The 20 Biggest ‘Simpsons’ Animation Blunders

This headless Bart isn’t from any of the ‘Treehouse of Horrors’ segments
The 20 Biggest ‘Simpsons’ Animation Blunders

Animation-wise, the most recent seasons of The Simpsons are night and day from where the series began. If anything, the digital ink and paint animation, which started in Season 14, has become too clean and is missing the grittiness and charm of the early day’s traditional cel animation.

Better yet, those original productions, with their lack of refinement and tight deadlines, came with delightful animation inconsistencies that have become as indelible as the show itself. Case in point: The first episode, “Some Enchanted Evening,” was filled with so many “blunders” that most of it had to be redone. 

Again, since that rough start, the blunders — the wrong voices, the wrong coloring, the wrong backgrounds, etc. — have been minor, but still manage to occasionally make the final cut, which, of course, die-hard fans are always sure to point out. In fact, The Simpsons lampooned such eagle-eyed devotees in Season Eight’s “The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show.”

Some of our favorites are below. If you don’t like any of them, I’m sure you’ll hope we get fired for our blunder.

‘Homer’s Night Out,’ Season 1, Episode 10

This one is a twofer! At Eugene Fisk’s bachelor party, Carl (in his first appearance ever) is voiced by Harry Shearer, using a somewhat generic voice, instead of Hank Azaria, his main voice actor for 30 years. Immediately afterward, Lenny — in his third appearance ever, voiced by Azaria instead of Shearer, his normal voice actor — introduces the stripper Princess Kashmir in a voice that sounds exactly like Moe’s. Both blunders can be explained as early versions of each character rather than legitimate mistakes, but they’re jarring to hear now knowing how the characters would end up.

‘The Otto Show,’ Season 3, Episode 22

Nelson walks up to Bart at the bus stop and starts to make fun of him for his terrible guitar playing. In the middle of the scene, Nelson’s vest and shirt switch colors, before switching back again.

‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,’ Season 1, Episode 1

In one of the last shots of the episode when Marge hugs Homer, the background is upside down. 

‘Brush with Greatness,’ Season 2, Episode 18

Just before Bart and Lisa get in line for the H2Whoa ride at Mount Splashmore, Lisa’s eyes completely disappear for a second.

‘Duffless,’ Season 4, Episode 16

When Homer returns to the bar after going a month without drinking, Moe tells the patrons, “We hate him, right, fellas?” The shot of the four patrons responding features Barney, Larry, Sam and apparently Larry’s twin brother.

‘Brush with Greatness,’ Season 2, Episode 18

By this point, Carl had appeared in seven episodes, but somehow the show gets his voice wrong again. This time, though, Carl has Lenny’s voice (once again performed by Shearer).

‘Bart Gets Hit by a Car,’ Season 2, Episode 10

In one shot, when the Blue-Haired Lawyer is speaking to Marge in the courtroom, you can see the same Blue-Haired Lawyer sitting at the table behind him next to Mr. Burns. (The chair is empty in earlier shots.)

‘Much Apu About Nothing,’ Season 7, Episode 23

When Willie yells at the children for picking on the immigrant Uter, there are two Ralphs in the group shot of the children surrounding him.

‘Homer’s Odyssey,’ Season 1, Episode 3

Homer poses for a photo in front of a sign that reads “Sign Ahead.” When we see the photograph immediately afterward, the sign has changed shape. The “25” speed-limit sign also changes to a “55” speed-limit sign.

‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,’ Season 1, Episode 1

In the initial shot of Bart with Milhouse and Lewis in the mall watching Homer as Santa, Lewis is appropriately colored as black. After a cutaway to Milhouse, Lewis suddenly changes to white.

‘Marge Gets a Job,’ Season 4, Episode 7

When Bart is attacked by a wild timberwolf, Groundskeeper Willie shows up to save the day. He tears off his shirt, revealing his bare chest and abs, but when he begins to tangle with the animal, he is suddenly wearing a gray undershirt.

‘Lisa’s Pony,’ Season 3, Episode 8

By this episode, Ralph Wiggum had already had a few episodes under his belt, with his signature simplicity already present. But when Lisa’s classmates watch her ride her brand new pony, Ralph comments uncharacteristically, “What man can tame her?” The voice and demeanor belong to classroom bully Nelson Muntz, so why they decided to animate Ralph in this scene is most certainly a blunder.

‘Homer the Moe,’ Season 13, Episode 3

When Homer asks him for a Duff, Moe shows Homer the new Malaysian beer he is selling that’s made out of soy sauce. After a cutaway to Homer’s response, the label on the beer Moe is holding changes to a Duff.

‘Bart the Daredevil,’ Season 2, Episode 8

In the establishing shot at Springfield Gorge, Nelson asks, “Where is he? I thought he said noon.” If you watch Milhouse next to him, you can see he was animated saying the same line before he responds to Nelson.

‘Bart’s Comet,’ Season 6, Episode 14

As Flanders sings “Que Sera, Sera” all alone as a giant comet hurdles toward Springfield, the townspeople who kicked him out of his own shelter show up to join him, including Apu, who has become white after six seasons of being Indian.

‘Homer’s Odyssey,’ Season 1, Episode 3

While the children are taking a tour of the plant, Sherri (or Terri’s) body completely disappears, leaving her as a floating head next to her sister.

‘And Maggie Makes Three,’ Season 6, Episode 13

Another twofer! In a flashback when Marge tells Homer she’s pregnant with Maggie, the standard Simpsons living room background is used in the shot — complete with an infant portrait of the yet-to-be-born Maggie. 

Meanwhile, in a flashback when Marge tells Homer she’s pregnant with Lisa, a picture of 8-year-old Lisa can be seen when Homer runs up the stairs.

‘The War of the Simpsons,’ Season 2, Episode 20

As Flanders tells Homer how much alcohol is in his “Flanders Planter’s Punch,” his nose completely disappears for a second, along with his neck.

‘When You Dish Upon a Star,’ Season 10, Episode 5

In one of the oddest blunders, when Homer walks across the courtroom near the end of the episode, Bart’s head is missing for a second, also revealing an odd background character’s head directly behind him.

‘Beyond Blunderdome,’ Season 11, Episode 1

In a blunder more creepy than some “Treehouse of Horror” segments, as Homer explains to Bart how busy he and Mel Gibson will be editing his movie, he puts his hand on Bart’s shoulder. When he whispers to him how much the movie stinks, he puts his hand up to his mouth, but the same hand somehow also remains on Bart’s shoulder.

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