8 ‘Simpsons’ Couch Gags That Are Crossovers with Other Franchises

Be forewarned: Things are about to get real meta
8 ‘Simpsons’ Couch Gags That Are Crossovers with Other Franchises

Every good sitcom should have a running gag, especially ones that have viewers pointing at the TV like Rick Dalton in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

There’s rotating puns with the neighboring storefront and pest-control truck in Bob’s Burgers. There’s Langley Falls’ favorite cross-dressing alien who wears a different disguise in every opening sequence of American Dad. And over at Brooklyn’s fictitious 99th Precinct, you’re almost certain to hear Jake Peralta shout “title of your sex tape” in response to any pessimistic phrase blurted to poke fun at Amy Santiago’s love life.

But the most famous, of course, is the couch gag on The Simpsons. The visual goof, which started with a simple variation in the show’s second episode, has taken on a life of its own. In more recent seasons, the show’s writers have favored the absurdity of spectacle with some full-fledged productions that are well over two minutes long. And because of this commitment to the bit, repeats have been rare since its inception. 

They’ve even taken the time to let other franchises in on the fun. Whether through parodies or active collaboration, here are just a few of our favorite crossover events that have unfolded on the Simpson family couch… 

Breaking Bad

Complete with “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and the iconic period table, the couch gag from Season 24’s “What Animated Women Want” parodied the hit series Breaking Bad. Weaving a narrative full of implicit references to cooking meth, the gag took a truly meta turn when it ended with the reveal of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman watching The Simpsons on TV.

Star Trek

The Simpsons were aboard the “Donut Enterprise” in the couch gag from Season 27’s “Lisa with an ‘S,’” obviously a nod to Star Trek. It took us to a highly illogical place and an intergalactic war against couches.

Bob’s Burgers

The couch gag from Season 30’s “My Way or the Highway to Heaven” let its guests take the reins as Homer finds himself trapped inside of the family joint at the center of Bob’s Burgers. The Belcher family looks in on the visibly frightened Homer, which snowballs into a slew of philosophical observations.


The Simpsons joined forces with fellow 20th Century Fox property the X-Men as the family adopted the powers and costumes of some of the more recognizable mutants. The gag, from Season 28’s “The Caper Chase,” even featured an animated cameo from the late X-Men creator Stan Lee, who explained, “There’s nothing too short that I can’t cameo.” 


Naturally, the Season 26 crossover episode “Simpsorama” featured a couch gag with a Futurama bent, in which Hedonismbot took over regular couch duties.

Robot Chicken

In one of their more absurdist outings, the couch gag before Season 24’s “The Fabulous Faker Boy” saw a change in form as The Simpsons took to Robot Chicken’s stop-motion animated styling. The gag came to be when the Robot Chicken crew bumped into Matt Groening at the Emmys and discussed a possible collaboration.


The couch gag before Season 25’s “Luca$” served to show just how easy parodies are with a gag completely in the style of the popular sandbox game.

Rick and Morty

In one of the lengthier outings, the couch gag from the Season 26 finale “Mathlete’s Feat” featured Rick and Morty wreaking havoc in Springfield after accidentally killing the national treasure that is the Simpsons family. According to Groening, it was their “most ambitious” effort to date. Much like the Robot Chicken bit, the Rick and Morty gag came to be thanks to the shows’ artists being fans of one another.

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