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10 Things in The Simpsons That Fans Like to Pretend Never Happened

10 Things in The Simpsons That Fans Like to Pretend Never Happened

The Simpsons has had a lot of stories, with all sorts of A-plots and B=plots, over the years. That said, it was inevitable that the series would occasionally have stories that would rub fans the wrong way. In fact, some stories have been so disliked that some fans outright pretend never happened on the show.



The Simpsons poster showing the whole family

The Simpsons

Release Date
December 17, 1989



It helps that the show itself has picked up on this and has occasionally retconned a few controversial stories. On the other hand, retcons like these have also proven controversial with fans, who prefer what was originally established. Sometimes, the issue isn’t continuity, but something being too nonsensical or mean-spirited.

Of course, fans don’t necessarily agree on what the show should have done instead. If there are contradicting stories, fans will debate which was better. Likewise, the same thing could be disliked for completely different reasons. Of course, even the most controversial stories have their fans. Stream The Simpsons on Disney+.

10 Moe’s Magical Talking Dishrag

Season 23, Episode 12

The episode, “Moe Goes From Rags To Riches,” is narrated by a somewhat unexpected character: Mag’s dishrag, who is voiced by guest-star Jeremy Irons. It’s revealed that the rag was born from a cursed medieval French tapestry, which went on to be stolen by Vikings and sold to the king from the story of Scheherazade. This was just the start of the rag’s adventures, from being used by Michelangelo when painting the Sistine Chapel to being used for soup during the Great Depression.

Eventually, it wound up in the hands of a yeti, who gave it to its son, who turned out to be none other than Moe. All in all, many fans found the idea of an episode being narrated by an inanimate object, especially as one as random as Moe’s dishrag, to be too bizarre. That said, the story at least manages to have a heartwarming moment near the end, where Moe learns the Simpsons are his friends after Marge cleaned the rag for him.

9 The Jockeys

Season 11, Episode 13

“Saddlesore Galactica” sees Homer and Bart rescue an abused carnival horse, Duncan. Realizing they can’t afford his upkeep, they decide to train him to be a racehorse. Despite a poor start, Duncan soon proves to be a speed demon, besting the other horses. Unfortunately, the other jockeys aren’t too happy with the new competition.

We Are the Jockeys, Jockeys Are We…

It is then they drag Homer into their underground world, where it’s revealed the jockeys are a race of murderous elf-like creatures. Homer is told to lose the next race on threat of the jockeys eating his brain. Ultimately, Homer comes up with another option: after Duncan wins the race, ensuing being chased down by the jockeys, Marge and Lisa subdue them by spraying water on them. This somehow does the trick, causing Homer to throw them out in a garbage bag, in spite of their offer to give him gold.

While it makes sense that something would cause conflict with the Simpsons’ new racing career, having the rival jockeys turn out to be brain-eating leprechauns, complete with a musical number, was seen as too absurd by fans of the show. To some extent, some viewers also didn’t like how self-referential the story was, with Comic Book Guy even complaining that there already was an episode where the Simpsons got a horse.

8 The Simpsons Gene

Season 9, Episode 17

“Lisa the Simpson” deals with Lisa fearing she might lose her intelligence as she gets older, especially as she learns that Homer and Bart used to be more scholastic when they were younger. Ultimately, Homer tries to reassure Lisa with a surprise family-reunion of sorts. However, most of the Simpsons men have become failures in life. Ultimately, it turns out the Simpson women are more successful, explaining that a degenerative Simpsons gene impact the male members, and only the male members, of the family.

There Might be Hope for Bart Yet…

Over the years, many fans have disliked this twist, finding it too mean-spirited, especially since it effectively dooms Bart. It also helps that other episodes contradict it. Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie showed a possible future where Bart became a Supreme Court Chief Justice, and “HOMЯ” reveals that Homer would actually be quite intelligent had it not been for a crayon lodged in his brain.

Homer’s siblings also contradict this; his half-brother Herb seemed fairly intelligent, while his half-sister Abbey was effectively a female version of Homer.

RELATED: All 16 Times Maggie Has Talked in The Simpsons

7 All of Homer’s Other Children

Season 24, Episode 3

“Adventures in Baby-Getting” sees Marge want to have another baby. In something of a meta-joke, the youngest Simpson, Maggie, might still be a baby, but Marge still feels like it’s been years since she was born. While trying to see if they still can, it turns out that Homer is sterile thanks to working at the power plant.

However, it eventually comes to light that Homer has donated sperm in the past, meaning Bart, Lisa, and Maggie actually have a few half-siblings running about.

Though it Might Explain Lester & Eliza

Some fans found the idea of Homer secretly having multiple children to be ridiculous. Of course, some fans joked that this would explain Bart and Lisa’s rivals, Lester and Eliza. Some viewers also disliked the story’s continuity issues, such as Marge and Homer already knowing Homer can’t have children, thanks to his work, in “Eight Misbehavin’.”

6 Lisa’s Restraining Order Against Bart

Season 16, Episode 11

“On a Clear Day I Can’t See My Sister” has Lisa on the warpath after Bart humiliates her on a school field trip. Seeking revenge, she arranges to get a restraining order against her brother, slowly ruining his life to the point where, among other humiliations, he is forced to live outside. Marge, wanting to put an end to the conflict, tries to convince Lisa to forgive her brother. Lisa only agrees to it if she can think of three nice things Bart’s done for her.

For Once, Fans Wanted a Clip Show

The third and final act that gets Lisa to forgive Bart is seeing him craft a replica of her outside. After releasing him from the restraining order, it’s revealed he was planning to burn the “wicker witch” in effigy, but Lisa decides to look the other way.

While Bart started the conflict, a lot of viewers thought Lisa went too far in her revenge, constantly humiliating Bart and depriving him of his own home. In particular, many felt the idea of Lisa thinking of three nice things could have been used to actually acknowledge heartwarming moments between Bart and Lisa throughout the series. Instead, the final act of kindness is wasted on a misunderstanding.

5 Lisa’s Series of Dead Cats

Season 15, Episode 9

While “I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot” had a well-liked storyline about Homer helping Bart win a fighting robot competition, with Homer disguised as their robotic contender, a subplot involving Lisa’s feline friends was less well-received. Early on, Dr. Hibbert ends up running over Snowball II, which then cuts to the cat’s funeral.

Why, Oh, Why Is My Cat Dead?

Lisa tries to find comfort in getting another cat, but her new pets keep dying one after another, until the local animal shelter refuses to let her adopt any more pets. Fortunately, Eleanor Abernathy, Springfield’s iconic “Crazy Cat Lady,” gives Lisa a new cat, who looks identical to Snowball II. After the cat proves to be a survivor, Lisa decides to rename it “Snowball II” and pretend the succession of dead cats never happened.

Many fans shared Lisa’s sentiment with the whole subplot. While the series has used Lisa’s dead cats for humor in part episodes, such Lisa’s “Meditations on Turning Eight” poem, many found a story involving the death of a succession of cats to be too needlessly cruel. Some viewers also felt the death of a family pet could’ve made an interesting story if it had been used for drama, only for the episode to pretend nothing had happened.

4 The Van Houten Divorce Storyline

Season 8, Episode 6

“A Milhouse Divided” has Kirk and Luann Van Houten find themselves constantly bickering at a dinner party at the Simpsons’ abode. Eventually, they decide to break up their marriage. Notably, this isn’t resolved at the end of the story, right down to Luann even rejecting Kirk’s grand gesture to get back together.

Some Didn’t Even Like the Divorce to Begin with

This change was retained for years, with “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” even commenting that it’s one of the few times the show allowed changes to the status quo. However, the two wound up remarrying by the episode, “Little Orphan Millie.”

Fans had different opinions on the matter. Some felt that undoing the change made it feel like the storyline ultimately amounted to nothing. Similarly, there were fans who liked the running jokes about Luann’s new social life or Kirk becoming more and more pathetic. On the other hand, there were also fans who disliked the divorce in the first place.

RELATED: 10 Best Simpsons Parody Episodes That Lampooned Other Shows

3 “That ’90s Show”

Season 19, Episode 11

The Simpsons was a television series that helped to define the 1990s, but the show certainly go on to last long past the decade, even though the characters have barely aged since it started. This became an issue when the series decided to discuss the decade in “That ’90s Show.” When Bart and Lisa point out that their parents’ ages don’t line up to when they’ve claimed to have had Bart, Homer and Marge reveal they’ve kept a dark patch in their relationship secret for years.

Of Course, “Margarine” Does Have its Fans

In the 1990s, at least according to the story, Marge attended Springfield University while Homer worked to pay for her tuition. However, things take a turn when Marge falls under the spell of a charismatic professor. A heartbroken Homer then goes on to invent grunge, pouring his heart out in the song, “Margarine,” a parody of “Glycerine” by Bush.

Fans may poke fun at the series “floating timeline,” but many felt the idea of Bart not remembering a decade he was a big part of to be going too far. It also didn’t help that “The Way We Was,” which portrayed Homer and Marge falling in love as teenagers in the 1970s, was a fan-favorite story, with even later episodes showing Homer and Marge’s high school days still taking place during the decade.

2 Armin Tamzarian

Season 9, Episode 2

“The Principal And The Pauper” revealed that Principal Seymour Skinner isn’t the simple educator audiences have known for years. It’s revealed that he used to be an orphan, Armin Tamzarian, who stole the identity of a solider he encountered, and believed had been killed, during the Vietnam War. However, the truth comes out when the real Skinner shows up in town. In the end, the town realizes they like the fake Skinner more than the real one and legally declare Armin the new Skinner.

Even Later Episodes Have Young Seymour Live with Agnes

The story was already infamous among fans, who disliked such a twist being made about a well-established character. However, even the show itself has occasionally retconned the story. “Grampy Can Ya Hear Me” revealed that Agnes tricked Seymour into thinking he failed to get into his dream school, showing him living with her in his youth.

Similarly, a few flashbacks show Agnes married to a man who resembles Seymour, implied to be his biological father. “I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot,” however, does have Lisa bring up the “Armin Tamzarian” story.

1 Mona’s One Last Protest

Season 7, Episode 8

“Mother Simpson,” which deals with Homer reuniting with his mother, Mona, is a beloved fan-favorite. The ending, in which Homer silently looks at the night sky on his car after his mother must leave once again, is also considered one of the series’ most famous scenes.

It’s Hard to Top “Mother Simpson”

However, because of the love fans have for the story, it can be easy for other stories about Mona to rub viewers the wrong way. For starters, an earlier episode has Homer recount that his mother once called him a “big disappointment,” something fans like to ignore considering Mona’s more loving personality once she was fleshed out as a character.

Mona’s subsequent appearances on the show have also been controversial, too. “Mona Leaves-a,” for example, kills off Mona, with Homer blaming himself and granting her last wish, which turns out to be a dangerous scheme against Mr. Burns. Having Mona ultimately put her vendetta against Burns over Homer in the end, however, caused many fans to find her unsympathetic. Some even felt it retroactively brought into question if Mona’s reasons for leaving her family were as altruistic as they seemed.

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