Ah, The Simpsons. Is there any TV show, animated or live action, that has had quite as much of an impact on culture? Its roots are firmly in the countercultural comics by a then-unknown cartoonist, Matt Groening, and had a meteoric rise to fame. First as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show that generated some of the biggest laughs of the entire series, then, after encouragement from David Silverman, a primetime animated series. Simpsonsmania gripped the globe. No matter where you were, you were getting The Simpsons exposed to you in just about every part of media you could think of. Magazine covers, books, even music with the song "Do the Bartman," co-written by Michael Jackson.
Since then, the show has never really dipped in media presence. While the golden era of the 1990s may be behind us, the show is still putting out season after season, and is the longest running TV show in history. When you have so many episodes, things are bound to go wrong. In this article, we've sifted through every season of The Simpsons, finding a whole host of (relatively minor) hilarious errors. From animation and illustration goofs to factual errors, you'll find them all here. While The Simpsons has never been a show that's exactly focused on continuity or fact-checking, some of these mistakes are so large you'll wonder how you never noticed them before.
23 No Boxes In The Garage
I feel like everyone knows the show's iconic opening off-by-heart, so I'm going to cut down on the details for a bit of brevity. You know how, when Homer is running into the house to escape Marge's incoming car, there are a few boxes to the right-hand side of the door? These appear out of nowhere. On the shot before, when Homer is peering around him while on the driveway, no boxes can be seen to the right of the door. There's just a workbench, a rake, a bicycle, and a few other bits and pieces you'd find in a garage.
22 Lenny Or Carl?
Ah, this is a bit of a strange one. Occasionally, despite the creators' best efforts, a weird little flaw slips through the QA cracks. In the episode A Brush With Greatness, one of these strange audio flaws can be clearly heard. When Carl is talking to the donut deliveryman, he can be heard to respond with Lenny's voice. I know that they're very close friends, but surely swapping voices is a step too far for anyone? I'm sure it would confuse Homer to no end.
21 Bart’s Guitar Changes From Left-Handed To Right-Handed
Do you remember the episode The Otto Show? Taking place in the show's third season, Otto is found out to have no driving license, and is suspended by the school. As a side story, Bart is learning how to play the guitar, but not with a huge amount of success. Otto happily takes the guitar and shreds it up. When Bart is playing the instrument earlier in the show, the guitar is shown to be left-handed, with Otto playing it right-handed, with the speaker on the top. Later in the episode, as seen above, the guitar has magically become right-handed.
20 Ralph Changes Grades At Random
I think that everyone has a soft spot for Ralph. The simple but well-meaning child provides some of the show's most heartwarming and heart-rending scenes (I choo-choo-choose you, anyone?), but no one really seems to know where he belongs. The Wiggum child appears in both Bart and Lisa's classes, seemingly moving between them at random. A fan theory has developed to explain this somewhat, saying that the teachers don't really care where he is, as long as he's quiet and doesn't annoy anyone.
19 Black Smithers
If you watch some early episodes of The Simpsons, you'll notice something very odd: Smithers is black in his first appearance. Instead of the yellow skin and brown hair that we've come to expect, he had black skin and blue hair. Apparently, the previous skin tone was a mistake on the part of the animation team, and the production staff couldn't afford to have it fixed. Instead, they waited until his second appearance to give him his familiar yellow hue.
18 When Did Sideshow Bob Get Released From Prison?
Sideshow Bob, the criminal mastermind voiced by Kelsey Grammer, has provided some of the show's most cultured references and some of it's most chilling moments. After being arrested in Krusty Gets Busted, we don't see him released from prison until the Third Season, in the episode Black Widower. Despite this, in Season Two, he can be seen out and about, intermingling and singing with the townspeople in the episode Bart Gets An F. Whether this is an unreferenced escape from prison or simply a mistake on the part of the creators, we may never know.
17 Snow One Knows
If there's one thing that The Simpsons has never lacked, even in its early years, it's guest stars. In the episode Mr. Plow, featuring Linda Ronstadt, Homer sets up a snowplow business, clearing the highways and byways of Springfield. There's just one problem: the snow seems to appear and disappear at random throughout the episode. In various dialog scenes the snow is noticeable either in its presence or its absence, with no clear explanation as to why. Is Homer just that good at his job, for once?
16 That Farmhouse Burned Down
In the episode E-I-E-I-D’oh, the family heads to the farmhouse where Homer grew up. There, they grow a hybrid mix of tobacco and tomatoes, called Tomacco. Things go sour when the animals around them become addicted, and crash through their windows demanding more Tomacco. But hang on. We saw that farmhouse burn down in the Season 6 episode Grampa vs. Inadequacy. It came to symbolize Homer and Grampa's rocky relationship and past, and when it burned down, it was a powerful moment. Apparently, that was retconned.
15 Are They Banned From Florida Or Not?
In the episode Kill The Alligator and Run, the family are banned from Florida after they accidentally bring the state's most famous reptile, Captain Jack, to a premature end. However, they go back several times after. In Special Edna, Bart takes them to the EFCOT Center, in Orlando. Then, in Catch 'Em If You Can, Marge and Homer take a second honeymoon to Miami. Either the state of Florida is much more forgiving than you'd think or someone's not been keeping an eye on continuity.
14 Maggie’s There Already
I think this may be the most famous error in Simpsons history. In the episode “And Maggie Makes Three,” Homer is initially distraught when he finds out that Marge is pregnant for a third time. However, in the scene where Homer is told that Marge is pregnant with Maggie, there's something very wrong indeed. Have you spotted it? There's a picture of her on the wall behind them, despite her, uh, not being born. To make this even funnier, it was first spotted by Simpsons producer Matt Selman.
13 Apu On The Jury
In the episode Much Apu About Nothing, Apu is discovered to be an illegal, and as a result of a swing to the right in local issues, decides to take a citizenship test. Passing the test, he is called up for jury duty for the first time. This is, however, not the first time that we've seen Apu serving as a member of the 12 good men and true. In the earlier episode The Boy Who Knew Too Much, Apu serves on the jury next to a sleeping Homer.
12 Reused Shot
$pringfield reuses an earlier season’s shot, with much lower animation quality. It's hard to spot if you don't know what you're looking for, but it's there. At the dinner table, when Homer tells the family that it's always been his dream to work as a blackjack dealer, the dinner scene from the episode When Flanders Failed is used, with new dialog overdubbed. The animation is much lower quality, and in another shot, Homer can be seen with food on his fork, despite there being no food on the table just moments ago.
11 Repeated Animation
Ah, Radio Bart. The episode where Bart is given a radio and mic set by Homer for his birthday, using it to create mischief, leading to him falling down a well, it's a fantastic episode from the golden era. However, a certain animation shortcut is fairly obvious. In Wall-E-Weasel's during Bart's birthday party, a shot is looped back and forth. The shot in question is of Nelson cheating at skeeball, and is obvious from Bart's constant looping in and out of shot.
10 Missing Eyes And Noses
This strange little bit of animation shortcutting can be seen in several episodes, as above. However, the most obvious ones are in two early episodes. In Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment, when Homer daydreams of being in prison and clutches the bars on his windows, the characters in the background have no eyes. In the episode Lisa on Ice, when the game finishes a tie, a woman in the crowd protests, but that's not all she should be upset about. When she moves her head, her nose disappears from her face before reappearing.
9 Snake Lives With The Simpsons, Apparently
In the episode Homer’s Triple Bypass, Springfield's bungling police use a vehicle-mounted battering ram during a raid to catch Snake Jailbird. Unfortunately, they've got the wrong house, breaking down Reverend Lovejoy's door instead. When asked if this is 742 Evergreen Terrace, Lovejoy tells them they want next door, with Snake escaping immediately after. As all good Simpsons fans know, 742 Evergreen Terrace is the address of the Simpson family, and no one else. Maybe he was living with them as part of some weird rehabilitation program.
8 Mr. Burns’ Age
Mr. Burns is one of Springfield's oldest and most evil citizens, but no one, including Burns himself, appears to be aware of exactly how old he is. In the episode Simpson and Delilah, Burns tells Homer that he's 81 years old, not 102 as Homer guessed. In other episodes, including the first Who Shot Mr. Burns? he is described as being 104. In yet another episode, Fraudcast News, he claims he was born in 1881. Strangely, in another episode, he can be seen giving children a hard time in a 19th-century woodcut, but he still appears as an old man.
7 38 Stars Not 49
The episode Homer Badman provides some of the biggest laughs in Simpsons history. When they go to a public access television in an attempt to clear Homer's name, the family puts up an old flag behind him. The flag is described as having 49 stars, with Grampa saying "I'll be dead in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah!"
A hilarious line, sure, but there's actually only 38 stars on the flag. Both flags existed, but the 38 star flag was used from 1877-1890, making it far older than it first appears.
6 Lisa’s Wrong
Lisa is easily one of the most intelligent characters on the show, often providing an injection of reason into the family's crazy hijinks. However, despite her intelligence, it's not entirely uncommon for her to get things wrong. In the episode They Saved Lisa's Brain, for example, she uses the word "ignorami" as the plural of "ignoramus," when it is in fact "ignoramuses." Another error on her part occurs in the episode Margical History Tour, where she, as Salieri, lists names of wine, including Riesling. However, all the glasses are of red wine. Riesling is a white wine.
5 Chief Wiggum’s Doppelganger
Chief Wiggum is an iconic Simpsons character, but did you know that the town's bungling police chief apparently has a doppelganger, or at the very least, an identical twin? In the episode The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, Wiggum is seen talking to Homer and Marge about sending Bart to military school. However, Bart is then seen in the background stealing a ride-on lawnmower, being pursued by police. In one of the police cars chasing him, very slowly? None other than Chief Wiggum.
4 Santa’s Little Helper
The episode Homer's Barbershop Quartet famously takes place in a flashback to 1985, after Homer discovers one of his old records at a swap meet. However, despite this, the family's faithful hound, Santa's Little Helper, appears in the episode. Now, he really shouldn't have been there, unless the family took a particularly welcome attitude to strays. He wasn't brought into the family until 1989, in the episode Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire, after he was abandoned by the Springfield dog track.
3 Changed Timeline
In an attempt to help Ned live his life to his fullest, Homer takes him to Vegas in the episode Viva Ned Flanders. There, they get married to a pair of local cocktail waitresses. There's no problem in the episode itself. However, a recording of the wedding is shown in the episode Brawl in the Family, which shows Homer kissing Ned instead of his new wife. This didn't happen in the original episode, with Homer kissing his new wife, as normal. At least, as normal as The Simpsons gets.
2 Beyond Blunderdome's Animation Blunder
I personally think this is the mother of all animation problems seen in the show. In the episode Beyond Blunderdome, starring Mel Gibson, Homer quietly informs Bart that Mel's new movie isn't up to much. As he whispers this to Bart, his hand is still stuck to Bart's shoulder, where it had been moments ago, despite him moving it. For a brief, beautiful, baffling moment, Homer is apparently revealed to be a three-handed mutant. It wouldn't be all that surprising, I suppose.
1 Sherri (Or Terri) As A Floating Head
Okay, this animation mistake is also pretty darn bad. However, it can be pretty easily explained away as a bit of animation shorthand, rather than a lack of quality control. In the episode Homer's Odyssey, there is a scene where the twins Sherri and Terri are apparently...well, maybe more creepy than the twins in The Shining. One of them, I never can tell them apart, is drawn with no body whatsoever, they just appear as a floating head with hair.