** Sideshow Bob in all of his appearances [[WouldHurtAChild tried to kill Bart]], but he finally crossed the line when he [[spoiler: decides to get people to hate Bart while he's on trial, fake his death, and, with the help of his whole family, burn Bart alive in a coffin being pushed into a furnace. Fortunately, he is caught and, along with the rest of his family, is sentenced to [[LaserGuidedKarma 87 years in prison]]]].
*** He may have crossed it earlier in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", when he tries to atom-bomb the entire city just so he can get rid of television.
** Snake tries to run over Bart when he's with Eddie and Lou in a ride along. He ended up getting thrown through the windshield as his car caught in the narrow alleyway and stopped mere inches before he can hit Bart.
** The kindergarten teacher's treatment of Bart, as seen in "Lisa's Sax". ''She'' is why Bart is the way he is today [[note]](though a lot of older episodes showed that Bart was bad since he was born. Case in point: "I Married Marge" showed him setting fire to Homer's tie at only six minutes old, and "War of the Simpsons" had Bart try to ''run over his babysitter with the family car''. On top of that, "Lisa the Simpson" reveals that Bart actually was a smart student until the Simpson gene made him dumb, and other episodes like "Bart Gets an F" and "A Test Before Trying" show that Bart can be smart when the plot calls for it)[[/note]]. To specify, the teacher basically wrote off Bart as a lost cause because he didn't catch on to things as quickly as the other kids (fortunately, the kindergarten teacher who appeared on "Sideshow Bob Roberts" when Bart is forced to repeat kindergarten as per Sideshow Bob's mayoral order isn't the same one from "Lisa's Sax," meaning that the one from "Lisa's Sax" either quit her job, retired, was fired, or was let go due to the school's many budget cuts).
** Mr. Burns also gets one when he blacks out the sun at the end of Season 6. Even [[ExtremeDoormat Smithers]] [[EveryoneHasStandards thinks he's gone too far]].
** In ''Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble'', Homer accidentally caused his father to make his kidneys burst because he wouldn't stop to let him go to the bathroom (even though that's physically impossible). When he's forced to give up one of his kidneys, he runs away in fear of dying. He later seemingly decides to face up to his fear and give one of his kidneys. However, he finally crossed it when he ran away from the hospital ''again'', this time hoping that his father would die.
*** JerkassHasAPoint: His fear were pivoted by the fact [[MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate Dr. Hibbert]] (and everyone else) outright lied to him about the dangers of the operation so he'd agree. When they can't make him donate willingly, he outright ''steals'' his kidney while he's unconscious. While it's [[DirtyCoward Dirty Cowardice]] at its finest, would you trust your body in the hands of a quack that deceives and outright mutilates you without your consent?
** The winemakers in "Crepes of Wrath" after they poured anti-freeze in the wine, and forcing Bart to drink it.
** Patty and Selma have always hated Homer and made it clear since day one that they do (mostly because he's fat, ugly, and unworthy of being Marge's husband and the father of her children), but they crossed this line when they attempted to murder him when Homer and Marge were going to remarry in the later seasons. And outside of being blackmailed to pay for the wedding by Bart and Lisa, they suffer no repercussions.
*** In episodes such as "Mother Simpson", they are actually in glee when they believe Homer has actually kicked the bucket (even buying a tombstone just to add insult to injury, with the epitaph, "We are richer for having lost him"). They hate Homer to the point of wishing death upon him.
** Lisa may have had one in "On A Clear Day, I Can't See My Sister": In retaliation for one of Bart's pranks, she takes out a restraining order against him and gleefully uses it to make his life a living hell even after he stops bugging her. Even if he was really mean to her at the beginning of the episode, even her family thought she was taking it way too far.
* MostAnnoyingSound: Dr. Marvin Monroe's very raspy voice. Which is why Matt Groening and the audience never liked the character.
** The running gag of characters going "WHHHAAAAAAAAAAA!?!".
* NeverLiveItDown: Lisa's profile quote in the arcade game: "Embrace nothingness!" She [[BeamMeUpScotty only said it once in the actual show]] but many fans know her best for saying just that.
* OneSceneWonder: Hank Scorpio. Many fans love him even if they don't like Season 8, and he was so popular that the [[WhatCouldHaveBeen writers even considered making him]] the BigBad of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie''.
** When Marge joins the police, one of her fellow cadets is a twitchy GunNut who screams "Forget about the badge! When do we get the FREAKIN' GUNS?!"
** When Burns sends an assassin after Abe Simpson over a treasure, a [[BadassBystander random nurse at the rest home]] chased the assassin off with a shotgun.
-->'''Nurse:''' OUR RESIDENTS *BANG* ARE TRING *BANG* TO NAP! *BANG*
** Sideshow Raheem is surprisingly popular for a character who has only said two words in the run of the show.
* TheProblemWithLicensedGames: With few exceptions, most ''Simpsons'' games are [[NintendoHard terrible.]] The arcade game and ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsHitAndRun'', however, are regarded as classics, ''Bart's Nightmare'' is fairly decent, and the 2007 multi-platform game, despite camera issues, has some genuinely hilarious moments.
** Also averted with the pinball machine ''Pinball/TheSimpsonsPinballParty'', which pinball fans commonly regard as one of the 21st century's best.
* RelationshipSue: Weirdly, a season 25 episode gives one to Comic Book Guy. Kumiko is a pretty Japanese manga creator who loves how outspoken he is. They get married by the end of the episode.
* ScapegoatCreator: Everything wrong with the show post-Season 8 tends to be blamed on the showrunner: Mike Scully for seasons 9-12 and Al Jean for seasons 13 to the current one.
** Scully also gets accused of ruining the show after season 12, either because he became an producer starting with Season 13, or because he did so much damage as showrunner that the show couldn't be saved.
** A VocalMinority of fans, especially those who think SeasonalRot set in around Season 6 or 7, point the finger at the writing staff who left the show after season five (or in the early part of it, as "Cape Feare"[[note]]the episode where The Simpsons go into Witness Protection after Sideshow Bob gets paroled[[/note]] is the last episode written by the original writers).
*** An episode, mind you, that people [[https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/alt.tv.simpsons/AChKwose8Vo/f-rk0ZifzfEJ absolutely despised]] [[VindicatedByHistory when it originally aired]].
* TheScrappy:
** Carl Carlson. He's like Lenny, except he's always successful, is fawned over by beautiful women, and can often turn into a jerk. The one episode focusing on his backstory made him come off as sympathetic and a terrible friend.
** Even Dr. Marvin Monroe's voice actor, Harry Shearer wanted the character removed from the show, mostly because of his annoying raspy voice which actually damaged Shearer himself.
%% Martin
* SeasonalRot: The general consensus is that the show stopped being good after either season nine or season ten (usually season nine, because, despite Mike Scully running the show, season nine did have some good episodes), but season ten was when Creator/PhilHartman died (meaning no more [[EnsembleDarkhorse Lionel Hutz or Troy McClure]]) and when it became obvious the writers were running out of ideas, though season eight is often cited as the last time ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' created good episodes (though a lot of people feel that some of season eight's episodes weren't all that great, except for "You Only Move Twice", the episode with Hank Scorpio).
** But the seasons that deserve a mention is Seasons 11 and 12, and many feel they were the show's worst. The season relies heavily on bizarre plots,[[GainaxEnding nonsensical twist endings]], [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and tons of special guest stars]].
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny and WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids: In the early days, this cartoon was criticized for being a kids' cartoon (even though the only reason Matt Groening made the show bright and colorful was to grab their attention, not make it a kids' show) that dealt with a lot of smutty and controversial content. These days, it barely (but occasionally) raises a blip on the MoralGuardian's radar, thanks to ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' and SethMacFarlane's cartoons being far more shocking and controversial.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped[=/=]ValuesResonance:
** "Homer's Phobia" points out that it's okay to be gay and homosexuals are people too. It also makes a note that overcoming prejudices is a gradual process that people can not realistically expect to occur overnight.
** "Mypods and Boomsticks" had an equally important one - demonising Muslims is wrong. Given how many T.V. shows, in light of certain events, seem OK with portraying Arabs and Muslims as unrepentant terrorists, anything that challenges anti-Muslim sentiment was welcome at the time the episode aired. The episode even notes the similarities of the plight of Muslims today to the persecution Jews had to go through decades ago.
** "Bart The General" still holds up despite its cruddy animation with its Aesop of "Violence begets more violence" (which Bart did mention at the end of the episode) and "Bullying is a major cause for concern in schools".
** There's also "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge" from Season 2, which is about media censorship, MoralGuardians being responsible for mediocre entertainment, and hypocrisy over censorship (Marge wanting Michaelangelo's ''David'' to be seen, despite hating cartoon violence and her anti-violence group branches out into censoring nudity because it's considered "indecent" by their standards).
** "Homer Badman" (where Homer is accused of sexually molesting a babysitter by a protest group and the resulting media circus makes Homer out to be a pervert) is, much like the movie ''Film/{{Network}}'', still a spot-on satire against how scandals (particularly ones centered on sexual abuse and corrupting young, innocent victims) are sensationalized by the media for the sake of ratings, and how over-the-top or wrongful accusations can destroy people's lives.
** Season 7's "Much Apu About Nothing" states that immigrants, illegal or otherwise, are still humans and deserve to be treated with respect. This theme has become more prevalent given the recent debates about immigration reform.
** "Bart Star" from Season 9 looks very relevant today, thanks to childhood obesity being a problem and parents getting too involved with their children's extracurricular activities, particularly sports.
** "Homer's Phobia" and "There's Something About Marrying" have aged well, thanks to gay rights still being around and still being points of contention for a lot of people.
** "The Cartridge Family" states how regardless of one's stance towards firearm ownership, guns are not toys and idiots like Homer shouldn't own them.
** In DVD commentaries, the writers acknowledged their surprise that "Lisa the Beauty Queen" actually predates a lot of the modern-day disgust towards child beauty pageants.
** "The Squirt and the Whale" hammers in the theme that true animal activists must respect all animals and it's wrong to protect one animal if it means killing another.
** "Lisa the Vegetarian" shows Lisa learning a valuable lesson about tolerating non-vegetarians. It's wrong to force your own beliefs on those who do not follow your lifestyle. Even her fellow vegetarians Paul McCartney and Apu said so.
* SoOkayItsAverage: Seasons 9-12 to the present for some fans.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has a lot of one-shot characters that are quite popular, such as [[BitchInSheepsClothing Jessica Lovejoy]], [[TheRival Allison Taylor]], Alex Whitney, [[TheSimpsonsMovie Colin]], and every guest spot child character. Many fans are unhappy that they only got a single appearance.
** Also, [[Creator/AlbertBrooks Hank]] [[VillainOfTheWeek Scorpio]]. The man was a [[AffablyEvil genuinely nice]], down-to-earth... James Bond supervillain. He's every bit as awesome as he sounds, and "You Only Move Twice", the episode in which he appears, is generally regarded as the best episode of Season 8. He could have been a great recurring villain or DealWithTheDevil character (he offers Homer a job in "You Only Move Twice"), especially as Mr. Burns became senile and ineffectual in the later seasons, but no luck.
** Samantha Stanky is a good example to apply to this trope. Not only could she have been the one true LoveInterest for [[ThrowTheDogABone Milhouse]] (and end Milhouse's embarrassing attempts to win Lisa over), but she could have been a second best friend for Bart, [[ThreeAmigos making the three of them a trio]], and by possible association, the first true friend Lisa would ever have. Sadly, Samantha's [[OverprotectiveDad prudish father]] sent her to an all-girl convent school, where she is locked away from the outside world, and hasn't been seen or referenced since.
*** On an analytical note, Samantha also could have been one of the rare glimmers of purity in [[SurroundedByIdiots lackluster]] [[CrapsackWorld town]] [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer full]] [[KidsAreCruel of]] [[{{Jerkass}} jerks]].
** After regaining his wealth and reconciling with Homer, Herb Powell could've been the BigGood of Springfield, given his status in contrast to Mr. Burns' BigBad. He could've also been an excellent benefactor in helping the Simpson family in any of their recurring financial jams. However, by the time the writers decided to get DannyDeVito involved with the Simpsons again (now on the onset of the Great Recession), he was given one off-screen line confirming [[RealityEnsues that he was poor again]].
** Mr. Bergstrom could've been the one teacher who cared about Lisa's education. However, as a substitute teacher constantly on-call by other schools, he had to leave, while Ms. Hoover would remain as Lisa's teacher a respond to her zest for learning with apathy.
** [[MassiveNumberedSiblings The Nahasapeemapetilon Octuplets]] themselves could've been given [[CharacterDevelopment individual quirks]] that distinguish them from each other ([[NotAllowedToGrowUp if they would get older]] [[OutOfFocus and receive more screen time]]). However, any future incarnation would involve all eight of them working at the Kwik-E-Mart as eight mini-Apus, and being bossy and rude to any of their employees.
** Even though Ling Bouvier was able to be adopted from China by Selma, both Patty and Selma are shown more frequently than her own baby ([[FridgeLogic bring to question, who is watching their baby?]]). In terms of possible use, Ling could've served as a playmate for Maggie. Though later episodes have her and Maggie (and sometimes, with other kids) in the background for side jokes.
** Maude Flanders deserves a special mentioning. Given Ned Flanders' reputation as the nicest neighbor in Springfield, and Marge's constant pleading for Homer to be on good terms with him, one would think that Marge and Maude would get along better than their husbands. Unfortunately, Maude is shown as nothing more than an overprotective mother and a religious fundamentalist who is more on par with the gossipy Helen Lovejoy, and has been critical and disapproving of Marge on separate occasions (including hiring by the Yakuza to stomp out her pretzel business). By Season 11, [[spoiler: the writers decide to kill Maude off, mainly due to [[McLeaned the dispute with her voice actress]] Maggie Roswell]].
** Mona Simpson. She loves Homer and regrets abandoning him, in contrast to unrepentant [[TheEeyore Eeyore]]-{{Jerkass}} Abe, so she could have provided a different perspective on his childhood, and her history of activism & radicalism could have made her an interesting partner or foil to Lisa.
** Ruth Powers and her daughter Laura were introduced in season 4 as the Simpsons' new neighbors. Laura acted as Bart's crush and become something of an older sister to him at the end of her first appearance. In the next season, Ruth had her own episode where she became good friends with Marge and went on an adventure with her. They could have played a larger role in many Simpson's adventures, but aside from a few cameos, Ruth herself only made an appearance a decade later.
** Rita [=LaFleur=], Homer's long-lost stepmother. She was an interesting character and added some insight to Abe's life after Mona. Despite them reconciling at the end of her episode and continuing to develop their relationship, she's never seen or mentioned again. Probably jjustified as she was voiced by a guest star, rather than one of the in-house cast members.
** Really, there's a massive load of characters that could desperately do with more development or even just things to do but nope, let's see what [[FlatCharacter the Crazy Cat Lady was like before she became obsessed with throwing cats!]]
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: Inevitable in a show where the first five to ten minutes set up things that later turn out to be unrelated to the main plot.
** The episode "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" starts with Marge yelling at Homer for not going to Lisa's award ceremony, Homer decides to prove her wrong and wants to make sure that he is in the auditorium before anyone else. This seems to be the main plot of the episode, but then it is forgotten and the main plot is about Marge and a bank robber and has nothing to do with Homer getting to Lisa's ceremony.
** "Homer The Whopper" could have been a funny episode about the making of a superhero movie in the vein of "Radioactive Man", but instead focuses on the overused plot of Homer sticking to another diet (and failing it), with all the movie stuff happening in the b-plot.
** The episode where Maude dies. It could have been a TearJerker CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming episode (and it was a little bit, especially when Flanders briefly denounced his faith in God and met Rachel Jordan after going to church), but more than half of it was Homer setting up Ned with horrible new girlfriends (even though Homer wasn't being a jerkass about it; he was genuinely trying to help Ned out).
** Mona Simpson's death, for similar reasons as Maude's: Her death comes out of nowhere and lacks gravity, especially since the funeral was off-screen, and it is quickly forgotten as the story progresses-the rest of the episode focuses on the Simpsons sabotaging Mr. Burns' rocket launch (a plot that could have easily been done without her death).
** Many viewers felt that the first act plot of Season 19's "Husbands and Knives", starring Jack Black as the owner of the new comic book store across the street from The Android's Dungeon, was superior to the rest of the episode, which focused on Marge starting a franchise of women's gyms and Homer getting plastic surgery in fear that his newly-rich wife will run off with another man.
** The episode "Simpsorama" didn't make a single comment about the different skin tones of the cast. While the Family Guy crossover already did this, it still feels strange that nobody seemed to notice, considering that Fry lived in that time period and nobody was portrayed as yellow.
*** Fry didn't get to do much in that episode. We even didn't get to see the events unfold when Professor Farnsworth asked him to team up with Homer in a nuclear powered experiment.
* ToughActToFollow: Some of the criticism of Seasons 9-present comes from [[OvershadowedByAwesome the extremely high expectations fans had after the first 8 seasons]].
* ToyShip: Mary Spuckler almost married Bart, due to the Spuckler family's backwards marital traditions. She's also the only one of his many love interests to be featured prominently in more than one episode.
* TrueArtIsIncomprehensible: The Scully era (namely the episodes "Saddlesore Galactica" and "The Tale of Two Springfields") got routinely scathing reviews and a good amount of a BrokenBase, but it has gotten praise by some as a brilliant surrealist, experimental take on all the cliches ''The Simpsons'' was dishing out. Some art critics have even called it a genuinely good work of post-modernism.
* UncannyValley: The grotesque animation style of the early era episodes (including the ''Tracy Ullman'' shorts) and in some episodes in which the Simpsons are depicted in another medium (claymation, live-action, as drawn by Creator/JohnKricfalusi, as drawn by BillPlympton, CGI, Lego, ''RobotChicken''-style stop-motion, etc)
* TheUnfairSex: Happened with Homer and Marge quite a bit in the earlier seasons, though lately the show has started to call ''both'' of them out when one of them mucks up the marriage.
** ''Love Is A Many Splintered Thing'' is basically a parody of DoubleStandard depicting the fact that woman are able to treat men like crap while expecting total devotion in return.
* UnintentionallySympathetic:
** Bart, if you think about all the crap he goes through. Sure, he's a brat, but Homer strangles him constantly, he often feels ignored and useless in the face of Lisa's accomplishments, he's picked on at school, blamed for things other people have done, and of course Sideshow Bob keeps trying to kill him.
** Homer can get this treatment as well (specially if you don't consider him a JerkWithAHeartOfJerk VillainProtagonist, this even is used to [[JustifiedTrope justify his traits]]): FreudianExcuse, a menial job, [[WhatTheHellHero being called out by everyone each time he does something wrong]], and (earlier on) having AlwaysSomeoneBetter as a neighbor.
** Edna Krabappel was supposed to be the bitter, cranky teacher who yelled at Bart for every misdeed of his, but over time it was hard not to pity her when you realized how bitter and lonely she was.
** Seymour Skinner. So what if he's an uptight authority figure who can't run his school worth beans? Look at the way his mother treats him!
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: Lisa comes off like this in later episodes. While it's easy to sympathize with her feeling like the OnlySaneMan among fellow Springfieldians and her MiddleChildSyndrome, she goes too far in trying to change her town and her family for the better which is extremely offputting for some fans. And while you can understand why she gets angry at Bart, some of her retaliations take it too far.
** Homer is this in any episode where he is presented sympathetically when you remember his many Jerkass actions in the past, usually within that self same episode. A more recent example is in "You Don't Have to Live Like a Referee" where Bart told Homer that he wasn’t really Lisa’s hero while this was supposed to be seen as a KickTheDog moment for Bart given that Homer has repeatedly told Bart to his face that he is an unloved accident it comes across more as a CrowningMomentOfRevenge.
** Frank Grimes from ''Homer's Enemy'' was supposed to be what happens when a normal person exists in the Simpsons universe, but went out in a jealous rage in front of Homer and his family even though he tries to reconcile with him. Furthermore, Frank is far from a "real" person in that his life is just exaggerated misery after misery, such as his parents abandoning him and waving goodbye all the way to losing a sweet position in the power plant to a ''dog''. And Homer's annoying tendencies and stupidity were amped up a lot more than he usually was as if the writers were specifically trying to make Homer so obnoxious the viewers would have no choice but to sympathize with Frank (and even then Homer, and almost every other character except Mr Burns [[PetTheDog is sympathetic towards Frank]], [[ComicallyMissingThePoint just his frustration towards Homer goes over their heads]]). But it's hard to feel sympathy when Frank is overly wound up already. Also, despite Homer's increased stupidity and obnoxious behavior, he was the only one who cared about Frank's well-being.
** Ned Flanders in later seasons. He lost two wives and has had to put up with Homer's antics for decades, but he's also a self-righteous fundamentalist who kept his kids shut away in a restrictive religious school until Edna pulled them out and started sending them to Springfield Elementary.
** Mona Simpson, aka Homer's mother. We're supposed to feel sorry for her because one act of decency made her have to give up her life because Mr. Burns saw her face, but she did commit alot of crimes in stopping his germ warfare lab regardless of her intentions, cheated on Abe several times and abandoned Homer and everytime she comes back into his life, she then abandons him again until finally she dies and uses her last will and testament to manipulate Homer into sabotaging a nuclear silo launch with her ashes.
* UnpopularPopularCharacter:
** Bart is gaining shades of this due to his increasing StrawLoser[=/=]ButtMonkey role in recent episodes. Nelson as well for the same reason (and his incredibly crappy life has become more prominent), specially after he TookALevelInKindness. Not to mention Milhouse.
** Lisa was once this (and, in a lot of viewers' eyes, still is) ever since she went vegetarian and became a SoapboxSadie.
* VindicatedByHistory: The Mike Scully era. Back when he was the show runner, a lot of fans thought it was a decline in quality due to the change of tone. But now, some people consider it (mainly seasons 9 and 10) part of the classic era, most likely due to Al Jean having the show runner position for so long.
* ViewerGenderConfusion: Kang and Kodos are brother and ''sister''.
* {{Wangst}}: In later seasons. From ''all'' directions.
* WeirdAlEffect: Some of their various political parodies may fall into this for newer viewers who weren't around (or were too young to remember) to witness them.
** In "Bart vs. Australia", there is a parody of Film/CrocodileDundee with a man going "think that's a knife? THIS is a knife". For newer viewers, the film from which the meme came is not so familiar, and therefore many people think back to this series instead.
** The title song from the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" was believed by many younger viewers to be a reference to the Simpsons' "Monorail Song," when they're actually both based on the same source: "Trouble" from ''Theatre/TheMusicMan''.
* WereStillRelevantDammit: A common complaint about the newer seasons is their over-reliance on using current events and pop-culture for laughs ''a la'' ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' and ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', such as Mr. Burns' endorsement of Mitt Romney for President in 2012. Making things worse, these references tend to be dated ''the first time they appear on the show''. {{Anvilicious}} political commentary has also become more common, almost all of it bashing Republicans.
** Any episode involving a musician or band popular during the time the episode aired. "New Kids on the Blecch" with Music/{{NSYNC}} and "Lisa Goes Gaga" from season 23 come to mind.
*** It's not just musicians and bands: [[Series/BreakingBad Walter White and Jesse Pinkman]] made a [[MediumBlending live-action appearance]] at the end of the couch gag for Season 24's "What Animated Women Want", which aired in April 2013, a few months before the other show ended.
** This trope is blatant in season 15's "Co-Dependent's Day" when the family goes to see [[StarWars Cosmic Wars: Episode I]], and it's a parody of the disappointment of Episode I. It would've been relevant in 1999 or 2000, but this episode was released in 2004. It also creates a CelebrityParadox because StarWars has been referenced by name dozens of times, and parodied.
** In season 17's "See Homer Run", they did a parody of the California 2003 recall election... in 2005. It wasn't just a throwaway gag, it was the plot of the whole episode.
** "Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson", a 2012 episode whose plot is a TakeThat at GlennBeck's Fox News show... which had been cancelled the previous summer (not to mention the fact that ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' had done essentially the same thing in fall 2009, when Beck's show was generating far more buzz, and ''Series/TheDailyShow'' had done so repeatedly since November of 2009.)
** Newer Treehouse of Horror episodes have become this as the pop culture they parody are already a few years old and spoofed into oblivion. "Treehouse of Horror XXIII" which aired in 2012 and spoofed ''Film/ParanormalActivity'', which was released in 2009 and "Treehouse of Horror XXII", aired in 2011 and spoofing ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', which was also released to theatres in 2009 come to mind.
** "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes" was an episode from 2000 about Homer discovering the Internet and using it to start a gossip page. This came maybe 2 or 3 years after the Internet had become mainstream, and a solid decade after computers had.
** The Season 25 premiere, "Homerland", is a full episode parody of ''Series/{{Homeland}}''.
*** From the same season, Homer sings about "swag", of all things. While it's supposed to be a parody of older people trying to prove they are still relevant, it didn't quite have the result the creators were probably hoping for.
*** The season also had an episode simply titled ''YOLO,'' which aired in November 2013, LONG after "YOLO" stopped being relevant (and for those who want to point out that ''SaturdayNightLive'' -- another long-running comedy whose quality in recent episodes has been called into question -- did the same on the season 38 episode hosted by Creator/AdamLevine and the season 39 episode hosted by Drake, the former was making fun of the "YOLO" fad with a music video about ParanoiaFuel and the latter was Drake [the episode host] apologizing for starting "YOLO" in the first place).
** The season 25 episode "You Don't Have to Live Like A Referee" features a parody of Jared Fogle from the Subway commercials. Jared was in his prime in the early 2000s and hasn't been prominently featured in advertising since 2008.
** Artie Ziff going broke in "The Ziff Who Came To Dinner" is a parody of the Enron scandal, down to the crooked Z statue, which had happened two years prior.
* WhatAnIdiot: Has its [[WhatAnIdiot/TheSimpsons own page]].
* TheWoobie: Has its [[Woobie/TheSimpsons own page]].
* WriterCopOut: Many people were excited for the premiere of Season 26, which had been [[TonightSomeoneDies hyped up for featuring the death of a major character]]. The character in question turned out to be [[spoiler:Hyman Krustofski]], a SatelliteCharacter at best. A lot of people were colored disappointed by this and felt misled. The event was been compared to ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'''s infamous "Life Of Brian" arc in terms of being a ratings stunt.
** It didn't help that the [[SpoilerTitle episode's title]] ([[spoiler:Clown in the Dumps]]) heavily hinted on who died...
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