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Top 10 Times The Simpsons Went Too Far

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Laura Keating
Written by Laura Keating Even the first family of Springfield can cross the line. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times The Simpsons Went Too Far. For this list, we’ll be looking at moments in the long-running adult animation that have been considered to be in extreme bad taste, undermined a developed character, or is just questionable all around. We won’t be addressing story-based controversies that were mere disappointments to fans, or episodes of shows where the Simpsons had a cameo though. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Even the first family of Springfield can cross the line. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times The Simpsons Went Too Far.

For this list, we’ll be looking at moments in the long-running adult animation that have been considered to be in extreme bad taste, undermined a developed character, or is just questionable all around. We won’t be addressing story-based controversies that were mere disappointments to fans, or episodes of shows where the Simpsons had a cameo though.

#10: Homer the Suicide Bomber
“A Tale of Two Springfields”


The town of Springfield is divided when they discover that the poorer folks in town have been given new telephone area codes, while the wealthy get to keep the old one. The citizens gather in the Town Hall for a meeting. In this sight-gag that runs throughout the scene culminating in an angry mob, we see that Homer has arrived to the meeting strapped with dynamite. While the episode aired pre-9/11, given that so many public places have been the target of terrorist attacks in the early 21st century, the joke has not aged well.

#9: Jockeys Are Murderous Elf-Like Creatures
“Saddlesore Galactica”


The episode begins like classic Simpsons-fare: the family comes into possession of a pet they cannot afford and try to come up with a creative means of supporting it. This time it's a horse, and Bart becomes a jockey. Things take a turn when the horse stars winning. It’s not the mafia, or corrupt bookies that insist Homer throw a race, however - it’s singing, murderous, elven jockeys. It’s one thing to canonize that there are brain-eating elves living by a chocolate stream under Springfield Downs racetrack, but to literally dehumanize people of small stature, a cruel stereotype against which little people grapple daily, is much worse.

#8: Lisa Gets Addicted to Second-Hand Cigarette Smoke
“Smoke on the Daughter”


When a ballet academy sets up in Springfield, Marge decides to fulfill a life-long dream to become a ballerina. While she has skill, she's too old. However the instructor notices Lisa’s naturally perfect posture and wants her to join. To Lisa’s frustration, she discovers she's bad at it … until she hangs out with the other girls on their smoke break. After inhaling the second-hand smoke, she feels like she does better, and becomes addicted to it. While the episode is good overall and reminiscent of a classic-era Simpsons morality play, having level-headed Lisa pick up cigarettes and contemplate something so harmful is decidedly uncomfortable.

#7: Bart & Lisa Cover Up the "Murder" of Martin Prince
“Dial 'N' for Nerder”


The sleuthing of Bart and Lisa is a beloved plot-arc standby, and throughout the show they’ve foiled nefarious schemes together and brought corrupt men to justice. The tables are turned when a prank goes wrong, and they think they’ve killed classmate and goody-two-shoes, Martin Prince. Rather than do what you’d expect and tell an adult that Martin fell off a cliff and attempt his recovery, they cover the whole thing up. This naturally causes them a lot of mental anguish, and while it turns out okay you spend the episode thinking the kids might not be alright after all.

#6: Frank Grimes' Death
“Homer’s Enemy”


Frank Grimes has had it rough, and just wants to get his life going when he moves to Springfield. However, he immediately notices how insanely messed up Homer is. A somewhat meta episode, many people regard “Homer’s Enemy” as the end of the golden-era of Simpsons, when Homer’s buffoonery itself becomes the joke. Frank eventually goes nuts – as any sane person might – when he realizes he’s living in a crazy world where no one else notices the insanity, and accidentally kills himself in grisly fashion. And life, for everyone else, carries on as normal.

#5: Marge's Breast Implants
“Large Marge”


While out with Manjula, Marge, the sweet, beloved matriarch of the family is talked into getting liposuction. When she wakes up from surgery, she discovers that there has been a mix up and her tummy-tuck turned into breast implants. Not only was it a terrible departure for the character, but also it's just cringey as hell to see her so overtly sexualized in what felt like very obvious fan-service. At the end of the episode, putting a cherry on this cringe cheesecake, she flashes a crowd of people so to save Homer, Bart and Milhouse from being eaten by an elephant.

#4: The Death Of Maude Flanders
“Alone Again, Natura-Diddily”


When Homer antagonizes the racetrack t-shirt cannon cheerleaders, Maude Flanders is struck with the clothing barrage, knocked off the bleachers, and into the parking lot, dying on impact. The shocking scene was highly anticipated, although viewers were unsure which Springfield citizen would kick the bucket. It was the first time a regular character was actively killed off, and it changed the dynamic of not just the show but also the character of Ned Flanders. In a show that, like so many others, resets at the end of each episode, this seemed like an awfully drastic step to spice things up.

#3: Homer Dreams of Killing His Father
“Papa Don’t Leech”


Abe and Homer's rocky dynamic has produced some of the series’ best moments. In the opening of this season 19 episode, we see them arguing during a drive home, and it seems there is nothing out of the ordinary. However, when the car goes off the road, Abe is too injured to get out. Rather than dial 911, Homer kills him. The dream sequence of Homer smothering his father as he struggles to breathe has no bearing on the rest of the episode, but somehow it makes the unnecessarily shocking scene worse. It might be a Sopranos’ reference, but it is still odd and disturbing.

#2: Moe Hangs Himself
“Whiskey Business”


Moe Szyslak’s suicide attempts have been an off-color gag throughout the show's run – with ill-fated attempts including his “annual Christmas suicide”, and accidentally saving Maggie while preparing to jump from a bridge. But things got especially dark in this episode, as Moe slowly walks up to a prepared noose in his bar, while Homer, Lenny, and Carl are in the other room none the wiser. Slipping the noose around his neck, he calls a helpline. Accidentally kicking the chair out, the boozehounds rush to the noise and find him on the floor, which is all played out for laughs.

#1: Marge Rapes Homer
“Strong Arms of the Ma”


What the hell, Simpsons?! The set-up here is that Marge has been lifting weights and juicing up as a way to feel back in control of herself, after she was mugged and develops agoraphobia. As a result, she becomes more aggressive. In one scene, she wants a little action in bed, and when Homer says he’s not up to it she tells him she wasn’t asking. The next morning, Homer is limping around the kitchen. This was not the first time The Simpsons made light of sexual assault, as two seasons earlier, it was implied that Homer was raped by a panda. Seriously: What. The. Hell.
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