Top 10 Simpsons Mistakes That Were Left In
VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild
WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
Welcome to WatchMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Mistakes in The Simpsons That Made It to Air. For this list, we'll be looking at goofs with animation, voices, and continuity that made it to the final cut of "Simpsons" episodes. Our countdown includes Homer's self-repairing car, an upside-down background in the show's first Christmas episode, Dr. Marvin Monroe coming back to life, and more!
#10: Dr. Marvin Monroe Comes Back to Life
“Diatribe of a Mad Housewife”
Gravelly voiced psychiatrist Dr. Marvin Monroe was a fairly prominent supporting character in the show’s early years before being phased out. In subsequent episodes, a hospital is named in memory of him and his gravestone is shown. Yet, in Season 15’s “Diatribe of a Mad Housewife,” Monroe shows up, seemingly alive and well. Marge remarks on his absence, but he says had been “very sick.” Either the characters within the show’s universe had wrongly concluded Dr. Monroe was deceased, or the writers just decided to defy continuity. Whichever it was, they clearly turned this error into an in-joke - and it worked! It also wouldn’t be the first time they did that.
#9: Maggie’s Snowsuit Color
Like other animated programs, “The Simpsons” is full of bright and vibrant colors. But occasionally, they get their colors mixed up. After causing his best friend, Barney, to get trapped in an avalanche, Homer takes his snowplow up the mountains to save him. Before he goes up, a concerned Marge is holding baby Maggie, wearing an adorable blue star-shaped snowsuit. But it cuts away to a less-than-nimble mountain goat, and when it returns to the family, Maggie’s snowsuit is suddenly orange. We didn’t notice this error until recently, but now, we can’t possibly ignore it.
#8: Beer Label
“Homer the Moe”
When surly bartender Moe reinvents his dingy bar for a hip crowd, he ends up alienating his loyal customer base. And this scene may have alienated viewers who are big on shot continuity. Moe informs Homer that he no longer serves Duff Beer, instead touting a Malaysian beer made of soy sauce. Homer doesn’t seem to grasp what Moe’s saying and continues to ask for Duff. However, when Moe sets the bottle down, the label has changed to a Duff one. Is this a beer so advanced that it can magically change labels? No, there was probably just a miscommunication behind the scenes.
#7: Carl with Lenny’s Voice
“Brush with Greatness”
There are dozens of recurring characters on “The Simpsons,” and they tend to have distinct voices. So, if they get mixed up, fans are going to notice. In this Season 2 episode, Homer goes on a diet, and his coworker, Carl, informs a shocked donut delivery man. That’s all fine, except the voice we hear coming out of Carl belongs to another power plant employee, Lenny. Maybe Carl had been spending so much time around Lenny that he started picking up his speech patterns? Okay, that’s probably not the case. And though it’s just one short line, it’s jarring every time we hear it.
#6: The Burnt-Down Farmhouse
In season six’s “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy,” Homer and his father accidentally burn down their abandoned old farmhouse. However, in this Season 11 episode, the family goes on the run and hides out at… the same farmhouse? Well, it’s not exactly the same, as you can notice some differences in a side-by-side comparison. But it’s still supposed to be the same house, and it’s obvious that no one rebuilt the one that burned down. Did the Season 11 episode take place before the Season 6 one, chronologically? Hey, it makes as much sense as Bart being 10 years old for more than 30 years.
#5: Homer’s Self-Repairing Car
In some cartoons, it’s normal for something to get destroyed and then be perfectly fine seconds later. However, “The Simpsons” tends to take a more realistic approach. But it’s occasionally guilty of defying logic. When Homer is mistakenly accused of sexual harassment, a media firestorm ensues. In one scene, the spinning blades from a news helicopter topple over Homer’s car. But a few scenes later, the car is upright and seemingly undamaged. It’s also been moved from the driveway to the street in front of the Simpsons’ house. The writers and animators were probably hoping we wouldn’t notice this goof. But unfortunately for them, we did.
#4: Ralph with Nelson’s Voice
It’s hard to think of two “Simpsons” characters more dissimilar than Nelson Muntz and naive Ralph Wiggum. But in one brief moment, they came together. In this scene, Ralph comments on Lisa, who’s riding her pony, Princess, and the voice we hear belongs to Nelson. To be fair, this was still relatively early in the show’s run, so it’s possible they were still figuring out things with the character. But, we had heard Ralph speak with his regular tone of voice before, so we’re not sure what happened here. We definitely can’t imagine hearing Ralph’s classic one-liners with Nelson’s voice.
#3: Upside-down Background
“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”
The very first episode of “The Simpsons” to air was a Christmas special full of laughs, heart, and a pretty glaring error. When Homer comes home on Christmas Eve, he tells the family about how he didn’t receive his expected Christmas bonus before Bart brings in their new dog, Santa’s Little Helper. In one shot, when Marge is embracing her husband, the background, with family photos on the wall, is suddenly turned over. That, or someone decided to turn the photos over for no particular reason. “The Simpsons” immediately positioned itself as a cut above the average sitcom with its first episode, but this moment shows they could still make some mistakes.
#2: Boxes in Opening
For almost 18 years, there was a mistake in every single “Simpsons” episode, and it happened during the opening credits. When Homer parks his car in the driveway, he sees Marge's car coming towards him and screams. In the initial wide shot, we get a decent look inside the garage. Notably, we see no boxes by the door leading inside. However, when the shot switches to a closeup, some boxes magically appear. In Season One, the boxes were actually present in both shots. When they redid the intro for Season Two, we guess they got mixed up. You’d need to be particularly dedicated to notice this mistake. But if there’s any show whose fans will go the extra mile to catch errors, it’s “The Simpsons.”
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Magic Blazer, “Realty Bites”
Marge’s Blazer Keeps Disappearing & Reappearing
Homer's Hand, “Beyond Blunderdome”
Homer Puts His Hand on Bart, Then Takes It Away, But It’s Still There?
Bart & Butterscotch, “A Milhouse Divided”
Marge Says She’ll Make Bart Butterscotch Chicken Even Though He’s Allergic
Bart & Lisa Change Places, “Krusty Gets Busted”
When Sideshow Bob Gets Arrested, Bart & Lisa Suddenly Swap Positions
#1: Black Smithers
The first season of “The Simpsons” is like a trial run for understanding the world of Springfield. And while some things stuck around, others quickly went away. In the third episode, we meet Mr. Burns’ loyal assistant, Waylon Smithers. But while Smithers has a yellow complexion in nearly every one of his appearances, here, he has a dark skin tone. According to series creator Matt Groening, this was a coloring mistake that they couldn't afford to fix in time. In all subsequent appearances, Smithers' skin is yellow, and we learn a lot more about him.