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Top 10 Amazing Small Details in The Simpsons

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Telly Vlachakis
With over 600 episodes and counting, it’s sometimes hard to notice the little things. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we will be counting down our picks for the top 10 amazing small details you may never have noticed in “The Simpsons”. For this list, we will be looking at the best Easter eggs, hidden background details, and interesting facts hidden within America’s hit dysfunctional family.
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With over 600 episodes and counting, it’s sometimes hard to notice the little things. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we will be counting down our picks for the top 10 amazing small details you may never have noticed in “The Simpsons”.

For this list, we will be looking at the best Easter eggs, hidden background details, and interesting facts hidden within America’s hit dysfunctional family.

#10: Matt Groening’s Initials


We start off nice and simple by looking at character design. Most fans know that the Simpson family designs were no accident: the bright yellow was chosen on purpose so that it would catch viewers’ eyes while they flipped through channels, and their weird hairstyles were implemented so that the characters would be recognizable as silhouettes. However, many may not have realized that creator Matt Groening has forever left his artist’s mark directly on Homer’s face. That’s because his initials are formed by the “M” in Homer’s hair, and the “G” on his ear.

#9: Extended Retractions


“The Simpsons” loves to make use of scrolling jokes, lists that come-and-go in the blink of an eye: for example the one where anchor Kent Brockman ostensibly outs closeted celebrities (which really lists “Simpsons’” creators’ names). But perhaps the cleverest instance in in the episode when Homer finds himself the victim of an exploitative news cycle over a misunderstanding. After admitting their mistake, hard-hitting news show “Rock Bottom” publishes a number of retractions. It is insane the amount of jokes they can fit in 3 seconds, including “everyone on TV is better than you” and “If you are reading this, you have no life”. A DVR or DVD is required for this one.

#8: Somewhat Secret Cameos


The show’s writers also love injecting their own little in-jokes that only pay off for observant long-time or repeat viewers. In the “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie” episode for instance, Lisa is waxing rhapsodic over how amazing the duo’s animated movie is. She says she’s surprised by its cameos from stars like Michael Jackson and Dustin Hoffman . . . but that they didn’t use their real names. Funny enough, the two previous seasons of “The Simpsons” actually did include episodes with guest-starring roles by both these superstars, and both were uncredited at the time. As Lisa said about “Itchy & Scratchy”: “you could tell it was them”.

#7: Hans Moleman’s Age


Speaking of being rewarded for repeat viewing, it seems like nobody caught this joke at first, which took 3 episodes to set up. In the episode “Duffless,” old-timer Hans Moleman, the butt of a ridiculous number of jokes, speaks up about how alcohol has ruined his life, by declaring he is only 31 years old. This is of course played for laughs because it obviously cannot be true. However keen-eyed fans noticed a close-up of his driver’s licence in a previous episode, which lists his birth year as 1961. Now, maybe that was a DMV mistake. But considering these episodes aired in 1993, the math adds up!


#6: Fermat’s Last Theorem


And speaking of math, Fermat’s Last Theorem is a 17th century problem that befuddled mathematicians, who struggled for centuries to solve it. You may ask yourself “why am I getting a math lesson; I’m here for ‘The Simpsons’”. Well, that’s because grade-A buffoon Homer Simpson almost solved the hallowed enigma (which actually finally was figured out by a mathematician in the ‘90s). In the classic episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace”, Homer struggles to invent something in order to leave his mark on the world. And it’s hilarious to see Homer’s random scribbles on his chalkboard are actually (almost, but not quite) the solution to a mysterious mathematical riddle.

#5: Tom Landry’s Hat


We all love a good recurring joke, and “The Simpsons” has the most subtle ones of all. Nobody expected the late great NFL coach Tom Landry to be immortalized on the hit show by way of his iconic fedora. First Tom Landry himself has a short cameo in season 7. A season later, Homer finds and purchases Tom Landry’s hat. Since then, the famous memorabilia has shown up on the heads of the Simpsons clan in various sports-themed episodes. Even Marge puts it on when she was coaching a fantasy football league.

#4: Iconic Photography


“The Simpsons” is an iconic show, having become pop culture as much as it parodies and pays homage to it, with innumerable film, TV and music references in the show. But for most people, some of the program’s subtle imitations or recreations of famous pictures and moments in history can be quite elusive to catch. For example, the Simpsons clan fleeing Australia is lifted from the famous Vietnam war Fall of Saigon photos; while Lisa being sworn in as Miss Springfield is inspired by the swearing in of Lyndon Johnson after the JFK assassination. And let’s not forget Grampa Simpson being grumpy at Woodstock.


#3: A113


Animation fans will probably already recognise this little Easter Egg, as it appears in countless movies, including many Disney/Pixar properties. This is a favourite of many animators to hide in their work, as it is a reference to a classroom at the California Institute of Arts. Some “Simpsons” artists got their start there, and they choose to sprinkle these references in the show’s backgrounds. Therefore, you can see “A113” show up in an assortment of odd places, including license plates, mugshots, and prison IDs. We are almost certain that some of these have not even been noticed yet. Get looking!

#2: $847.63


In the most notable blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment from the show, Maggie famously passes through the scanner at lightning speed in the opening credits, making it almost impossible to see what she rang up as. In the season 7 behind-the-scenes episode, they even poked fun at those fans who were trying to decipher the code, claiming the hidden message says “NRA4EVER”. The truth however is that Maggie rings up at $847.63. Apparently the reason for the number is that it was the expected monthly cost of raising a baby around the time the show premiered.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

Skittlebrau

Frink Rules!

The Five Fingers of God

#1: The McBain Movie


Austrian superhunk Rainier Wolfcastle would later become a regular character on “The Simpsons”, but when he first showed up in season 2, he was just action superstar McBain showing up on TV screens. Similar to “Itchy & Scratchy”, the writers used these clips to poke fun at pop culture and testosterone-fueled action movies, showing us random over-the-top and violent clips from “McBain”. But how random were they? What fans realized many years later is that if you string all these clips together, spread out through the show's first few seasons, you actually get a complete and coherent action film.
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