5There's a Hidden Movie in The Simpsons, and a Hidden Language in Futurama
Remember Rainier Wolfcastle, the Schwartzenegger-esque action star who's been showing up in The Simpsons since Season 2? Early appearances feature clips of Wolfcastle playing his most famous character, a loose cannon detective named McBain. You see him for a few seconds at a time as characters watch his movies in the background:
He wields the most shoddily drawn machine gun in cartoon history.
It turns out that if you put together the various McBain clips aired between 1991 and 1993, they actually form a coherent plot with a beginning, middle and end. Someone took the trouble to edit them together:
Simpsons producer Al Jean says, "It was always just conceived as the most melodramatic fragments of a bigger movie where we never really had a big movie in mind." However, when you watch the resulting mini-movie, it totally works. First we see McBain arguing with the police chief because he can't go after Senator Mendoza. Then McBain's partner is killed by Mendoza's goons, prompting McBain to let the Chief know he plans to avenge his death. Then we see McBain infiltrating Mendoza's mansion and getting captured. Finally, Mendoza is assured by his goons that McBain is dead, but the hero makes an unexpected return and pushes the bad guy off a building and into an exploding truck.
Like in every 80s action movie worth a damn.
But when it comes to unnecessarily complicated yet stealthy animated Easter eggs, you have to tip your hat to Futurama. In many episodes, you can see random icons appearing in the background -- like some sort of alien language -- such as the graffiti you see here:
... and the sign behind Bender here:
Guess what? These are all fully translatable. There are actually two alien languages in the show: The first one is exactly like our alphabet only with different symbols, but the second one is a more complex code where the letters have numerical value and the "next letter is given by the summation of all previous letters plus the current letter."
If you're surprised that the writers of a comedy show would go through the effort of creating new language just to use it for some background jokes, that's not even the nerdiest/most pointless thing they've done. Futurama writers also invented a new math theorem.
In a recent episode, all the characters switch bodies using a body-switching machine, but then it turns out the machine can't switch the same two people more than once. In order to figure out a way to get all 10 or so characters back into their original bodies, one of the writers created a new math formula, and it actually works. They even showed the full formula in the episode, in case you don't believe them:
"Ah, yes, I see what they did there. Of course!"
4Hiding Plot Details in Other Languages
At the beginning of Iron Man, when the terrorists who are keeping Tony Stark captive send a video to his business partner, they're heard speaking in their own language without subtitles. And you don't need subtitles, because you can guess what they're saying from the context -- you assume they're just asking for a ransom or whatever.
"Please take Robert Downey, Jr. away. He's done all of our heroin and now he's vomiting, just ... everywhere."
But an hour into the movie, Tony has the video translated and we find out the movie's big plot twist: The terrorists were working with his business partner and supposed friend. But if you happen to be one of the 65 million people in the world who understand Urdu, the language the terrorists were speaking, you already knew that an hour ago. The entire twist is revealed right there in that opening scene, in Urdu. At which point the Urdu speakers at the theater presumably then spoiled the movie for their English-speaking friends.
But no movie has been more likely to make bilingual people yell at the screen than John Carpenter's The Thing. Remember the foreign dudes who show up along with the dog in the very beginning, shouting gibberish? They're not drunk, they're merely Norwegian. And it's not just gibberish: It's the entire plot of the film.
Never trust dogs.
In the context of the story, it makes perfect sense -- They're shouting, "Get the hell away! It's not a dog! It's a thing! It's imitating a dog! It's not real! Get away idiots!" Obviously, the characters didn't understand a word of it.
"NO I AM NOT LOOKING TO PURCHASE A DOG THANK YOU."
So if you happen to know Norwegian, the movie's more about heroic, alien-hunting Norwegians who get killed by dumbass Americans because they can't understand other languages without subtitles.