Long Buried ‘Simpsons’ Joke Dug Up By Intrepid Audio Engineer

A punchline 30 years in the making
Long Buried ‘Simpsons’ Joke Dug Up By Intrepid Audio Engineer

It’s the Simpsons joke that’s been buried beneath audio rubble since 1992. In Season Three’s “The Otto Show,” Bart and Milhouse attend a rock concert, but not without a word of caution from Marge about “The Spinal Taps” playing too loud. Don’t worry, says Homer, revealing that he’s been to thousands of heavy metal concerts in his day and it never hurt him one bit. Marge has more to say, but we have no idea what that something is — thanks to Homer’s tinnitus, we only hear what he’s hearing: A high-pitched ringing in the ears.

Sure, Marge’s lips are moving. And something resembling Marge’s voice is barely audible beneath the whine. But the actual words are a mystery, despite Homer’s assurances of “I hear you.” The DVD commentary with director Wes Archer, writer Jeff Martin and Simpsons stalwarts Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, and Dan Castellaneta (this was a well-attended session) has some fun remembering the lost dialogue, namely: 

  • “What Marge is actually saying is pretty funny, if I recall.” 
  • “It took a long time to write it and then we mixed it down so no one could hear it!”

No one, that is, until now. Twitter user and pro video editor Ewzzy Rayburn used his audio production skills to isolate the lost joke, identifying and erasing the high-pitched tone and then boosting Marge’s voice to a more clearly understandable level.

So what was Marge’s advice to Homer and Bart on the way out the door? “Well, all right,” she says in response to Homer’s assertion that loud music is harmless. “But make sure they don’t pick up any of the band’s attitude toward women. Liquor. Religion. Politics. Really, anything.”

Gracie Films

Ewzzy Rayburn, we salute you.

High five, @ewzzy! Mystery solved!

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