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Bait And Switch / The Simpsons

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  • In "Grampa vs Sexual Inadequacy", Lisa and Bart buy some books, with Lisa buying Peter Ueberroth's biography and Al Gore's book "Sane Planning, Sensible Tomorrow", and Bart buying one about UFOs, saying the government is covering them up (something Lisa derides as being "a paranoid fantasy"). As they get rung up, the library scanner sends a signal to a satellite, which sends it to the US Pentagon, and it's printed out. An Army officer looks over it, and immediately hurries to the White House, reporting to Al Gore... because "someone finally bought a copy of [his] book".
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  • In "Lisa the Vegetarian", Homer pours an entire bottle of lighter fluid onto his barbecue. Then another bottle. Then he goes to light it... and it lights as normal, and he proceeds to cook. Of course, in a Treehouse of Horror episode with a similar scene, the lit barbecue ignites into a mushroom cloud that can be seen from across the city.
  • "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday":
    • Homer imagines himself at the Super Bowl.
      Coach: Dang! That was my last quarterback. Now what am I gonna do?
      (The coach looks into the crowd, and sees Homer) You!
      Homer: Me?
      Coach: Yeah, you! Get your hand off my wife's leg!
    • Homer invites most of Springfield's men to get front seats for the Superbowl. But the cards turn out to be faked, and they have to look for another way in. Then they see a waiting wardrobe-on-wheels bearing dozens of marching band uniforms waiting at the rear entrance. They use... the wardrobe-on-wheels to topple two policemen standing next to entrance, and rush past them into the arena's interior. It gets them arrested almost immediately.
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  • "The PTA Disbands" has the Springfield Elementary students, on their way to Fort Springfield, trying to slow the dilapidated old bus by holding their coats out the window. Cut to a Fort Springfield tour guide showing people a cannon, explaining it's "fully restored and is in ready-to-fire condition" but won't be fired since it's aimed directly at a manned lookout tower, and adding that these old cannons can easily go off if they get a slight shock. The bus crashes straight into it ... and nothing happens. "Of course, for safety reasons, we don't keep the cannon loaded. That's just common sense."
  • In "Lost Our Lisa" Homer decides that he needs to get up high to be able to scan the surrounding city for her and then goes to a vendor selling balloons, seemingly leading up to a joke that Homer is dumb enough to think he could float using a handful of balloons.... Then, he offers the balloons to a cherry pick driver in exchange for using his machine to lift him up. It works.
    "Well, I've already got some balloons... but they're not this nice. Deal!"
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  • When Homer is in jail during "Dumbbell Indemnity" Hans Moleman wheels a cart of books into his cell and asks him if he would like something to read. Homer spots "How to Tunnel Out of Prison" and thinks it could be useful. He then knocks Hans out with the book and escapes on the cart.
  • "Marge on the Lam":
    • Marge and Ruth Powers drive up to a bar with a large neon sign saying "SH T KICKERS" (the letter between H and T is burned out). Marge comments that she's heard a lot about "Shot Kickers".
    • Only a moment later, we see the two women inside, and Marge is approached by a burly man who asks if she feels like "gettin' lucky." Marge replies that she is lucky, having a husband and three wonderful children, and thanks him for the compliment. He adopts a more threatening tone, saying he ALWAYS gets what he wants. Marge clarifies that she said "No." He is suddenly apologetic, says he misunderstood her, and backs off politely.
  • A similar gag is used in "The Parent Rap" where Marge and Homer attempt to place a banner on a female judge's house, and the first two letters can be seen as "BI-", implying that it's "Bitch." They reveal the full banner and it turns out to read "Big Meanie."
  • In "Realty Bites" Homer bought Snake's confiscated car, and one of Snake's plans to kill Homer involved laying out some piano wire to decapitate him as he drives by. Homer ducks to pick up a gumball right as the wire goes over him and is then followed by Kirk Van Houten in his car indignantly holding up a sandwich:
    Kirk: I told that idiot to slice my sandwich!
    (wire cuts half of his arm off)
    Kirk: Ow.
  • From "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays":
    Lindsey Neagle: Let's destroy every child... friendly thing in town!
  • In "Burns, Baby Burns" Homer and Larry, the son of Mr. Burns, on the run from the law after Homer pretends to kidnap Larry to make his father love him (It Makes Sense in Context). At one point, the two run inside a costume shop and a few seconds later, two figures in costumes that match their sizes walk out, implying that the two are now in disguise. Then shortly after that we cut into the costume shot where the two are actually hiding out in the back closet, and are promptly kicked out by the store's owner.
  • In "The War of the Simpsons", Bart complains about being sent to bed before Homer and Marge's party begins, saying, "You can't have any fun in bed." Homer chuckles and says, "Oh, son, when you're older you'll know better." We then see an Imagine Spot where Homer is in bed eating a giant sandwich.
  • Almost the exact same joke is done in "The Otto Show," only this time with a pizza in the back of a car.
  • In "Lisa the Beauty Queen" Homer tells Bart to always compliment women on how they look and he'll "get something in return." When Bart asks what, Homer says he'll tell Bart when he's older. Homer then imagines lying in a hammock while Marge mows the lawn.
  • In "Skinner's Sense of Snow" the Simpsons go to an Expy of Cirque du Soleil. While watching some contortionists, Marge whispers to Homer that their poses are giving her ideas. She then imagines herself in those poses... cleaning the bathroom.
  • Combined with Exact Words in "Kamp Krusty". Homer is on a picnic with Marge during twilight and he's rubbing her shoulders and both have a seductive look. Marge says she's worried they'll miss the fireworks. Homer replies, "We have all the fireworks we need right here." He then pulls back a blanket to reveal a picnic basket filled with fireworks.
  • A similar joke happens in "Special Edna". Homer and Marge watch some fireworks, leading Homer to say that they should make some fireworks of their own. Marge seductively agrees... then Homer brings in a cone filled with gunpowder and Marge starts patting it down.
  • In the second segment of "Treehouse of Horror V" Homer changes history causing Springfield to became a totalitarian state run by Ned Flanders. When Homer attempts to escape back to his house and activate the toaster/time machine again to undo the damage, Flanders releases some guard dogs to stop him. Homer then pulls out a string of hot dog wieners, saying "these will help me escape!," which leads you to think he's going to throw the wieners to the guard dogs and they'll be too distracted with eating them to chase him anymore. Instead, Homer eats them himself, which amazingly enough gives him an extra burst of energy that lets him make it back to his house.
  • "Lemon of Troy" is basically filled with this trope.
    • The same season, a similar gag is used in when Bart is being chased by a guard dog. Homer attempts to distract it by throwing a steak its way, but instead the dog swallows it whole while still chasing after Bart, leading Homer to exclaim, "Run boy! He has a taste for meat now!"
    • Bart is discouraged because he can't find the lemon tree. He says that the raid was as useless as the "yellow lemon-shaped rock" he notices behind him, leading the viewer to believe that Bart's about to realize the "rock" is actually a lemon from the tree.
      Bart: Wait a minute... there's a lemon behind that rock!
  • In "Homie the Clown", just after Krusty barges into Fat Tony's club (where Homer is already present, dressed as Krusty):
    Legs: (gasps) I'm seeing double here: four Krustys!
  • In "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", before showing his employees an Outsourcing-themed movie, Mr. Burns asked for a minute of silence for the employees who died doing something heroic. Whatever it was, we never got to learn because Homer interrupted him by demanding the movie and the topic was never brought up again.
  • Superintendent Chalmers and Principal Skinner doing a sketch for a talent show in "Marge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers"":
    Chalmers: Well, Seymour, it seems we've put together a baseball team, and I was wondering; who's on first?
    Skinner: Yes, not the pronoun, but rather a player with the unlikely name of 'Who', is on first!
    Chalmers: Well, that's just great, Seymour. We've been out here six seconds and you've already managed to blow the routine!
  • In "Homer Loves Flanders", Homer is sad that he doesn't have tickets for the big Springfield vs Shelbyville game and Lisa attempts to put it in perspective:
    Lisa: It's just another chapter in the pointless rivalry between Springfield and Shelbyville. They built a mini-mall, so we built a bigger mini-mall. They made the world's largest pizza, so we burnt down their city hall.
  • In "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo", we think Homer is being racist at first.
    Homer: If we wanted to see some Japanese people, we could have gone to the zoo.
    Marge: Homer!
    Homer: What? The guy who washes the elephants is Japanese. His name's Takashi. He's in my book club.
  • In "Bart's Girlfriend", we think Bart is marking off the days on his calendar avoiding seeing Jessica Lovejoy only to conclude, "There. I just need to make it this many days," and re-marks the first day.
  • In "Viva Ned Flanders", in order to escape the women they accidentally married while drunk, Homer and Ned momentarily mug two janitors in order to steal their uniforms. After some brief sounds of violence occur, the two janitors exit unscathed while Homer and Ned appear brutally beaten up.
    • Later on in the episode, while being chased by the angry mob, Homer and Ned try to find a way to evade them all. Spotting a car on display, both men hop in as Homer cries out "So Long, Suckers!" only for the mob to attack them even before he manages to finish the phrase or they were able to drive off.
  • "Barting Over" contains a series of videos entitled "Homer and Marge Get Dirty"...only to revealed to be the two of them carving pumpkins.
  • The future episode, "Holidays of Future Passed", parodies the Food Pills trope. Marge adds water to a pill labeled "Christmas Cookies", which turns out to be a recipe for cookies. She then takes the ingredients out of the cupboard.
  • From "Treehouse of Horror IX", when Homer is preparing for surgery:
    Dr. Nick: (holding a syringe) These drugs will make the operation seem like a beautiful dream
    (knocks Homer out with a punch to the face and injects himself with the syringe, before dreamily beginning the procedure)
    • Later in the episode, once Snake's soul had possessed Homer into killing Bart, we see an image of the latter looking up and screaming as the sledgehammer the former was carrying comes crashing down on him...only to realize that it was a school picture of Bart in that peculiar pose.
  • "The Springfield Files":
    Homer: I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around the city, keeping its speed over fifty, and if its speed dropped, the bus would explode! I think it was called The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down.
    • During Rev. Lovejoy's sermon and while all of Springfield has "Alien Mania" due to Homer discovering an alien.
    Rev. Lovejoy: I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens. Who came to earth... and then died... only to be brought back to life again. And his name was: E.T., the extra-terrestrial. (sniff) I love that little guy.
  • In "Treehouse of Horror VIII" Bart's DNA is combined with a fly - putting a fly's head on Bart's body. Lisa says "I wonder what happened to his head". Gilligan Cut to Bart's head on a fly's body - seemingly trapped on a spider's web. But as the spider approaches, Bart flies away and says "sucker" - the spider shaking its legs at him in anger.
    • Also at the end when Bart and the fly are turned back to normal, Homer decides to pick up a fire axe and does "something [he] should have done a long time ago"...
    Homer: (looks Bart dead in the eye) I'll teach you to mess with my machine! (cue the episode ending with Homer chasing Bart with the fire axe back and forth across the living room)
  • In "Bart Gets an Elephant" Homer opens the door to kids who want to see Stampy the Elephant and offer to pay money to see it. This gives Homer an idea to put up a sign… that says "Go away".
  • In "My Mother the Carjacker", Lenny and Carl bow their heads in remembrance of their third friend Steve's hat.
  • "Radioactive Man": "Congratulations, Bart Simpson: you're our new Fallout Boy!… That's what I'd be saying to you if you weren't an inch too short. Next!
  • In "Marge Be Not Proud", Bart was caught shoplifting and the security guard threatened him with juvenile hall if he caught him in the store again. He hides the message so the family remain unaware but soon learns that they are going to have their picture taken at the same store. Suddenly steam appears to shoot out his ears accompanied by a loud whistle. Marge then announces her teapots are ready and reveals two hot kettles previously hidden behind Bart's head.
  • In "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace":
    Edison Museum Tour Guide: Now behind that door is Edison's actual preserved brain. Ordinarily, folks, tour groups are not allowed to see it - and, of course... today will be no exception.
  • In "Das Bus", Otto's driving while he hears kids singing:
    Kids: Sixty three bottles of beer on the wall, sixty three bottles of beer...
    Otto: Oh, this song is driving me crazy.
    (Otto fast forwards his cassette tape, and we see the kids on the bus are silent.)
    Kids: B-I-N-G-O and bingo was his name-o!
    Otto: Man, I don't know why I bought this stupid tape! (He ejects the tape, entitled "Songs to Enrage Bus Drivers")
  • The Simpsons Movie
    • Homer is nailing shingles, his thumb clearly over the head of the nail. He gets the claw end of the hammer on his eye instead. The gag is revisited at the end, where Homer has clearly learned his lesson, keeping his thumb out of the way and wearing safety goggles. He hammers the nail perfectly... into his thigh.
    • Bart skateboards across town completely naked, with various objects like fences and blown bubbles censoring his privates along the way. Just when it seems like the scene is going to end, he goes past a hedge that hides everything but!
    • Homer is trying to work out how to reach the hole at the top of the dome to get inside it. He stumbles across a military inventory containing a highly visible jetpack, and gasps in delight, before picking up a much less obvious tube of superglue and trying to use it to crawl up the side Spider-Man-style. The plan doesn't work too well...
  • In "The Man Who Grew Too Much", Sideshow Bob demonstrates his newfound Super Strength obtained through giving himself animal DNA by throwing the concrete block chained to his leg through a skylight. Outside, Hans Moleman is selling porcelain figurines. You're led to assume the block will land on the figurines, but instead it lands on him.
    • The joke was reused in another episode where Homer's idiocy causes the fast food district to blow up. After the pizza restaurant blows up, several residents look up at the explosion and have dough land on top of their faces. Then Hans walks up and looks up in anticipation of getting a face full of dough, only to be crushed by a large piece of the building instead.
  • In "Mountain of Madness", a mountain ranger finds the workers from the power plant's teamwork exercise in the wrong cabin, since the correct cabin was covered by avalanches:
    Ranger: Where is Ranger McFadden?
    Man: (extremely drunk) I was just so happy to see so many nice people!
    Ranger: Quiet, you drunk. Where is Ranger McFadden?
    McFadden: Right here, sir, behind the drunk.
  • In "Homer vs. Patty and Selma", not wanting both women in the house, he hikes up his pants and says, "Well, it looks like it's time for me to take out the trash!", meaning the women being trash, only for him to continue his statement by saying, "But first I'm going to have to ask you two to leave!"
  • "A Tale of Two Springfields" has Homer and Bart sneaking in to see The Who and trying to bypass the security guards. He then decides to use the chloroform he was given... by giving the guard the bottle as a present. The guard then yells if he want to see them, he just needed to say so and then throws them out a door—into the dressing room of the band!
  • "And Maggie Makes Three":
    • In one scene, Homer quits his job at the nuclear power plant, saying, "Goodbye, mind-numbing, backbreaking labor forever. Hello, dream job in paradise." The scenery around him then fades from the outside of the plant to a tropical beach, complete with appropriate music playing on the soundtrack, selling the idea that Homer's goal is to Pursue the Dream Job in the tropics. Then Homer declares, "And now..." and the camera pulls back to reveal that he's standing in front of a tropical-themed Duff advertisement inside the Bowlarama — the location of his real ideal job — as he continues, "...the final phase of my plan."
    • Later in the episode, to celebrate Homer's new job, he and Marge go out for a romantic evening, with their first activity being dinner and dancing. We see a shot of a high-end restaurant and dance club district, implying that this is where they will spend their evening. Then the camera pans across town to a nearby Krusty Burger, where Homer and Marge are sitting in the drive-thru dancing to the radio.
    • When Patty and Selma learn that Marge is pregnant, she makes them promise not to tell Homer. They go home, and Patty gets out a phone book, opens it to the first page, and calls someone named A. Aaronson, telling him that Marge is pregnant. After that, the scene cuts to Patty, on the last page of the phone book, telling the same to a man named Zykowski. Then she heaves a sigh of relief... and says: "Aaronson and Zykowski are the two biggest gossips in town. In an hour, everyone will know."
  • In "Lisa on Ice", Prinicipal Skinner calls a school assembly to give academic alerts to various students failing certain subjects. After giving alerts for "Wiggum, Ralph" and "Muntz, Nelson", he starts calling for "Simpson..." and Bart, who is well established to have constant problems at school at this point in the series, preemptively stands up from his seat. Then Skinner finishes, "...Lisa," to the shock of the entire student body.
  • In "Simpsons Christmas Stories", the Nutcracker segment show how the various citizens of Springfield spend their respective holiday. We then see that Groundskeeper Willie is sitting around the table enjoying Christmas dinner with his family...which then turns out to be All Just a Dream as we see him sleeping alone in his shack...which then turns into a Dream Within a Dream as we see him actually passed out in the snow with a flask of whiskey at his side.
  • "Jazzy and the Pussycats" begins with the funeral of Amber, Homer's Vegas wife from "Viva Ned Flanders". As the service goes on, Lenny comments on the death, saying, "You know that sign that says "Do Not Stand Up On The Roller Coaster"? Well, she overdosed right in front of it."
  • "Bart the Fink" has the family at a will reading and being left some money by a recently deceased relative, but with the stipulation that they spend the night in a haunted house. As they go into the ominous-looking house that night and a Scare Chord is heard and a flash of lightning is seen for effect, the next morning has the sun shining brightly, birds singing, peaceful music heard throughout and the family all standing outside of the home and impressed at how much of a good night's rest they all had, even commenting that the house's linens were much cleaner than the ones at their own home.
  • Leopold, Superintendent Chalmers' assistant, could be the poster boy for this trope, despite his very few appearances. In his first appearance, season 5's "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song", when Principal Skinner is fired, Chalmers announces that Skinner has been replaced, and introduces Leopold. A foreboding chord is played as he approaches the podium, and he issues several threats, terrifying the children, as they think Leopold is the replacement. His demeanor immediately changes to friendly as he introduces the real substitute, Ned Flanders, and the audience sighs with relief. This joke is rehashed in season 6's "The PTA Disbands", when Leopold introduces Marge Simpson as a substitute teacher.
  • In "The Springfield Connection", immediately after Marge is hired as a police officer, there is a cut to an exterior shot of the Simpsons' house as Homer exclaims, "You did WHAT!? We then cut to Homer and Marge's bedroom at that moment, where Homer has been talking to... Bart.
    Bart: I borrowed your nail clipper, what's the big deal?
    Homer: Nothing, I'm just a little edgy since your mother told me she wants to be a cop.
  • In "The Burns Cage", while Homer, Lenny, and Carl discuss the depression of Mr. Smithers, Lenny suggests that they get him a woman, leading the viewer to think that the characters are still oblivious about his actual sexual orientation. Then he adds, "A woman who can find him a man!"
  • "Secrets of a Successful Marriage" has a saddened Marge, who just threw Homer out of the house after he told some embarrassing secrets about her he wasn't supposed to, driving down the street and being reminded of the breakup and of her memories of him:
    Homer's voice: (In Marge's head) I love you. Will you marry me, Marge? You mean I'm gonna be a Daddy? I know we'll always be together...together...together...
    (Marge then turns around and angrily faces the backseat to find Homer hiding back there with a paper towel roll in his hand, having made the "voices" himself)
    Homer: (with a nervous smile) Together?
    (Marge then makes a wide turn that throws him out of the car and onto the street)
  • "Fear of Flying" also had Marge, who was afraid to fly, visit a psychiatrist in the hopes of combating her fear. Bart then spots Principal Skinner in the office, who then tries to hide his face by lifting up a magazine as a disguise, only for him to be on the cover of the issue itself (and making the exact same face, no less.)
    • Homer is looking for a new drinking hole and wanders into the 'She She Lounge' full of butch women:
    Homer: Wait a minute... there's something bothering me about this place... I know! This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit! Enjoy your death trap, ladies!
    • The scene is then followed by a woman glancing at Homer after his outburst:
    Woman: What's her problem?
    • A man going by the suspicious name "Guy Incognito" enters Moe's Tavern for a drink. He looks and sounds just like Homer, only with a fancy suit, top hat, and mustache. Having been previously banned from the establishment, the patrons beat him up and throw him out...just in time for Homer to walk by and catch his double lying unconscious on the pavement.
  • In "Missionary: Impossible" when the PBS show Homer and Bart is preempted for the station manager and Betty White to ask for donations for their pledge drive, they display some items that viewers will receive for their pledges, which include a tote bag with the PBS logo on it and a nice umbrella with a picture of the tote bag with the PBS logo on it.
  • "Helter Shelter" has the family living in 1895 for a reality show and Bart's initial outfit is a little boy's sailor suit with a curly mop of blonde hair. He refuses to go out as the bullies will beat him up because of his appearance. We then see Dolph, Jimbo and Kearney standing outside of the house with menacing looks on their faces...with the latter two jealous of his outfit and his hair to the point of wanting it for themselves.
  • "Bart the Mother" has Marge reading some mail saying that the children are being honored for an elementary school award. To this news, Homer gasps really big (presumably in surprise), then belches out loudly.
  • In "Treehouse of Horror VII", when trying to calm down Bart's crazed long-long twin brother Hugo, Dr. Hibbert gives him a speech and at one point holds up a mirror to see his reflection for the first time. Only it's actually an empty picture frame that he ends up punching him out through.
  • In "A Fish Called Selma", as Troy and Selma are in the middle of a makeout session, he then pulls away, takes out some breath spray, says "Just a sec" and initially aims the container at his mouth, only to then spray it into hers.
  • In another episode, Bart is trolling Principal Skinner from far away with a laser pointer aimed at his crotch while the latter is outside retrieving his mail. Upon seeing it, he first takes down his pants and still seeing it on his underwear, he pulls them down, too. This immediately gains Chief Wiggum's attention...who then informs him that he should get that red dot checked out by a doctor, claiming that a relative of his died of "crotch dot".
  • Treehouse of Horror XIII: in "The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms," when Billy the Kid comes back from the dead to take over Springfield, he's accompanied by an undead gang consisting of Frank and Jesse James, the Sundance Kid, and "the most evil German who ever lived...Kaiser Wilhelm!"


Example of: