Lisa: [laughing at an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon] Bart, you're not laughing. Too subtle?
January 1, 2004 1:51 AM   Subscribe

Subtly Simpsons. "... a list of lines from The Simpsons that we, your editors, have found to be particularly witty, often with their humor derived from subtleties of language, esoteric allusions, or just plain wit."
posted by riffola (14 comments total)
When Sideshow Bob is in jail, his prisoner number is: 24601. This is also Jean Valjean's number in Les Miserable

I was so chuffed that I noticed this myself when I saw that episode. Good stuff.
posted by Jimbob at 4:42 AM on January 1, 2004

Ok, Simpsons is a funny show. we know , but the point is the writing is so good, that you shouldn't need someone to explain all the jokes to you. i'll wait for the inevitable Cliff Notes, arcane graduate student theses, and reductionist high school textbooks, with jokes deconstructed AND pre-written essays for when (ultimately) The Simpsons is studied as literature and Shakespeare is replaced
posted by Duck_Lips at 6:21 AM on January 1, 2004

Duck_Lips, I have no idea what point you're trying to make: the usual MeFi irony overdose, I suppose. Me, I'd say the writing is so good it includes all levels of jokes, from those obvious to children to those so subtle I'm grateful to have a site like this to explain them to me (like the Jean Valjean reference, which I'd never have gotten). I just wish it were better proofread ("Sicacusa" for Siracusa, for example—and that Patton reference is another one I'd have missed).
posted by languagehat at 7:43 AM on January 1, 2004

Best. Link. Ever.

Oh, OK...not really, but it is a good link -- chock-full of references -- some remembered, others not. Handy.
posted by davidmsc at 8:09 AM on January 1, 2004

Cuban salsa sensation Tito Puente is playing at a club called Chez Guevara's, a subtle reference to "Che" Guevara.

How subtle! :)
Great link, cheers.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:19 AM on January 1, 2004

"you shouldn't need someone to explain all the jokes to you."

I have the benefit of claiming cultural ignorance for some of the examples, others just plain flew over my head, and some I even got in the first place, but for those I didn't, it's nice to be able to look again and fill in some blanks. No, you don't need every joke explained to enjoy the show, but for fans it's fascinating to garner further appreciation of the subtleties the Simpsons has to offer.
posted by nthdegx at 1:01 PM on January 1, 2004

I didn't see this one on the site, but this is my favorite esoteric Simpson's exchange:

Lisa: Pablo Neruda said that laughter is the language of the soul.
Bart: I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:26 PM on January 1, 2004

personal favorite: In "She of Little of Faith" (2001), as the nerd-built rocket carrying the hamster Nibbles ascends from the backyard, Homer recites:

"to slip the surly bonds of gravity,and punch the face of God",

an allusion to this poem quoted by Reagan after the Challenger disaster in 1986.
posted by jamsterdam at 3:05 PM on January 1, 2004

My favorite parlor game with the Simpsons is to trace out the chain of events in an episode, how one little event at the beginning of the episode cascades into an enormous consequence by the end.

My favorite is how Homer being late to take out the trash after "Love Day" eventually results in the entire city of Springield having to pick up and move down the road.
posted by jamsterdam at 3:13 PM on January 1, 2004

Bart and Milhouse: Mickey Rooney!!
Rooney: Hi, Milhouse. The studio sent me to talk to you, being a former child star myself, and the number-one box-office draw from 1939 to 1940.
Bart: (in awe) Wow, spanning two decades!
-- Episode: Radioactive Man (2F17, Season 7)
posted by LinusMines at 5:01 PM on January 1, 2004

When Homer exclaims "Oh! Calcutta" in the octuplets episode, I always took it to refer to this.

I don't think the translation on the site is correct, though :)
posted by emf at 5:15 PM on January 1, 2004

MeFite1: Are you being sarcastic, dude?

MeFite2: I don't even know anymore.
posted by bwg at 7:34 PM on January 1, 2004

Superintendant Chamers: "Religion has no place in public schools the way facts have no place in organized religion."

Why is this not a bumpersticker?
posted by widdershins at 7:02 AM on January 2, 2004

Other 24601 references...
In one episode, Principal Skinner reveals that his prisoner number in Vietnam was 24601. That same prisoner number was Hank Jennings' in "Twin Peaks" (1990)
posted by seanyboy at 5:49 PM on January 3, 2004

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