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This page covers tropes found in The Simpsons.

Tropes A to B | Tropes C to D | Tropes E to H | Tropes I To M | Tropes N to R | Tropes S to Z | YMMV

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  • I Am Big Boned: Homer, Comic Book Guy and even Bart have all used variants of this at different times.
  • I Am One of Those, Too: In "Lard of the Dance", Homer runs into Groundskeeper Willie while stealing his grease and pretends that he's from Scotland. The following exchange occurs:
    Homer: We're new foreign exchange students from... uh, um... Scotland!
    Willie: Saints be praised; I'm from Scotland! Where do ya hail from?
    Homer: Uh... North... Kilttown.
    Willie: No foolin'! I'm from North Kilttown! Do you know Angus McCleod?
    Homer: Wait a minute! There's no Angus McCleod in North Kilttown! Why, you're not from Scotland at all!
  • I Ate WHAT?!:
    • Subverted in "Missionary Impossible" when Homer is drinking out of what appears to be a coconut but is really an ox testicle. Homer doesn't mind, though.
    • Played with in the "Connie Appleseed" segment of "Simpsons Tall Tales." Homer happily eats what he thinks are buffalo testicles, and is disgusted when he learns they're apples.
    • Parodied in "Simpsonscalifragilisticexpialad'ohcious":
      Homer: Ooh, I can't get enough of this blood pudding.
      Bart: The secret ingredient is blood.
      Homer: Blood? Ugh! I'll just stick to the brain and kidney pie, thank you.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Lisa's goal to her crush, Nelson, in "Lisa's Date With Density". Marge thinks she has changed Homer. Lisa is skeptical.
  • I, Noun: The episode "I, D'oh-Bot". Or is it "I, (annoyed grunt)-Bot"?
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!:
    • Moe is frustrated by the failure of his once-promising boxing career.
    • Homer admired Kennedy and dreamt of being president one day during his childhood. As a middle-aged man, he remarks the constant discouragement and contempt he received from his father turned him into a deadbeat.
    • Marge wanted to be an artist rather than a housewife. She tries to resume that path occasionally.
  • Identical Stranger: In "Fear Of Flying", Homer gets kicked out of Moe's bar. Later, a man who looks exactly like Homer wearing a top hat and a mustache comes in claiming to be named Guy Incognito. He gets thrown out, except Homer is walking by, and we see he is an identical stranger by accident after all.
  • Idiot Hero: Homer is pretty stupid, but he's a good guy and he has done a few heroic things.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: In "Alone Again, Natura-Diddly", Lisand Homer argue over using star wipes on Ned's dating tape. The episode then goes to the next scene with a star wipe.
  • If I Wanted X, I Would Y: In "Marge Be Not Proud", Detective Don Brodka uses this on Bart while interrogating him.
    Brodka: If I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I would be at home with a pack of cigarettes and a short length of hose.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: The episode "Curse of the Flying Hellfish" has Burns sending assassins after Abe, trying to drown his grandson, etc... and yet, when Abe has Burns cornered...
    Burns: Don't kill me!
    Abe: I ain't gonna kill ya. That'd be cowardly. Monty Burns cowardly. I just wanna watch you squirm.
  • Ignorant About Fire:
    • In "Homer Goes to College", Homer gets accepted to a college and celebrates by burning his high school diploma. While it's still hanging on the wall. Homer dances and sings about how smart he is, while the entire wall behind him burns down.
    • In "Homer the Smithers", Homer is filling in for Smithers and is trying to make Mr. Burns breakfast. First he spears some eggs and sticks them into the microwave (breaking the door/window to do so) and it catches fire. Then he tries to make toast using an open flame from the stove and it catches fire. Finally, he pours some cereal and milk, and even it catches fire. Earlier in the episode, Homer tries to ask Smithers what to do in case of fire, but Smithers can't hear him. Homer turns his head to discover that Mr. Burns is actually on fire. He doesn't know what to do, so he just quietly says, "D'oh!"
    • In "Brother's Little Helper", as Ned Flanders is performing in a safety drill, his clothes catch on fire, and he does Stop, Drop, and Roll to put the fire out. Turns out all that does is spread the fire.
    • In "I'm Going to Praiseland", Bart is pulling out weeds when Homer pours out some gasoline from a jerry can and sets it on fire. Homer says it's safe since it's a controlled burn, and not knowing that a controlled burn requires careful supervision not merely calling it "controlled", it burns a good chunk of the abandoned park they're renovating.
    • Played with in "Mountain of Madness." There was no fire, but rather a fire drill at Homer's workplace. Only Homer manages to actually evacuate; the rest just run around like lunatics due to their fear and incompetence.
    • In "22 Short Films About Springfield", Skinner's pot roast catches fire and instead of calling 911, he lies to his boss that it's the aurora borealis. Even when his mother is calling for help, he pretends that everything is fine.
  • Ignored Aesop: Most episodes which appear to have morality lessons end up devolving into this.
    Lisa: Perhaps there is no moral to this story.
    Homer: Exactly! It's just a bunch of stuff that happens.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Burns has had a few of these about treating people better.
  • Ignoring by Singing:
    • In "Simpson Tide", Homer is about to answer a crossed out question on his Naval Reserve application; specifically, if he's a homosexual. The recruiter pleads that he not answer that or he could go to jail. Homer starts to talk again, and the recruiter puts his hands over his ears, shouts "Lalala, I'm not listening!" and leaves. Homer muses to himself, "Nice guy. I wonder if he's gay?"
    • In "Bart's Girlfriend", Reverend Lovejoy does this rather than hear his daughter admit she's a sinner.
  • I Have a Family:
    • In "Lost Our Lisa", when Homer is woken up by Bart, Homer assumes it's Mr. Burns before turning around:
      Homer: I'm awake! I'm awake! I'm a productive member of the team! [defiantly] You can't fire me, I quit! [meekly] Please, I have a family!
    • Subverted in "Treehouse Of Horror VII" when Homer thinks Kang and Kodos will devour him.
      Homer: Don't eat me! I have a wife and kids, Eat them!
  • I Have Just One Thing to Say: Said to Moe in "The Love-Matic Grampa" (part of "The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase"):
    Betty: Why, you conniving, devious, monstrous, despicable, [changes tone] sweet little angel!
    Moe: But Betty, if you'd just give me a chance to- WHAAAAAAAAT?
  • I Have No Son!:
    • Parodied in "Like Father, Like Clown".
      Rabbi Krustofski: I have no son! [slams door]
      Bart: Oh, great. We came all this way and it's the wrong guy.
      Rabbi Krustofski: [reopens door] I didn't mean that literally! [slams door]
    • Also said by Grampa about Homer in "Old Money".
    • And from Principal and the Pauper
      Agnes Skinner: I have no son!
      Homer: Look, lady, I think it's clear you have at least one son.
      Agnes: No, I have one stranger and one fraud!
    • A variant occurs in "Old Yeller Belly" when Bart's rebuilt treehouse catches on fire, and while Santa's Little Helper takes a roasted chicken and Snowball II rescues Homer from the treehouse. Later on, when Santa's Little Helper is made Duff's mascot, an interviewer replays the footage of Homer saying "I have no dog" followed by Santa's Little Helper's owner showing up to re-claim him. Later, when his old owner sees how cowardly his dog was, Santa's Little Helper's 15 Minutes of Fame come to an end and he goes back to live with the Simpsons again.
  • I Have This Friend...: Happens in "The Last Temptation of Homer". Homer tries to tell Moe how he's considering cheating on Marge. He says "I have this friend named... Joey...Joe...Junior...Shabadoo..." When Moe interrupts and says "That's the worst name I've ever heard!". Then a random guy runs out of the bar crying, and Barney goes after him saying "Joey Joe!".
  • I Lied:
    • From "The Bart Wants what it Wants":
      Ranier Wolfcastle: [to a pie] Remember when I said I'd eat you last? I lied!
    • Also this in the Tracey Ullman shorts:
      Bart: Family therapy? What the hell is this?
      Lisa: You said we were going out for frosty chocolate milkshakes!
      Homer: Well, I lied.
  • I'll Kill You!:
    • "The Shinning":
      Homer: Hmm. Cable's out. Think I'll have a beer. Hmm. Not a drop in the house. What do you know.
      Marge: Homer, I'm impressed! You're taking this quite well.
    • Mayor Quimby's nephew is on trial for allegedly beating a waiter half to death (Makes Sense In Context):
      Quimby's Lawyer: Are you a violent man?
      Quimby's Nephew: [rehearsed lines] Of course not. I love each and every creature on God's green Earth.
      Quimby's Lawyer: Then surely you would never lose your temper over something as trivial as the pronunciation of the word "chowder"?
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: In "The Springfield Connection", Marge confronts Homer for parking across three handicapped parking spots. Homer tells her to relax and that he'll just be a minute; he's going to buy beer for some underage teens. Marge replies, "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that, but you have to move your car now!"
  • I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!:
    • In "'Round Springfield", Bleeding Gums Murphy says this when buying Fabergé eggs in a flashback.
    • "Fear of Flying": While he doesn't quite say the line, Norm from Cheers is denied another beer by Woody, with the excuse that Woody was told by his chiropractor that he can't carry Norm home anymore. To which Norm replies:
      Norm: Just gimme another beer, you brain-dead hick! I'll kill you! I'll kill all of you!
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...:
    • In the episode "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily", when Bart is discovered to have head lice on class picture day (as a result of playing with a monkey Milhouse found), he comments "Nothing ever happens to Milhouse." We then see Milhouse standing there pale, wrapped in a blanket, muttering "Cold, so very, very cold."
    • In a recent episode, the GPS from Homer's car says "So cold, so cold..." after Homer rips it out and throws it in a nearby fountain.
  • Imagine Spot: Used frequently among all members of the family and other characters.
  • Improbably Predictable: Ned is in one episode
    Ned: Can you believe it? It almost seems like those folks were... were making fun of ol' steady Neddy!
    Maude: Well, you may be a bit cautious. What's wrong with that? Some people like chunky peanut butter, some like smooth!
    Ned: Mmm-hmm, and some people just steer clear of that whole hornet's nest! I'll stick with just plain white bread, thank you very much, maybe with a...
    Maude, Rod & Todd: "... glass of water on the side for dippin'!"
    Ned: Gosh darn it! Am I that pre-diddly-ictable? [sigh] I've wasted my whole dang-diddly life.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In "Mountain of Madness", as the various teams are announced:
    Smithers: [draws a name] Lenny and... [draws another name] Carl.
    Carl: Aw, nuts. [Lenny is standing right next to him, and has a hurt look on his face] I mean... aw, nuts.
  • The Immodest Orgasm:
    • The episode "A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love", has one scene in which Homer injects himself with Mr. Burns' aphrodisiac. Then it cuts to Homer rushing up the stairs carrying Marge in a lustful manner. Then cuts to a post-sex scene:
      Marge: Oh, Homie, that was amazing. Oh, I hope the kids didn't hear us.
      [Bart and Lisa in their bedrooms looking shocked with their eyes open]
      Ned: [next door; also shocked with his eyes open] Wow.
    • Happens again in "Homer the Father". Only now Ned, Rod and Todd are affected.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mel Gibson's guest appearance involves the actor filming a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. After getting feedback an alternative ending to the movie is filmed which includes Gibson spearing a member of Congress with the a flagpole holding the US flag on it.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: This happens a few times. In one episode, Lisa subconsciously makes a hand shadow of a California Condor.
  • Improbably Quick Coma Recovery:
    • Lampshaded in an episode where a prank by Bart puts Homer in a coma for several weeks. At the end of the episode, Lisa cheerfully tells her father that he lost about 10% of his brain capacity.
    • In "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 2" Mr. Burns is in a coma having been shot, then comes out of it. He's pretty recovered - except the only thing he can say is "Homer Simpson." This leads the police to deduce that Homer must have shot him.
  • Inanimate Competitor: In "Deep Space Homer", Homer is certain that he's going to win the Worker of the Week award because he's the only employee at the plant who hasn't received the honor already. However, Mr. Burns instead announces that the honor is going to an inanimate carbon rod.
  • Inappropriate Speak-and-Spell: Played for laughs on an episode:
    Krusty's Speak & Say: "S is for Shiksa! S, H, I...uh, think there's a T in there somewhere..."
  • Incessant Music Madness: In the early seasons, one of Homer's catchphrases is "Will you cut out that infernal racket?!" directed at Lisa rehearsing her sax. In the episode where he thinks he's dying from having poisonous sushi, he goes to her room as she's playing. "Hi, Dad. Want me to cut out this infernal racket?"
  • Incompatible Orientation: Smithers is extremely attracted to Mr Burns but that feeling is not mutual.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Homer does this a lot, including with a Murphy Bed.
    Homer: Bed goes up, bed goes down! Bed goes up, bed goes down!
  • Infernal Background: During Bart's infamous Imagine Spot of Homer graphically melting, the background outside the car window becomes that of Hell.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • The episode "Lisa's Sax" has this from a parody of Michigan J. Frog:
      Frog: We're proud to present on the WB, another bad show that no-one will see-ee-eee! Ugh, I need a drink.
    • In "Marge Gets a Job", Groundskeeper Willie wrestles a wolf which escaped from a shooting of Krusty's show and attacked Bart at school. When they are finished, Willie shares a flask of Scotch with the whipped wolf.
      Willie: Ah, don't feel bad for losing. I was wrestling wolves back when you were at your mother's teat.
    • "A Fish Called Selma": When Troy tries to have sex with Selma to conceive a child (and scotch those pernicious rumours about his fish fetish), he just keeps making suggestive growling noises at the door of their bedroom. Selma wants to break the ice and offers him some wine. He quickly runs to the bed, empties both glasses, and returns to the door to continue growling.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: In "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", after Moe realizes that his priceless vintage beer tap is now only worth $5 after Homer carved his name into it, he says "I'm gonna kill him! I'm gonna kill him!" and grabs a vintage gun from Skinner, only to have it disintegrate in his hands.
  • Inept Aptitude Test: The premise of "Separate Vocations": Bart suddenly has purpose in his life when he is told he will be a cop, while Lisa gets depressed and rebellious when she realizes she'll be a homemaker.
  • Inertial Impalement: Parodied & Downplayed example when Bart & Lisa get into a fight. Bart is leaving Lisa's room.
    Bart: OK, but on my way, I'm going to be doing this: [windmills arms] If you get hit, it's your own fault.
    Lisa: OK, then I'm going to start kicking air like this. [kicks] And if any part of you should fill that air, it's your own fault.
    [they walk towards each other, then start fighting]
    Marge: [in the kitchen] Oh, I better go check that out. Now Homer, don't you eat this pie!
    Homer: OK... [Marge leaves] All right, pie, I'm just going to do this. [chomps air] And if you get eaten, it's your own fault! [Walks towards pie, chomping air, and hits head on range hood] Ow! Oh, my — aw, to hell with this. [grabs pie, eats it]
  • Inflationary Dialogue: In "The Squirt and The Whale", Comic Book Guy buys a new girdle and wears it under a Captain Kirk shirt.
    Comic Book Guy: Behold, I am Captain Kirk from Star Trek One!
    [girdle gives way]
    Comic Book Guy: Two.
    [girdle gives way]
    Comic Book Guy: Five
    [girdle gives way]
    Comic Book Guy: Generations
    [girdle gives way completely]
    Comic Book Guy: Boston Legal.
  • Inflation Negation:
    • Bart has to do some chores for some old lady, ends up battered and bleeding from all the chores, and only receives two quarters from her.
      • In the same episode, Bart complains to Homer about this, and Homer responds with:
        Homer: Hey, when I was your age, two quarters was a lot of money.
        Bart: Is that true?
        Homer: Nah.
    • Mr. Burns is a veritable dumping ground for these kinds of tropes.
      Mr. Burns: Don't poo-poo a nickel, Lisa! A nickel can buy you a steak and kidney pie, a cup of coffee, a slice of cheesecake, and a newsreel with enough change left over to ride the trolley from Battery Park to the Polo Grounds!
      Lisa: ...There's a can.
  • Informed Attribute: Marge is left-handed. She's just faked it all these years in order to fit in.
  • Informed Judaism:
    • Averted with Dolph; in one episode, he suddenly mentions that he's late for Hebrew school. Before this, there was never any indication that he was Jewish.
    • Krusty before his bar mitzvah.
    • There's a recurring character simply called Old Jewish Man.
  • Informed Self-Diagnosis: In "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington", Senator Horace Wilcox describes in detail his symptoms of a heart attack before keeling over and dying.
  • Inherently Funny Word: The clown college trains students in the various funny words. "Seattle" was one of them and the only one of the list that Homer laughs at.
  • Inheritance Murder: In "Double, Double Boy in Trouble", Bart switches places with an identical rich kid, but it turns out Simon did it so he can avoid getting killed by his step-siblings for his money. This referenced by Mr. Burns, who gained his family fortune when his siblings died of various causes.
  • Inhibition-Destroying Puppet: In "Burns Verkaufen Der Kraftwerk", Mr. Burns is reluctant to open up to Smithers but he can pour his soul out to "Snappy the Alligator".
  • Injured Limb Episode: In "Bart of Darkness", Bart breaks his leg and Lisa gives him a telescope to keep him entertained while he can't walk. He ends up spying on the neighbours and believing Ned killed Maude.
  • Inner Monologue Conversation: An interesting example where both Principal Skinner and Homer think at Bart; it's not clear that Bart can hear them but it is implied that Homer can hear Skinner.
    Skinner: (I know you can read my thoughts, Bart. Just a little reminder: if I found out you cut class, your ass is mine. Yes, you heard me. I think words I would never say.)
    Homer: (I know you can read my thoughts, boy. Sings the "Meow Mix" song in his head)
  • Innocent Aliens: Homer encounters one of these in The Springfield Files, though he's still terrified of it regardless. Ironically, it turns out to be Mr. Burns, who on a normal day is rather guilty.
  • Innocent Swearing: One of the Flanders children swears twice at the dinner table ("Hell, no!" and "I don't want any damn vegetables.") The humour turns heartbreaking after he is scolded and runs from the room crying, not understanding what he has done wrong.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the show's scripts, Homer's "d'oh" is always rendered as "(annoyed grunt)", even in episode titles.
  • Inspirational Insult: Invoked in an I Meant to Do That way in "The PTA Disbands" Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner have a heated discussion in the cafeteria during lunch.
    Mrs. Krabappel: Our demands are very reasonable. By ignoring them, you're selling out these children's futures!
    Seymour: Oh, come on, Edna! We both know these children have no future!
    [everyone stops and stares at Seymour]
    Seymour: [nervous attempt at a jovial laugh] Prove me wrong, kids! Prove me wrong!
  • Instant Book Deal: In "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife", Marge writes a romance novel called The Harpooned Heart which is published and becomes a runaway success, and gets a book on tape version read by the Olsen twins.
  • Instant Emergency Response: Parodied in "Cape Feare". The Simpsons Thompsons' house boat crashes near a brothel in Springfield, and within seconds the police appear and arrest Sideshow Bob in their bathrobes.
  • Instant Marksman: Just Squeeze Trigger!: Marge is shown how to shoot by former neighbor Ruth Powers in "Marge on the Lam". Ruth tells Marge to squeeze the trigger while aiming at some old cans. Marge does show immediate skill as a marksman.
    My cans! My precious antique cans! Aw, look what ya done to 'em...
  • Instant Turn-Off: One episode reveals Moe is too cheap to unscramble the porn channel at his bar. It turned out to be an advertisement for shoe inserts.
    Moe: I've been writing creepy letters to that?
  • Instant Web Hit: The Angry Dad webvideoes in Stark Raving Dad quickly became the number one non-porn site on the internet. Making it 10 trillionth overall.
  • Instructional Film: * A Running Gag is Springfield Elementary's use of instructional films that are no longer fit for purpose, if they ever were. Problems range from casual depiction of attempted suicide, videos about space travel that were poorly researched even for the 50's and transparent meat lobby propoganda that shows a bit too much detail on how slaughterhouses work.
  • Instrument of Murder: Julia's blowgun/baton in "Homer of Seville".
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Aside from the two-word chorus of "The Simpsons!", of course.
  • Insult Backfire: When Ned Flanders snaps in "Hurricane Neddy" and insults everyone, he directs his attention to Homer last:
    Ned: Homer, you are the worst human being I have ever met.
    Homer: Hey, I got off pretty easy.
  • Interface Spoiler: One of the Season 8 DVDs shows the Alien turning into Mr. Burns.
  • Internal Homage: In "The Food Wife", "Big Super Happy Fun Fun Game" and a "Grand Theft Scratchy" game are seen at E4.
  • Internal Retcon: A highly extreme version of this trope is used in the episode Principal and the Pauper where the entire town, including Skinner's mother, declares that the fake Seymour Skinner is actually the real one and run the actual Skinner out of town on a rail. They further state that anyone who brings up the fact that he isn't will be subject to the penalty of "extreme torture".
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Referenced in "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo". When Lisa brings up the internet, Bart says he knows a site where monkeys do it.
    Lisa: Bart, the internet is more than a global pornography network. It's-
    Homer: [already in the car with Bart ready to drive to an internet café] Come on, Lisa, monkeys!
  • Internet Safety Aesop: The theme of The Girl Code is that you shouldn't rely on an app to tell you what's good to post online, you should be responsible for your online activity.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Bart had been trying to get a lizard and a hamster to mate before he caught his teacher and principal making out. Later in the episode, Homer is forced by Mr. Burns to disguise himself as a panda... and gets himself raped by a real one.
    • Used again in the season twenty-one episode, The Squirt and the Whale, where Homer describes a happy ending for the whale family in the story by pairing the whale father with a sexy octopus.
  • Intra-Franchise Crossover:
    • In one version of the Couch Gag, the Simpsons run in and find the original versions of themselves already sitting there.
    • In the thirteenth Tree House Of Horror episode, Homer makes clones of himself during the segment "Send in the Clones". After the clones cause trouble, Homer attempts to abandon them and the hammock that created them, but the clones just use the hammock to create even more clones; one of the degraded clones looks like Homer from the early Tracey Ullman Show shorts, who says "Let's all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes!"
    • In a later Treehouse of Horror segment (XXV's "The Others"), the Simpsons are haunted by the ghosts of the Tracey Ullman era Simpsons. The ending of that segment featured various derivatives of the family wanting to move into the Modern Simpsons' house after they were killed. Most of the alternate Simpsons were created specifically for this scene, but three previous versions do make an appearance here — the "Island of Dr. Hibbert" ("Treehouse of Horror XIII") Simpsons in their animal forms (Panther Marge, Spider Bart, Aardvark Maggie, Owl Lisa, and Walrus Homer), the LEGO Simpsons from "Brick Like Me", and Sylvain Chomet's version of the Simpsons from "Diggs"'s Couch Gag.
  • In Vino Veritas: At the comune where Sideshow Bob has been elected mayor, and now has a wife and child, Lisa spills wine on herself, and also spills the beans on Sideshow Bob's criminal past:
    Lisa: [spilling wine on her dress] Bravo! Bravo! Bravissimo! Woopsy. I'll just get it out with more wine. See? It's fine! Go on, go on with the thing.
    Marge: [groans] It's obvious why Bob is a vaunted pillar of your community.
    Lisa: Yeah, but he's a wanted killer in our community! [Bob starts to sweat nervously]
    Marge: He deserves to be hailed at this wingding.
    Lisa: More like jailed at Sing Sing!
    Sideshow Bob: [trying to prevent further disclosure of his past] Time for bed now! Drunken children tell the ugliest lies!
  • Involuntary Dance: A Go-Go Ray in "Duffless" (Dream Sequence), Bart's prank on Skinner in "The Debarted", and Frink's invention in "Last Tap Dance in Springfield".
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    • From "A Tale of Two Springfields":
      Kent Brockman: ...While we speak in a well-educated manner, they [New Springfieldians] tend to use lowbrow expressions like, "Oh, yeah?" and "Come here a minute."
      Homer: Oh yeah? They think they're better than us, huh? Bart, come here a minute!
      Bart: You come here a minute.
      Homer: (threateningly) Oh yeah...?
    • In "Homer Defined", when Milhouse says he can't hang out with Bart anymore because his mom says he's a bad influence:
      Bart: Bad influence, my ass! How many times have I told you: Never listen to your mother!
  • Iron Butt-Monkey:
    • Homer falls headlong into this trope. Several jokes have been brief Hand Waves as to why he can survive such things from having accrued a thick beer-based cushioning fluid around his brain from years of drinking to painkillers, lots and lots of painkillers. Interestingly, Homer is actually hurt a great deal after suffering cartoon levels of violence, it's just that he survives that is amazing and this makes it funnier than a pure cartoon like response since you know Homer is really being hurt. As the writer of Planet Simpson said:
      Writer: He falls like a cartoon but he lands like a real person.
    • Sideshow Bob has moments of this too, like in the "Cape Feare" episode he suffers tons of physical abuse including flipping a rake into his face... in a desert full of rakes.
  • Ironic Episode Title: Parodied in-universe when the Simpsons went to a film festival. Marge went to movies called "Regularsville" and "Candyland", but was despondent when the titles were non-indicative of their content. By this reverse logic, Marge thought she'd love "Chernobyl Graveyard". But she immediately left the theater depressed, realizing she was duped yet again.
  • Irrational Hatred: Homer for Ned despite Ned showing nothing but neighborly compassion for the Simpsons.
  • Irritation Nightmare:
    • In "Homer Loves Flanders", Ned Flanders is so cross with Homer that he has a nightmare about shooting a bunch of Homer clones.
    • In "Treehouse of Horror II", Bart dreams that he can read minds and turn people into anything if they don't think happy thoughts. After Bart turns Homer into a jack-in-the-box, Marge takes him to Dr. Marvin Monroe, who suggests that Homer spend time with him. Homer and Bart form a strong bond, and after Bart turns Homer back to normal, they say they love each other. Cue Bart waking up screaming.
  • Ironic Echo: In "Bart the Murderer", Skinner tells Bart to make a game out of how fast he can lick envelopes, then try to break that record. Later in the episode, while Skinner is explaining his whereabouts in the last couple of weeks, he says that he kept up his stamina by dribbling a basketball... by doing as many reps as he could, then trying to break that record. Bart rolls his eyes.
  • Isle of Giant Horrors: It subverted this in an Imagine Spot. When Lisa is told she's failing gym in one episode, she imagines that it costs her a government position and she's sent to "Monster Island". She's told "It's just a name", but ends up getting chased by monsters anyway.
    Lisa: I thought it was just a name!
    Man: What he meant was that Monster Island is actually a peninsula.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: From "Hurricane Neddy":
    Ned: You ugly, hate-filled man!
    Moe: Hey, I may be ugly and hate filled, but, uh... what was the third thing you said?
  • I Think You Broke Him: Bart breaks Skinner by handing out candy hearts with offensive messages on them, which triggers a Vietnam flashback of seeing his buddy get shot in Da Nang on Valentine's Day in 1969.
    Bart: ...Cool! I broke his brain!
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The episode "The Last Temptation Of Homer" plays with this for a minute, except Homer sees a world where he was married Mindy instead causes Marge to be living in the White House.
  • It's Been Done: Invoked by George Harrison when Homer's barbershop quartet puts on a Rooftop Concert.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: "The Dad Who Knew Too Little" episode has Lisa question how Homer could be so stupid as to have a adult man spy on her. He says "All the childless drunks at Moe's thought it was a great idea."
  • I Taste Delicious: In "Treehouse Of Horror IV", the piece "The Devil And Homer Simpson" has Homer sell his soul to the devil for a doughnut. A jury decides that Marge owns Homer's soul instead. The devil takes revenge on Homer by turning his head into a giant doughnut which Homer admits tastes great.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In "Helter Shelter", Lisa remarks that the bread tastes like clothes.
  • It Wasn't Easy: As part of one of Homer's Zany Schemes in the episode "Mom and Pop Art", he and Bart break into the zoo at night. Covered in cuts and bruises, Bart reports to Homer:
    Bart: Okay, Homer, it wasn't easy, but I managed to snorkel the grizzlies.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: In the episode "Lisa's Date with Density," Lisa takes her crush Nelson Muntz shopping for spiffier clothing. "I feel like such a tool," he says, seeing himself in the mirror with a collared shirt and sweater vest.
  • I Will Show You X!:
    • Parodied when Homer doesn't know how to use the phrase.
      Homer: Lisa! Knock off that racket!
      Lisa: But Dad, I'm supposed to practice an hour a day!
      Homer: I'll practice you!
      Lisa: You'll practice me... what does that mean? Is it supposed to be some sort of a threat?
    • And in another episode:
      Judi Dench: Who are you talking to?
      Londoner Squeaky-Voiced Teen: No-one, mum, I swear!
      Judi Dench: I'll Mum you! [starts beating Londoner Squeaky-Voiced Teen]
    • Another Simpsons example, when Homer's mom reappears, Bart asks for retroactive birthday, Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa gifts. Homer responds with "I'll Kwanzaa you!"
    • This is a fairly popular one with The Simpsons. For example, when Homer was yet again passed up for the "Worker of the Week" award for... an inanimate carbon rod. "Inanimate huh? I'll show him inanimate!" He just stands there.
    • "The earring could plug the hole." "I'll plug YOUR hole!"
  • Iwo Jima Pose:
    • There's a send-up of the pose in the episode "New Kids On The Blecch" in which Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph form a Boy Band that's being used as a recruitment tool by the US Navy.
    • In "Selma's Choice", among Aunt Gladys' collection of potato chips resembling famous people is one that looks like the flag planting at Iwo Jima. Homer eats them as quickly as they're shown on screen.
    • Also seen in "Large Marge"; Bart and Milhouse accidentally knock over the school flag, and a group of WWII veterans strike this pose when putting the flag back up.

  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: in the 24 parody episode (aptly enough), Bart does this to Nelson (of all people) by putting a trash can on his head and banging his fists on it.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Parodied in "Bart Star". Lisa wants to join the football team for the simple fact that she assumes it will be all males. However, she's caught off guard when Ned tells Lisa that there already are girls on the team. Lisa tries another tactic, of saying she wouldn't play a game where the balls are made out of pig skins. But she's corrected again since the footballs are made from synthetic materials, and that for every ball bought, a dollar goes to Amnesty International. Lisa gets tears in her eyes, frustrated that she has nothing to protest about, and runs off.
  • "Jeopardy!" Intelligence Test:
    • Homer fails his in "Simpson And Delilah",
      The capital of North Dakota is named after what German ruler?
      Homer: Hitler!
    • Also, the episode "Miracle On Evergreen Terrace" has a brief moment of Marge trying to get the family out of debt by appearing on "Jeopardy!", except she ends up with a negative score at the end of the game.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Generally anyone authority that condemns Homer as a safety technician or outright tries to fire him is this trope in full effect, since Homer is consistently depicted as genuinely negligent and incompetent at his job. It usually only the needlessly spiteful approach they always go about reproaching Homer that keeps sympathy on him instead (eg. the supervisor coldly firing Homer in front of his son in "Homer's Odyssey", Smithers trying to sabotage him out of petty jealousy in "Simpson and Delilah", the Germans singling him out via public announcement in "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk", Frank Grimes trying to humiliate Homer in a kids contest in "Homer's Enemy").
    • Homer himself sometimes gets these as the series progresses. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy being in "Bart's Inner Child" where his latest scheme with a trampoline backfires horribly, and he gets berated by Marge. Homer snaps back that while his plans aren't always solid, Marge's Control Freak lifestyle isn't a healthy direction either and at least Homer tries to let the family live a little. The rest of the family, following memories of Marge's constantly nagging, meekly agree with this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Homer and Bart are the most prominent, but characters ranging from Moe to Willie to Nelson have all demonstrated this trait at one point or another.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk:
    • Mr. Burns' evil has been deconstructed many times. In a season 22 episode, he gets amnesia and everyone in town borrows him for 15 minutes at a time. At the end, he gets his memories back, and the town reasons that helping everyone made him well. He does more good deeds, which makes him suffer health defects until he does bad deeds again and starts feeling better again, putting forth the more accurate reasoning that "helping" everyone refuelled his hate for the town, giving him a reason to live again.
    • Don Brodka in "Marge be not Proud" is this, also, what kind of jerk would disrupt a family's Christmas photo?
  • Jesus Was Crazy: The show depicts Jesus in a variety of ways, such as being child-like, having parental issues, being traumatised by the crucifixion, and he appears malicious in a gas leak hallucination. The followers of Christ are also portrayed as being too idealistic and being unrealistically strict with his teachings. Reverend Lovejoy also states that (according to the bible) you're not allowed to go to the bathroom.
  • The Jinx:
    • In "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner", Marge states that her woman's intuition is acting up and that something bad will happen to Homer if he sets foot into the food fair. Homer states that something bad happens whenever he goes anywhere. Sure enough, he steps in a mud puddle, is hit by a Frisbee, and bitten by a bat in short order.
      Homer: A bat. That's a new one.
    • In "Mother Simpson," Homer is reunited with his mother (who he thought was dead).
      Mona: This is such a beautiful moment.
      Homer: There's something you should know about me, mom. I somehow always manage to ruin the moment. [A pelican flies out of nowhere and drops a fish from its mouth into Homer's pants] I'm sorry.
  • Jobless Parent Drama: In the episode "Homer's Odyssey", Homer loses his job at the nuclear power plant and is nearly Driven to Suicide by his inability to find a new job.
  • Job-Stealing Robot:
    • Mr. Burns has twice tried to replace all the workers at SNPP with robots. The first time is during a strike and the robots run amok. The second time Burns fires everyone (except Homer) and replace them with robots, which eventually (thanks to Homer) run amok. This time the unemployed and underemployed former SNPP workers come to his rescue, and he rehires them all.
    • In another episode, Stu & Marty (the radio DJs) are threatened to be replaced by a wisecracking computer if they don't make good on the promise of an elephant for Bart.
    • Implied in the eulogy for Asa Phelps. "He worked at the United Strut and Bracing Works as a molder’s boy until he was replaced by a molder-matic and died."
  • Juggling Loaded Guns:
    • Homer buys a gun and uses it for such things as opening a can of beer, and turning on his TV (complete with a Mook from a Western falling off a roof at that exact moment). This actually gets him kicked out of the local gun club. In the same episode, Marge gets annoyed when Homer plays with the gun at the breakfast table. Homer puts the safety on, but only manages to accidentally fire the gun, hitting a picture of Marge. He nervously comments that he accidentally turned the safety off, and turns it on... and the gun again discharges, hitting the picture of Marge. Freaked out by now, Homer puts the gun on the table — and after a second, without being touched it fires again, this time hitting a knife which is sent flying into the picture of Marge, right between the eyes.
      Lisa: ...No offense, mom, but that was pretty cool.
    • When Wiggum was young, a film of him at a firing range has him looking down the barrel after his gun stops and getting yelled at by his instructor ("What did I say about pointsy-twardsies?"). He then gives the instructor a back massage with the gun and it goes off and shoots the cameraman. He's later shown to have gotten the position of Chief by giving the Mayor a back massage with his gun. Another episode showed Wiggum cleaning his ears with the barrel of his gun, and yet another showed him firing at his TV after forgetting where he left the remote. It was in his gun holster. In a recent episode where he used two gun barrels as earplugs.
      Marge: I don't think the guns are a good idea.
      Homer: Marge! We're responsible adults. And —
      Moe: [shoots] Whoops.
      Homer: And if a group of responsible adults can't handle firearms in a responsible way —
      Sea Captain: [shoots] Sorry.
      Skinner: [shoots] Uh oh.
      Moe: [shoots] Me again.
      Bart: [shoots] Sorry.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake:
    • Mr Smithers has a fantasy of Mr Burns doing this for his birthday.
    • Subverted in "Lady Bouvier's Lover": Some of the senior citizens present Abe with a special cake with a dancer inside. But when nobody pops out from the cake, they look inside, finding the dancer in critical condition.
      Jasper: Uh oh. Better call the nurse.
  • "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal: Parodied a couple times.
    • In "Simpson Tide":
      Marge: What on earth possessed you to get an earring?
      Bart: Milhouse has one.
      Marge: If Milhouse jumped off a cliff...
      Bart: Milhouse jumped off a cliff? I'm there.
    • From "Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield":
      Marge: Homer, I don't think you should wear a short-sleeve shirt with a tie.
      Homer: Ohhh, but Sipowicz does it.
      Marge: If Detective Sipowicz jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?
      Homer: Ohhh, I wish I was Sipowicz.
    • From "The Haw-Hawed Couple", when Marge finds out that Bart's planning on not attending Nelson's party:
      Bart: Mom, I can't go! No one else is!
      Marge: Well if no one else jumped off the Empire State Building, would you not jump?
      Bart: [confused] ...Kind of?
  • Jump the Shark:
    • As a sight gag parodying the concept within the show.
    • Seasons 11-13 had several meta-jokes about the show ending soon, running out of ideas, etc. These fell by the wayside as the seasons just kept piling on with no end in sight.
  • Just Friends: Towards the end of "Lisa's Date with Density", Lisa and Nelson eventually broke up and simply became friends. The friendship is sustained later in the end of "Loan-a-Lisa" in which Lisa and Nelson skate with each other.

  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: During their trip to Australia. Bart and Homer try to ride a kangaroo but the pouch is full of slime.
  • Keeping the Enemy Close: This is how Homer gains his position at the nuclear power plant. He led a protest against the plant's numerous safety violations, so Mr. Burns placated the protesters by making Homer the head of safety. Burns explained to Smithers afterwards that this allows them to keep a close eye on Homer and punish him in due time. (However, this seems to have completely failed—in subsequent episodes it becomes a running gag that Burns never remembers who Homer is, in spite of how often they interact.)
  • Keeping the Handicap: In one episode, Homer discovers that he has a crayon inside his brain that he stuck up his nose as a child, and after having it removed he becomes significantly more intelligent. Unfortunately, this intelligence comes at the cost of being ostracised by his friends and co-workers, and at the end of the episode he asks for it to be put back in so he can go back to being his old, dumb, likeable self.
  • "Kick Me" Prank:
    • One episode has Bart and Principal Skinner embrace before returning to their old rivalry. Bart attaches a "Kick Me" sign to Skinner, however Skinner also managed to attach a "Teach Me" sign to Bart.
    • In a different episode of The Simpsons Principal Skinner found a Kick Me sign on his back.
      Skinner: Hmm. I thought I was being kicked more often that usual today.
    • In yet another Simpsons, this one parodying The Departed, Bart's prank "Kick Me" signs are changed to ones that read "Kick Me-diocre Study Habits" (which encourages Kearney to stop bullying and read a book).
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Burns has a LOT of these moments. He comes awfully close to literal in "Dog Of Death" when he has Bart's innocent, gentle pet dog strapped to a chair, and Forced to Watch several clips of animal abuse to turn him into an Angry Guard Dog.
      • Later in the same episode, when Smithers says to Burns "A sweet little boy is here to see you" Burns says "Release the hounds." Said little boy is actually Bart.
    • When Homer tried to quit his job at the power plant, but had to retake it after impregnating Marge with Maggie, Burns made a narrow tunnel to his office that Homer had to crawl through, and put a sign on Homer's desk that said "don't forget, you're here forever." Almost literally adding insult to injury.
    • Burns also sends a vicious Angry Guard Dog after Bart (who was hungry after running away from home) for trying to steal a pie which was left on the window sill. A pie that Burns would have otherwise disposed of ANYWAY.
    • There was also the time he tried to make clothing out of the fur of a bunch of small puppies. He is impliednote  to own lots of clothing made from the hide of various animals as well.
    • There is also "22 Short Films About Springfield," where Burns' most loyal assistant, Smithers, who has a life-threatening allergy to bee venom, gets stung by a bee, and Burns just yells at him to keep paddling and dishes out a barrage of vicious insults. (They are on a bicycle and Smithers was already doing all the work.) It's strongly hinted that this was the only way Burns could think of to actually help Smithers, seeing as he in no way had the physical strength to operate the bike himself.
    • "Homer vs. Dignity" is a full EPISODE of Burns doing metaphorical dog-kicking. Desperate for money, Homer asks Burns for a raise, and Burns instead decides that it's only under the condition that Homer be Burns' personal "prank monkey." These pranks involve a series of increasingly humiliating circumstances Homer is put in, and culminates in Burns dressing Homer in a panda suit and having another panda rape him. Eventually Homer gets fed up with this and quits, using the money he already had to set up a parade to distribute toys to needy kids; Burns shows up to try to bribe Homer into throwing fish guts instead of presents; Homer is shown contemplating to it, and then it cuts to fish guts being thrown at the kids; but it is revealed that Burns is the one throwing it after all.
    • "Curse of the Flying Hellfish" reveals him and Abe to be the last surviving members of their WW2 unit, and that a deal was made such that the last surviving member would get to keep a case of art stolen from civilians. Not content to leave which of them that is up to chance, Burns hires an assassin to kill Abe, but said assassin is not successful at it. Bart convinces Abe to go get the case anyway, and when Abe and Bart retrieve it, Burns shows up and takes the art at gunpoint. Bart calls Burns a coward, then Burns points the gun at Bart's face. Abe says Burns can take the art as long as he does not hurt the boy. Burns remarks that he would rather do both, then kicks Bart into the empty safe and sinks it into the water (fortunately, Bart survives and Burns gets what he deserves, but that just goes to show how evil Mr. Burns can be, despite that Bart once saved Burns from dying with a blood donation and was even considered his heir because of how destructive he was).
    • He once developed a project to block sunlight from reaching Springfield, to deprive them of one more alternative source of heat and light. His usually-unquestioning assistant Smithers objected to this, and was fired as a result. A town hall meeting was held about this, and Burns showed up JUST when the whole town was being shown what Burns' oil drilling operation did to Bart's pet dog, who was seen using wheels just to walk down the hallway.
      Burns: Oh, those wheels are squeaking a bit. Perhaps I could sell him a little oil.
      • Earlier in the episode Burns commented his oil scheme would be like taking candy from a baby. He then spots a baby with a lollipop in his binoculars and considers trying it.
    • The show is always meant to be mean-spirited from the start but in "The Boys of Bummer" where the whole town mocked and chastised Bart over a ball game to the point where Bart attempts suicide, they still mocked at him.
  • Kids Are Cruel:
    • Two season six episodes had this: "Fear of Flying" (when Marge was talking to her therapist about her childhood, where a little girl mocks Marge for liking The Monkees and telling her that they don't write their own songs or play their own instruments — and, worst of all, Michael Nesmith wasn't wearing his real hat) and "Homer the Great"note  (when Homer remembers when he was excluded from a treehouse club that only let in one person named Homer, and he wasn't it).
    • The show, as a whole, does show how kids (and teens — mostly the three thugs, Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney) can be mean, like when Sherri and Terri made fun of Lisa's butt in "Sleeping With the Enemy," Nelson bullying Bart and other kids in various episodes, and Maggie being bullied by babies in "Eeny, Teeny, Maya, Moe." Even Bart and Lisa can be mean if the writers want to do that.
      Marge: Kids can be so cruel.
      Bart: [walking by] We can?! Thanks mom!
      Lisa: [from another room] Ow! Cut it out, Bart!
  • Kids Driving Cars:
    • A flashback in "Some Enchanted Evening" shows Bart as a toddler starting the car and almost running over the babysitter.
    • The plot of "Bart on the Road" has Bart and some of his friends using a fake drivers license to drive across the country.
    • When Milhouse began impersonating his father, one of the first things he does is rent a truck and drive it. He then crashes it... and goes to rent another one.
    • In "Little Big Girl", Bart steals every fire extinguisher in Springfield Elementary to propel his wagon. As Bart rockets around town, the foam released from the extinguishers puts out a wildfire the townspeople of Springfield unsuccessfully try to extinguish. Bart is cheered as a hero by everyone and rewarded with a driver's license by Mayor Quimby, leading him to using Homer's car for his own pleasure.
  • Kids Hate Vegetables: In the "Treehouse of Horror XX" segment, "Don't Have A Cow, Mankind", Bart is shown starving despite there being a bowl of fresh fruits and carrots beside him (which he refuses to eat).
    Bart: There's gotta be something yummy out there.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes: One time, Homer attempts to persuade Maggie to give up Mr Burns' beloved teddy bear by giving her a box to play with instead. However, Homer becomes enthralled with the box and keeps it for himself despite Maggie's enthusiasm for it.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films:
    • Homer takes Bart and Lisa to see a horror film about a possessed doll. All three end up terrified that there's a monster in their attic which leads into the episode's real plot about Artie Ziff living in their attic.
    • Another episode has the neighborhood kids sneak out after curfew to a drive-in to watch a Children of the Corn-style horror film called The Bloodening.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Bleedin' Gums Murphy who died of an unknown illness during his stay at the hospital.
    • Frank Grimes was killed when he went insane and electrocuted himself.
    • Maude Flanders who got hit with T-shirts from a T-shirt cannon and fell over the bleachers at a car race
    • Mona Simpson who died of natural causes while staying with The Simpsons.
    • Poochie was hastily written off the show after people protested that Poochie was a horrible addition to The Itchy and Scratchy Show.
    • Subverted with Dr. Nick Riviera, killed in the movie, got better in the 20th season.
    • Marvin Monroe was killed off because of a visual gag about a memorial hospital and has a tombstone in the episode Maude dies in. Many years later he resurfaced at a book signing and vanished promptly.
    • In Donnie Fatso Fat Tony dies of a heart attack. Then his cousin, Fit Tony (who is identical to Fat Tony in every way except waist size), shows up and takes over the Springfield Mob. He then eats a lot and becomes known as Fat Tony (as in nothing actually changed).
    • Even though Poochie was killed off in the episode he appeared in, he would be seen yet again in an "Itchy and Scratchy" short that parodied the issues surrounding cloning, as one of the attendees of Itchy's funeral (and on the "Treehouse of Horror" story where Bart and Lisa are sucked into the TV and try to escape Itchy and Scratchy). He's also treated as still part of the ensemble, appearing in an ice show known as "Matrix Poochie".
  • Killing for a Tissue Sample: In a Treehouse of Horror episode it's discovered that Bart is immune to the Zombie Plague, so a bunch of other (non-zombie) people plan to eat him in order to become immune. Eventually he just swims in the soup they all eat.
  • The Killjoy:
  • "King Kong" Climb:
    • In "Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Three Times", Bart's story of revenge, "Bartman Begins", takes place in 1930s Gotham City. In a Funny Background Event, Kong can be seen atop a skyscraper waving to paparazzi taking his picture.
    • Parodied in the Treehouse of Horror short "King Homer", in which the titular King Homer, Marge in hand, starts climbing a skyscraper... And barely gets off the ground before becoming exhausted and falling onto his back.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Spoofed when Mr. Burns makes Smithers work out on his behalf.
  • Kiss of Death: Fat Tony is given one of these by a rival mob leader in "Bart the Murderer" after Louie makes a substandard Manhattan drink.
  • Kissing In A Tree:
    • Bart Simpson does a sinister version in the episode "Bart's Friend Falls in Love":
      Bart: Samantha and Milhouse sitting in a tree, about to lose their privacy. He-he-he!
    • Bart and Homer attempts it in "Lisa the Treehugger":
      Homer: Bor-ing! [changes the channel] Ah, the Luftwaffe — the Washington Generals of the History Channel.
      Lisa: Dad, change it back!
      Marge: Yeah, that was the boy Lisa likes.
      Lisa: No I don't.
      Bart: [sings] Lisa and Jesse sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
      Lisa: Shut up!
      Homer: First comes love, then comes ... um ... dammit, I know this!
  • Kitschy Local Commercial:
    • Homer's first "Mr. Plow" ad, which aired at 3:17 AM and starred Grandpa as "Old Man Winter."
    • There's also the one Homer made to (unsuccessfully) combat the anti-child proposition.
  • Kitschy-Themed Restaurant: Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag from "Bart Sells His Soul" is Moe's attempt to rebrand his tavern to a family friendly restaurant including dancing for his guests with a deep fried basket of chicken on his head.
  • Kneel, Push, Trip: In "Bart Sells His Soul", Bart dreams that the other kids are playing with their souls and he's all alone. Nelson at first appears to sympathize with Bart, but he's really playing this prank with his own soul.
  • Knife-Throwing Act:
    • Krusty does one of these acts with axes. He doesn't miss.
    • The couch gag for the episode "Marge vs. Seniors, Singles, Childless Couples, Teens, and Gays" showed knives being thrown at The Simpsons' heads as they sit down on the couch.
  • Knockout Gas: Smithers uses this on Mr. Jones in "Marge Gets a Job".
    • In "'Round Springfield", when Dr. Nick attempts to anesthetize Bart, he accidentally anesthetizes himself.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Homer calls Lisa this in "Lisa the Vegetarian".
  • Know Your Vines: In a three story episode about history, Lisa as Sacagawea is giving Lewis and Clark's expedition party quick advice, and tells one soldier that he's holding poison oak.
  • Knuckle Tattoos: In "Cape Feare", Sideshow Bob has "LUV" and "HAT" tattooed on his fingers.
    • Which makes sense. What Sideshow Bob actually has tattooed on his fingers are the phonetic spellings of the words "love" and "hate" (the phonetic spelling of "hate" has a line over the "a" to signify that it's a long vowel sound and not a short one), because, unlike real people, he has 3 non-thumb fingers instead of 4, and can't spell the whole words on them.

  • Laborious Laziness: Bart and Lisa have been tasked to clean the backyard but they're too lazy to do so.
    Bart: Man, look at all this stuff... pull weeds, mow lawn, scoop and bag dog business. There's gotta be a way out of this. Lisa! Chop off my hands!
    Lisa: No! Then who'd chop off my hands?
    Bart: All right, you chop my hands halfway off, and then, I'll still have enough strength to chop-
    Marge: Get to work!
  • Lab Pet: Averted in one episode, when Bart cons his way into a school for the gifted he is told not to get attached to the class hamsters as they are scheduled for dissection.
  • Lack of Imagination: Played for Laughs in "Bart Gets Famous", which starts out with Principal Skinner announcing a trip to the Springfield Box Factory. Bart tries to imagine something more interesting but he just pictures Skinner announcing a trip to the box factory. He then blames television for ruining his imagination.
  • Ladyella: Booberella, a Captain Ersatz of Elvira.
  • Lame Pun Reaction:
    • In the episode "Pokey Mom" involving Homer, a prison warden, and a painting of a unicorn in outer space, there's this exchange:
      Warden: I mean, look at this! It's a unicorn in outer space! I mean, what's it breathin'?
      Homer: Air?
      Warden: Ain't no air 'n space!
      Homer: There's an Air 'n' Space Museum. *grins like an idiot, and then is thrown out of the prison*
    • Also, there was one emitted by Homer when commencing a roast against Mr. Burns for his birthday (and in case you're wondering why it fits, it's because shortly afterwards, he drops his pants and proceeds to moon Mr. Burns and the audience, a caricature of Burns' face is on his butt, and he tries to quote Mr. Burns).
      Homer: Now here's an impression of Mr. Burns that is incredibly... cheeky.
    • And then there was the one where the Mayor Quimby's nephew gets put on trial for beating the living daylights out of a waiter. Intrepid Reporter Kent Brockman wanted to call the incident "Waitergate", but was shouted down at the Press Club.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Michael Jackson guest voiced in the Season 3 episode "Stark Raving Dad", but was listed in the credits as John Jay Smith. Dustin Hoffman guest-voiced in the Season 2 episode "Lisa's Substitute", but was listed in the credits as Sam Etic. So in the Season 4 episode "Itchy And Scratchy: The Movie", Lisa describes the film as having guest voices by celebrities including Michael Jackson and Dustin Hoffman, adding that they didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them.
  • Lampshaded the Obscure Reference:
    • Grandpa Simpson does this to himself even though it's not hard for him to get distracted at his own ramblings.
      Grandpa Simpson: I was lonelier than Estes Kefauver at a meeting of Murder Incorporated! [beat] That actually makes sense. Look it up!
    • "They Saved Lisa's Brain:"
      Lisa: [reading Comic Book Guy's shirt] "C:/DOS C:/DOS/RUN RUN/DOS/RUN". [laughs] Oh, only one person in a million would find that funny.
      Frink: Yes, we call that the "Dennis Miller Ratio."
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Two in "Homer Scissorhands":
      Homer: [really pissed over all the ramblings from his clients] I'm committing barbacide! [drinks a beaker of liquid from the counter] Oh, why doesn't anything kill me?
    • Later:
      Milhouse: [performing a love song for Lisa] Teacher said, "Don't eat the paste", or it'll make you spew, I ate the paste and liked the taste, passed out and dreamed of you.
      Lisa: First of all, it's never wise to use the word 'spew' in a love song.
    • In "CED'oh", Homer ends up being in charge of the Nuclear Power Plant and finds out he has to spend too much away from his family to do the job properly. He ends up commenting he needs to be with his kids now because "It's not like Bart's going to be 10 years old forever."
    • Later in "CED'oh", Homer has a barbeque with a banner labelled "305th Everything's Back To Normal Party" to make fun of how nothing seriously ever changes.
  • Language Barrier:
    • When the Simpsons are lost in the jungle without their tour guide Kitenge, sailing down a river, they encounter two ominous sounding tribesmen, so Homer tries to hit them with a spear. However, they were actually saying very nice things, at least according to the subtitles.
    • In "The Real Housewives of Fat Tony", Fat Tony marries Selma. He tricks her, though, because she doesn't speak Italian and the wedding is officiated in Italian. Selma was asked to be Tony's mistress, not his wife.
  • Last Day to Live:
    • When Homer was believed to have eaten a poisoned fish at a Japanese restaurant.
    • Parodied in "C. E. D'oh". A seminar on success inspires Homer to, among other things, live each day like it's his last... which entails sitting on the curb and crying his eyes out.
  • Last Disrespects: When Mr. Burns is thought to be dead, various dignitaries come to his funeral just to spit in his grave. So many in fact, that the grave has to be drained afterwards.
  • Last-Name Basis: Homer rarely calls Ned Flanders by his first name. As revealed in "Lisa's First Word", it was like this from the start:
    Flanders: Buenos Dias, neighboritos! The handle is Flanders, but my friends call me Ned.
    Homer: [annoyed] Hi, Flanders.
  • Last-Second Word Swap:
    • Occurs in "The Mook, The Chef, The Wife and her Homer" when Otto accidentally drops his tape, yelling "Fuuuuu... nk.
    • In "To Surveil With Love", when Jimbo spray paints FU on an incomplete brick wall, then adds an N to make it FUN when everyone acts legal.
    • In one episode Homer and Bart and some sailors are caught in a giant storm. As a huge wave is about to destroy the ship, everyone yells, "SHIIIIIIIIIIIIII—PWREEEEEEEEEECK!"
    • In "The Heartbroke Kid", when Bart is surprised to see his family and others at his house among returning home from school surprising him, he says "What the ffffff-amily?!"
  • Late to the Realization: Homer was frequently subject to this trope from seasons 1-11. A most notable example is from the episode "Bart Gets An Elephant", when, knee-deep in money troubles because of Stampy, a group of kids offer Homer money to ride and/or see the elephant. Homer, being the usual Idiot Hero he is, turns the children away, and on the second and third try, he hammers down a sign that says Please go away. Still content that his plan will work, Homer is too elated to hear the full details of Bart's plan, when Bart arrives carrying a new sign offering prices to see and ride Stampy.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes:
    • When Troy McClure takes Selma out to dinner, we jump cut into the end of a story.
      Troy: [laughing] That's too funny! I can't remember when I've heard a funnier anecdote. [laughing] All right, now you tell one.
    • Marge does this occasionally, she gives her best one liners when no one's around.
  • Laxative Prank:
    • Dr. Nick Rivera has an Infomercial about a suntan lotion that's also a laxative.
    • One episode had Homer sabotaging a youth group's candy sales by adding laxative to the candy. The youth group still managed to the sell the most candy, by selling it to the constipated residents of the old folks home.
  • Lazy Alias: Subverted in one episode. When a man who looks to be Homer in disguise enters Moe's Tavern, he introduces himself as Guy Incognito. Upon being thrown out, he is revealed to not actually be Homer.
  • Lazily Gender Flipped Name:
    • "Marge in Chains": Bart's Imagine Spot for breaking Marge out of prison involves him dressed as a woman named "Bartina", romancing the warden, then knocking him out with a crowbar to get the cell keys.
    • "Apocalypse Cow": Bart names his calf 'Lulubelle'. Mary suggests he calls him just 'Lou' because he's a young bull. Bart likes it because it rhymes with Moo.
  • Leaving Audience: Springfield just built a new performing arts center. The place is packed. The Springfield Philharmonic Orchestra starts into Beethoven's 5th Symphony... and after eight notes are played, everyone simultaneously stands up and makes for the door. Aside from Marge horrified to learn that the town is uncultured, Lenny declares they already have the song as a ring tone. Exaggerated when even the orchestra leaves after Marge announces that the next piece is by Phillip Glass.
  • Left It In: In "Radio Bart", Kent Brockman attempts to interview Homer and Marge on the air, and Marge is upset when Homer tells Kent that Bart was an accident...
    Homer: Could you edit that last part out?
    Kent: Mr. Simpson, we're live, coast to coast.
    Homer: D'oh!
  • Left the Background Music On: At one point in "Grandpa Vs. Sexual Inadequacy", Homer and Abe are in their car, being chased by an angry mob of hillbillies in a pickup truck while an upbeat country song plays in the background... which it turns out it isn't.
    Abe: You're the worst shill I've ever seen! You're a disgrace to the medicine show business!
    Homer: Dad, they didn't start chasing us until you turned on that getaway music!
    [Homer turns off the music, the angry hillbillies stops chasing them, turn around and leave]
  • Leitmotif:
    • Sideshow Bob has his own Cape Fear inspired theme music most anytime he appears on-screen, and the show also features two commonly-used musical motifs for town riots. (for reference, the first "riot theme" is heard during the soccer riot in "The Cartridge Family", while the other is heard in "Brake My Wife, Please" when Bart's and Milhouse's Peruvian fighting frogs battle each other)
    • Whenever villain Charles Montgomery Burns is in his mansion or is planning another evil scheme, you can bet you will hear that sinister music reminiscent of Citizen Kane's opening sequence. Release the sounds!
    • In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Springfield Hospital had its' own dramatic music cue accompanying the start of most scenes taking place at said hospital (typically accompanying an establishing shot.)
  • Lesbian Jock:
    • During the episode where Homer became a gay-marriage minister, Marge's sister's lesbian fiance was a pro-golfer. Then it turns out that "she" is really a "he".
    • When Lisa is tempted by a full-ride scholarship to any one of the "Seven Sisters" womens' colleges, she has a dream sequence where an avatar of each of them speaks to her. Smith College is represented by a Butch Lesbian in a Lacrosse uniform that tells her "Come to Smith... and experiment."
  • Lethally Stupid:
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: Parodied in "The Heartbroke Kid", when Bart is sent to a fat camp and Tab Spangler, the camp owner, catches him pigging out:
    Tab: Son, I'm gonna tell you a story about a young man who came here and failed. Well, that is the story. I shouldn't call a sentence a story. Anyway, it's you!
  • Let's Have Another Baby:
    • When Lisa shows her parents a video of a Brazilian orphan she sponsors, Marge finds him so cute that she says she wants another kid. Homer refuses because he hasn't lost all the weight he gained with Maggie's birth.
    • "Adventures in Baby-Getting" focused on this.
  • Let's See YOU Do Better!: The plot of "Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts" is kicked off with Principal Skinner challenging Superintendant Chalmers to educate Bart.
    Skinner: If you think it's so easy to handle Bart Simpson, why don't you do it yourself?!
  • Let the Past Burn:
    • In the episode "Grandpa vs Sexual Inadequacy", Homer and Abe begin arguing after visiting the farmhouse where they lived before moving to Springfield. They resolve the feud at the end of the episode, as the farmhouse burns to the ground.
    • In another episode where Homer decides to stop going to church his house burns down and Springfieldianites of various religions help him out: his next door neighbor Ned (Chirstian) pulls him from the burning fire while volunteer firemen Krusty (Jewish) and Apu ("Miscellaneous"note ) put the fire out. This convinces Homer to start attending church again.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • Marge says this about the vacation in "Itchy & Scratchy Land", despite that she agreed it was the best vacation ever.
    • Mentioning Armin Tamzarian (Principal Skinner's real name) is a torturable offense (even though Lisa said it on the episode where she gets a replacement for Snowball II and decides not to change her new cat's name after Skinner called her decision to name her new cat Snowball II a cop-out).
  • Level Ate:
    • Homer's Land of Chocolate fantasy.
    • Inverted with this real-life story, contrasted against the episode where Homer purposely gains weight so he can file for disability and work from home.
  • Lighter and Softer: The more recent episodes aren't nearly as dark as the series was back in its heyday in terms of themes and violence.
  • Limited Sound Effects: Sound designer Travis Powers does have a tendency to keep recycling certain Stock Sound Effects for slightly different purposes. Usually any time something with glass crashes or breaks (such as an auto accident or a window breaking), the same light bulb smashing sound effect is used, and almost any time something explodes, the same sound of plastic explosives is almost always used, no matter what is being blown up (and it usually isn't plastic explosives.) Both of these sound effects are sampled from Sound Ideas's Series 1000 Sound Effects Library from 1979.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Although the Simpsons themselves have been dabbling in varied, brightly-colored jackets since season twenty-five or so.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias:
    • Parodied in a Halloween episode, when a witch gave the name of her boyfriend as "George Cauldron" after doing this. Bart and Lisa both laugh at that... and then, at the end of the segment, George shows up at the door. note 
    • When writing a fake love letter to Miss Krabappel while in detention, Bart sees a picture of US president Woodrow Wilson hanging on the wall and signs the letter "Woodrow", then attaches to the letter a photo of hockey star Gordie Howe.
    • Though not a personal name, Homer, at Moe's Tavern, calls in absent to work because he's observing the "Festival of (sees "Maximum Occupancy" sign behind the counter)...Maximum Occupancy."
    • In the episode "The Seven-Beer Snitch", Bart pretends his turtle is lost to sneak inside a woman's house. When she asks him what the turtle's name is, he says "Apron Boobs-face" and later gives his own name as "Shoes Butt-back."
    • When Lisa has to do an essay about her heritage for a class project, she decides to write about Native Americans and chooses a made-up tribe calling it "Hitachi" after her microwave.
    • In one episode, Bart applies for a credit card under the false name "Santa's Little Helper" (the family dog). He has horrible handwriting, though, and the card comes back issued to Santos L. Halper.
    • Parodied again in the episode "Rome-old and Juli-eh". Bart finds out that companies can get free cardboard boxes, so he orders a delivery of them, pretending to be a company. When the delivery man asks for the name of his company, he looks around and sees Santa's Little Helper rummaging in a waste bin with "GENERAL INDUSTRIES" stamped on the bottom. Bart gives the name of his company as... Dog Incorporated.
  • Line-of-Sight Name:
    • When Bart is trying to come up with a comic book character. He sees a bat hanging in the window and exclaims "Batman!" before he realizes that it's taken. He looks around a little more and sees a Green Lantern, but realizes it's taken too. He eventually comes up with the character of Angry Dad after watching Homer's buffoonish antics through the window.
    • After Homer is embarrassed at a bumbling TV character sharing his name, he changes it to the decidedly more respectable "Max Power." When complimented on his new name, he replies "Thanks, I got it off a hair dryer."
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates:
    • The Simpsons references the Sweeney Todd example (see "Other" folder) in the Affectionate Parody episode "A Streetcar Named Marge."
      Cast: New Orleeeans... Home of pirates, drunks, and whores! New Orleeeans... Tacky, overpriced, souvenir stores!
    • Also on The Simpsons, Mr. Burns refers to his employees as "jackanapes... LOLLIGAGGERS... NOODLEHEADS!" Or "goldbrickers... LAYABOUTS... SLUGABEDS!"
  • Literal Ass-Kicking:
    • When the Simpsons go to Australia, "Booting" (administered by an angry-looking man wearing an over-sized boot) is a form of corporal punishment. It's even on the country's flag (shown atop this page). Also, disparaging the boot is a bootable offense.
    • "Lisa's Date with Density" has this:
      Lisa: Why do you have to be such a pain all the time? Don't you realize you're getting a bad reputation?
      Nelson: Don't you realize your butt sticks out?
      Lisa: It does not!
      [Nelson kicks Lisa in the butt]
      Lisa: Hey!
      Nelson: Ha ha!
  • Literally Laughable Question: Subverted when Marge tries joining the Springfield Police Department. Her request to sign up is met with the cops laughing for several seconds... only for them to stop and say "welcome aboard".
  • Literal-Minded: From "Fear of Flying", after Bart and Lisa get selected for first class seats:
    Lisa: Come on, Bart, they're gonna pamper us!
    Bart: Eew...
    Lisa: Not literally, of course.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Lisa and Maggie alike, though Maggie is more specifically of the Silent Snarker variety.
  • Live-Action Adaptation:
    • A live version of the opening credits was created in 2006 as a promotional short in the UK.
    • It later aired as a special opening to the show. In the US, all the driving footage was mirrored so it looked like they were driving on the right side of the road.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
    • Over one hundred and counting.
    • Cletus's family is rather large, and that's putting it mildly:
      Cletus: Hey, kids! We're eatin' dinner tonight! Come on out, Tiffany, Heather, Cody, Dylan, Dermot, Jordan, Taylor, Brittany, Wesley, Rumor, Scout, Cassidy, Zoe, Chloe, Max, Hunter, Kendall, Caitlin, Noah, Sascha, Morgan, Kyra, Ian, Lauren, Q-bert, Phil!
  • Lobotomy:
    • In one Halloween episode, Ned Flanders is the overlord and he has all people have part of their brain removed. They feel relaxed.
    • Lobotomy procedure was a part of Imagine Spot by Bart in the Michael Jackson episode.
  • "London, England" Syndrome: Parodied Trope. In "The Falcon and the D'ohman", the subtitles misspell the name of Kiev, Ukraine twice in a row before reading something along the lines of, "Come on, how many Kievs do you know about anyway?".
  • Logo Joke: In Steal this Episode, When Homer starts downloading illegal downloads, The logo for FOX appears to block the scene and the announcer blurts that they are forbidden to show them how to download piracy movies. Instead it switches to NASCAR racing to censor the piracy download.
    • And of course, there are their numerous modifications to the Gracie Films logo soundtrack at the end of numerous episodes, usually either re-arranging the jingle to fit with the episode's theme (including most famously an eerie pipe organ arrangement for the Treehouse of Horror specials, often accompanied by a screaming woman sound effect in place of the "Shh") or a dialogue clip taken from or relating to the episode.
  • Long List:
    • In "Papa's Got a Brand New Badge", Homer lists all of his former one-episode jobs in rapid succession.
    • In "Girls Just Want to Have Sums", Homer lists all the inventions men made to prove why he considers men superior to women. These include paper, cars, rocket ships, suspension bridges, constitutional government, snow shoes, brass knuckles, pinball machines, and The Renaissance.
    • In "Postcards From The Wedge", Principal Skinner lists off all the homework assignments Bart had blown off in a month's time: Worksheets, problem sets, book reports, math jumbles, dioramas, topic sentences, conclusions, bibliographies, synonyms, mean-the-sames, define-a-likes, word twins, and one Thanksgiving hand turkey.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Cecil Terwilliger appears as Sideshow Bob's brother, (Voiced by David Hyde Pierce, the actor who plays Dr. Frasier Crane's brother) ultimately to illustrate himself as the more evil of the pair, allowing Bob an opportunity for redemption. He saves Bart and Lisa Simpson's lives, then the entire city of Springfield from being flooded.
  • Long-Runners:
    • Has passed such shows as The Flintstones, Ozzy and Harriet, and Gunsmoke, but still has a long way to go to pass shows like Sesame Street (which has been on since 1969) and Saturday Night Live (which has been on since 1975).
    • Has such an enormous back catalog that Fox considered devoting an entire channel to the show.
    • The Krusty the Klown Show has been on television since the fifties; early on it was apparently a serious talk show but later became the slapstick kid-oriented variety show it is today.
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On: Evident when you compare the 90s episodes with the modern day ones.
  • Long Speech Tea Time: Marge just gets ready for bed while Homer rambles off all the jobs he had before his bodyguard gig, including "hippie," "Smithers," and "homophobe." It should be noted that Marge getting ready for bed involves putting rollers in her two and a half feet of hair.
    Homer: I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life: boxer, mascot, astronaut, baby proofer, imitation Krusty, truck driver, hippie, plow driver, food critic, conceptual artist, grease salesman, carny, mayor, grifter, body guard for the mayor, country western manager, garbage commissioner, mountain climber, farmer, inventor, Smithers, Poochie, celebrity assistant, power plant worker, fortune cookie writer, beer baron, Kwik-E-Mart clerk, homophobe, and missionary, but protecting people, that gives me the best feeling of all.
  • Look-Alike Lovers: Look at Milhouse's parents - they look rather similar... too similar.
  • Look Behind You:
    • Reverend Lovejoy getting Ned to leave by telling him about a saint-shaped oil stain.
    • Or this classic bit, where Bart distracts Moe via this brilliant diversion:
      Bart: Hey, Moe, look over there.
      Moe: [turns and looks at the wall] What... what am I looking at? [several seconds pass, Moe continues staring] I'm going to stop looking soon! [several more seconds pass, Moe is still staring] What... is that it?
      Homer: Hey, Moe, can I look too?
      Moe: Sure, but it'll cost you.
      Homer: My wallet's in the car! [runs outside]
      Moe: He's so stupid... and now back to the wall. [stares at it indefinitely]
  • Loony Laws: In "Homer Vs. the 18th Amendment", the punishment for disobeying Springfield's prohibition law is to be launched out of the city by catapult.
  • Losing Horns:
    • In "Hungry Hungry Homer", Homer attmepts to prove to the media that the Springfield Isotopes were secretly being moved to Albuquerque. However, the team's owner, Henry K. Duff VIII, is one step ahead of Homer and replaced the Albuquerque Isotopes memorabilia with a guy who gives Homer this trope.
    • The US Coast Guard gives this response via megaphone when Homer is attacked by pirates (just) inside international waters.
  • Lost Aesop: The episode "Blood Feud" ended with the Simpsons trying to determine that the moral is either "a good deed is its own reward", "no good deed goes unrewarded", and "the squeaky wheel gets the grease", before ultimately dismissing the whole ordeal as a Random Events Plot and indulge in an Everybody Laughs Ending.
  • Lost the TV Remote: Homer forgets the easy solutions.
    Homer: Bart! This is your father! Do you know... where the remote is? I've looked all over for it.
    Bart: Did you check your pocket?
  • Loud of War: In one episode, Skinner, Krabappel and Bart have sealed themselves inside the school. Chief Wiggum tries playing romantic music to try and get them to snap and leave, but Skinner and Krabappel merely begin enjoying a romantic dance. This causes Bart to snap and scream "Turn it off!", which only convinces Wiggum to turn it up louder.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • In "Principla Charming", Homer attempts to introduce Skinner to Selma, but accidentally introduces him to Patty instead.
      Skinner: [dreamily] Patty...
      Homer: D'oh!! Wrong one!
    • Homer falls in love with Marge the first moment he sees her.
  • Love Triangle: "Bart's Friend Falls in Love" involves Milhouse falling for a girl and Bart getting jealous that he's spending all his time with her instead of him. Similarly, "The Good, The Sad, and the Drugly" has Bart falling for a girl, and Milhouse striving to break them up because Bart never came to visit him while he was suspended (since he was spending all his time with the new girlfriend).
  • Loving Details: In "Blood Feud," Marge demonstrates an intimate knowledge of not just her husband but her whole family, including Homer's blood type and earmuff size, Lisa's ring and shoe sizes, and Bart's number of teeth and allergies.
  • Low Count Gag:
    • The Springfield Police Department sometimes do have a large force (even if we only know the names of three). At other times it is explicit they're just three people: Chief Wiggum, and his subordinates Eddie and Lou.
      Wiggum: We gotta get the whole force on this!
      Lou: Chief, we are the whole force.
      Wiggum: OK, we gotta start recruiting, Lou!
    • In "Lisa's Substitute", Bart's class is about to elect a class president. Bart gets nominated and he wins the class over by telling jokes and other gimmicks. Certain of Bart's victory, they forget about voting, including Bart. So it happens that Martin wins with just two votes, his own and Wendell's.
    • "Homer Badman": Homer tries to salvage his reputation on public access television, and the technician gets everyone's hopes up by making them think people were listening.
      Technician: The switchboards are lighting up!
      Simpson family: Yay!
      Technician: Two calls! That's our best ever.
      (He answers the first call)
      Technician: Hello? No, Janice doesn't live here.
      (He hangs up and answers the second call)
      Technician: Hello? Yes, I am interested in long-distance savings. Very interested.
    • In "The Bart Wants What It Wants", Rainer Wolfcastle drives to the Simpsons' house in an enormous SUV, and Homer asks about its fuel economy.
      Homer: What kind of mileage does it get?
      Rainer Wolfcastle: 1 highway, 0 city.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: NASA decides to let an average person be an astronaut to better its image, which is how Homer ends up on the space shuttle.
  • Low-Speed Chase:
    • Sideshow Bob trying to make an escape in the Wright Brothers' plane, while police cars drive slowly behind him trying to catch him with nets.
    • Chief Wiggum chasing the duck who took his badge.
    • Grandpa Simpson chasing a tortoise that has his false teeth.
  • Ludicrous Gift Request: A running gag in the early episodes was Lisa asking for a pony for Christmas. In "Lisa Gets a Pony", she gets one, but it puts a strain on the family's finances.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Happens in "Lisa's Wedding", when Lisa and Marge talk through a video phone:
    Lisa: Mom, remember when I was little, we'd always planned my dream wedding and you always promised to... you know, well, keep Dad from ruining it?
    Marge: [crossing her fingers] Oh, don't worry, honey, I guarantee your father will behave.
    Lisa: Mom, it's a picture phone.
    Marge: [looking at her fingers] This? This? Oh, no, I've just got a touch of the rheumatiz.
  • Lying on a Hillside: Seen in "The Telltale Head" when Bart, Jimbo, Kearney, and Dolph look at the clouds.

  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase:
    • Lenny's "Ow! My eye! I'm not supposed to get X in it!"
    • Homer's "MMM, [whatever Homer ate — it doesn't have to be food]".
    • Smithers's "It's Homer Simpson, (he's) one of your X from sector 7g". The X usually implies that Homer is either stupid and lazy, or that he belongs as property to Burns.
  • Made of Explodium: Man has always loved his buildings. But what happens when the buildings say 'No more'?
  • Made Out to Be a Jerkass: When Gill loses his job on Christmas Eve, the family lets him stay with them. Unfortunately, Gill overstays his welcome for almost a year. Marge, who didn't have it in her to say no, finally has her fill. By then, Gill had gotten a new job and left. Determined to get her newfound gumption out, Marge takes the family to Gill's new workplace and tells him off. When Gill shows weakness in front of Marge's tirade, his workers stop respecting him and his boss fires him. Out of guilt, Marge and the family buy a vacation house from Gill.
  • Magic Brakes: Marge experienced this in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge".
    Marge: The "brakes cut" light!
  • Magic Pants: Referenced in "I Am Furious Yellow." After a series of incidents give Homer the appearance of the Hulk, Bart comments, "Thank God his pants stayed on."
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Members of the Family tend to get involved in affairs of other characters, with varying degrees of justification. One blatant example is in "Eight Misbehavin'", where Homer helps Apu steal back his children from the Zoo, with no explanation given except possibly that Homer is up for any kind of hijinks.
  • Mama Bear: Marge. Harming any of her kids (especially Bart, who, despite his antics, is still her "special little guy"), and to some extent, Homer, can make her strike back with a vengeance.
  • Mandatory Line: In "Simpson Safari", Bart says an out-of-character and out-of-nowhere line after it's revealed that Bushwell has been using chimps to work in her diamond mine: "I think we should look at her research before we condemn her entirely. (everyone stares at him) I haven't said anything in a while."
  • Manipulative Editing:
    • In "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show", Bart admits to a comatose Homer that he often made him angry, and what follows is a long string of brief clips where Homer says "D'oh!" However, in some of the episodes that these clips come from, it wasn't Bart who was making him say "D'oh!", but somebody or something else entirely.
    • In "Homer Badman", Homer is accused of molesting a college-aged babysitter after peeling a rare gummi candy off the seat of her pants, so he goes to an interview on the news show "Rock Bottom" to explain himself, but his testimony gets warped into an admission of guilt (even better with the clock in the background that noticeably changes back and forth with each cut - something the writers admit on the DVD commentary makes no sense, since the original dialogue only takes Homer about a minute to say):
      Homer: [actual dialogue] Ehh, someone had to take the babysitter home. Then I noticed she was sitting on the gummi Venus, so I grabbed it off her. Oh, just thinking about that sweet, sweet candy... [moans lustfully] I just wish I had another one right now. But the most important thing is—"
      Homer: [edited dialogue] Ehh, someone had to take the babysitter home. Then I noticed she was sitting on / her / sweet can / I grabbed / her / sweet can / [moans] / just thinking about / her / can / I just wish I had / her / sweet / sweet / s-s-sweet can...
      • The editing fun didn't stop there, however:
        Godfrey Jones: So, Mr. Simpson, you admit you grabbed her can. What do you have to say in your defense? [shot of Homer during his interview, with obvious "paused VCR" artifacts] Mr. Simpson, your silence will only incriminate you further. [the shot of Homer zooms in to suggest his apparent advancement on Jones] No, Mr. Simpson, don't take your anger out on me. Get back! Get back! Mist—Mr. Simpson—nooo!
        Voiceover: Dramatizationmay not have happened.
    • In a Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer finds that he is very efficient in killing celebrities, and so is paid to kill whoever the Corrupt Corporate Executive wants to use in his adverts without actually paying them. Que a soda commercial where different shots of John Wayne are used; The actor's clothes and backgrounds change between each word and even go B/W every now and then.
  • The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: Numerous bits of satire poke fun at the way corporations are able to fuel rebellious behavior while making a profit off of conformity and name brand. This is on top of numerous jabs made at FOX Network and Fox News. In one famous Couch Gag it shows an exaggerated underground sweat shop producing Simpsons merchandise, where the center holes of DVD's are poked out using the horn of a malnourished unicorn. In a broader meta sense, the show originated as an edgy alternative commentary on the reality of contemporary shows and sitcoms. When the show became the juggernaut lasting decades it became significantly harder, if not impossible, to provide such commentary without recognizing the irony, and so often do it at their own expense.
  • Man-Made House Flood: In the episode where Lisa has to contend with being the authority figure of the house when Marge ended up injured from a clock falling on her, Lisa is calling Marge, and it's revealed after briefly talking to Marge that Lisa is currently on a stool in a flooded house, with Homer and Bart playing Marco Polo. It's strongly implied that Bart and Homer caused the flood.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria qualify for that trope from their work on this show alone.
  • Many Questions Fallacy:
    • One episode has the family being accused of being unpatriotic but, when given the chance to clarify, are asked loaded questions such as, "Which part of America do you hate the most?" There is no "correct answer", since naming any part allows the assumption that you hate the other parts too, just not as much.
    • Another episode showed the Springfield Police Department official website, whose front page says "If you committed a crime and you wish to confess, click 'Yes'. Otherwise click 'No'". If you click 'No', the site assumes you committed a crime but don't wish to confess and dispatches a police car to your house.
  • Marilyn Maneuver:
    • In "Gone Maggie Gone", a nun named Sister Marilyn standing on an air vent gets a draft under her dress and she enjoys it, blowing it up and as she's holding the front of it down, it lifts at leg level.
    • A parody of this trope appears in "Home Away from Homer", in a scene with Ned standing on a wind vent in the street. The air blows up his mustache and his shirt, as he's holding the bottom of it down from the front.
    • In "The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson", Homer drives his car between a startled couple in the middle of their picnic. The draft from the speeding vehicle causes the woman's orange, pleated skirt to get blown up from behind and there's a glimpse of her matching panties.
  • Marijuana Is LSD:
    • Homer is given medical marijuana for his eye injuries. He sees a number of Beatles-esque hallucinations, mostly everything smiling at him (including his razor) and any flowing liquid (like his blood from cutting himself shaving) as rainbows.
    • In another episode, Lisa becomes completely stoned and begins hallucinating smiley faces everywhere, culminating in her almost making out with an electric fan. Her drug of choice? Anti-depressants.
  • Martial Arts for Mundane Purposes: One episode sees Bart getting a job at a Thai restaurant and gaining ninja-like skills... in order to slip fliers for the restaurant onto people's doors before they can stop him.
  • Master Forger: The climax of one episode reveals that the painting that the family believed was a priceless work of art is in fact a forgery painted by one. When asked why the arts officials didn't notice it was a fake, he happily boasted that his paintings had fooled the greatest arts experts all over the world for years, and defended his habit by arguing that obsessing over the paintings value defeated the whole point of appreciating the art.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Marge is this to pretty much everyone: she presents herself as an overworked and underappreciated housewife and mother despite repeatedly showing that she gets thrills out of monotonous activities such as household chores. She also becomes incredibly neurotic whenever she gets a chance to relax, as seen in "Regarding Margie".
  • Matryoshka Object: A couch gag in Season 9 has Homer run in front of the TV alone and the top half of his body pops off to reveal Marge. Inside Marge is Bart, inside him is Lisa and inside her is Maggie.
  • May–December Romance:
    • Mr. Burns (probably over 100 years old) fell in love with a girlfriend of Snake's who appears to be in her late twenties to early thirties. They date for one episode, but she returns to Snake eventually.
    • Comic Book Guy (late twenties, early thirties) dates Agnes Skinner (in her late seventies or early eighties). They date and enjoy snarking at people and insulting them, and there is even a bedroom scene... They break up when Comic Book Guy is arrested at the end of the episode.
  • Mayan Doomsday:
    • Referenced in the Blackboard Gag for "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" ("The world may end in 2012, but this show won't").
    • Parodied in the intro to season 24's "Treehouse of Horror" where a botched sacrifice during the Mayan empire brings to life three stone Mayan gods who destroy the world (and according to Mayor Quimby's Mayan ancestor, everything that happened will be Obama's fault).
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: When Bart sells his soul in the eponymous episode, things start becoming a bit odd for him, such as not being able to open automatic doors, his pets hissing wildly at him and... not being able to breathe on glass... but it's never firmly established if he diegetically lost his soul.
  • The Meaning of Life: In "Homer the Heretic" Homer dreams he's up in Heaven with God.
    Homer: Lord, I have to ask you something: What's the meaning of life?
    God: Oh Homer, I can't tell you that! You'll find out when you die.
    Homer: But I can't wait that long!
    God: You can't wait six months?
    • After which God proceeds to tell him: "The secret of life is..." and the end credits start to play.
  • Medium Blending:
    • The 3D CGI Homer and live action bits in "Treehouse of Horror VI." It was done by Pacific Data Images (which would later become a little company called DreamWorks Animation).
    • 3D, CGI, and claymation are also used when the characters watch parodies of Pixar, Davey and Goliath, the California Raisins, Wallace & Gromit, etc.
    • Homer lands in live action L.A. at the end of "Homer 3" (part of "Treehouse of Horror VI"). Similarly, in "The Terror of Tiny Toon" (part of "Treehouse of Horror IX"), Bart, Lisa, Itchy and Scratchy fall into the live action "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee" (as it was then titled) show. Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford both appear as themselves.
    • The Robot Chicken couch gag had The Simpsons in stop-motion
  • Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness:
    • In one of the couch gags, the Simpsons run in and their Tracey Ullman-era selves are already sitting on the couch. Both pairs scream in terror and run out.
    • Another couch gag had Homer walking onto a parody of The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, where the Tracey Ullman Simpsons are part of the crowd.
  • Memetic Mutation: Parodied in-universe in "Bart Gets Famous", where we see people laughing at uses of the phrase "I didn't do it" during inappropriate moments (during a hold up at the Kwik-E-Mart after Apu sounds an alarm, Diamond Joe Quimby getting caught in bed with another woman by his wife, and during a fire when Patty and Selma are suspected to have caused it).
  • Men Can't Keep House:
    • In the episode "Little Big Mom", Marge is recovering in the hospital, so the family maintains the house. The lazy males Bart and Homer turn the place into a filthy sack in minutes, much to the dismay of Lisa who is the only one trying to introduce some order and cleanliness, but with no success. She later tricks them into thinking they got leprosy from living in very dirty conditions so they would clean the house, again with no good results.
    • Also seen in "Marge in Chains", when the house becomes a dump in ten minutes due to Marge being in jail. Grampa even fights off a wily toilet croc.
    • A less extreme version occurs in "Take My Wife, Sleaze" when, after Marge is kidnapped by the Hell's Satans, Homer is baffled why the breakfast isn't made and why Bart and Lisa aren't at school.
  • Metaphorgotten:
    • From "A Star is Born-Again":
      Flanders: Why would that Twinkie want to go out with a ding-dong like me?
      Homer: Flanders, I mix Twinkies and Ding-Dongs all the time. In Europe, they call it a Dinkie!
    • In "Secrets of a Successful Marriage":
      Homer: For you see, marriage... is a lot like an orange. First, you have the skin... [lustfully] then the sweet, sweet innards. [devours orange]
    • In "The New Kid on the Block":
      Homer: Son, a woman is a lot like a... a refrigerator! They're about six feet tall, 300 pounds. They make ice, and... um... Oh, wait a minute. Actually, a woman is more like a beer. They smell good, they look good, you'd step over your own mother just to get one! [drinks a beer] But you can't stop at one. You wanna drink another woman! [Cut ahead to several cans later, and Homer is well and truly drunk] I says yeah, if you want that money come and find it, cuz I don't know where it is you baloney! You make me wanna retch! [passes out]
    • In "Homer the Heretic":
      Homer: Kids, let me tell you about another so-called "wicked" guy. He had long hair and some wild ideas, and he didn't always do what other people thought was right. And that man's name was... I forget. But the point is... I forget that, too. Marge, you know who I'm talking about. He used to drive that blue car?
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: In one episode, a man working at the License Bureau refuses to help people until he finishes his crossword puzzle. When the clue asks for Franklin Roosevelt’s middle name, he guesses "Excitement."
  • Mighty Lumberjack: In the episode, The Blunder Years, Marge becomes infatuated with the lumberjack that is the mascot for a brand of paper towels.
  • Military Moonshiner: Referenced in "Brother from Another Series" after Sideshow Bob is released from prison:
    Cecil Terwilliger: Now make yourself at home. Perhaps a glass of Bordeaux? I have the '82 Chateau Latour and a rather indifferent Rausan-Segla.
    Sideshow Bob: I've been in prison, Cecil. I'll be happy just as long as it doesn't taste like orange drink fermented under a radiator.
    Cecil Terwilliger: ...that would be the Latour, then.
  • Mini-Golf Episode:
    • In "Dead Putting Society", Bart Simpson and Todd Flanders enter a mini-golf tournament.
    • The episode "Natural Born Kissers" sees Homer and Marge visit a miniature golf course, though not to play, but rather to "get busy" inside the windmill hazard. Being a comedy series, this effort goes Entertainingly Wrong.
  • Mirror Reveal: When Lisa gets braces, she's given a mirror and she breaks it. That scene was parodying the Joker scene from the original Batman movie.
  • Missed Meal Aesop: Parodied in the episode "Sleeping with the Enemy". Lisa becomes insecure about the size of her butt after being teased because of it, and thus stops eating in order to lose weight. In the end, Lisa mentions that she's still struggling with body image issues, but Homer tries to convince her to go back to normal because Status Quo Is God.
  • Missed the Bus:
    • A recurring occurrence is for Bart & Lisa to miss the school bus. Once Bart's missing the bus eventually led to him being tried as the head of the Springfield Mafia.
    • Another example: The early version of the series' intro had Bart steal the sign from a bus stop while riding by on his skateboard, resulting in the bus passing right by the waiting crowd of people standing there, forcing them all to chase after it in a humorous manner.
  • Missed the Recital: * The Simpsons: In "Ice Cream of Margie (with the Light Blue Hair)", Homer becomes an ice-cream man and tries to make it to Marge's exhibition of popsicle stick sculptures while being impeded and pursued by bystanders trying to stop him to purchase ice cream. Unfortunately, he ends up crashing his truck into the yard and destroys the sculptures.
  • A Mistake Is Born
    • Bart was a mistake, as can be seen from Flashback episodes. Lisa & Maggie weren't planned either, but Bart was conceived before Homer & Marge decided to get married.
    • During an argument between Homer and Grandpa, Abe blurts out that Homer was an accident.
    • On a later episode, Marge considers having another child, and Homer incredulously responds "An on-purpose baby?"
  • Mistaken for Exhibit: In "Mom and Pop Art," Mr. Burns mistakes Homer's failed attempts at D.I.Y. crafting for fine art and buys them for large amounts of money.
  • Mistaken for Fake Hair: In "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious", Homer keeps mistaking the prospective nannies for men pulling a Mrs. Doubtfire, and attempts to remove their "wigs".
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • "Homer's Phobia", in which Homer thinks Bart is gay.
    • In "Glorious Grampa", Marge finds Abe's old wrestling wig and thinks comes to the conclusion that he is gay, and starts attempting to set him up on dates with men.
    • In "Homer the Great", Abe Simpson's membership cards include being an Elk, a Mason, a Communist, president of the Gay and Lesbian Community, and a Stonecutter.
    • In one episode where Homer and Marge are talking to Dr. J Loren Pryor, the rarely seen school psychiatrist, he mentions that their son displays "homosexual tendencies". Marge exclaims "Bart's gay!?" and Dr. Pryor replies "Bart? Oh, sorry, wrong file," before putting away a file labelled "Milhouse Van Houten". It's this trope because Milhouse is also not gay - he's had at least one girlfriend.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: In "Like Father Like Clown", it is implied that Krusty's father thinks he is masturbating in the bathroom, it turns out he was doing a comedy routine with a seltzer bottle.
  • Mistaken for Profound: "Bart's Inner Child" has this as a plot point.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist:
    • "Mypods and Boomsticks."
    • Also that one time when Apu started yowling after having his tongue scalded with hot coffee, and then put a wet towel on his head (that looked like a turban)... It was in the S16 episode "Midnight Rx". That was after Apu was caught at the Canadian border after Homer, Grampa, Flanders and Apu were smuggling (illegal) Canadian prescription drugs from Winnipeg.
  • Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: In "Homer's Enemy", Frank Grimes points out that Homer is an incompetent worker at the power plant, but Lenny says that "everyone makes mistakes, that's why pencils have erasers". He's missing Grimes' point, which is that Homer has made life-threatening mistakes.
  • Mr. Seahorse: Arthur Fortune (a parody of Richard Branson) gets the two male pandas he donated to the zoo to mate in the episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love".
  • Mob War: The Springfield Mafia and the Yakuza (hired by the Investorettes) fights in "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson".
  • Mock Hollywood Sign: On the surrounding mountains of Springfield, there is a giant Hollywood-inspired sign. It plays a part in the movie.
  • Mocking the Mourner: In "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", Homer writes a song bashing Ned Flanders. The song includes a particularly random and cruel line "His wife is dead", which is also completely unrelated to the lyrics of the rest of the song. Funnily enough, everyone ends up loving that song, including Ned and his kids.
  • Mocky Mouse:
    • Itchy is mainly based on Jerry, but also has noticeable elements parodying Mickey Mouse, with the Itchy and Scratchy cartoon's falsely attributed creator Roger Meyers, Sr. being treated as a Walt Disney-esque figure, the theme park Itchy and Scratchy Land being a stand-in for Disneyland and the first cartoon Itchy and Scratchy appeared in together being a spoof of Steamboat Willie with Itchy in the role of Mickey and Scratchy in the role of Pete.
    • Neither mentioned pastiche is directly shown, but the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" has Shary Bobbins cut off Homer before he can compare her to Mary Poppins and assure him that she is a completely original character like "Rickey Rouse" or "Monald Muck".
    • "A Tree Grows in Springfield" has a flashback of a young Kent Brockman attempting to interview a theme park mascot bearing some resemblance to Mickey Mouse, only for the mascot actor to take off his mask and rudely rebuke young Kent for bothering him while he's on his break.
  • Model Planning: A few episodes, such as when they try to use a rocket to stop the comet in "Bart's Comet". Each time, the model ends with Moe's Bar destroyed in flames.
  • Moment of Lucidity: Played for Laughs in one episode. The family bemoans the state of the park, and the Crazy Cat Lady comes up and agrees that it's disgraceful. The family is shocked by her eloquence, and she reveals that she "enjoys brief moments of lucidity" thanks to a psychoactive medication. Marge takes a closer look at the pills in her bottle and points out they're merely Reese's Pieces. The Crazy Cat Lady immediately reverts to her gibbering, cat-throwing self.
  • Mondegreen: Invoked in "Homer Loves Flanders":
    Flanders: [[upon seeing Lenny and Carl] Oh, looks like it's time for me to duck again.
    Homer: No, I want everyone to know that [yelling out the car window] this is Ned Flanders, my friend!
    Lenny: What did he say?
    Carl: I dunno, something about bein' gay.
  • Money Dumb:
    • Krusty the Clown is routinely shown to be careless with his expenses, relying on a ridiculous amount of cheap merchandising keeping him afloat. This becomes a plot device in "Homie the Clown", where wasteful spending and incompetent gambling get him in trouble with the mafia.
    • Homer himself is constantly throwing away his money due to a combination of impulse buying, his many Zany Schemes and overall stupidity.
    Financial Officer: You throw over one thousand dollars a month into local wishing wells.
    Homer: Of course, you idiot. I'm wishing for more money.
    Financial Officer: (...)Three subscriptions to Vanity Fair?
    Homer: I have three bathrooms, don't I?
  • Monkeys on a Typewriter: Burns employs one
    Burns: "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?!" You stupid monkey!
  • Monster Fangirl: In "Pranksta Rap", Kirk Van Houten is arrested for kidnapping Bart. Even though he is innocent, Kirk is happy to be in jail because he has a cleaner home, three meals a day and single women cheering for him.
  • Monstrous Seal: In one episode, Homer reads an article in Reader's Digest magazine which describes the bark of a sea lion as a sound all polar explorers dread.
  • Mood Whiplash: There's an episode where Homer's clowning around in a stadium with a t-shirt launcher. Homer gets distracted, moves out of the way... and the cannon hits Maude Flanders, sending her falling off the back of the stadium to her death.
  • Moonwalk Dance:
    • As part of his dancing as a Springfield mascotte in "Dancin' Homer" Homer performs a moonwalk.
    • In the episode "Stark Raving Dad", where the real Michael Jackson voiced himself Jackson (as the mental patient Leon Kompowski who thinks he is Jackson) demonstrates this dance because Homer has never heard of the famous singer. Homer is amazed at the moonwalk and asks Michael: "How do you do that thing with your feet?" Jackson shows him, Homer tries, but he slides forwards instead of backwards. Later in the episode, after Bart is informed by phone that Michael Jackson will pay a visit to his house, he tells Marge that Homer is in an asylum and performs the moonwalk while humming the melody of "Beat It" at the same time.
    • Homer does the move correctly in "He Loves To Fly And D'ohses" while preparing to bowl.
    • In the couch gag of "Them, Robot" Leon Kompowski (from the episode "Stark Raving Dad") is seen moonwalking by for a brief moment when the clip show mentions the year 1991.
  • Motivational Lie: When Bart gets super glue all over him, Dr. Hibbert tells him about the painful injections Bart will have to get in his spine. Bart begins sweating in terror, causing the glue to come off.
    Dr. Hibbert: Nothing dissolves glue better than human sweat. I knew Bart would panic and start perspiring at the sight of this button applicator!
    Bart: Couldn't you have just turned the heat up a little?
    Dr. Hibbert: [sinister] Oh, heavens no! It had to be terror sweat!
  • Motorcycle Jousting: A bizarre variant - when Homer fights the leader of the Hell's Satans, they act out a classic sword fight from The Adventures of Robin Hood using motorcycles as foils.
  • Mountain of Food: In one of the Halloween episodes, Homer Simpson's Ironic Hell punishment was being forcefed "all the donuts in the world" and was surrounded by piles and piles of them. He successfully ate them all and was disappointed there weren't any more.
  • Mouth Flaps: The Simpsons was revolutionary for TV animation in that there were upwards of 30 different mouth positions used to correspond to the dialog. On many shows, you're lucky if you get half that.
  • Moving Buildings: Prof. Frink once invented a burglar-proof house that would sprout mechanical legs and run to a "safer location" if it detected it was being robbed. The demonstration model he built took two steps, and exploded in flames. The same thing later happened to a real house.
    Prof. Frink: [As a 'family' of to-scale dummies falls out of the house, also on fire] Well, obviously the real people won't, won't burn... quite so quickly.
  • Ms. Fanservice: We have some one-episode characters:
    • Tabitha Vixx from "Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play", an actress and Shameless Fanservice Girl. So much so that in her show a sign warns "first ten rows may get horny".
    • Titania from "Pygmoelian", a blond buxom woman. In the "Beer–Tender of the Year" contest she pulled out all the stops in using her Gag Boobs to increase her chances of winning.
    • Sara Sloane from "A Star Is Born-Again". She wears revealing fashion and nearly act in topless roles for a romantic film.
    • Julia, the Yandere fan of Homer from Homer Of Seville. When she reveals her true intentions to Homer, she strips naked and says him that can have her anytime he wants. Over the next few days, she keeps appearing in sexually suggestive positions.
    • Marge herself in "Large Marge", in which she was accidentally given breast implants and become a model, and in "The Devil Wears Nada" after sexy pictures of her end up on a charity calendar.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: A cutaway shot of the Earth shows a vaguely Hindu-esque being frantically pressing buttons in the core, apparently to keep the world working. He pauses briefly to wipe his forehead with one of his hands and sigh with exhaustion.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The details of Grandpa's war service change depending on the telling: on "Whacking Day," he was separated from his platoon during a parachute attack into Dusseldorf, Germany, and hid out by posing as a female cabaret singer (but got outed when he flirted with Hitler), in "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in: Curse of the Flying Hellfish," he was the head of a platoon that included Principal Skinner's father, Barney Gumble's grandfather, and Mr. Burns, and sometimes he wasn't even there at all (in "Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play," Grampa once again dressed as a woman to get out of being drafted).
  • Mundane Utility: In "Cape Feare", Ned Flanders wears Freddy Krueger's glove... to trim hedges.
    Ned: Maude, these new finger razors make hedge trimming as much fun as sitting through church.
  • Murder by Cremation: "Funeral for a Fiend" had Bart locked in a coffin about to be sent into a cremation oven.
  • Mushroom Samba: The most well known are:
    • Lisa's tainted water freak-out on "Selma's Choice"
    • Bart and Milhouse's Squishee bender on "Boy Scoutz 'n The Hood."
    • Apu staying up for three days and believing he's a hummingbird on "Homer and Apu."
    • Homer's insanity pepper trip on "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer."
    • The town-wide peyote drink trip from "D'oh-in in the Wind."
  • Musical Episode: "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious"note , "The President Wore Pearls"note , "My Fair Laddy"note , and "Yokel Chords"note . "All Singing, All Dancing" combines this with a Clip Show episode.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: In "Mommie Beerest", Marge and Moe begin a song, but soon into it, Moe shuts it down.
    Moe: [singing] Oh, my bar could be British / instead of arm-pittish / So why don't we all- [speaking] Aw, screw it, let's get remodeling.
  • The Mutiny: "Simpson Tide" although it is more-or-less unintentional.
  • My Card:
    • Malloy again.
    • Also Lionel Hutz in his debut appearance.
      Bart: But your ad says "No money down"?
      Hutz: '' Oh! They got this all screwed up. *changes card to say "Works on contingency?. No, Money down!*
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Combined with a Running Gag in the earlier seasons. Whenever there was a product made in America, the characters would automatically hate it.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Demonstrated in "The Frying Game" when Homer is talking to Carmen Electra.
    Carmen Electra: Uh, Homer, my eyes are up here.
    Homer: I've made my choice. [continues to stare at her breasts]
  • My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: Bart and Lisa used a variant of this on the players when they were at a minor league baseball game:
    Bart: You throw like my sister!
    Lisa: Yeah! You throw like me!
  • My Little Panzer: Many Krusty brand products aren't safe for children (or any sane human being, for that matter. Even his home pregnancy test is dangerous)
  • Myopic Architecture: Played for Laughs. One scene in the nuke plant involved going through several layers of increasing security to reach a control room, which was seen to also feature an ill-fitting, flapping screen door leading directly to the parking lot.
  • Mysterious Informant: Smithers, in "Sideshow Bob Roberts".
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: Not only lampshaded, but an initial driving force for the plot of "D'oh-in in the Wind".
    Bart: Hey, what the heck is your middle name, anyway?
    Homer: You know, I have no idea!
  • Mystery Box: What Mr. Burns tries to bribe some safety inspectors with in "Homer Goes to College."
  • Mystery Meat: One episode has the cafeteria lady grabbing something from a barrel that says something like "Grade F Organ Meat".
    • That was due to budget cuts in a Treehouse Of Horror (Nightmare Cafeteria). Grade F meat was labelled as "Mostly circus animals, some filler."
    • Also done in "Lisa The Vegetarian", when she was imagining all the animal parts involved in making the dinner on her plate - the sheep part for the lamb chop, the chicken part in the chicken breast, and the rat tail, raccoon foot, pigeon head and part of a boot in the hot dog.
      • In the same episode, there's this exchange as Lisa searches for a vegetarian option during lunch:
        Lisa: Doesn't this school serve anything that doesn't contain meat?
        Lunchlady: Possibly the meatloaf.
    • In "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Basasssssss Song", Lunchlady Doris gets her ingredients from a barrel labelled "Assorted Horse Parts - Now With More Testicles" ("More testicles mean more iron!"). And in The PTA Disbands, she's pushing gym mats into a meat grinder, while Principal Skinner insists that shredded newspaper provides "much needed roughage and essential inks".
      Lunchlady Doris: There's very little meat in these gym mats!
    • When Krusty Burger created the Ribwich, it created hordes of devotees who followed it around to selected restaurants like Grateful Dead fans (including Homer of course). Krusty has to announce that they had to stop making it since the animal they used was driven extinct.
      Homer: Cows? Pigs?
      Krusty: Think smaller, with more legs.
    • Frequent offender Lunch Lady Dorris gets another one preparing the Valentine Day Heart special. Which was actual beef hearts, one of them visibly still beating.
      Delivery man: Where do you want them?
      Dorris: Right here.
      Delivery man: On the floor?
      Dorris: I don't tell you how to do your job!
      [Delivery man unloads the hearts, which stick in a congealed clump inside the truck a few seconds before plopping out]
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In "Simpsons Spinoff Showcase" Troy McClure mentions season 9 will have an alien only Homer can see. Kang and Kodos were envisioned as aliens only Homer could see but this concept was deemed too surreal and they were kept only to the Halloween episodes.
    • Marge has originally to be revealed to be a Life in Hell rabbit in the series finale with ears under her hair. This was dropped, but appears in the arcade game.
    • Homer and Krusty were imagined as the same person before the series began and the episode "Homie the Clown" pays homage to this trope.
    • Maggie at one point plays with a tub of Play-(Annoyed Grunt). While an obvious reference to Play-Doh, "Doh!" in the scripts is listed as (Annoyed Grunt).


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