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Top 10 Simpsons Couch Gags

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Written by Liam Hillery

Where would this world be without our favorite yellow, cartoon family? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 couch gags from “The Simpsons.”

For this list, we’ve examined every couch gag from “The Simpsons” to determine the most creative and entertaining ways the family has sat down to watch television. While we’re primarily concerned with the genius behind a gag, we’ve also attributed some nostalgia points to the classics.

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Where would this world be without our favorite yellow, cartoon family? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 couch gags from “The Simpsons.”

For this list, we’ve examined every couch gag from “The Simpsons” to determine the most creative and entertaining ways the family has sat down to watch television. While we’re primarily concerned with the genius behind a gag, we’ve also attributed some nostalgia points to the classics.

#10: 500 Episodes

Ignoring soap operas, how many shows can say they reached the 500-episode milestone? Not many. While “The Simpsons” are now well past that marker, it was a pretty huge deal when they did crack the big 5-oh-oh in 2012. To celebrate, viewers got to see a chronological, frame-by-frame montage of every single “Simpsons” couch gag until that point. At light speed, we catch the couch gags from the first one, all the way up to episode 499’s. It’s a lovely trip down memory lane and a reminder of all the creative ways the gag has played out over the years.

#9: Springfield TiK ToK

Over its run, “The Simpsons” has developed one of the most populated casts of characters on television. And we bet that even the most casual viewer recognizes more than half of Springfield’s residents. Thanks to this popular Kesha song, we can get reacquainted with them, as Springfield becomes the set of a music video. The gag makes use of a wide range of characters, from recurring favorites to some lesser-known citizens of everyone’s favorite animated town. Beginning with Lisa, we track these characters through many famous Springfield locations as they lip sync and act out the lyrics of “Tik Tok.” Taking their own liberties, “The Simpsons” puts hilarious visual spins on her lyrics, giving the song a uniquely Springfieldian spirit.

#8: Banksy-Made Couch Gag

In recent years, “The Simpsons” crew has relinquished control of the couch gag, inviting outside artists to put their own spin on the phenomenon. You’ll see several unique artist interpretations on this list, and the first comes from the mysterious street artist Banksy. Depicting the corporate side of “The Simpsons,” Banksy takes the viewers through a dark vision of the show’s product manufacturing, showing low-wage workers suffering through literally toxic conditions to bring the merch to market. Bones of dead workers line the factory, animals are slaughtered for fur to stuff Bart dolls, dead dolphins lick postage, and a unicorn pokes the holes in the DVDs. It’s grim, but the outrageousness of it all makes it darkly hilarious.

#7: Rick and Morty

“The Simpsons” paved the way for a long line of animated shows for grown-ups. One of those shows is “Rick and Morty.” That series has developed a cult following, and fans were thrilled to see the mad scientist and his grandson star in their very own “Simpsons” couch gag. After crashing into 742 Evergreen Terrace and killing everyone’s favorite yellow family, Rick sends Morty on a mission through space to clone them while he roams the house drinking Duff beer, stealing whatever he pleases, and freezing a nosey Ned Flanders. There are also some hilarious and meta jokes thrown in to both pay tribute to and make fun of “The Simpsons”’ cultural impact.

#6: The Hobbit

“The Simpsons” takes pride in poking fun at the entertainment machine, so it’s no surprise a few couch gags have brilliantly parodied popular films. While their take on “Avatar” was both beautiful and absurd, we find the family’s trek through a Middle Earth-themed Springfield to their beloved couch particularly hilarious. A variety of Springfield citizens assume the roles of Tolkien characters: Homer’s a dwarf, Marge is Gandalf, and the kids are hobbits. Along the way, they encounter Gollum Moe, Trolls Lenny, Carl, and Barney, Dragon Mr. Burns, and ghosts Dolph, Kearney, and Jimbo. From a cleverly titled map of Middle Earth to Homer’s selfish collapse at the end, this one has viewers marveling at its creativity and laughing all the way through.

#5: Circus Line

A classic from the early seasons, and the most used couch gag of the series, this one sees the gang reach the couch, only to start high kicking in a perfectly unison chorus line. The family is quickly joined by a cast of dancers before the living room set is lifted apart to reveal a full-blown circus. Set to a circus version of “The Simpsons”’ theme song, the family dances in front of magicians, hand-standing elephants, fire breathers, trapeze artists, jugglers on unicycles, and Santa’s Little Helper jumping through a ring of fire. The whole flashy spectacle is pulled off with ease because, you know, it’s “The Simpsons,” and they can do anything.

#4: LA-Z Rider

Guest animator Steve Cutts threw a retro spin on the conventional couch gag when he channeled classic ‘80s television – both animated and live-action. Homer assumes the role of Joe “Kaz” Kazinsky, a ripped detective with a jawline the real Homer could only dream of, while our favorite couch takes the place of his gun-toting, Knight Rider-style sidekick. Set to Paul Engemann’s song “Scarface (Push It to the Limit),” viewers catch a montage of the two cleaning up the streets, protecting innocents from the equally ripped, evil Ned Flanders. In the end, the clip is revealed to be a rerun of the fictional show “LA-Z Rider,” just as Maggie burns her way across the living room on her own little couch.

#3: Powers of Ten

Would it really be a surprise if the minds behind “The Simpsons” knew the secrets of the universe? Well, they may’ve given us the answer when they ventured through space in this memorable couch gag inspired by the short documentary films “Powers of Ten,” as well as Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Pulling back from the seated Simpson family, we take an adventure out past the space we know, to galaxies far far away, only to discover that we’re all part of a collection of atoms that make up the skin cells that come together to form Homer’s head, right back in the living room. Homer’s amazed reaction at the end puts the cherry on top of this couch gag Sundae… Mmmmm, Sundae.

#2: Guillermo del Toro

One of “The Simpsons”’ most beloved trademarks is the show’s long-standing tradition of celebrating Halloween with their “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. As you can imagine, each year they put a new graphic and ghoulish spin on the couch gag, but none can top the vision of the master himself, Guillermo del Toro, which appears in “Treehouse of Horror XXXIV.” Amid a zombie- and monster-infested Springfield, the filmmaker fits in more pop culture references than you can count, paying tribute to horror genre greats by channeling the likes of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and Stephen King’s “The Shining.” He also features monsters from his own films, with Mr. Burns – for example – appropriately becoming the Pale Man from “Pan’s Labyrinth.” It’s fair to say this one is a three-minute masterpiece.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:


- Robot Chicken

- Turning Japanese [aka Anime Simpsons]

- Flintstones on the Couch

#1: Evolution of Homer

Ever wonder how Homer became, well, Homer? Wonder no more, because this couch gag provides the answers, tracking his progression from the dawn of time to the present. Starting as a single-celled organism, Homer evolves into a fish that escapes the clutches of a Burns octopus (Burnstopus?), to then reach land and become a reptile. Soon, as a rodent, he escapes the terrifying Bart T-Rex and survives an asteroid impact before evolving into a monkey, then an ape, and finally a human. He then quickly moves through human history, before becoming the forgetful Homer we know and love and reuniting with his family on the couch. It’s unique, hilarious, and quasi-educational.


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