The Simpsons

The Simpsons

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The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the FOX Broadcasting Company.[1] The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle, epitomized by its family of the same name: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, named for the town in Oregon[11]; however, the state the show takes place in is never revealed (this is one of the show’s running gags). The show parodies American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition.


The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with the producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show and was an early hit for FOX, becoming the network’s first series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989–1990).[1]


Since its debut on December 17, 1989, the show has broadcast over 500 episodes; the twenty-third season started airing on September 25, 2011. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American primetime, scripted television series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and July 27, 2007, and grossed over $527 million.

The Simpsons has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 27 Primetime Emmy Awards, 27 Annie Awards and a Peabody Award. Time Magazine’s December 31, 1999 issue named it the 20th century’s best television series, and on January 14, 2000 the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Homer’s exclamatory catchphrase “D’oh!” has been adopted into the English language, while The Simpsons has influenced many adult-oriented animated sitcoms.


Influence and Legacy

Throughout its history, The Simpsons has been on the forefront of American pop culture, thanks to its witty writing and fearless parodying of current events and politics, as well as its consistent references to contemporary and historical pop culture and cult icons (such as Charles Bronson). The show has garnered controversy, brought to a head when in 1992 the then-US president George H. W. Bush remarked “[we want] to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.” Arguably, this only increased interest in the show. The Simpsons has become an icon of American culture, and has had a lasting impact on society over its long run; many of its neologisms (such as D’oh!, meh, yoink!, and crap-tacular)[1] and catchphrases are frequently used on- and off-line, and its characters are easily recognized all over the world.

Online Presence

Since the show is so ubiquitous, its fandom is not internet-based, although it is so large that it does has a significant online presence. The show has been around since the internet started becoming widely public in the early ’90s, so its influence has been consistently felt throughout the history of the internet. There are several Simpsons fan sites around the internet, but the majority of the online presence of the show is thanks to the frequent use of catchphrases, image macros, and YouTube clips.

“Milhouse Is Not A Meme”

“Milhouse is not a meme” is a paradoxical statement and a well-known debate on the imageboard site 4chan about what constitutes an internet meme and what doesn’t. The meme uses an image of the character Milhouse Van Houten, who in and of himself is not a meme – that is to say, Milhouse is not a meme, but “Milhouse is not a meme” is, in fact, a meme.

Chalkboard Gag Parodies

Chalkboard Gag Parodies are a series of exploitable images based on the perennial chalkboard gag scene from The Simpsons’ opening sequence. In the scene, Bart is seen repeatedly writing a message on a large chalkboard, as a form of punishment. In each episode, the text is changed, and is frequently a joke or pun. The exploitable is a natural extension of this, with users adding their own text.

The Goggles Do Nothing!

The Goggles Do Nothing! is a catchphrase used for conveying the horror of having seen something unwanted, another way of saying “cannot unsee.” The quote was used in the Season 7 episode Radioactive Man, in which Rainier Wolfcastle, playing the action hero Radioactive Man, is doused with sulfuric acid while being protected only by a pair of goggles. As the acid eats through he clothes, he screams “My eyes! The goggles do nothing!”[2]

Redundant Adjectives are Redundant!

(X) (Y) is (X) is a common sentence structure derived from a scene in the Season 11 episode The Grift of the Magi, in which Ralph excitedly says “fun toys are fun!” Use of the phrase online started with 4chan; it is often used to place a humorous emphasis on redundancy. Popular examples include “Longcat is looooong”, “Successful troll is successful” and “Old pic is old.” It has become a common phrase across the imageboards and the internet in general.

I Must Go

I Must Go, My People/Planet Need(s) Me is a caption frequently used on image macros showing people or animals jumping or flying away. The phrase originated in the Season 8 episode The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show, in which a character (Poochie), voiced by Homer, and introduced into the long-running cartoon Itchy & Scratchy, is killed off. The caption first attained spread through demotivational posters, and has since spread to other image macros.

Stupid Sexy Flanders

Stupid Sexy Flanders is a phrase that comes from the Season 11 episode Little Big Mom, spoken by Homer as he tries to think about what an skiing instructor said, but instead can’t get the image of Flanders’ skintight ski suit out of his mind.[3] It has a similar usage on forums to “cannot unsee,” although it is generally used in situations where the viewer is secretly enthralled by the supposedly undesirable object, as opposed to being outright disgusted. It is also frequently used in YouTube parodies of the scene.

I, For One, Welcome Our New X Overlords

I, For One, Welcome Our New X Overlords is a catchphrase from the Season 5 episode Deep Space Homer. It is spoken by news anchor Kent Brockman after he sees a video, transmitted from Homer’s space mission, that shows ants flying around in the cabin of the spacecraft; the ants appear super-sized because they are close to the lens, which spooks Kent.[4] The phrase is commonly used to comment facetiously on someone’s or something’s perceived control of a situation, and is one of the oldest and most well-established Simpsons-related memes.

That’s the Joke.

That’s the Joke. is a catchphrase originating from the Season 6 episode A Star is Burns.[5] In it, Rainier Wolfcastle is being interviewed about his new stand-up comedy movie, and a clip is shown (see above). In the clip, Wolfcastle says “Did you ever notice how men always leave the toilet seat up? […] That’s the joke.” The catchprase, often accompanied by an image of Wolfcastle looking serious in front of the brick wall (again, see above), is used to condescendingly explain the punchline of a joke, or is itself the punchline to an otherwise-unfunny remark.

That’s a Paddlin’

That’s a Paddlin’ (or X? That’s a Paddlin’) is a catchphrase/copypasta from the Season 6 episode The PTA Disbands[6], in which local resident Jasper Beardly takes over teaching 2nd Grade at Springfield Elementary. He uses the phrase when outlining his classroom policies; for example, “Talking out of turn? That’s a paddlin’.” In the show, the phrase was intended to comment on the antiquated notion of corporal punishment in public schools, but online it has come to be used as a joke about authority and strange rules. The phrase is also used in various other snowclones, and the action of “Paddlin’” has come to be associated with Jasper’s image.

Dental Plan / Lisa Needs Braces

Dental Plan / Lisa Needs Braces is a call-and-response template that peaked in popularity on 4chan in 2008. It originates from the Season 4 episode Last Exit to Springfield, in which Homer hears the words “Dental Plan” (spoken by Lenny) and “Lisa Needs Braces” (spoken by Marge) repeatedly in his head while his brain tries to connect the loss of his dental insurance with his having to pay out-of-pocket for Lisa’s braces.[7] Its online use is mostly related to the phrase’s extremely repetitive and catchy nature; it is frequently used as an interruptor, either by repeating the phrase, or by repeating captioned images. The phrase has also been used in various YouTube remixes.

Do It For Her

Do It For Her is a photoshop meme originating from the Season 6 episode And Maggie Makes Three. The original image shows a placard in Homer’s office reading “DON’T FORGET, YOU’RE HERE FOREVER”, over which Homer has plastered images of Maggie, so it reads “DO IT FOR HER”, referring to how he returned to his job in order to support her future. The meme usually involves photoshopping images of other characters in place of Maggie, such as Hatsune Miku.

Search Interest

Search interest in The Simpsons peaked in 2007, coinciding with the release of The Simpsons Movie.

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