No matter how much you like or dislike The Simpsons, you can't deny that it's one of the most successful television shows ever created. Even though it's animated (considered by some to be a niche) it's been on longer than most live-action series. The Simpsons currently has 29 seasons and there is nothing to suggest that the series is even close to ending (aside from some rumors here and there).
The Simpson family has featured in over 600 episodes, which is a staggering number no matter what. By comparison, the Pokémon anime recently celebrated its 1000th episode, but it's an anime. When it comes to American-made cartoons, it's hard to find anything that is as successful as The Simpsons.
The Simpsons is hilarious, heartfelt, and even relatable. What it isn't, is perfect. The show is riddled with mistakes in the form of audio errors, plot holes, factual discrepancies, and a whole mess of continuity errors. All is forgiven because the show is a joy to watch but some viewers have made it their mission to showcase as many of the blunders as possible.
Simply put, there are far too many to feature in one article. It's probably easier to dedicate an entire website to the mistakes people find (and some have done just that). It's even possible that there isn't a single Simpsons episode that is completely devoid of an error or two.
For now, here are 25 of our favorite Simpsons blunders across the decades they've been on-air.
25 Where Exactly Does Ralph Belong?
Every so often someone in The Simpsons fandom will bring up a curious question about the lovable oaf, Ralph Wiggum. Ever since the heartbreaking moment in Lisa's class (I choo-choo-choose you!), we know that Ralph is part of Springfield Elementary's second-grade class.
However, there are a few episodes in which Ralph shows up randomly in Bart's class (4th grade). The running theory is that the teachers don't necessarily care where Ralph is so long as he's quiet. It's a funny idea but more than likely the animators just made some mistakes and are covering them up.
24 Dr. Nick Gets A Second Chance
Who could forget the lovable Dr. Nick? He's completely useless when it comes to medicine but his adorable personality and "can do" attitude make him so charming. Perhaps that's why it was so saddening to fans when Dr. Nick met an unfortunate end in The Simpsons Movie.
He was hurt by a massive piece of glass, gone too soon.
All was forgotten a year later though when Dr. Nick showed up in "Lost Verizon" (Season 20, Episode 2). Apparently, no one remembers he perished. Harsh.
23 Banned Or Not Banned?
The Simpsons have been involved in some crazy adventures over the years. Many of them have caused a little tension between America's favorite family and the rest of the free world. At the end of "[Destroy] The Alligator and Run" (Season 11, Episode 19), a Florida-based Judge "legally" bans the Simpsons from ever entering the state again.
Apparently, the ban didn't scare the family too much. They can be seen traveling to Florida a couple times after the episode aired, specifically to the Epcot Center (Season 14, Episode 7, "Special Edna") and Miami (Season 15, Episode 18, "Catch Em' If You Can").
22 Blue-Haired Lawyer's Doppelganger
We've seen the blue-haired layer a few times throughout the years, usually when Mr. Burns is facing legal trouble. We first met this iconic Simpsons character in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car" (Season 2, Episode 10) when Mr. Burns is on trial for striking Bart with his automobile.
During the episode, the blue-haired lawyer is seen questioning Marge on the stand, but for split second, you can actually see him sitting next to Mr. Burns, seemingly in two places at one time.
21 Bart Can't Handle His Shellfish
It's always nice to get a little more information about the characters we love. During "Please Homer Don't Hammer 'Em" (Season 18, Episode 3) we learn that Bart is rather allergic to shrimp. He ends up in the hospital with a swollen face thanks to a Star Wars-esque battle with Principal Skinner that ended in a vat of Peanut Shrimp (what a wild scene).
What's curious is that Bart admits that he ate a ton of free shrimp in the green room while the family was competing on a reality show in "The Frying Game" (Season 13, Episode 21). Maybe all that free shellfish had dire side effects.
20 Waylon Smithers The Chameleon
Everyone knows that Mr. Smithers has a bright yellow skin tone like his crooked old boss, Mr. Burns. But did you know that this wasn't always the plan for Smithers? Dedicated Simpsons fans will know that Waylon Smithers actually had a rather different appearance when we were first introduced to him.
In "Homer's Odyssey" (Season 1, Episode 3), Smithers is depicted with dark skin, like Dr. Hibbert. Past that episode, he has the same skin tone as the Simpson family.
19 Exactly What Time Is It?
The Simpsons is absolutely filled to the brim with continuity errors. There are likely thousands of these little blunders sprinkled throughout the show. One of the biggest errors between dialogue and animation happens during "The Cartridge Family" (Season 9, Episode 5).
Homer finds himself pacing through the house, muttering in disgust that he has to wait a few days before he can bring a purchased weapon home. Lisa can't sleep from the muttering and asks her father to stop, telling him it's "3 A.M." During this scene, we can see a clock behind Lisa which clearly states the time as around 9:50.
18 The Nose Knows
Many of the mistakes seen in The Simpsons series can be found littered throughout the background. Sometimes it's something as small as misshapen objects or miscolored items. Other times it's a bit bigger, like a missing object, or in this case, a missing body part.
During "Lisa On Ice," a few frames show an audience cheering on a hockey game. For a split second, one of the women cheering ends up randomly losing her nose. It's there one second then simply vanishes.
17 An Opening Blunder
What better way to open this article than with a mistake that appears throughout the opening sequence of each episode? Starting from the first episode (and continuing on for quite some time) this gaff occurs during the moment that Homer first arrives home from work.
When he exits his vehicle to enter the garage you can clearly see many boxes, a rake, and other assorted items inside.
When Marge shows up soon after and Homer is forced to flee inside, all of the stuff within the garage disappears and two completely different boxes show up in the corner.
16 The Boar That Keeps On Giving
The Simpsons likes to hop between family members from time to time, so we have quite a few episodes that revolve mostly around Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. One such episode, "Das Bus" (Season 9, Episode 14) features a Lord of the Flies-like storyline where the kids find themselves stranded on an island after a bus crash.
Near the end of the episode, the kids capture and roast a boar. Everyone is seen huddled in a circle, gnawing hungrily on the cooked pig. What's strange is that the boar is completely intact during this scene, even though every kid (except Lisa) has a piece and some are even seen eating legs and thighs.
15 Carl Ate Lenny?
A rather hilarious audio error happens during the episode "Brush with Greatness" (Season 2, Episode 18). This adventure begins with Homer's quest to lose weight, which then devolves into Marge re-discovering a passion for painting.
During one scene, a donut delivery man shows up to the Nuclear Power Plant and finds an abundance of uneaten donuts. Carl explains that Homer has gone on a diet (which is why so many donuts are still there) but when he speaks he's clearly using Lenny's voice.
14 Bart's Ultimate Healing Ability
Apparently, Bart shares some DNA with Wolverine and Deadpool, because he has a strange healing ability that shows up during the fourth episode of season 3. A streak of bad luck sees Bart tormented throughout his day. He ends up socked in the face with a ball, which leaves a rather nasty bruise around his eye.
After forgetting his permission slip at home, he's forced to lick envelopes in Skinner's office while everyone else enjoys a trip to a chocolate factory.
What's strange is that Bart's impressive bruise completely heals up by the time he walks from his classroom to Skinner's office.
13 One Impressive Insurance Plan
Many of us have had to deal with the annoyance of filing an insurance claim. They usually take a while to go through, which can be a headache if we're trying to replace an expensive broken item (like a car). The Simpsons, however, have the world's fastest insurance company, as seen in "Homer Badman" (Season 6, Episode 9).
An angry mob shows up at the Simpson residence, complete with police helicopters. The wind from the choppers ends up flipping and destroying Homer's car. Oddly though, a few moments later (while the group was watching TV) we catch a glimpse of Homer's car upright, completely fixed, and parked on the side of the road.
12 Lucky Ned Flanders
During the episode "The Bart Wants What It Wants" (Season 13, Episode 11), Ned Flanders has a stroke of good luck. While at a silent auction, Homer decides to play a prank on his neighbor by signing his name on a random sheet with a bid of $50.
To his disgust, and Flander's surprise, the auction ends up being for a $100 bill, which Flanders will only end up paying $50 for.
Things apparently got crossed in the animation department, because although Ned is told he's won $100 dollar bill, the auctioneer only hands him a $50.
11 Out On Good Behavior
Sideshow Bob has been a worthy adversary for the Simpson family throughout the years. His obsession with ending Bart has been the subject of quite a few episodes. Many will remember that Bart successfully thwarted Sideshow Bob's evil scheme back in Season 1, with the villain ending up in jail as a result.
The error here comes from "Bart Gets An F" (Season 2, Episode 1).
Sideshow Bob is seen singing with the townsfolk during a snowy scene. This shouldn't be possible, since we don't see Bob released from prison until Season 3, in the episode "Black Widower."
10 What Burns Down Must Come Up
When a show reaches as many episodes as The Simpsons has, it's easy to understand why some references and past adventures may be forgotten. This happened in spectacular fashion during the fifth episode of the eleventh season, "E-I-E-I-D'oh." The Simpson family is forced to hide out at the farmhouse where Homer grew up.
Unfortunately, that farmhouse had already burned down many seasons before, thanks to some hijinks from Homer and his father, Abe. Although, the "new house" looks even worse off than the burnt version.
9 Forgetful Homer
Here's another error that has roots to the "Das Bus" episode from Season 9. Although the episode primarily focused on the kids, there was a side story that showcased Homer learning more about the Internet.
He even opened his own online business, before Bill Gates had it completely dismantled.
The discrepancy comes from a future episode, The Computer Wore Menace Shoes (Season 12, Episode 9). During that episode, Homer is frustrated because he missed an email about the plant closing for maintenance (ruining a surprise day off for him). This leads Homer to complain that he "doesn't even know what email is." His prior computer shenanigans make that pretty hard to believe.
8 What Grade Are The Twins In?
Everyone is familiar with Sherri and Terri, the long-haired twins that go to class with Bart. It's pretty difficult to tell them apart and they're constantly around one another. So it's no surprise that if one decided to join the gymnastics team, so would the other.
This is what happens in "Little Girl in the Big Ten" (Season 13, Episode 20). The duo joins a gymnastics team and finds themselves competing alongside Lisa, who desperately needs to avoid failing gym. This has led some to point out that the twins are taking part in the second-grade class when they're from the fourth grade.
7 Ralph's Growing Pains
Audio problems happen all the time when it comes to animation, especially with voice acting. It's not like traditional acting where you're speaking in real time (usually, there are some exceptions). Animation and voices are done separately, then put together afterward.
This can lead to some hilarious mistakes.
In "Lisa's Pony" (Season 3, Episode 8), Ralph is seen cheering Lisa on as she rides a horse. When a kid next to him makes a remark, Ralph speaks, only to have a voice that sounds rather similar to Nelson's.
6 Homer The Magic Tailor
It can be hard to keep all of the continuity throughout an episode when you're cranking out a wide array of episodes each year. When an object changes colors or isn't the same height between scenes it can be pretty funny but ultimately understandable. Seeing someone change from shorts to pants in a split second is a little less forgivable.
During "Homerpalooza" (Season 7, Episode 24), Homer is seen performing on stage in a pair of jean shorts. After he dodges the stunt and hops off the stage, he can be seen wearing pants. It's a pretty jarring transition.
5 Ralph's An Actual Wizard
Even the iconic Treehouse of Horror episodes fall victim to continuity errors and animation miscues. In Treehouse of Horror XII (Season 13, Episode 1), the kids find themselves playing parts in a Harry Potter-like spoof.
Mr. Burns takes the helm as "he who shall not be named," or Lord Montymort in this universe.
During one scene, Lord Montymort motions to Ralph who is shackled to the wall. When we first see him, his wizard robes are open, but a split-second later they're closed. Talk about sleight of hand.
4 Snow Way
There are many instances in which animated shows will place objects in a scene to use for slapstick comedy or other gags. Sometimes, these jokes don't quite add up, especially when the scene in question is riddled with continuity errors.
During the episode, "Mr. Plow" (Season 4, Episode 9), Homer plows a path for a school bus. We see a shot from the school doorway, which shows their pathway covered in snow (except for some footprints). When the scene pans to Skinner and Bart near the bus, the snow is magically gone. Worse, it's back once more in the next frame when Bart is pelted with snowballs and falls on the snow-covered path.
3 Fashion Forward
We'd be remiss if we didn't feature a Nelson-based mistake at least once on this list. We all love the wise-cracking bully, especially when he's pestering the townspeople with his iconic laugh.
Nelson was the victim of a rather strange and almost unnoticeable gaffe during "The Otto Show" (Season 3, Episode 22). The bully happens upon Bart attempting to play a song on an electric guitar. In true Nelson fashion, he takes the opportunity to heckle poor Bart.
During this exchange, you can see Nelson's vest and shirt combo clearly swap colors.
2 No Butterscotch For Bart
We already talked about Bart's unfortunate run-in with a vat of peanut shrimp. That's not the only foodstuff that makes Bart swell up like a hive-ridden balloon though. He's also allergic to butterscotch (and imitation butterscotch), which we find out from Marge in "Blood Feud" (Season 2, Episode 22).
Much like the shrimp, this fact is also contradicted (by Marge herself!). In "A Milhouse Divided" (Season 8, Episode 6), Marge offers to cook Bart a special dinner as a reward for his good dental checkup. The only issue? She wants to cook him butterscotch chicken.
1 Another Doctor From Beyond The Grave
Fans were pretty bummed when they had thought that Dr. Nick bit the dust during The Simpsons Movie but were ecstatic when he showed back up a year later. Strangely enough, he wasn't the only doctor that was supposedly six-feet under. Another medical professional came back from the grave.
Dr. Marvin Monroe had passed away (according to the 138th episode spectacular).
You could even see his grave in "Alone Again, Natura-diddly." Yet, like Dr. Nick, he showed up in a later episode ("Diatribe of a Mad Housewife," Season 15, Episode 10).