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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Itchy and his mouse race in the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons.
  • Anvilicious:
  • Base-Breaking Character: Lisa. She's either loved for being a smart and sensitive child character, or hated for being a Soapbox Sadie.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • "The Front" (a season four episode where Bart and Lisa write episodes for "The Itchy and Scratchy Show" while Homer takes a night school class to make up for his lost remedial science credit) ends with a thirty-second "comedy" short called, "The Adventures of Ned Flanders". Word of God admitted that it was just there because the episode ran short, but also that the writers enjoyed it so much that they were tempted to finish every episode with a short, each starring a different minor character. This later became the basis for the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield".
    • And the Flintstones part (where Homer sings the Flintstones theme as he's driving home from work) at the beginning of Marge vs. the Monorail is one of the series' most popular BLAM.
    • In "Deep Space Homer", Homer somehow turns into Richard Nixon during liftoff.
  • Black Hole Sue: Lisa could be this in certain episodes. Luckily, it's been dialed back considerably and she's allowed to be wrong or naive sometimes now.
  • Broken Base: One of the largest (if not THE largest) one(s) yet, counting from season 2 with focusing on the people from Springfield outside of the Simpson family, season 4 when they switch from Klasky Csupo (because of the studio's contract with Viacom (mostly Nickelodeon)) to Film Roman, season 8 with Frank Grimes, season 12 with panda rape, season 14 with going away from cells and moving into digital coloring and season 20 with the move to HD.
    • Milhouse x Lisa or Nelson x Lisa. Even the writers seem divided on it. In the future episodes, Lisa's married to, and has a daughter with, Milhouse, but doesn't seem super happy with him and still talks to Nelson.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: If we tried to list all the controversies this show sparked, we wouldn't know where to start.
  • Designated Hero: Homer Simpson is often this in the more recent episodes. Earlier, he was more of a well-intentioned bumbling idiot than an outright Jerkass.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Homer was purposely made into this by the writers in "Homer's Enemy" simply so that Frank Grimes can call him out on it.
    • Sometimes when Bart discovers a talent for something or one-ups Lisa, the show treats him like he's the bad guy because Lisa's upset and jealous over it. Depending on the episode, he either gives up his talent ("Jazzy and the Pussycats") to make Lisa happy, or Lisa comes around and the two make ammends ("Girly Edition").
  • Dork Age: Some consider the Mike Scully-era and Al Jean-era episodes to be this. The former due to Flanderization and dumb plots, the latter for being Anviliciously liberal and trying too hard to be socially and politically relevant (which has caused even recent episodes to age badly).
    • Season 11 due to its attempts to change the status quo, most of which never stuck or were quickly undone.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • The fandom has a tendency to give Sideshow Bob this treatment, playing up his Angst while playing down the fact that his life goal is to murder Bart, a little boy.
    • Snake Jailbird gets this to a lesser extent.
  • Dude, Not Funny:
    • The panda rape in "Homer vs. Dignity".
    • Frank Grimes' death. The man gets forgotten about at his own funeral, because the man he despised in life (with good reason) fell asleep and said something mildly amusing. Unless you find it hilarious.
    • Bart's Disproportionate Retribution courtesy of the citizens of Springfield (causing him to nearly commit suicide) in "The Boy Of Bummer". This episode was aired around the time bullying-related suicides were on the rise.
      • And after incidents like Phoebe Prince's suicide, it went from this to a borderline Moral Event Horizon on behalf of the writers.
    • Homer's treatment of Flanders in When Flanders Failed.
    • The Precious "parody" in Love is a Many Strangled Thing which was full of unfunny fat-shaming.
    • Bart is a mischievous little brat, hence his name, but sometimes he just goes too far. In My Sister, My Sitter, Bart pushes Lisa so far that she practically has a nervous breakdown and nearly loses a career in babysitting that is never seen or heard from again; and in The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, he causes millions of dollars in property damage by lining up a load of police megaphones and saying 'Testing!' into them, the resultant shockwave demolishing the town. While this is Played for Laughs, Bart is still sent to military school for it.
    • The Simpsons has also invoked this trope this in Real Life. In A Streetcar Named Marge, a song was sung about how bad New Orleans was. After complaints, the writers relented and wrote an 'apology' in the form of a chalkboard gag in Homer the Heretic's title sequence, stating 'I will not defame New Orleans'.
      • Similarly, in the episode Sweets and Sour Marge, Chief Wiggum remarks 'Even the fire doesn't want them' after some Butterfinger bars are thrown on a fire, only for the fire to spit them out. This was intended as satire, but Nestlé, who had been in a partnership with the Simpsons for a good few years, did not take the joke lightly. They pulled out of the partnership, leading yet another public-chalkboard-statement to appear in the episode after the next, Half-Decent Proposal: 'I will not bite the hand that feeds me Butterfingers.'
    • Every time when Homer strangles Bart.
      • Except when Bart fights back.
    • Grampa being shunned by Springfield and attempting suicide in "Million Dollar Abie".
    • The second half of "Miracle of Evergreen Terrace", which several reviewers considered too mean-spirited to be funny.
    • "Flaming Moe" is very unsettling to watch if you're LGBT.
    • The ending to the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon parodying the beginning of Up
    • Also, the depiction of the military in the Simpson episode "G.I. (annoyed grunt)" would qualify as well. There was even at least one scathing negative review for how the armed forces were essentially treated like dirt, also implied they trick kids into joining, and the fact that they attempted to satirize the Military given what was going on at the time (such as the Abu Grahab incident) made it worse.
    • The anorexia jokes in "Sleeping With The Enemy". Especially when you realize little girls developing eating disorders was a serious issue back when this was made (and still is).
    • Lisa's borderline-sociopathic treatment of Bart in "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister". Even if Bart had been pretty nasty to her at the beginning of the episode, she took it too far.
    • Most of Moe's suicide attempts, though a few tend to Cross the Line Twice.
    • A shot in the season 24 episode "A Tree Grows in Springfield" showing a picture of Kirk and Luanne arguing with Milhouse appears to be cutting his arm with a butter knife, which went unnoticed until it was brought to attention on Simpsons fan forum and hive of cyber-bullies NoHomers in January 2015.
    • The bullying Lisa experiences in "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", particularly near the end where she freezes and slips during a dangerous final endurance test and the boys start shouting for her to slip, fall, and possibly be killed! While Lisa's no stranger to being bullied, this goes above and beyond the usual heckling and snubbing she experiences at Springfield Elementary. Thankfully, Bart puts a stop to it by cheering Lisa on and she's able to finish without another incident.
  • Ear Worm:
    • The theme song.
    • Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl!
    • Hank Scorpio's theme song.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: Apu thanks to the 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu that alleged Apu to be a racist, and outdated, caricature of South Indian culture.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Sideshow Bob. Originally he was going to be a one-shot villain, but has kept coming back. He has been voted the 66th greatest villain of all time.
    • For one-shot examples, Hank Scorpio and Frank Grimes count.
    • Fat Tony, Lionel Hutz, Disco Stu and Troy McClure. Like Bob, the writers figured each character would make one-shot appearances, but kept bringing them back because 1) they enjoyed them so much, and 2) the voice actors had a blast doing them.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The moral of "Lisa the Drama Queen" came across as "The real world is supposed to suck, deal with it, and any form of escapism or fantasy is wrong".
    • Also, "Your grades are more important than your friend's mental health".
      • What's even worse that it seemed to be going for "Keep your fantasies seperate from reality" which is actually a pretty decent aesop.
  • Fan Dumb: Been around so long that even professional reviewers get away with outstandingly negative reviews over the most trivial crap.
  • Fan Nickname: Jerkass Homer is the nickname that fans of the classic episodes give to post-Flanderization Homer.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • The episode "The Principal and the Pauper", as well as giving the Reset Button at the end of the episode, is widely hated and disregarded by fans.
    • Another much-hated episode is "A Star is Burns", not so much for being poorly written (it does have a few Funny Moments), but for being made pretty much to advertise The Critic. Simpsons fans hated it for that reason, Groening had his creator's credit removed from the episode, and even fans of The Critic didn't like the episode, mostly due to the fact that Jay Sherman become an über-talented Nice Guy.
    • "That '90s Show" for pretty much destroying the entire show's canon. Possibly Canon Dis Continuity as well, as the events of it are never brought up again.
    • "The Boys of Bummer" for being universally hated.
    • To a lesser extent, some fans ignore any Sideshow Bob episodes where he has a wife and son. It helps that in his latest appearance, they are neither seen nor mentioned.
    • "Lisa Goes Gaga" given how much screentime Lady Gaga gets.
    • As such a long last lasting show, there have been a few episodes that could have serviceably been the Grand Finale. A good example is the last episode of Season 11 "Behind the Laughter", even if it was a Bizarro Episode, and people ignoring everything that came afterwards.
  • Fetish Retardant: Marge's hairdo and voice. If it weren't for them, she'd be as pretty as the show implies her to be.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment:
    • Go back and watch the season seven episode "Two Bad Neighbors" (especially the part where Homer tricks George Bush, Sr. into thinking that his sons, George Bush, Jr. and Jeb Bush are outside) and the season nine episode "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" and try to laugh at them now that America has gone through eight years of George Bush, Jr. and doesn't have the World Trade Center towers anymore. Even the writers on the DVD commentaries for both episodes have pointed this out (on the "Two Bad Neighbors" commentary, they admitted that they didn't know George Bush, Sr. had a son who shared his name -- much like the audience who first saw the episode in 1996 -- and chalked it up to Homer being a moron and on the "City of New York..." commentary, the writers felt really bad for putting in the line about how all the jerks are in the first tower of the World Trade Center). Also, the season twelve episode "New Kids on the Blecch" near the end of the third act has one scene in which LT Smash goes to New York, with a brief shot of the WTC towers, to destroy the M.A.D. magazine building which Bart has visited before already in the season nine episode already mentioned.
    • Other episodes that are harder to watch now than they were years ago: "Much Apu About Nothing," (Arizona's harsh illegal immigrant laws are much like the ones from this episode - though this can also fall under Older Than You Think), "Bart of Darkness" and "Realty Bites" (Maude is feared to be dead in both episodes -- then season 11 had her Killed Off for Real).
    • "Treehouse of Horror X" used a Millennium Bug segment to make a joke about Dick Clark being a robot that basically breaks down once Y 2 K hits, which played off a common perception at the time that Clark never seemed to age and was almost inhumanly cheerful at all times. Four years later, once he suffered a stroke that took an obvious toll on his looks and behavior, it's hard to remember that time.
      • It's even worse in April 2012, as Dick Clark had died recently.
    • Watching this interview reminded this troper of the Season 11 episode "Eight Misbehavin'," when Apu's wife, Manjula, gives birth to their octuplets. In the episode, Apu and Manjula, left without resources to raise their children are approached by the owner of the Springfield Zoo, who promptly puts the children in a nursery and puts them on display as a zoo attraction. Interestingly, the episode also satirized the media attention given to the Mc Caughey septuplets (born in 1997) and the tourist attraction of the Dionne quintuplets (born in 1934).
    • The scene in Lisa's Date With Density where Nelson beats up Milhouse badly enough to hospitalize him after he gave Nelson a love note from Lisa is much harder to watch after the highly publicized rash of suicides from anti-gay bullying and the murder of Lawrence King.
    • In "Realty Bites," Marge and the kids make up a song to help her study for real estate test. The final lyrics? "...thanks to Fannie Mae / They back your bank!" Flash forward to 2008, where the American economy tanked in part due to the housing crisis - with a number casting suspicious glances at Fannie Mae's practices.
    • During the credits for "All Singing, All Dancing", Snake repeatedly shoots his gun to get the music to stop playing. The first time he shoots, it occurs over Phil Hartman's name. Phil was murdered the same year. Coincidence, yes, but definitely eerie in reruns.
    • In "Brush with Greatness", Ringo Starr mentions he'll take his time answering every piece of fan mail. In 2008, Ringo would say he would no longer accept any more fan mail.
    • The Simpsons Spinoff Showcase ends with Troy Mc Clure answering the question "How will they stay fresh and funny after eight years?" He shows off several stale sitcom gimmicks like weddings, long lost siblings, large breaks from realism and even a spoof of The Great Gazoo which will keep the series fresh from Season 9 and beyond. Season 9 is generally considered to be the point where The Simpsons started its downfall by trading in strong storytelling and characterization for wacky plots and cartoon hijinx.
    • In "Team Homer", we see Homer possessing the obviously stolen Academy Award given to Dr. Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields, with Ngor's name crossed out and Homer's written in. That joke lost all humor only a month after it originally aired, after Ngor got murdered, so viewers unaware that this aired before it happened would think Homer killed Ngor for the award. In syndication, the scene was changed to show that the award belonged to Don Ameche, who had died a few years earlier but of natural causes.
    • YMMV of course on whether it is Funny Aneurysm Moment or Hilarious in Hindsight, but some of the jokes regarding Quimby's Expy status of the Kennedys will seem somewhat painful after Ted Kennedy's death and the end of the Kennedy family for good.
    • In a Spring Break related episode where Bart gets a fake license, Homer, while subbing in for Bart's regular prank calls to Moe, has his prank call ("Eura Snotball") backfire due to Moe repeating the name to him for clarification and state, a'la Moe's regular threats to Bart, "When I get a hold of you, I'm going to staple a flag to you and mail you to Iran!" The line becomes significantly less funny with the controversy currently occuring where Iran is undergoing its own Iranian Nuclear Weapons program with the potential use against the United States and its allies, as well as attempting to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador on American Soil.
    • Chief Wiggum once makes a comment that he'll get shot three days before retirement. Fast forward to 2012 when a New Hampshire police chief was killed just days before retirement.
    • "The Boys Of Bummer" became even more hated after more and more bullying-related suicides got media exposure.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Lisa, who isn't particularly well-liked in the USA, is the most popular character in the show in Japan.
    • And then there's Willie. While certainly not disliked in the USA, he obviously has a much bigger following in Scotland.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "Lisa's Substitute," Homer tries to console Lisa about Mr. Bergstrom leaving. He says that he's lucky to have never lost someone special to him because everyone special to him is under his roof. It's a sweet moment for Homer, but a few years later we learn that his mother was in hiding and that he actually thought she had died when he was a kid. Al Jean on the DVD Commentary even acknowledged the trope and that the Retcon makes Homer look unintentionally bad.
    • Apu and Manjula's relationship, full stop. They first met due to an Arranged Marriage, but when they finally met they turned out to have excellent chemistry and honestly cared about each other. Consider the episode "I'm With Cupid" where they have a fight, and to apologize Apu showers Manjula with gifts in the days leading to Valentine's. Now go look at how the relationship went after Apu's affair, where Manjula's defining trait is being a bitter, hateful harpy and Apu is treated as the ultimate Henpecked Husband. Even worse, the strain in their relationship started with the birth of the octuplets, which the Simpsons were responsible for (pretty much all of them slipped Manjula fertility drugs). Which means that the breakdown of Apu's marriage and the hell he's been through is all their fault...
      • Made even worse when you consider that during their wedding (ironically, in the Simpsons' own backyard), Manjula even suggests to Apu that if their marriage "doesn't work out [they] can always get a divorce."
  • Hate Dumb: A lot of the hate the series receives comes in this flavour.
    • If you know Spanish, here you have a challenge. Go to YouTube and look for videos from the series dubbed in Spanish, both in Spaniard Spanish and Latin American Spanish. If you find A SINGLE VIDEO in which in its comments there's NOT a raging war between Spaniards and Latin Americans bitching each other about which of the two Spanish dubs is better (including racist and xenophobic comments on both parts), buy yourself a medal. You've just completed a quest which rivals that of the freaking Holy Grail.
      • The saddest part of all is that BOTH dubs are awesome on their own right! You could say this argument put the "Dumb" in Hate Dumb.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The background music at the end of "Rosebud".
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Flaming Homer/Moe episode centers around a mixed-drink spiked with cough syrup. Flash forward a few years: Purple Drank
      • Could also be considered Harsher in Hindsight when you realize people such as Pimp C have died from Drank related deaths
    • In an earlier season, after Maude's death Ned goes on a date with Edna Krabbapple. Fast forward to Season 23, they are now a couple.
    • "I think Homer gets stupider every year." Can you even recognize him anymore?
    • In one episode, Krusty re-invents himself as a caustic observational comedian, who eventually sells out to pitch for a enormous SUV, "The Canyonero." Denis Leary is a real-life caustic observational comedian who has recently become the pitchman for the enormous Ford F-150.
    • The Flintstones was the first ever primetime cartoon. 25 years after it ended, The Simpsons came. Now it looks like the 23rd season will be its last, soon to be replaced by Seth MacFarlane's Flintstones reboot, thus completing the cycle.
      • Not so fast! Fox just confirmed that the Simpsons might get a 25th season on it's own network if the voice actors are willing to put up with the pay cuts.
    • This tribute to The Cosby Show.
    • This quote from the episode "Trash of the Titans":

 Homer: Good news, everyone! I got in a fight with the garbage men and they're cutting off our service!

  • One episode guest-starring Mel Gibson as himself plays on the idea that he is so admired by the public that it makes him uncomfortable. "Cops won't even give me tickets!" he says. Awkward...
    • In the Treehouse of Horror short "Clown Without Pity", a naked Homer has run screaming from the bathtub, passing by Marge and her sisters as he streaks through the house. Patty quips "There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality." Years later, she comes out of the closet.
    • "You Only Move Twice" ends with Homer becoming owner of the Denver Broncos, and Homer's upset because they were a terrible team. Two years after the episode aired the Broncos won the Superbowl.
    • In "The Devil and Homer Simpson" segment of Treehouse of Horror IV, Homer, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, is forced to spend the day in hell, in the "Hell Labs Ironic Punishment Division". In the pre-Series Finale of Futurama, Dan Castellaneta voices the Robot Devil, who deals out what he believes to be ironic punishments. Note that the episode "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" aired in 2004, and "Treehouse of Horror IV" aired in 1993.
    • In the 1996 episode "Homerpalooza", Homer tells a record store clerk about the Us Festival ("The what festival?") and its organizer, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers. "What computers?" is the reaction. This was the dark days at Apple, right before Steve Jobs returned. At the time, Apple was really seen as being on the way out.
      • A similar situation happened in "Itchy and Scratchy Land" where John Travolta is shown reduced to working as a bartender in a 70s themed bar. The episode was released in the same year that Pulp Fiction came out, which massively revitalized Travolta's career.
    • In "Bart Gets an F," Bart worries about having to repeat the fourth grade and even has a fantasy sequence where he has been stuck there for decades. That was in 1990, and he's still in the fourth grade over twenty years later.
    • In "Bart Gets Hit by a Car" Satan tells Bart that's he's not supposed to die until the next time the Yankees win the pennant. This was back in the early 90s when the Yankees were a mediocre team but now it's just laughable.
    • In "Secrets to a Successful Marriage", Homer, when attempting to teach a class regarding marriages, ends up espousing secrets of Homer and Marge's marriage by identifying themselves as "Mr. and Mrs. X", and then accidentially revealing Mr. X's identity, which eventually had him exiled from the house. Later, in the episode "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", Homer once again adopts the name Mr. X to reveal secrets, this time to the entire population of Springfield relating to various misdeeds that other Springfielders committed, eventually ended up revealing his true identity, and then was exiled to the island (ironically for making up a conspiracy that actually existed).
    • In 2005, a Simpsons book was published called "Comic Book Guy's Book of Popular Culture". On one page, it lists a number of things that are on CBG's mind. One of the items listed is, "Secret fondness for My Little Pony." Fast-forward a few years later...
    • The episode "Homer Goes to College" has a combination of this and Technology Marches On. In the episode, Bart and Lisa are understandably highly furious that the nerds rudely interrupted their watching of Scratchy finally getting revenge on Itchy. Especially since Krusty said "WHOA!! They'll never let us show that again, not in a million years!" Thanks to YouTube and the special features sections on DVD's, now they can watch it all they want.
    • In the DVD commentaries, they mention a gag from an early episode that becomes an entire plot later on. In a season 4 episode, Homer and Marge run into Artie Ziff at a reunion and Artie admits he's a millionaire. Homer says "I bet you wouldn't trade it all for a weekend with my wife." 9 years later, Artie offers Homer a million dollars for a weekend with Marge. In the episode where Marge and Homer are framed for murder, Homer is told he could be a prison snitch to escape the death penalty. Three years later, Homer was a prison snitch. In a season six episode, Bart wants to go to Alaska when Homer becomes a pilot. Guess what the second act of The Simpsons Movie is about. The list goes on and on.
    • YMMV for this or Funny Aneurysm Moment, but in The Ned Zone (the Halloween mini-episode where Ned apparently gets the ability to foresee someone's death by touching them a'la The Dead Zone) has Ned Flanders remarking after reading a newspaper headline for Rosie O Donnell's show being cancelled that he apparently predicted, but then he mentions that he didn't need psychic powers to predict that outcome. This burn against the quality of Rosie O Donnell's old talk show (as well as its prior cancellation) becomes absolutely hysterical after her revived talk show ends up cancelled due to a large lack of viewership on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and it being cancelled before they had a proper season finale.
    • The episode where Homer gets kicked out of an all-you-can-eat restaurant for eating too much? Ladies and gentlemen, the real life Homer Simpson.
    • In "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson", Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie see a Broadway musical called "Kicking It!", which was inspired by Robert Downey, Jr.'s troublesome behavior at the time. The lyrics have gotten even funnier in light of Charlie Sheen's behavior in 2011-12.
  • Ho Yay: Smithers' relationship with Burns can be seen in this context.
  • Jerkass Woobie: As nasty as Bart is, he can be considered this at times, as he's been trapped in a well ("Radio Bart"), nearly killed by Burns ("Curse of the Flying Hellfish") and Groundskeeper Willie ("Girly Edition"), Driven to Suicide ("The Boys of Bummer"), cruelly dumped by a girl on fault of his friend ("The Good, The Sad, and the Drugly"), and held a grudge against by Sideshow Bob (who has tried to "kill [him] so many times it's not funny anymore"). The list goes on and on.
    • Mr. Burns is generally an evil Jerkass, but some of his focus episodes show some genuine humanity. In "Monty Can't Buy Me Love," for example, he is honestly trying to be a better person and earn the people's love.
    • Selma, in episodes like "Selma's Choice" and "A Fish Called Selma".
  • Karma Houdini: Various characters might arguably qualify as this, but Burns really stands out among them. Just look through his list of Kick the Dog moments, and think about the implications of him still being alive, wealthy, and prominent, and still having so much authority, after all of them.
    • Bart, considering all the stuff he gotten away with. He also inverts this trope, as the few times he's put though hell he's usually done nothing wrong.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Sideshow Bob. His murder schemes are considerably clever; they just happen to get thwarted by circumstance.
  • Memetic Mutation: Oh so many, it now has its own section.
    • Many fans may not remember how when The Simpsons first came out, Bart was the central character and almost everything he said and/or did became a meme.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In an early episode, "Crepes of Wrath," Bart is treated like a slave by two mean winemakers in France. At first, this is amusing as we see Bart get what's coming to him for his brattiness. However, it fades when you see Bart sleeping with nothing so much as a blanket after reading a letter from his mother as the abuse he is suffering begins to sink in. When the winemakers finally force Bart to drink wine doctored with antifreeze, putting him in real danger of being killed or blinded, the louts sail over the moral line and all your sympathy goes to the boy, which makes his eventual escape and revenge all so sweet.
    • Also, in "Curse of the Flying Hellfish" it's revealed that Mr. Burns and Abe Simpson are the two surviving members of their unit from World War 2, and that the last surviving member would get to keep a case of old paintings stolen from German homes during the war. Not content to leave which of them survives to chance, Burns hires an assassin to kill Abe, though the assassin fails to kill him. Later on, Bart convinces Abe to go with him to retrieve the treasure instead, but Burns shows up too and takes the paintings at gunpoint. When Bart calls Burns a coward and an embarrassment to the name Hellfish, Burns points the gun at Bart's head. Abe says Burns can take the paintings so long as he does not hurt the boy; Burns says he would rather do both, and then kicks Bart into the empty case and kicks the empty case into the water. That's right, even when Burns could have taken the art without hurting the child, he attempts to drown the child anyway, for no apparent reason other than that the child insulted him. Furthermore, Burns gets away with these attempted murders as well. And when Abe corners Burns...
  • Sideshow Bob manages to avoid this for eighteen seasons straight. However, he finally crosses it when he decides to get people to hate Bart while he's on trial, fake his death, and, with the help of his whole family, burn Bart alive in a coffin being pushed into a furnace. Fortunately, he is caught and, along with the rest of his family, is sentenced to 87 years in prison.
    • The population of Springfield in "The Boys Of Bummer".
    • The Preschool Teacher's treatment of Bart in "Lisa Sax". She's the reason why Bart is Bart today.
    • Homer crosses this in The Movie when he dumps a silo full of pig waste into Lake Springfield after the town just cleaned it up, and as a result causes a nuclear apocalypse that leads to the town being confined in a dome. He grabs his family and flees to Alaska to avoid owning his mistake, then refuses to help them when they want to go back to save Springfield from being nuked off the map. It takes Marge leaving him and taping a Dear John message over their wedding video, plus a hallucination brought on by an Inuit Shaman's therapy to make him realize what an asshole he's been, and he spends the rest of the movie pulling himself back from the MEH to do the right thing. It takes a few tries, but with a little help he manages to get it done.
  • More Popular Spinoff: To The Tracey Ullman Show.
  • My Real Daddy: With such a long-running series with many writers, several showrunners and Loads and Loads of Characters, this has happened. For example, while Matt Groening created the family and several other familiar characters (such as Krusty), Sam Simon deserves a lot of credit for fleshing them out during the development from the shorts to the series. Animators/directors David Silverman, Wes Archer and Rich Moore are also credited with reworking the initial character designs and defining the overall look of the series.
  • Never Live It Down: Do the Bartman...

 "That is so 1991."

    • Lampshaded in "Skinner's Sense of Snow." Bart gets a look at his student record and reads the way he was originally characterized:

 "'Underachiever and proud of it.' How old is this thing?"

  • Nightmare Fuel: The Treehouse Of Horror comic book series. Like the TV episodes, but with very little comedy.
  • Nightmare Fuel Vanity Plate: The Gracie Films Logo, due to the sudden darkness and the woman saying "shhhh".
  • Most Annoying Sound: Lisa screaming, to some.
    • Flanders screaming like a girl. YMMV though, since it's funny to some.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Mr. Burns' subduing and capture of the Loch Ness Monster in "Monty Can't Buy Me Love." Even being swallowed by the beast couldn't stop him.
  • Older Than They Think: Adam West was Adam Westing seven years before Family Guy premiered in "Mr Plow".
    • Homer's "D'oh! was Dan Castellaneta's nod to Jimmy Finlayson, an actor featured in many Laurel and Hardy productions over half a century earlier. Castellaneta recalled that Finlayson's characters often exclaimed "dohhhhhhh!" when exasperated, so he threw it in for the "annoyed grunt" directions in scripts. (He had to shorten it due to time constraints, though.)
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Marge (Homer too, to a lesser extent) in "Catch Them If You Can". The caring housewife we know is now a hateful and self-centered woman who apparently resents being a mother and would gladly abandon Bart, Lisa, and Maggie (although they were with Grandpa) at the drop of a hat.
  • Overused Running Gag: The Parody Names being constantly used in the Al Jean-era episodes.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: With few exceptions, most Simpsons games are terrible. The arcade game and The Simpsons Hit and Run, however, are regarded as classics, and the 2007 multi-platform game, despite camera issues has some some genuinely hilarious moments.
  • Rooting for the Empire: With Flanderization being what it is, you can find a good number of fans who wish that Sideshow Bob would just get the deed done already.
  • The Scrappy: Depending on the viewer, ANY character can be this. The most discussed cases are presented here.
    • Marge after Flanderization, to more than a few viewers, just because she's totally boring and doesn't let her own family (or even the people in Springfield) have any fun.
      • Also for being a stereotypical housewife.
      • It doesn't help that her very existence is now a Take That at feminists.
    • Lisa. It's already bad that a case could be made for her being a Creator's Pet, but it gets worse whenever she forces everyone to follow her beliefs. Usually in an episode about her learning to respect other's beliefs.
      • It can be suggested that she not only gives the message to the characters, but also to the audience, to extreme disturbances.
    • Gil Gunderson, for not being funny and having no personality other than being pathetic. He's Demoted to Extra now thankfully.
    • Mr. Burns, when he leans too much into Cartoonish Supervillainy rather than the Jerkass Magnificent Bastard he usually is.
    • Chief Wiggum, when his behaviour gets out of hand, and is more a danger (especially when it's about people's lives) then simply a comic relief.
    • Mayor Quimby has a bit the same reason as Chief Wiggum, in the earlier episodes he was just a JFK Expy that only was there for comic relief. Now he is overused, also puts the entire town in danger only to have himself get richer and the JFK jokes are starting to becoming insulting.
    • Ralph Wiggum, when the jokes about him are more disturbing than funny.
    • Sideshow Mel because every time something happens in the presence of a crowd, he's always to one to give a comment in a very hammy way.
    • Rich Texan.
    • Lindsay Naegle, for being obnoxious.
    • Homer, for various reasons.
    • Ned Flanders to some, when the Flanderization got out of hand.
      • Rod and Todd can be sometimes even worse then their father.
    • Dr. Marvin Monroe, his raspy voice is unbearable to hear and was becoming a strain on Harry Shearer's voice. Even Matt Groening disliked the character and retired him because of this.
    • Some fans despise Sideshow Bob's wife and son, due to how jarring their presence tends to be. Notably, in Bob's appearances since "Funeral for a Fiend," they have not appeared or been referenced.
    • One time example and also in-universe example is Birch Barlow in "Sideshow Bob Roberts".
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The very early seasons were seen as edgy, subversive and shocking, to the point where the President of the United States (George H.W. Bush) complained.
  • So Okay It's Average: Seasons 9 and 10, in between the "golden age" and the Dork Age.
    • Most episodes from season 24 got this kind of reception as well.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: When the series first started, episodes and plots were fairly divided amongst the Simpson family. However, in real-life, Bart became the Breakout Character for several years. While the writers kept things fair during this period, Bart nonetheless became the face of the show for the network and such. For example, "Bart Gets an F" was not the first episode of Season 2 to be produced, but it was aired first because of his popularity. The show eventually shifted to focus more on Homer than Bart, let alone the rest of the family.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: Homer in Homer The Heretic.
  • Surprise Creepy: "Homer Loves Flanders", "Rosebud", and "Boy Scoutz N Da Hood" are ordinary episodes with endings that count as Nightmare Fuel.
    • "Yokel Chords" ending implies that Dark Stanley, who murdered a lot of children in gruesome ways was actually real
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A lot of fans think that new episodes are wasted, because typically they spend 5 or 10 minutes setting up things that seem that they will be the main plot of story, but later they are forgotten and rest of the episode has nothing to do with the beginning, while in older episodes the main plot was set during the beginning of the episode, not the middle of it. For example the episode "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" starts with Marge yelling at Homer for not going to Lisa's award ceremony, Homer decides to prove her wrong and wants to make sure that he is in the auditorium before anyone else. This seems to be the main plot of the episode, but when it is forgotten and the main plot is about Marge and bank robber and has nothing to do with Homer getting to Lisa's ceremony.
    • "Homer The Whopper" could have been a funny episode about the making of a superhero movie in the vein of "Radioactive Man", but instead focuses on the overused plot of Homer sticking to another diet, with all the movie stuff happening in the b-plot.
    • The episode where Maude dies. It could of been a Tear Jerker Crowning Moment of Heartwarming episode, but more than half of it was Homer setting up Ned with horrible new girlfriends.
  • Toy Ship: In "Bart's Friend Falls in Love" there's Milhouse van Houten and Samantha Stanky, who was then dragged to an all-girls' convent school thanks to Bart revealing the relationship to her father. In "The Bart Wants What It Wants", he also had a relationship with Greta Wolfcastle after she was dumped by Bart, but in the end she dumped Milhouse along with Bart, lacking interest in both of them. Also, Milhouse has a crush on Lisa Simpson, as well, in a few past episodes.
    • Lisa Simpson herself has several relationships with a few characters in several episodes: In "I Love Lisa", Lisa went on a play date with Ralph Wiggum, who then became friends afterwards; she has short-lived relationship with Nelson Muntz in "Lisa's Date with Density", but in later episodes he helps her from time to time; and Luke Stetson in "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", but broke up with him due to Lisa's jealousy against Clara (who is revealed to be Luke's sister). In The Simpsons Movie, there's Colin whom Lisa has a crush on, however since then after the end of the movie, what became of their relationship is a mystery. Subverting this trope, she also has a crush on an older teen activist named as Jesse Grass in "Lisa the Tree Hugger".
      • In the season 22 subplot of the episode "Homer Scissorhands", Lisa rejects Milhouse's declaration of love to her causing Milhouse to get depressed. However, the new girl in school named Taffy was impressed by him and both he and she walked off together, which causes Lisa to develop jealous feelings for her and causes her to spy on both Milhouse and Taffy. By the end, Taffy dumps Milhouse knowing that he still has feelings for Lisa. Confused that he's denied a relationship with another girl or Lisa, Lisa herself tried to find the words to explain to him why she acted that way, but she only replied in the only way she could: A kiss on his lips out of pity. With this kiss alone, could this provoke the rise of Lisa X Milhouse shippers?
    • Despite his strong concern for cooties, Bart Simpson has his own encounter with many relationships with girls: Terri or Sherri, whom Bart has an affection to (according to Homer); Jessica Lovejoy, the daughter of Timothy and Helen Lovejoy, in "Bart's Girlfriend"; Greta Wolfcastle, daughter of Ranier Wolfcastle of McBain Fame in "The Bart Wants What It Wants"; Gina Vendetti in "The Wandering Juvie"; Jenny in "The Good, the Sad, and the Drugly"; and Nikki McKenna in "Stealing first Base". Most of them ended in breakups while others are unresolved. However, in the episode "New Kid on the Block", Bart does have a crush on Laura Powers who is in her teens, which subverts this trope. Same for Darcy, who is also in her teens, in "Little Big Girl", in which she thinks of Bart as a teen adult before Bart tells her the truth, before they get married, that he is really ten years old, and even then went through with getting married anyways for the sake of her unborn child (she evidentially slept with a Norwegian exchange student, and she's pregnant). Only reason he didn't is because both of their parents stopped them (having somehow managed to reach Utah in time upon finding out), and Darcy's parents suggested they raise her child as if she was one of her mother's children (the mom was pregnant at the time) to cover up her out-of-wedlock pregnancy, thus making the marriage unnecessary anyways. He also almost married Mary, Cletus' daughter, for the sake of his prized cow, due to some misunderstandings about hillbilly traditions. They both called it off in the end (they both know they're way too young for that). They had pretty good Ship Tease moments in the episode, however.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Common in early 00s-episodes, with a comedic A plot and a Slice of Life B plot, or vice-versa.
  • Ugly Cute: Moe.
  • Uncanny Valley: The grotesque animation style in the Tracy Ullman shorts.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Homer's treatment of Marge can be at best mean and at worst abusive. It also doesn't help that the creators seem to want to hammer the message that a husband can be awful to his wife and she will always forgive him in the end.
    • That said one could argue this is balanced in later seasons, where Marge's own increasing Jerkass traits make her less than pleasant towards Homer at times as well, (eg. The Strong Arms Of Ma or Don't Fear The Roofer, where for once Homer is being rather docile and sympathetic to Marge's callousness).
    • Also sometimes subverted, such as when we find out that the woman Patty wants to marry is male. He explains why he was hiding [to be a lady golfer] and why he hid it from her ...you fell in love with me as a woman. When he asks if she will marry him anyway, the music swells, and despite previously being not at all interested in men, it looks like she might...

 Patty: Hell no! I like girls!

Wedding guests pause, then applaud.

    • Another one involving Marge: her obsession with housework is a little ridiculous even for a TV show character. Cases in point: the episode "You Only Move Twice", where she's so bored by the lack of housework (it was all being done for her) that she turns to alcohol for something to do; and the later one "Skinner's Sense of Snow", where she says watching the female circus contortionists assume their unique positions was giving her ideas... for housework. If Marge were in the same situation as Cinderella, she'd be probably happy about it. (Despite that, there was a magazine where on the cover, Marge stood in for the famous picture of Rosie the Riveter).
      • That's the joke, although it is a fairly dark one. When she should be happy, she never is. Once she's become an alcoholic in "You Only Move Twice" she actually says "I'm drinking a glass of wine every day. I know doctors say you should have a glass and a half, but I just can't drink that much!"
    • Julio and Grady, two minor characters that are so stereotypically gay they can sometimes make Brian's cousin Jasper look tame. They're widely disliked by LGBT fans of the show.
    • Patty is the only confirmed lesbian on the show, but is almost always portrayed as ugly and unpleasant.
      • Well, her straight twin acts and looks the exact same way.
    • Am I the only one who think Eleanor Abernathy's background story suggests that she turned into Crazy Cat Lady because she was a career woman who never found herself a man?
      • I dunno, IIRC she worked both as a doctor and a lawyer, both jobs are pretty stressful by themselves, let alone together. Not to mention that, with the amount of time that would use, it would be pretty hard to have a social life.
    • The writers have a bad habit of getting gay and transgender people mixed up.
    • "Homer The Heretic" can be seen as having a very anti-atheist/anti-agnostic message.
      • And the majority of the more recent episodes are insanely anti-religious, particularly Christian (one of the big criticisms of Flanderization).
    • The episode "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays" portays anybody who doesn't have kids of their own as a borderline Complete Monster who hates kids and is wasting their life.
  • Values Resonance: Season 6's "Homer Badman", which skewers the overly sensationalist nature of mass media, is still as relevant today as it was back in 1994.
    • "Bart the General" from season 1 feels pretty fresh in the 2010s because of the bullying problems making headlines.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Kang and Kodos are brother and sister.
  • Were Still Relevant Dammit: A common complaint about the newer seasons is their overemphasis on being "modern" which often comes across as weird and forced.
    • Pretty much any plotline involving politics.
  • What an Idiot!: Homer. Oh dear God, Homer. One example comes from Season Nine's "The Joy Of Sect", after watching a promotional picture for the Movementarians:

Homer: Wait, I'm confused. So the cops knew that internal affairs was setting them up?

Movementarian: What are you talking about? There's nothing like that in there!

Homer: Sorry, when I get bored I make up my own movie. I have a short attention span.

    • To reiterate: he got confused by the plot of his own imaginary movie...
    • Bart once poured sodium tetrasulfate onto the school's grass to write his name in big letters. Skinner catches him and expresses amazement that Bart thought he could get away with it.

 Bart: Maybe one of the other Barts did it.

Skinner: There are no other Barts!

Bart: Uh-oh.

  • What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids?: This show deals very bluntly with subjects like animal abuse, child abuse, murder, organized crime, sex, torture, and war, but because it's animated, it's frequently mistaken for a children's show.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: Marge's French dub voice is actually much more scratchy and irritating, to the point it's virtually impossible to understand her.
  • The Woobie: Moe, especially in one episode, where he falls in love with a short person called Maya. They were going to get married but she was offended when Moe tried to make himself shorter for her. His one chance at happiness was gone.
    • In the 500th episode, after everyone moves to the Outlands, Skinner is left behind in town. He decides to wait and hope someone comes for him, but he won't go inside because he's worried they might not find him. Then Bart comes in a wooden helicopter bike, and lets down a rope. Bart makes sure he hits the Jebediah statue, and both of the nuclear plant's pylons (or whatever). Even after all that, all he says is "It's nice to be wanted." Actually pretty touching.
    • Smithers. Poor guy.
    • Frank Grimes, who ends up being Driven to Suicide.
    • Iron Woobie: The mere fact that Mrs. Krabappel hasn't suffered a complete and total nervous breakdown from having Bart as a student shows just how resilient she truly is.
    • Homer as well. He gets severely injured frequently, but that never changes his long term cheery attitude.
    • Santa's Little Helper, at least in "Dog Of Death." The expense of the surgery needed to save his life generates resentment towards him among the Simpson family, so he runs away, gets taken to the pound, and then gets adopted by Burns, who proceeds to torture him, then brainwashes him into being a Right-Hand Attack Dog, then sics him on Bart... the memories of Bart overcome the brainwashing, though.
    • Gil was probably created with this trope in mind, but he ended up being a scrappy.
    • Ralph Wiggum, to fans who know kids with special needs.
    • Milhouse, especially in earlier episodes.
    • Lisa, at times bordering on Jerkass Woobie. Sure, she can be self-righteous and try to force her views on people, and she can be pretty awful to her family. But at the same time, they can be pretty insensitive to her (whether or not they mean to) and for all her intelligence and awareness, she's a little girl who doesn't fit in with her society. She holds onto her integrity by refusing to change, but that just makes her even more miserable when she can't get others to change either. She loves her family, but living with them is a struggle.
    • Ned Flanders, if you really think about it. As a child he had issues with his lazy beatnik parents who never bothered to discipline him, so they took him to a doctor for 8 months of continual spanking until he was repressed as all hell. He loses his house, loses a wife, loses another wife...yeah. He may be a fundamentalist asshole, but can you blame him for snapping after going through so much? (Especially losing Edna, who proved to actually be a good influence on him and his boys by inspiring him to change and loosen up a bit.)
    • Marge. She's a wet blanket, but she also grew up with a mother who forced her to smile when she didn't feel like it, her older sisters bossed her around and treated her like crap, and while she loves her family and doesn't regret spending her life with Homer, he and all of their kids are a handful and she has no choice but to play the wet blanket. She also doesn't seem to have any friendships that last more than an episode. Her whole life is spent making sure her family doesn't explode, and sometimes even her best efforts can't stop something terrible from happening.
    • Hans Moleman.
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