It is and isn't hard to believe the first episode of The Simpsons aired on December 17, 1989. While it's flabbergasting to think the show has been on the air for more than a quarter of a century, The Simpsons is such an American institution it feels timeless. In returning to old episodes, you might find some jokes that make you grimace - there are plenty of offensive jokes on the Simpsons the show couldn't get away with in 2016.
So what's this all about? Are there racist jokes on The Simpsons? That's probably in the eye of the beholder - where do you draw the line between racist jokes and jokes about race? There are certainly jokes you couldn't get away with today, and what many would consider outdated Simpsons jokes. There are also blatant sexual references, political jabs, and a blurring of the lines between adult and children's content that wouldn't fly in an increasingly divided programming system. Read on to see the Simpsons jokes that wouldn't work today.
Episode: "Bart's Friend Falls in Love" (Season 3, Episode 23. May 7, 1992)
The Joke: Ms. Krabappel shows Bart's class a sex education video entitled Fuzzy Bunny's Guide to You Know What, which tells the story of a pair of rabbits who comes of age, fall in love, get married, have sex, and pump out of ton of kids. During the video's sex scene, Ms. Krabappel, completely blasé and smoking a cigarette, intones, "She's faking it."
Episode: "Love Is a Many Splintered Thing" (Season 24, Episode 12. February 10, 2013)
The Joke: Bart pleads his romantic interest Mary Spuckler (voiced by Zooey Deschanel) to be with him, saying “I'll be more attentive to your needs on the seesaw. I'll stay down there as long as you want.”
Why It Wouldn't Fly: Because 10 year olds going down on one another.
Episode: "Days of Future Future" (Season 25, Episode 18. April 13, 2014)
The Joke: An adult Bart nails one of Lisa's former teachers, Ms. Hoover. As they're lying in bed after, he says "Now I see why they call you Ms Hoover." She's got maximum suck action.
Why It Wouldn't Fly: Actually, it probably would, since this episode aired in 2014, so file this under "can't believe they got away with it."
Episode: "A Streetcar Named Marge" (Season 4, Episode 2. October 1, 1992)
The Joke: In “A Streetcar Named Marge,” there’s a musical number with some brutal lyrics about New Orleans. Here they are, in all their savageness -
Long before the Superdome
Where the Saints of football play...
Lived a city that the damned call home
Hear their hellish rondelet...
Home of pirates, drunks and whores
Tacky overpriced souvenir stores
If you want to go to hell, you should take a trip
To the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Mississip'
Stinking, Rotten, vomiting, vile
Putrid, brackish, maggotty, foul
Crummy, lousy, rancid, and rank
Why It Wouldn't Fly: Because Katrina.