Fox recently announced plans to renew The Simpsons for a 26th season. Think about that for a second. Twenty. Six. Seasons. That’s a batch of shows for every year I’ve been alive and a mammoth task that’s likely to never happen again. Especially in today’s landscape of fickle viewers and TV shows with dangerously low mortality rates. While the show has certainly had its ups and downs, there’s no denying that for a period of time, The Simpsons was on fire. I’m not talking in terms of pure popularity – more in terms of genuine, innovative hilarity. Ironically, as the show started to look better some might say the writing got considerably worse but I’d argue that between, say, seasons 2 and 10 The Simpsons boasted a collection of gags that still hold up today.
In fact, they go beyond just holding up today – they’ve somehow managed to seamlessly work their way into the day-to-day vocabulary of a generation that grew up hooked on Homer’s ‘Mmmm’ gags and things we might recognise Troy McClure from. Some Simpsons one-liners are so ingrained in my brain that I subconsciously fire them out all the time. Like, all the time. We may live in a Golden Age of Television but it’s hard to imagine any other TV show having that much of a long-lasting effect on its viewers. With this in mind, here are 16 Simpsons’ quotes that I use day-in-day-out along with a little explanation on how to best use them in conversation. I’ve included clips wherever I can because as we all know, video is way more interesting than words. Enjoy!
Quote: “I think I’m blind…”
When To Use It: Right after you’ve done something exhausting or eaten something massive.
Explanation: The funny thing about this scene is its context. The very idea that Homer can wake up in the middle of the night and at 64 slices of American cheese – for no real reason – is pretty hilarious. His response when Marge questions him on this hugely idiotic feat is priceless and worth recalling whenever you’ve eaten anything stupidly large or done something that you probably shouldn’t have.
When To Use It: Whenever you’ve slyly taken something that belongs to you/doesn’t belong to you.
Explanation: A pure Simpsons invention, Urban Dictionary defines the word ‘Yoink’ as “An exclamation that, when uttered in conjunction with taking an object, immediately transfers ownership from the original owner to the person using the word regardless of previous property rights.” Reading that, how could you NOT use this phrase in everyday life?
(Skip to 8.16)
When To Use It: Whenever someone who you (and your friends) have never met before asks your name.
Explanation: Inevitably there will come a time in your life where you encounter someone you’ve never met before. This unique occasion opens up the rarest of rare opportunities to bust out this often-overlooked Simpson-ism. I think the true genius in this gag comes from Bart’s impeccable timing (yeah, I know it’s a cartoon), that when asked for his name by a complete stranger, he whips out Rudiger without missing a beat. Marge angrily having to correct Self Help Guru Brad Goodman from further humiliation only adds to this line’s potency.
Quote: “Now to play the waiting game…waiting game sucks, let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos!”
When To Use It: Whenever you have to wait for something, duh.
Explanation: Got time to kill? This is probably one of the easiest to use Simpsons quotes and one that can be abbreviated given the friend circle you find yourself in. If you feel confident that there’s one or more members of your crowd who will get the full line, go for it. The very fact that Hungry Hungry Hippos is such a dated board game gives this one an extra oomph. Not sure your mates will make the connection? Then a little ‘Now to play the waiting game…” should suffice while making a sly nod to pure Simpsons gold.
Quote: “No, that’s too big…”
(Skip to 3.43)
When To Use It: Hard one to fit into everyday convo but try using it whenever you’re after ‘the biggest’ of something. You know, all those times you’re after giant..erm..things?
Explanation: I’ll admit, this one’s tough to naturally weave into back-and-forths however it’s definitely not impossible. Taken from the episode Itchy & Scratchy Land, a West World spoof where the robitic counterparts for the axe happy cat and mouse take over their own theme park, this line appears in a cut away where we glimpse the chaos taking place in Marge’s preferred holiday destination, the bird sanctuary. Go to a restaurant and ask for the biggest burger they have, then…well, you know what to do next.
Quote: “Ha Ha!”
When To Use It: Whenever you have a moment of superiority.
Explanation: A prime example of a Simpsons quote that’s so deeply ingrained in the social consciousness that it might as well be added to the Oxford English Dictionary, Nelson Muntz’s ‘Ha Ha’ is undoubtedly up there with Bart’s ‘Aye Carumba’ and Homer’s famous annoyed grunt. The popularity of this phrase is likely linked to its ease of use. There’s never going to be a situation where this Simpson’s line feels out of place and that’s why it’s not going away any time soon.
Quote: “Thanks, chummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-p”
(Skip to 3.40)
When To Use It: Best used on mates, especially when they’ve gone out of their way to do something uncharacteristically nice for you.
Explanation: Weirdly, many of the most enduring Simpson’s quotes are more memorable than the episodes that actually spawned them. This ingenious line is taken from the season 7 episode Bart Sells His Soul and is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gem that can be transported seamlessly into conversations with mates, family or work colleagues. It’s the false compliment factor that makes it so brilliant. Feel free to drag out the ‘ummmmmmmmmmmmm’ for maximum comedic effect.
Quote: “The goggles do nothing”
When To Use It: When you’ve hurt yourself doing something stupid.
Explanation: Another line that’s tricky to work into conversation but not altogether impossible, like most decent Simpson’s quotes, once they’ve been uttered on the show they take on a life of their own in general conversation. You may remember this belly-laugh line from the Radioactive Man episode where poor McBain (playing Bart’s red-spandexed hero) is engulfed in a tide of toxic waste with nothing but a pair of goggles for protection. The pointing-out-the-obvious factor is where the comedy lies and this can be used in everyday life. Burn yourself on the oven? Stub your toe? Band your head? Here’s the perfect response.
Quote: “Donuts, is there anything they can’t do?”
(Searched everywhere for this goddamn clip and this was the best I could find – Skip to 0.21)
When To Use It: Swap out the word ‘Donuts’ for whatever item you’d like to compliment and this suits any conversation.
Explanation: Conan O’Brien was with The Simpsons just three years (between 1991-93) but he certainly made a lasting impression. Probably his most notable offering was the episode Marge Vs The Monorail episode, 25 minutes of television that saw The Simpsons operating at its untouchable peak. After using a giant donut to slow down an out of control monorail and save Springfield, Homer’s love and admiration for these tasty dough rings is affirmed and immortalised in this great line. By amending it ever so slightly, you too can adopt Homer’s wisdom and use it to complement your favorite food/booze/anything.
Quote: “You’re really asking me two questions there…”
When To Use It: When somebody asks you a stupid question and you’d like to give a sarcastic and annoyingly long response.
Explanation: Look hard enough and you’ll find that almost every Simpsons character has his/her moment of raw hilarity. This quote from Grandpa Abe Simpson is up there with the best of them. I love how Grandpa, while frail and clearly getting on a bit, still has a bit of feist about him. The writers clearly had a ball thinking up rambling, oddball dialogue for him during those golden seasons and this never-ending answer to a very simple question is not only relatable (who hasn’t been bored stiff after asking their elders something easily answered?) but very funny. I couldn’t find this exact clip but included a similar one above ticks the same box.
Quote: “Awwww it think’s it’s people!”
When To Use It: Whenever you see an animal/baby/person do people things/something funny.
Explanation: I guess it could be argued that The Simpsons has been on the air for so long that it has created its own grammar and word-play that’s uniquely Springfield. I’m sure this quote has been used a number of times throughout the show’s history – when Santa’s Little Helper paws at the TV (followed by an unsuccessful attempt by Snowball 11), when Bart unexpectedly wins an elephant and in the Krabappel clip above – and it’s just as funny every time it pops up.
Quote: “It’s funny because it’s true”
When To Use It: A great retort to be used whenever someone says something funny. It’s also pretty funny to use it when something isn’t even funny.
Explanation: It may be the way Homer delivers this line – through a thick hearty laugh – that makes it all the more funny. However there’s something stupidly simplistic about it, the fact that something can be funny purely because it’s true that makes it jump out of the screen and into the vocabulary of Simpsons fans nationwide. The best part of this quote is its versatility, you can literally use it after any joke, dumb observation of poorly thought out comment and it’s almost always guaranteed to get people smirking.
Quote: “Sure, then I’ll go hug some snakes. That’s right, I’ll hug and kiss some poisonous snakes! Now that’s sarcasm…”
When To Use It: When you really, really want someone to know that you’re being sarcastic…and that you understand how to use sarcasm correctly.
Explanation: It’s hard to beat vintage Homer. The character has gone through a fair few iterations since his humble (and rather sketchy) Tracy Ullman Show short beginnings. We’ve seen him get progressively dumber and dumber – some might say too dumb in today’s episodes but there was a period where his stupidity and unpredictable whimsy were perfectly balanced. This quote, cherry picked from the episode Homer Vs Patty and Selma shows Homer in his moronic prime.
Quote: Awkward Collar Pull
When To Use It: Whenever you find yourself in an awkward situation.
Explanation: Another Simpson-ism that’s survived the test of time, this might be the most commonly used Springfieldian phrase since that dead popular one Homer says from time to time, D’ohnt remember what it is at the minute though. If you’re like me, you’ll always find a time and a place to use this one. It’s not so much a quote as a mannerism or character trait and best of all, it’s easy to do. Just roll your eyes, make an awkward grimace with your mouth and yank your collar. Boom, done.
Worth a Mention But Probably Too Hard To Work Into Everyday Conversation…
Quote: “You might remember me from…”
Explanation: The loss of Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz (and more importantly, Phil Hartman) marked another end of an era in Springfield. This quote pre-empted some of the show’s finest gags – “…The Revenge of Abe Lincoln”, “…Christmas Ape”, “…Get Confident, Stupid!”, “…Alien Nose Job”, “…The Greatest Story Ever Hulaed” and the festive classic, “…Christmas Ape Goes To Summer Camp”. Try using it whenever someone isn’t sure if they’ve met you before although don’t blame me if it doesn’t work. It’s in this section for a reason, buddy.
Quote: “That’s a paddlin’…”
Explanation: If you find yourself in a situation where the phrase/threat “That’s a paddlin’” feels like a suitable response, then you clearly have bigger things going on in your life to justify reading this blog.
I’ve just realised that this blog would have been much better if I included 26 quotes but shutup, you can’t tell me what to do.
Did I miss one? Let me know your favourite Simpsons quote in the comment section below.
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