Top 10 Times The Simpsons Made Fun of Its Own Network

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Top 10 Times The Simpsons Made Fun of Its Own Network

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
It's always funny when "The Simpsons" makes fun of its own network. Our countdown includes attacking the Fox censor, promoting other networks, Fox telethon, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Times The Simpsons Made Fun of Its Own Network


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times The Simpsons Made Fun of Its Own Network.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the funniest and most memorable instances where this long running comedy took shots at the Fox Broadcasting Company.

What’s your favorite joke that “Simpsons” made at Fox’s expense? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Fox Telethon
“Missionary: Impossible”


Since PBS is a nonprofit organization, it makes sense for the network to hold telethons soliciting donations. But that’s not the case for a privately owned network like Fox. In this season 11 episode, Homer flees to become a missionary after making a phony donation to PBS. As things reach a dramatic climax, we abruptly cut to a Fox telethon hosted by Betty White. As an added bonus, the likes of News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch work the phones. Bart Simpson also calls in with a $10,000 donation and causes Murdoch to exclaim that he’s saved his network. As Bart not-so-subtly says in the episode’s closing line, it wouldn’t be the first time.

#9: "Obnoxious Hooting and Hollering"
“Sideshow Bob Roberts”


Fox long had a reputation for less-than-sophisticated programming. It also became notorious for having studio audiences on shows like “Married… with Children” show enthusiasm through hooting and hollering. This is exactly what Larry King, playing himself as the moderator of Springfield’s mayoral debate, asks not to happen before the debate starts. But much to the disgust of King, reverse psychology immediately activates and the crowd is kicked into a brief frenzy. Given what we’ve seen at similar events in recent years, this kind of behavior hardly qualifies as satire anymore. At least the Springfield crowd got theirs out of the way early.

#8: Stomping on the Logo
"Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song"


Sometimes “The Simpsons” won’t even wait for the story to start before taking shots at Fox. During the couch gag for the show’s 100th episode, Homer notices the network logo on the screen and angrily rips it off and begins stomping on it. The rest of the family soon joins in. While this gag doesn’t really hit on the same level if you’re watching the episode on streaming or DVDs, it must’ve been hilarious and a little shocking when the episode first aired. “The Simpsons” was definitely a show that wasn’t afraid of biting the hand that aired them. Or, in this case, stomping all over it.

#7: Promoting Other Networks
“Marge Simpson in: 'Screaming Yellow Honkers'”


Fox’s reaction to this season 10 episode showed they might have a bit of a jealousy problem. After Marge saves her family from a rhino attack by crashing her SUV and making it explode, she cites former “Dateline” anchor Stone Phillips for the helpful advice. This leads to the end of the story briefly becoming a promo for NBC, which real Fox executives reportedly weren't happy about. The writers compromised and forced Homer to sing Fox's praises and decry NBC. But before the episode’s over, he promotes CBS, and we hear a gunshot. Thankfully, he was still around for the following week's episode.

#6: Bad Stock Investment
"Thirty Minutes over Tokyo"


We’re not sure how News Corp., Fox’s parent company, was doing when this season 10 episode aired. But we know Homer Simpson definitely didn’t want to invest. At an internet café, Homer shows Lisa his new web-surfing skills and that he invested in News Corp. When a concerned Lisa tells her father that’s actually Fox, Homer quickly panics as he hurries to undo the action. It’s implied that he’s lost a good deal of money in a short amount of time. Were any other potential News Corp. investors made wary by this gag, or were they too busy laughing?

#5: "Watching a Lot of Fox News"
"You Kent Always Say What You Want"


The introduction of Fox News and a growing reputation for a conservative slant on reporting gave “The Simpsons” a whole new way to attack their parent company. In a season 18 episode, local reporter Kent Brockman is fired for an on-air profanity and ends up staying with the Simpsons. Homer is immediately hostile because he viewed Brockman as a member of the “liberal media.” Marge attributes her husband’s behavior to the fact that he watches Fox News. He then combines several fear-mongering points for one ridiculous sentence. Remember to always check the sources when you hear claims like Homer’s.

#4: "Watch FOX and Be Damned for All Eternity"
“Marge in Chains”


When a flu outbreak takes over Springfield, the pious Flanders family is affected. Todd Flanders becomes so delirious that he appears to be speaking in tongues. When Maude wonders out loud why God isn’t helping them, Ned assures her they’re done nothing wrong. But then he has a sudden recollection of him laughing at a racy exchange on “Married… with Children.” The scene becomes much funnier when it’s followed by a thunderclap and a reaction of instant regret. Although Fox might’ve never actually used the network slogan mentioned in the episode in real life, they’re a lot more openly shameless in the world of “The Simpsons.”

#3: Fox’s Alleged Connection to Overseas Crimes
"Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy"


It’s one thing to say Fox has some substandard programming. But it’s quite another to imply they’re complicit in serious crimes. When Lisa starts rallies against her Malibu Stacy’s doll sexist phrases, the family brings up the previous causes she’s made them actively participate in. After Bart and Marge have their say, Homer complains they can’t watch Fox any longer due to some questionable actions the network participated in overseas. As far as we can tell, Fox didn’t raise any fuss about this line. And we sure hope there isn’t any truth to it.

#2: Attacking the Fox Censor
"Treehouse of Horror VIII"


While Halloween specials entertain viewers because “The Simpsons” can push the boundaries of how graphic it gets, the network censors must have a lot less fun. In the opening of “Treehouse of Horror VIII,” a Fox censor goes over a script to look for offensive content to cut out. He then announces the special will be rated a family-friendly “TV-G.” But the onscreen rating square isn't through with him. A hand brandishing a sword extends from the graphic and stabs the censor repeatedly. Each hit causes the rating to go up to TV-MA and beyond. This episode might not actually be rated “TV-666,” but it definitely delivered on classic “Simpsons” horror comedy.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“What Is This Crap?”, “HOMR”
It Turns Out That Fox Has a New Nickname

No Fox, More Business.“Judge Me Tender”
When Moe Is Banned From Playing Fox in His Bar, His Business Skyrockets

Fox News Helicopter, “The Fool Monty”
The Words on the Side of This Helicopter Take a Massive Dig at the Network

“Frame Up”,“ The Frying Game”
A Serious Crime Turns Out to Be a Fox Hidden Camera Show

The "Truth" About Fox,“You Kent Always Say What You Want”
Homer Tries to Tell Everyone a Secret Truth About Fox but Keeps Being Stopped

#1: “Your Voice for Evil”
“Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington”


Although “The Simpsons” had taken countless jabs at Fox by the time this season 14 episode aired, this gag evidently hit a sore spot. After the family urges local entertainer Krusty the Clown to run for Congress, he appears on a Fox News-hosted debate. The moderator clearly favors the Republican-leaning clown. At the same time, his Democratic opponent doesn’t even get his name mentioned and is shown with devil horns and a communist flag behind him. Even the news crawl features the network taking shots at Democrats. According to series creator Matt Groening, Fox News almost sued...before realizing that would mean suing themselves. Sometimes, truth is funnier than fiction.
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