'The Simpsons': Ten amazing bits of trivia you have to hear
Yahoo Entertainment is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.
With all thirty seasons of The Simpsons available to watch right now on Disney+, Disney’s newly launched mega-streaming service, there has never been a better time to revisit Springfield, and with it, some of the greatest classic comedy episodes in TV history.
You may feel like you’ve watched the show Time magazine crowned “Greatest TV Show Of The 20th Century” endlessly over it’s more-than-thirty-year run but there are a wealth of hidden stories to be discovered behind-the-scenes of each memorable episode.
Yes, you may know your Jebediah Springfield from your Bobo Burns, but you probably weren’t aware of these little-known The Simpsons factoids.
It’s enough to blow Professor Frink’s mind.
Homer and Krusty were originally supposed to be the same person
There’s a reason why Homer and Krusty look, erm, exactly the same. Originally, Matt Groening had planned a twist storyline where Bart would discover that his TV hero was actually his dad in disguise – but Groening decided not to go ahead with the plot, because it was too convoluted for the show’s early days.
Read more: Times The Simpsons predicted the future
Speaking to EW, Groening said, ”The original idea behind Krusty the Clown was that he was Homer in disguise, but Homer still couldn’t get any respect from his son, who worshiped Krusty. If you look at Krusty, it’s just Homer with extended hair and a tuft on his head.” Of course, both characters are also voiced by the same person: the talented Dan Castellaneta.
‘D’oh!’ was inspired by Laurel and Hardy
The voice of Homer, Dan Castellaneta, revealed that Homer’s most famous catchphrase wasn’t even in the original scripts:”’D’oh!’ was originally written as ‘annoyed grunt’,” he explained, in an interview with EW. He continued, on its origins, “James Finlayson – a comedian who was in a lot of Laurel and Hardy pictures – would always go ‘D’ohhhhhhh!’ and I thought, ‘I’ll do that,’ because I was a big Laurel and Hardy fan.
“Homer was the classic silent-movie antagonist to Bart’s Charlie Chaplin, so that’s what popped into my head — that Edgar Buchanan/James Finlayson frustrated foil. Because you have to say things faster in animation, it was sped up and became ‘D’oh!’”
There’s an ingenious reason why The Simpsons are yellow
Matt Groening revealed the reason he made his characters their iconic yellow hue in an interview with the BBC. He explained: “They're yellow because when it was time to pick the colour for the cartoon I didn't want the conventional cartoon colours.”
He continued, “An animator came up with the Simpsons’ yellow and as soon as she showed it to me I said, ‘This is the answer!’ because when you’re flicking through channels with your remote control, and a flash of yellow goes by, you’ll know you’re watching The Simpsons.”
There are multiple levels of controversy surrounding the Michael Jackson episode
Amongst the show’s many celebrity guests over the years, perhaps the most famous is Michael Jackson. The controversial nature of the singer now means ‘Stark Raving Dad’ is the only classic Simpsons episode not included on Disney+. But aside from the most obvious issue there, there were more controversies around the episode. Namely, that there were questions about whether MJ definitely voiced the episode – the character he voices is a man Homer meets in a mental institution who only claims to be the pop star Michael Jackson, and while sounding exactly like him, doesn’t look anything like the real-life celebrity.
Solidifying the real-life confusion, Jackson himself wasn’t credited on the episode for contractual reasons. A writer from the episode has since confirmed it definitely was the star who voiced the character - but that a vocal impersonator had to be used to record the singing parts.
There was going to be a sequel to ‘Stark Raving Dad’ featuring another huge celebrity
Leon Kompowsky, the aforementioned patient who claimed to be Michael Jackson, was set to return in a sequel episode - but this time, voiced by another pop star. The huge celebrity that was lined up to star in the follow up? None other than Prince. Conan O’Brien was part of the writing team behind the planned episode, which would see Kompowsky return and encourage the Springfield residents to "loosen up, become more flamboyant and become more sexually open,” writer Mike Reiss reveals in the DVD commentary for ‘Stark Raving Dad’.
However, Prince agreed to the the episode after seeing a script that actually turned out to have been written by his chauffeur, and when he saw the real script, he wasn’t a fan and refused the role - saying he’d only be part of it if they used the chauffeur’s script. The sequel never came to be.
There is a practical reason for The Simpsons’s opening couch gags
The couch gags that begin every episode of The Simpsons are one of the most iconic elements of the whole show - but they serve a nifty purpose aside from brilliant sight gags. Because they change every episode – and differ in length, too – they are used to adjust the episode’s run time and fit the exact timings required.
Mr Burns is actually a distant relative of Homer
The distant relation is revealed in a family tree graphic which was produced by Matt Groening. You can see the full family tree, here. It’s such a distant relation, though, that we can’t even begin to work out how many times removed they are.
The Simpsons team pranked Justin Timberlake in his guest episode
NSYNC guest star in the season 12 episode ‘New Kids on the Blecch’, where Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph form a new boy band. When recording the script, though, Justin Timberlake was reluctant to say “word”, insisting he would never say that in real life. So naturally, the editing team reused the one take where he said "word" after nearly every single one of his lines.
Only two characters in The Simpsons have ever had five fingers
The residents of Springfield all only have four fingers – except for two: God, and Jesus. They’re the only characters in the Simpsons universe who are shown to have five fingers on each hand and toes on each foot.
Moe was only given his surname to work with one specific plot
Moe was given the surname, Szyslak purely so that his initials would be MS: and therefore, be one of the suspects implicated in the ‘Who Shot Mr Burns?’ cliff hanger. His surname was only revealed for the first time in Part One of the sixth season whodunnit.
Writer Bill Oakley said in the DVD commentary for the episode that they found the name in the phonebook.
Buy a Disney+ subscription
Disney+ subscription | £5.99 per month or £59.99 a year
UK consumers are also able to sign up for a seven-day trial to get a taste of the service.