While a lot of shows are talked about within the medium of television only, usually being held up against the various others shows that came before and after it, The Simpsons is a cultural icon in its own right. It has transcended the medium of television, becoming its own entity that has bled throughout the cultural landscape. There is no product in this world that hasn't had The Simpsons face on it!
We can see why people may not be a fan of that form of rampant commercialism, but you have to admit that it's a sign of brilliance when a television show has been able to market themselves as any real world product you can care to think of!
Two of the biggest personalities on The Simpsons are undoubtedly Homer and Bart, the familial connection between the two often lost in favor of a battle for power, with most battles ending in Homer strangling Bart. That being said, the two of them certainly had some personal crossover, which ended up in them both saying similar things. Do you reckon you can differentiate the Homer quotes from the Bart quotes? Well, time to put your money where your mouth is.
“To Start Press Any Key. Where's the ANY key?”
Quite possibly one of the most famous quotes in Simpsons history, so if you can't get this one right, there's no chance you can call yourself a real fan! We'll admit that some of the quotes on this list have ranged from the obvious to the obscure, but we've left the real test till last. If you're a fan of the modern Simpsons, you might struggle to get this one, but then what are you doing here in the first place?
“Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true.”
While many people will laugh at this quote, we know that there are people like this who exist in the real world, which is absolutely terrifying when you think about it. Whether we like it or not, we live in a democracy, which means that the same people who refuse to believe in facts are exactly the same people who will be helping vote in your next leader. Wouldn't you rather your next leader be chosen by someone who has a hard grasp on the difficult facts of life?
"Dear Lord, the gods have been good to me. As an offering, I present these milk and cookies. If you wish me to eat them instead, please give me no sign whatsoever."
We've said it before and we'll say it again: The Simpsons has a huge obsession with food! We used to think it was because they'd written in a character like Homer, so they had to keep talking about it, but it seems like every character talks about food at some point. To be fair, it can be one of the greatest pleasures in life if it's done right. Perhaps food is just one of the universal loves that everyone can understand.
“Operator! Give me the number for 911!”
This is an example of one of those smart idiot jokes we were talking about before. Sure, the root of the joke comes from the fact that the character has said a stupid thing, but the actual writing of the joke took some further thought and analysis, especially beyond the idea that an idiot saying anything is always funny. Some shows don't have enough respect for their audience, but thankfully The Simpsons doesn't seem to have that problem, or at least it didn't use to.
"I started a fire this morning that I really should keep an eye on."
Going back to self-awareness, it can be really refreshing to see characters being honest about their otherwise negative character traits. People know the flaws that both Homer and Bart have, so it would be ridiculous for them to lie about them. It would be nice to see people in the real world follow suit because far too many people spend way too much time trying to hide the fact that they're not completely perfect, even though we all know none of us are perfect.
"If I ever stop loving violence, I want you to shoot me."
Cartoons can get away with a lot of things that live action just can't, including an insane level of violence against its main characters. If you saw an actual human being go through some of the things the writers have put The Simpsons through, you'd probably be sick. Not only does this open up the opportunity for a bit of physical comedy, it lets the writers know that there's no line they have to worry about crossing when it comes to violence.
“I believe that children are our future. Unless we stop them now.”
One of the biggest ironies, both within The Simpsons and the real world, is that many people will often talk a big game when it comes to children, arguing that they're who we need to look after if we want to secure a proper future for this world. However, it's these same people who will dedicate no time to, not only their own children but the good of all children across the world. We're mainly looking at politicians here, to be honest.
“I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman.”
This might seem like a ridiculous quote to some people, but if you don't believe in a God, it makes just as much sense to pray to Superman! It's not insane to have a character like Superman as your lord and savior if you believe that the God other people are touting is just as fictional. Whether or not the writers wanted to create such a deep conversation on religion with this quote, we'll never know, but it's funny either way.
"We flushed the gator down the toilet but it got stuck halfway so now we have to feed it."
Does anybody know whether sewer gators actually are just a myth? We've never seen one ourselves, but it would seem like there is anecdotal evidence that goes both ways. We'd like to think that if there were sewer gators in this world, that people would be doing something to help them, but that's probably just wishful thinking on our part. More than likely, people would just leave them down there before issuing a nationwide warning to keep your hands and feet away from storm drains.
“Lord help me, I’m just not that bright.”
What we have here is a genuine moment of self-awareness, something that we very rarely saw at any point from 99% of The Simpsons cast. Of the main family, it was only really Lisa and Marge who understood who they were and what their shortcomings were, while the rest of Springfield seemed to languish in the idea that they could do no wrong. Sadly, rather than seeming like some ridiculous fantasy world, the lack of self-awareness often reminds us of the world we live in.
"There’s a four-thirty in the morning now?"
One of the worst things about growing up is realizing that having to get up early for school was nothing compared to having to get up for work. This is doubly true if you have a job that means you have to be up nice and early for the hour long commute. Is there any worse feeling than peeling yourself from a bed, just to go and sit in a hot car in traffic so you can arrive at a job you don't even want?
"We need another Vietnam to thin out their ranks a little."
We think that the writers for The Simpsons would be the first to admit that they tried to make sure they pulled no punches, while also staying as respectful as possible. For some, enough time has passed for a joke about the deaths during the Vietnam war to be a fair and legitimate target for comedy. Hell, some people wouldn't think anything of making a joke the same day as a tragedy, but it's good to see television that feels it can do the same.
“A boy without mischief is like a bowling ball without a liquid centre.”
As we get older, it surprises us to see how much television and film comedies attempt to make us laugh, purely by adding in some stupid characters. We're not saying we're against this, or that it doesn't often make us laugh, but it does feel a little cheap to know you can take a relatively unfunny show and make it funny by placing an idiot into it. Surely comedy can get a little bit deeper than that? Thankfully, The Simpsons often does.
"Look at that fat oaf."
Despite the fact that The Simpsons is a cartoon, I think we're all well aware that it's very much for an adult audience. However, a lot of children watch it too, and with America's strict laws regarding bad language on the television, the writers had to be careful if they didn't want to lose their valuable time slot. Due to this, they ended up using rather outdated forms of insult, such as oaf, which can often end up being funnier than more modern insults.
“What's the point of going out? We're just gonna wind up back here anyway.”
The concept of laziness is one that The Simpsons family often had to grapple with, and by that I mean, Marge tried to get the family to do things while the rest of the family were happy to sit around and do nothing. Honestly, we know that all of the family loved each other, but some of the episodes can get pretty heartbreaking, especially when it comes to Marge's inability to have the family that she really wants to have.
“Forty seconds? But I want it now!”
We reckon that a lot of the childish mentality of the characters from The Simpsons spoke to a lot of us as children, and probably speaks to some of the more childish adults as well! While we obviously can't speak for all children in this world, the concept of not being able to wait is a fairly universal problem when it comes to disciplining a child. They don't understand why they can't just have everything they want right now, something that a lot of cartoon characters seem to struggle with as well.
"I’ve got a story so scary you’ll wet your pants."
Is it true that fear can elicit this sort of response in someone? We'll hold our hands up right now and admit we know nothing about the way that fear can manifest itself in the human body, but we've certainly never wet ourselves from fear. Plus, why would that be your body's natural reaction to fear? Beyond a weird form of defense mechanism, we can't really understand where the train of thought is there. That being said, there's a lot about fear that isn't particularly rational.
"God shmod. I want my monkey man!"
If you had to guess, like if we were making you, what exactly do you think a monkey man would look like? It might be weird but we've been thinking about this ever since we first heard this quote as a child, and considering that we have a common ancestor with apes, we can't imagine that a monkey man would look too different to how we currently look, right? That is if you believe in evolution, which we really hope you do.
“Being popular is the most important thing in the world!”
Believe it or not, there are actually people above the age of sixteen who think this is a valid mentality to have on life, and will likely spread this disease onto their children as well. It's all fun and games until you realize these ridiculous statements made by cartoon characters are legitimate opinions held by real human beings. Hopefully, people saw these caricatures say these things and realized that they were wrong. It's unlikely, but crazier things have happened because of cartoons!
We often wonder how many people, sat watching The Simpsons on their television, would feel a little slighted by how much the show made fun of people who spent too much time watching television? It's good that satirical comedies are turning their crosshairs on the very medium that they're using because we don't want the writers getting complacent, but it still must have hit a little too close to home for some people. That being said, fans of The Simpsons don't seem like they're too easy to offend.
"What’d you do? Screw up like the Beatles and say you were bigger than Jesus?"
One of the greatest things about The Simpsons, at least during the early days before they were cramming them in way too frequently, was how deftly they were able to parody something while making it entirely their own. Their twists on popular culture weren't few and far between but didn't hit you over the head with their frequency either. They often say that the perfect parody doesn't need you to have seen the source material for you to find it funny, something that The Simpsons writers very clearly knew.
"Gotcha. Can’t win, don’t try."
It would be a lie to say that The Simpsons spends a lot of its time teaching people that no matter what you do, you can succeed, but then that's hardly a realistic mentality to have, is it? Despite all of the things that the show gets away with for being a cartoon, it also tries to make sure that it stays on this side of realistic, or else we'd all start turning off in our droves. Even cartoons have to have some level of realism.
“Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.”
One of the things that always surprised us as children was the way that the nicer characters allowed the elderly characters to be treated. Do you really think it makes sense that Lisa and Marge allow Grandpa to be treated the way he is? We know he's a difficult character and that everyone finds him annoying, but Homer can just be straight cruel to him. Not only that, but Bart spends most of his time terrorizing him when he can.
“Fame was like a drug. But what was even more like a drug were the drugs.”
We might be wrong because we don't watch the more recent Simpsons episodes, meaning that anything past season ten is off limits to us, but does it surprise anyone else that The Simpsons never really touched the topic of drugs. They certainly glanced at them from time to time, but they never got stuck into the issue. Drugs rule certain areas of the world, including areas of western society, so you would've thought at least one episode would've taken a look!
"Hey Mr. Burns, can I go with you to get the treasure? I won’t eat much and I don’t know the difference between right and wrong."
Of all the characters in The Simpsons, we reckon Mr. Burns is the one that makes our blood boil the most. There are some real scumbags in this world and in The Simpsons universe, but the worst of the worst are the rich old men, sat at the top, allowed to do whatever they feel like. It's these same people who get us to turn on each other at the bottom, well aware that they're the real reason for our problems.