The Simpsons was never intended to be a long-form narrative that would last for thirty years. The early years of the show were dogged with controversy from all fronts, with moral guardians hating The Simpsons for promoting the disobedient Bart Simpson as the lead of the show. It was only due to the massive success of the show that it avoided being canceled.
The unprecedented cultural impact and financial success of The Simpsons led to more and more new seasons being commissioned. The original writing staff slowly left and took on other jobs, which meant that the creative direction of the show started to shift. The ideas that the original writers had planned for were slowly forgotten, as The Simpsons ended a run of syndication that would seemingly never end.
It's due to the continual extension of the lifespan of The Simpsons and the various shifts in writing staff that many unexplained plot points have appeared. It became obvious in "The Principal and the Pauper" that the writers had stopped caring about any sort of continuity, so these mistakes keep appearing and being forgotten about within the space of a single episode.
We are here today to ponder at the unsolved mysteries and forgotten plotlines of The Simpsons: from Lisa's vanishing best friend, to the distant future that faded away.
Here are Twenty Unresolved Mysteries And Plot Holes The Simpsons Left Hanging!
20 What Happened To Janey?
Lisa Simpson once represented an intellectual outcast among the idiotic denizens of Springfield. This was something that progressed naturally over time, as she started out as a female version of Bart.
Lisa would develop into her role as the foil of Springfield as the seasons went on, which involved painting her as being a loner.
The problem with this change is that it pushed Lisa's best friend, Janey Powell, to the sidelines. Janey was once Lisa's closest companion and the two were commonly seen together in the early episodes of the show. Janey was written out over time, in order to accomodate the idea that Lisa had no friends, with no explanation as to why she wasn't around anymore.
19 How Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Become The Leader?
It's usually never stated who the leader of the United States of America is during The Simpsons. This is intended to prevent the episodes from appearing dated.
It was revealed in The Simpson's Movie that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the current leader of the United States of America and was also responsible for making the choice to seal Springfield within a dome.
It's never explained how Arnold Schwarzenegger became the leader of the United States, as he is ineligible to run for the office. You need to have been born in the USA in order to qualify for the position and Schwarzenegger was born in Austria.
18 What Happened To The Baby Translator?
Homer Simpson has a half-brother, named Herb Powell, who was voiced by Danny DeVito and had a prominent role in two episodes, as well as a voice cameo in a recent episode.
The Herb Powell episodes seem to take place in their own bubble from the rest of the series, especially the second one, as Herb rebuilds his fortune by inventing a baby translator.
The baby translator disappears from the world of The Simpsons after its introduction without any explanation, despite how it would important such an invention would be, especially to a family with an infant.
17 Why Did Sheldon Skinner Look Like Armin Tamzarian?
"The Principal and the Pauper" is widely regarded as being the worst episode of The Simpsons, but only by people who haven't seen the eye-gougingly terrible Lady Gaga episode.
It was revealed in "The Principal and the Pauper" that Principal Skinner was actually an imposter, named Armin Tamzarian, who took on the original Seymour Skinner's identity after the Vietnam War.
This reveal contradicts "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"" due to the fact that we see Sheldon Skinner, who looks just like Seymour Skinner. Why does Sheldon Skinner look just like someone who isn't related to him?
16 Why Was Ned Home In "Homer The Heretic"?
"Homer the Heretic" involves Homer deciding to not attend Sunday services at the church, so that he can enjoy some quality time alone at home. This leads to the Flanders family and Reverend Lovejoy trying to convince him to return to the fold.
Homer accidentally sets the house on fire while everyone is at church. He is saved by Ned Flanders... who isn't at church for some reason.
This is one of the most unusual plot points about the episode: Ned has spent the bulk of the story trying to convince Homer to go back to church, yet he is also home on a Sunday.
15 How Did Apu's Nephew Grow So Fast?
It seems that the Nahasapeemapetilon family are the only ones immune to the time lock that has taken over Springfield. The Simpson family has remained suspended in time in terms of their biological age, yet Apu's children seem to have slowly progressed from babies to toddlers.
The biggest change has to be Jay Nahasapeemapetilon, who was portrayed as a little boy in "Homer the Heretic" yet returned to the show as a twenty-something in "Much Apu About Something."
14 What Happened To Lionel Hutz & Troy McClure?
The Simpsons lost one of its most talented voice actors in 1998 when Phil Hartman passed away. He had provided the voice for both Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure, who were two of the most popular characters on the show.
When Phil Hartman passed away, the characters of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure were retired.
We are never told exactly what happened to them, even though a throwaway line could have explained their fate.
This disappearance is made all the more unusual by the fact that the writers went out of their way to offer an explanation as to what happened to Edna Krabappel when Marcia Wallace passed away. It's odd that they never did the same for Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure.
13 The Fate Of The Farm
The fans of The Simpsons have often claimed that the episode called "E-I-E-I-D'oh" was the point where the writers officially gave up with any sort of continuity.
The reason for this belief is due to the fact that the Simpson family returns to the old farmhouse that Homer grew up.
It's there that they grow the addictive food known as Tomacco.
The problem with this storyline is that the farmhouse was last seen caught up in an inferno. It's in the middle of nowhere, so firefighters wouldn't have been able to arrive on time to save it, and even if they did, would it have been rebuilt into the same dilapidated state that it was in before?
12 Marge's Inconsistent Problem With Flying
In the episode called "Fear of Flying," it is revealed that Marge is terrified of traveling by plane. This is due to trauma from her childhood, linked to the fact that her father used to work as a steward on commercial flights.
The problem with Marge having a fear of flying is that it contradicts the events of "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington," which involved Lisa winning a trip to Washington D. C. for the whole family. The Simpsons travel to Washington via a plane ride and Marge's fear of flying is never brought up.
11 The Lisa's Wedding Paradox
"Lisa's Wedding" offered one of the first glances at the future of Springfield. There have been several other episodes since then that have done this, but none have ever matched up to the original.
The events of later episodes have forced "Lisa's Wedding" out of canon.
This is due to the scene at Lisa's wedding, where Maude Flanders is seen sitting with Ned at the reception. Edna Krabappel is also warned by Patty about trying to grab the bouquet.
Maude Flanders and Edna Krabappel have since passed away in recent episodes of The Simpsons, which means that "Lisa's Wedding" can't be part of canon.
10 The Address Of The Simpson House Keeps Changing
The Simpson family live at 742, Evergreen Terrace. This is the accepted canon address, even though it was contradicted numerous times during the early seasons of the show.
The Simpson's address has been given as 59, 94, 430, 723, 1024, 1092, and 1094 Evergreen Terrace. They were also said to live at 430 Spalding Way when the address was given in "Kamp Krusty.
Snake's house was also identified as 742, Evergreen Terrace in "Homer's Triple Bypass," it also looked totally different from the Simpson's home.
9 Homer's Inconsistent Job
There have been several episodes of The Simpsons that have shown the events that occurred before the first episode. One of the most famous of these was "And Maggie Makes Three," which shows the events leading up to Maggie's birth.
Homer quits his job at the nuclear power plant and is later forced to beg for it back.
The problem with these scenes is that Homer is shown at his regular station, despite the fact that he wasn't hired for this job until the events of "Homer's Odyssey."
Homer started out as a technical supervisor at the nuclear power plant and was later rehired as a safety inspector, yet he is shown at the safety inspector station in "And Maggie Makes Three."
8 Lindsey Neagle's Switching Political Allegiance
Lindsey Neagle is a recurring character in The Simpsons. She is a powerful and ruthless businesswoman who is voiced by Tress MacNeille, who is totally different from the other powerful and ruthless businesswoman that Tress MacNeille voiced in Rugrats.
Lindsay Neagle is often portrayed as a member of the Springfield [Conservative] Party.
It seems that the artists or the writers forgot about this element of her character, as she was shown attending a Democrat gathering in "E Pluribus Wiggum," where key members of the Springfield branch were trying to decide whether Ralph should be their candidate or not.
7 The Inconsistent Simpson Gene
In the episode called "Lisa the Simpson," it was established that all male Simpsons are affected by the "Simpson gene" which is responsible for their baldness, laziness, and stupidty. The female Simpsons are unaffected by this and have mostly been successful women.
The problem with the idea of the Simpson gene is that it didn't seem to effect Herb Powell, who graduated from Harvard and became a wealthy businessman.
The Simpson gene also didn't effect Homer, as it was revealed in a later episode that the reason he is so stupid is due to a crayon that is lodged into his brain.
6 The Ages Of Rod & Todd
Rod and Todd are the two sons of Maude and Ned Flanders. They have are almost always shown together during their appearances and they seem to have very similar personalities.
There have been some discrepancies over the ages of Rod and Todd, due to contradictory statements made by characters in the show.
Todd Flanders was originally described as being ten-years-old, and Rod had his tenth birthday in a later episode. This is contradicted by Lisa telling a story about the boys, where Rod is two-years older than Todd.
The lightning-fast corrections text that plays during Rock Bottom in "Homer Badman" also has a line that confirms that Todd is the older of the Flanders kids, even though that is contradicted in later episodes.
5 Homer Was A Kid And A Teenager In 1969
The ages of Homer & Marge keep shifting forward as The Simpsons continues on with each new season.
One of the biggest contradictions concerning Homer's age involves two scenes from the fourth and tenth season of the show.
In the fourth season episode called "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" we see Homer reminiscing about the moon landing when he is in his early teens.
In the tenth season episode called "D'oh-in' in the Wind" we see a much younger Homer at Woodstock.
The moon landing and Woodstock both took place in 1969, meaning that Homer must have had one hell of a growth spurt.
4 Mr. Burns' Inconsistent Age
The exact age of Springfield's oldest resident has changed on numerous occasions, We are just talking about the times when an actual number was given, rather than jokes about Mr. Burns being thousands of years old.
It was originally stated in "Simpson and Delilah" that Mr. Burns' was 81 years old. This age was increased to 104 in "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)," "Homer the Smithers," and "A Hunka Hunka Burns In Love."
Mr. Burns' age was increased again in "Fraudcast News" where it shot up to 123.
3 Fat Tony's Inconsistent First Name
Fat Tony has been a member of The Simpsons cast since the third season. He is usually added to any story that wants to parody a gangster movie or TV show.
There are actually several inconsistencies regarding Fat Tony's name in The Simpsons. He was first introduced as William "Fat Tony" Williams.
Fat Tony was later named Anthony D'Amico in "The Homer They Fall," where he was introduced by the ring announcer at Homer's boxing match.
Fat Tony was later referred to as Marion in "Insane Clown Poppy," which was a secret that was revealed by Frankie the Squealer.
2 Nelson's Father
It was established in "Sleeping with the Enemy" that Nelson Muntz's father had walked out on the family, after claiming that he was going to the store to buy something. This revelation was likely added to explain Nelson's bullying behavior, as his father had abandoned him.
The problem with this revelation is that we saw Nelson's father in "Brother from the Same Planet" and "Bart's Girlfriend," which means that he can't have been gone for long. Nelson's father's appearance also changed radically between his debut and return to the series.
1 The Distant Future Of 2010
The passing of Maude Flanders and Edna Krabappel has meant that "Lisa's Wedding" can't take place in the canon of The Simpsons.
The bigger reason why "Lisa's Wedding" has been removed from continuity is that the far-future that the episode took place in has long since passed.
"Lisa's Wedding" was released in 1995 and takes place in 2010. We have since seen episodes of The Simpsons where the regular timeline now takes place in 2010, as the Simpson family attended the 2010 Winter Vancouver Olympics in "Boy Meets Curl."