The 50 Greatest ‘Simpsons’ Memes

The only thing better than this list is a big plate of Steamed Hams
The 50 Greatest ‘Simpsons’ Memes

We’ve done it. With the help of the experts at Know Your Meme, we have scientifically determined the 50 greatest memes from The Simpsons. From Marge’s krumping to Lisa’s presentation to Bart’s chalkboard to Homer in the bushes, we’ve broken down all these memes with commentary from more than a half dozen Simpsons’ writers and Know Your Meme staffers. It’s a list even neater than Marge’s potato — and, yes, that made the cut, too.

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Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse

Episode Origin: “Mom and Pop Art” (1999), Season 10, Episode 19

Meme Origin: 2011

“This line was pitched by Dan Greaney,” says longtime Simpsons showrunner Al Jean. “It’s been made into a song, and now there’s a documentary about Pamela Hayden, the voice of Milhouse. I guess everything is coming up Milhouse.

Dr. Hibbert Mirror Punch

Episode Origin: “Treehouse of Horror VII” (1996), Season 8, Episode 1

Meme Origin: 2016

“This was actually my joke, so please send any meme-siduals directly to me,” says Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein. “I remember pitching this and having to act it out in the room for it to make sense. It’s Dr. Hibbert’s impassive portrait sitting face that helps make this meme so funny. This was for the ‘Treehouse of Horror’ segment ‘The Thing And I,’ where Dr. Hibbert punches Bart’s evil twin, Hugo. I’m super into antiques and remember, like Hugo, spending too much time in my family’s attic. So I was an expert in what types of old crap, like empty frames, might be up there, so this joke came to mind pretty quickly.”

I Don’t Like the Idea of Milhouse Having Two Spaghetti Meals in One Day

Episode Origin: “Treehouse of Horror VI” (1995), Season 7, Episode 6

Meme Origin: 2014

“Kirk Van Houten’s impotent attempts to position himself as powerful and cool are consistently hilarious,” says former Simpsons writer Bill Oakley. “As I recall, this was one of the first times he talked and the first time he was named because we had to fill the classroom with Springfield parents (this was before the divorce and his tour de force appearance in ‘A Milhouse Divided’). It was simply an attempt to have the most boring and pedestrian line possible while Willy was burning to death, and I believe that what we now know about Kirk we retroactively project onto that scene, making it even funnier.”

Liver and Onions

Episode Origin: “The Day the Violence Died” (1996), Season 7, Episode 18

Meme Origin: 2017

Says Oakley, “A lesser-known meme for sure, but, to me, a consistently hilarious one because of the comedic trio of Chester J. Lampwick’s slurpy lip-licking, as well as the Kirk Douglas voice I hear in my head when I see it and the absurdity of Lampwick’s scruffy jaw and tongue pasted onto other Simpsons characters.”

Now Do Classical Gas

Episode Origin: “Last Exit to Springfield” (1993), Season 4, Episode 17

Meme Origin: 2017

“I didn’t write the line, but I’ll never forget the debut of ‘Classical Gas’ on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” says Simpsons writer Mike Reiss. “The song blew my eight-year-old mind. It was composed by one of the show’s writers, Mason Williams. Years later, he personally thanked us for using it on the show. I’ve heard the same from other performers I’ve met, including Chubby Checker and Queen’s Brian May. They appreciate the honor and the steady stream of royalty checks it brings in.”

Lisa’s Dinner

Episode Origin: “Lisa the Vegetarian” (1995), Season 7, Episode 5

Meme Origin: 2016

“This is a popular reaction meme still to this day,” explains Don Caldwell, the editor in chief of Know Your Meme. “It’s been used to symbolize hunger, disappointment, frustration — also, shock and bewilderment.”

Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children

Episode Origin: “Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment” (1997), Season 8, Episode 18

Meme Origin: 2006

“This was exclaimed by a very minor character several decades ago, but if someone today is concerned about youth and you call them a ‘Helen Lovejoy,’ many, many people will get the reference. That’s both gratifying and insane,” marvels Simpsons writer Jeff Martin.

What a Time to Be Alive

Episode Origin: “Lisa the Simpson” (1998), Season 9, Episode 17

Meme Origin: 2011

“This may be one of the memes and lines I use the most,” says Weinstein. “We loved the whole idea of Jasper getting stuck in a freezer, and once someone pitched the name ‘Frostillicus,’ we knew we had to do this B story for ‘Lisa the Simpson.’ Jasper being amazed by Moon Pies was perfect (Moon Pies are actually really old and date back to 1917, long before any trips to the moon, but referring to the moon landing, which was also pretty dated then, having taken place almost 30 years before this episode aired, was the idea behind the joke.)

“I have to add that Frostillicus is one of my favorite Simpsons things ever, and I was delighted when 7-Elevens became Kwik-E-Marts and actually had a Jasper/Frostillicus behind glass freezer doors. I will repeat my annual plea that if anyone out there has one of these 7-Eleven Frostilicusses, I will trade you a good piece of Simpsons memorabilia for it.”

Smithers Scared of Strippers

Episode Origin: “A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love” (2001), Season 13, Episode 4

Meme Origin: 2011

“This is a popular meme in a couple of different ways, as it’s a reaction GIF and a classic object-labeling meme,” explains Caldwell. “As a reaction GIF, it usually represents people who are embarrassed or afraid of something that most would consider harmless. As for the object labeling, the girls will usually be labeled as something tempting, and Smithers as someone trying to avoid it.”

Lisa’s Coffee

Episode Origin: “The War of the Simpsons” (1991), Season 2, Episode 20

Meme Origin: 2017

“This is another object-labeling meme where you label the coffee and Lisa,” says Phillip Hamilton, an editor at Know Your Meme. “It works so well because of the specific frame they chose. That half-blink adds something really funny.”

Not Today, Old Friend

Episode Origin: “Whiskey Business” (2013), Season 24, Episode 19

Meme Origin: 2014

“This meme is great for labeling something like ‘Your meme got 11 likes’ — very inconsequential things that still make people happy,” says Caldwell. “So much so that they decide not to kill themselves. Depression memes are huge, so this fits right into internet culture.”

Marge’s Neat Potato

Episode Origin: “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song” (1994), Season 5, Episode 19

Meme Origin: 2010

“I’m particularly fond of and feel close to this meme because Bill Oakley and I wrote that ‘Why don’t you bring this potato?’ scene for our episode ‘Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song,’” confesses Weinstein. “Since the whole episode springs from Bart having to do show-and-tell and, of course, forgetting about it and having to bring something last minute, we needed a bunch of show-and-tell jokes. We always liked when Marge liked really mundane things and was so enthusiastic about them — nothing’s more mundane, but useful, than a potato. I’m pretty sure her line ‘I just think they’re neat’ was Bill’s line. Come to think about it, he and I were always enthusiastic about really mundane things. The Simpsons does the humor of the mundane really well, and this meme is a perfect example of it.”

Homer’s Back Fat

Episode Origin: “Husbands & Knives” (2007), Season 19, Episode 7

Meme Origin: 2012

“Another object-labeling meme,” explains Zach Sweat, Know Your Meme’s managing editor. “It’s adaptable for all kinds of different jokes and never falls out of fashion. I’ve seen this meme online for years now.”

Bart Testing Megaphones

Episode Origin: “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” (1997), Season 8, Episode 25

Meme Origin: 2016

“This meme became really big on YouTube, which makes it pretty unique,” says Caldwell. “It’s been remixed with other pop-culture references like Shrek, and people will also do weird changes like slow it down, speed it up, and assorted other things.”

Homer in a Lesbian Bar

Episode Origin: “Fear of Flying” (1994), Season 6, Episode 11

Meme Origin: 2012

“This meme is great for unpopular opinions about something,” says Sweat. “I recently saw it being used when Barbie and Oppenheimer were everywhere. People love using this to go against the grain and point out that they’re the odd one out.”

You Got the Dud

Episode Origin: “Summer of 4 Ft. 2.” (1996), Season 7, Episode 25

Meme Origin: 2011

“Where to begin on this one because there’s a lot to say about such a simple scene/meme,” says Weinstein. “First of all, it’s the visual of Homer’s slowly growing smile that makes it so memorable. I think director Mark Kirkland said it was based on a smile his dad had. Second, the phrase ‘You got the dud’ is really memorable and is based on an actual 1960s board game, Mystery Date. There were different versions of ‘The Dud’ over the lifespan of the board game, but a particular one in the mid-1960s looked kind of like Milhouse. This meme’s perfect for any time you just realized something. Also, I have to say that the mega Simpsons shitpost of ‘You Got the Dud’ featuring Homer’s slowly growing smile on multiple characters is one of the most delightful things ever.”

Monkey Knife Fight

Episode Origin: “The Mansion Family” (2000), Season 11, Episode 12

Meme Origin: 2007

“John Swartzwelder wrote the episode, but it was based on a story I pitched,” explains Simpsons writer Carolyn Omine. “I remember writer Ron Hauge had talked about this concept he had in his mind — ‘Monkey Knife Fights’ was just this phrase in his head, and I thought it was so funny. He also had the thought that they’d have to go to international waters to do it. So I came up with the story based around that, and John Swartzwelder wrote it.”

Marge Krumping

Episode Origin: “Little Orphan Millie” (2007), Season 19, Episode 6

Meme Origin: 2016

“This is another one that works purely because of the image,” argues Hamilton. “Krumping is such an uncharacteristic thing for Marge to do, and I think it caught on online because of that. Marge krumping has also been placed into a lot of other existing memes.”

That’s What We Wanted You To Think

Episode Origin: “Simpson Tide” (1998), Season 9, Episode 19

Meme Origin: 2012

“This is great for when someone reveals themselves to not be who you thought they were,” says Caldwell. “People love Photoshopping this one to call out those who are hiding their true selves.”

That’s the Joke

Episode Origin: “A Star Is Burns” (1995), Season 6, Episode 18

Meme Origin: 2006

“This is often used to point out people not getting a joke,” says Caldwell. “It’s so universal that some won’t even use the screen capture; they’ll just write ‘thatsthejoke.jpg’ instead.”

The Worst Day of Your Life So Far

Episode Origin: The Simpsons Movie (2007) 

Meme Origin: 2012

“This line was written by John Swartzwelder very early in the production of The Simpsons Movie,” says Jean. “I think about it about once a week.”

Don’t Make Me Tap the Sign

Episode Origin: “Lost Our Lisa” (1998), Season 9, Episode 24

Meme Origin: 2014

“A classic sign meme that people will modify to say whatever they want,” says Hamilton. “Usually, it’s an opinion you want to share.”

My Goodness Why Didn’t I Think of That

Episode Origin: “You Only Move Twice” (1996), Season 8, Episode 2

Meme Origin: 2014

“Hank Scorpio is such a popular character from The Simpsons, so it makes sense that he’s big online, too,” explains Hamilton. “He’s only in one episode, but Simpsons pages have all kinds of Hank Scorpio memes, with this being the biggest one.”

Just Give ‘Em One of These

Episode Origin: “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” (1994), Season 5, Episode 22

Meme Origin: 2015

“This one works just because the original scene is so silly, with Moe doing all these crazy dance-fighting moves,” says Caldwell. “It’s perfect for remixing into a song, kind of like Marge Krumping.”

The Goggles Do Nothing!

Episode Origin: “Radioactive Man” (1995), Season 7, Episode 2

Meme Origin: 2007

“This meme is pretty similar to the show’s joke of Rainier Wolfcastle having these goggles that don’t protect him from the vat of acid,” explains Caldwell. “The online takes on this usually just embrace the absurdity of a great joke and make it bigger.”

That’s a Paddlin’

Episode Origin: “The PTA Disbands” (1995), Season 6, Episode 21

Meme Origin: 2012

“This meme has been around a long time,” Caldwell says. “It’s a great example of what I call a ‘thing I don’t like meme,’ where the meme is just used to express disliking something. Jasper is also a beloved Simpsons character online.”

Damn Scots, They Ruined Scotland

Episode Origin: “Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (2004), Season 12, Episode 15

Meme Origin: 2013

“This is a very text-heavy meme used to give controversial opinions,” says Hamilton.

Couch Gag Parodies

Episode Origin: “Bart the Genius” (1990), Season 1, Episode 2

Meme Origin: 2006

“The first guest artist was Banksy — I still don’t know who he is or if he’s a he,” says Jean. “After that, we were privileged to get many terrific artists, including Bill Plympton, the gang at Robot Chicken and Don Hertzfeldt. The only rule: It must have a couch.”

Bart Chalkboard Parodies

Episode Origin: “Bart the Genius” (1990), Season 1, Episode 2

Meme Origin: 2007

“Bart at the chalkboard is such a well-known image that, of course, it would be rife for memes,” says Hamilton.

Local Man Ruins Everything

Episode Origin: “Jaws Wired Shut” (2002), Season 13, Episode 9

Meme Origin: 2014

“This is great for saying that someone ruined everything,” says Caldwell. “It’s perfect for commentary on public fails in particular.”

Thursday the 20th

Episode Origin: “Pranksta Rap” (2005), Season 16, Episode 9

Meme Origin: 2010

“This is a seasonal meme,” explains Hamilton. “It goes viral whenever there happens to be a Thursday the 20th.”

Grampa Simpson Walking In and Out

Episode Origin: “Bart After Dark” (1996), Season 8, Episode 5

Meme Origin: 2010

“This is a piece of character acting that stands out as a remarkable group effort,” says Oakley. “Dan Castellaneta’s voice acting is typically brilliant, Rich Appel’s writing is hilarious and Dominic Polcino’s directing is perfection. I remember this was so much easier to write than it was to stage because the scene required Grampa to make a 540-degree (?) loop, and I’m pretty sure I recall us and/or Dominic walking around the room in an attempt to figure out how to stage it. Animating what amounts to a full rotation and a half of Grampa before computer-assisted animation was a Herculean task. Not to mention, it’s funny too!”

Bart, I Don't Want To Alarm You

Episode Origin: “$pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)” (1993), Season 5, Episode 10

Meme Origin: 2017

“The scene of Homer waking up Bart to warn him about the boogeyman is just so funny that it was perfect for remixing in video memes,” says Hamilton.

I Must Go

Episode Origin: “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” (1997), Season 8, Episode 14

Meme Origin: 2010

“This one is so big and widely used that a lot of people might not even know it originated from The Simpsons, as the quote is used on many different images,” explains Hamilton. “People use it with videos and GIFs when people fly away or float away, just like the show did with Poochie.”

Moe Tossing Barney Out

Episode Origin: “The Seemingly Never-Ending Story” (2006), Season 17, Episode 13

Meme Origin: 2012

“Moe tossing Barney out is another popular object-labeling meme,” says Caldwell. “It can be used to call attention to any recurring problem.”

I, for One, Welcome Our New Insect Overlords

Episode Origin: “Deep Space Homer” (1994), Season 5, Episode 15

Meme Origin: 2000

“An instant classic,” says Martin. “Maybe the funniest example ever of weaselly sucking up to authority.”

Old Man Yells at Cloud

Episode Origin: “The Old Man and the Key” (2002), Season 13, Episode 13

Meme Origin: 2008

“A relatively late meme from Season 13, it got huge traction when Clint Eastwood yelled at an empty chair during the 2012 Republican convention,” says Jean. “Hard to believe I’m nostalgic for those innocent times.”

Ralph Through the Window

Episode Origin: “The Bart of War” (2003), Season 14, Episode 21

Meme Origin: 2013

“The way Ralph is being thrown, like he doesn’t care at all, is just another great piece of animation from The Simpsons,” says Hamilton. “It’s perfect for showing people’s overenthusiasm, as it’s literally diving head first into something.”

Lisa Needs Braces

Episode Origin: “Last Exit to Springfield” (1993), Season 4, Episode 17

Meme Origin: 2005

“In 2014, Mike Reiss, Al Jean, Jon Vitti and I did a panel at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood,” says Martin. “The moderator’s opening line was ‘Dental plan,’ and the crowd responded in unison: ‘Lisa needs braces!’ It was the first time it really hit me how thoroughly the fans know this stuff.”

Principal Skinner’s "Pathetic"

Episode Origin: “Bart the Genius” (1990), Season 1, Episode 2

Meme Origin: 2015

“This image of Skinner is a massively popular reaction meme,” says Sweat. “If something online is considered pathetic, this look of Skinner will probably be a reply.”

Am I So Out of Touch?

Episode Origin: “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” (1994), Season 5, Episode 20

Meme Origin: 2013

“This is one of my favorite Simpsons memes,” Caldwell admits. “It’s used to show someone having a brief moment of self-reflection, only to stubbornly blame someone else. It’s great for calling out big companies.”

Say the Line, Bart!

Episode Origin: “Bart Gets Famous” (1994), Season 5, Episode 12

Meme Origin: 2016

“‘Say the Line, Bart!’ is perfect for calling out overused jokes and lines,” argues Hamilton.

Lisa’s Presentation

Episode Origin: “Bye Bye Nerdie” (2001), Season 12, Episode 16

Meme Origin: 2018

“This is kind of a lazy meme, as you just have to replace the text, but it certainly is popular,” says Sweat. “I can safely say there are more versions of this particular meme than any other from The Simpsons.”

Do It for Her

Episode Origin: “And Maggie Makes Three” (1995), Season 6, Episode 13

Meme Origin: 2001

“After my time, but for me, an easy pick for the most touching moment,” says Martin.

Bart Hits Homer with a Chair

Episode Origin: “A Milhouse Divided” (1996), Season 8, Episode 6

Meme Origin: 2018

“Like many Simpsons memes, there are multiple reasons I love this one,” says Weinstein. “This is from ‘A Milhouse Divided,’ which was one of the episodes we were showrunners for, and I was closely involved with the rewrite. Steve Tompkins’ first draft was hilarious, and it inspired the room. I’m pretty sure this idea came from the room, either in the initial pitch-out or in the rewrite, because I remember a lot of talk about Luann dating Pyro from American Gladiators and all the jokes that stemmed from that. This episode has a bunch of memorable lines like ‘I sleep in a racecar,’ but it also had some hilarious visuals, like this one. This is a result of the magic Simpsons combo of writing, acting and animation. First, it was just a funny idea in the script, then Dan Castellaneta’s performance of his pained sounds, and then the animators animated it perfectly. It’s just purely funny and kind of shocking.”

Sneed’s Feed and Seed

Episode Origin: “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)” (1999), Season 11, Episode 5

Meme Origin: 2000

“This gets my vote for cleverest joke in Simpsons history,” says Reiss. “I have a guess that Ian Maxtone-Graham wrote it because it’s his episode, and he’s a very clever man. What’s diabolical is that it’s easy to dismiss as a cute, mild joke (the store has a long name, but it used to have a short one). It’s only when you apply insane joke logic that you realize ‘Sneed’s Feed & Seed’ used to be ‘Chuck’s Fuck & Suck.’ I actually featured this meme in an article I wrote for an academic journal on humor. It was called ‘The Algebra of Jokes,’ and it’s about humor whose punchline is not contained in the joke — you have to puzzle it out like a math problem. Commonly, these simple jokes hide shocking punchlines (in this case, the F-word). Here’s another example: ‘What’s the difference between orphans and onions? I cry when I cut up onions.’”

Stupid Sexy Flanders

Episode Origin: “Little Big Mom” (1996), Season 8, Episode 6

Meme Origin: 2003

“Mike Scully wanted me to do this episode where Marge gets hurt, and Lisa takes over,” says Omine. “This was my first episode, and someone said ‘skiing’ is how she’ll get hurt, and I was like, ‘Okay, I was born and raised in Hawaii.’ Ian Maxtone-Graham was running the room, and at one point, he says, ‘You know how, sometimes, one of your friends is wearing that really tight snowsuit?’ I had never had this happen to me, but I assume it happens. The joke worked great for Flanders because he has that body that doesn’t look great in a sweater, but then he takes that off, and somehow, he’s amazing. I think I pitched the ‘Stupid Sexy Flanders’ line, but I don’t know. I do remember getting the animation back of Flanders’ butt and wondering if it went too far. But we were like, ‘Nah, let’s do it!’”

Ralph in Danger

Episode Origin: “The Simpsons Guy” (2014), Season 13, Episode 1

Meme Origin: 2018

“Another classic Simpsons reaction image,” says Caldwell. “Ralph Wiggum is so innocent and stupid that he’s always good for a punchline on the show and online.”

Homer Backs into the Bushes

Episode Origin: “Homer Loves Flanders” (1994), Season 5, Episode 16

Meme Origin: 2010

“My good friend David Mirkin actually used to do this as a kid, ‘phasing’ in and out of bushes,” explains Jean. “Now his creation may be the most popular meme of all, appearing on shoes and even cats.”

Steamed Hams

Episode Origin: “22 Short Films About Springfield” (1996), Season 7, Episode 21

Meme Origin: 2009

“This phrase will be on my tombstone,” admits Oakley. “Nobody was the slightest bit interested in this thing from the time it aired until 2014, when Australians started prank calling a grocery chain, and it gradually snowballed into Internet Meme of the Year for 2018 and still lives on today. I intend to cash in on it as much as I can while I’m still alive, so join up at”

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