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The First Lines of 63 'Simpsons' Characters

The Simpsons has now been on television for one quarter of a century—its first episode, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," debuted on December 17, 1989. Since then, Springfield's residents have become vibrant characters in their own right, so let's take a look at where their stories all started, in their own words. (Note: These first lines are all from the series only—Tracey Ullman shorts or commercials don't count.)

1. Marge Simpson

"Ooh, careful, Homer."

This is the first sentence uttered in Simpsons history, from the series premiere "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire."

2. Homer Simpson

"There's no time to be careful. We're late."

Homer's first line, in response to Marge's plea to drive safely.

3. Seymour Skinner

"Wasn't that wonderful? And now, the Santas of many lands, as presented by the entire second grade class."

Principal Skinner emceeing the Springfield Elementary holiday pageant.

4. Bart Simpson

"Jingle Bells/Batman Smells/Robin Laid an Egg/The Batmobile Broke Its Wheel/The Joker Got Away..."

We're introduced to Bart with his interpretation of "Jingle Bells."

5. Lisa Simpson

"But I really want a pony and I have been really really good this year."

Lisa eventually got that pony, albeit for a brief period of time.

6. Patty Bouvier

"Marge please."

On the phone, Patty had no interest in speaking with Homer.

7. Ned Flanders

"Hold your horses, son. Hey, Simpson!"

We meet Ned right before he shows off his "too bright" Christmas display.

8. Waylon Smithers

"Attention all personnel. Please keep working during the following announcement."

Mr. Smithers, as dutiful as ever.

9. Charles Montgomery Burns

"Hello. I'm proud to announce that we've been able to increase safety here at the power plant without increasing the cost to the consumer or affecting management pay raises. However, for you semi-skilled workers, there will be no Christmas bonuses. Oh, and one more thing, Merry Christmas."

Mr. Burns, as gracious as ever.

10. Todd Flanders

"Hey, Mr. Simpson. You dropped your pork chop."

Inadvertently embarrassing Homer Simpson, just like his father.

11. Moe Szyslak

"What's the matter, Homer? Did someone leave a lump of coal in your stocking? You've been sitting there sucking on a beer all day long."

Moe, moments before uncharacteristically offering a candy cane.

12. Barney Gumble

"Drinks all around!"

Barney, even more uncharacteristically having money.

13. Selma Bouvier

"Thank you."

Said with feigned politeness in response to Homer's insincere statement that she looks well.

14. Milhouse Van Houten

"Get a load of that quote-unquote Santa."

Questioning Homer's Santa skills.

15. Abraham Simpson

"Oh, Brother."

Grampa Simpson, rolling his eyes at the "unadulterated pap" that is Happy Little Elves with Lisa.

16. Martin Prince Jr.

"Principal Skinner, one of my fellow children is vandalizing school property."

A big-time tattle for a big-time tattler's first line. From "Bart the Genius."

17. Edna Krabappel

"Now, I don't want you to worry, class. These tests will have no effect on your grades. They merely determine your future social status and financial success ... if any."

18. Otto Mann

"Sorry little dudes. Party Hardy equals tardy."

Otto, running late in "Homer's Odyssey."

19. Sherri (or Terri) Mackleberry.

"We're going to make you sing, Bart Simpson."

20. Terri (or Sherri) Mackleberry

"Yeah Bart Simpson, we're going to make you sing."

21. Clancy Wiggum

"Well, it's no secret this city is under siege by a graffiti vandal know as 'El Barto.' Police artists have a composite sketch of the culprit. If anyone has any information, please contact us immediately."

El Barto would forever remain out of his grasp.

22. Officer Eddie

"Evening, Moe."

Said moments before accepting a beer, but not pretzels, while on duty in "There's No Disgrace Like Home."

23. Officer Lou

"Good one, Moe. Listen, we're looking for a family of Peeping Toms who've been terrorizing the neighborhood."

That family was, of course, the Simpsons.

24. Nelson Muntz

"Nah, happens all the time. Somebody else's blood spatters on me. Hey, wait a minute. You're right. You made me bleed my own blood."

Nelson was welcomed to the show with a punch to the face by Bart in "Bart the General."

25. Jasper Beardly

"Simpson, give me your newspaper!"

26. Ralph Wiggum

"Hey, what are you talking to her for? She's just gonna say something weird."

In "Moaning Lisa," before the show dumbed Ralph down considerably.

27. Krusty the Clown

"Kell 'em!"

Springfield's favorite clown, very upset at Bart and Homer in "The Telltale Head."

28. Reverend Timothy Lovejoy Jr.

"Look, now we've got them!"

Rev. Lovejoy was also angry at Bart and Homer in "The Telltale Head."

29. Jimbo Jones

"Hey, hot dog."

Said in an effort to break Bart's concentration on his skateboard.

30. Kearney Zzyzwicz

"Oh yeah? Well, do it again."

31. Dolph Starbeam

"Psst, coast is clear."

Dolph informs his fellow bullies (minus Nelson) that they can view Space Mutants 4 free of charge.

32. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

"Okay. Now don't you kids take anything. I'm watching you. I've got eyes on the back of my head. $4.52."

33. Helen Lovejoy

"Marge? Marge Simpson? You remember me, don't you? I'm Helen Lovejoy, the gossipy wife of the minister."

She ruins Marge's brunch date with Jacques (and provides plenty of character detail) in "Life on the Fast Lane."

34. Lenny Leonard

"Ain't you hungry, Homer?"

Lenny was concerned from the very beginning whenever Homer wasn't eating, first in "Life on the Fast Lane."

35. Carl Carlson

"Hey don't worry. Things are gonna pick up once the entertainment gets here."

Lenny's best friend was introduced in the very next episode, "Homer's Night Out"."

36. Agnes Skinner

"You certainly have done well for yourself, Spanky."

Mrs. Skinner was initially impressed with her son Seymour, getting her first speaking line in "The Crepes of Wrath."

37. "Sideshow" Bob Terwilliger

"Ow, my foot, you lousy stupid clumsy...hand over all of your money in a paper bag."

This was said in the guise of his boss, Krusty the Clown, during a failed attempt to frame him in "Krusty Gets Busted".

38. Kent Brockman

"Good evening again Springfield. Krusty the Clown, the beloved idol of countless tots, now nothing more than a common alleged criminal."

39. Mayor "Diamond" Joe Quimby

"I hereby declare this day to be 'Snow Day'—the funnest day in the history of Springfield."

From "Bart Gets An F."

40. Kang

"Greetings, earthlings. I am Kang. Do not be frightened. We mean you no harm."

A very cordial-seeming start for the murderous space alien in the original "Treehouse of Horror."

41. Kodos

"Come earthlings, eat. Grow large with food."

42. Maude Flanders

"Hello spongecake. I thought you boys might be hungry so I whipped up some club sandwiches."

Mrs. Flanders in "Dead Putting Society."

43. Rod Flanders

"When's Todd's solo, dad?"

The elder Flanders boy in "Bart the Daredevil."

44. Julius Murphy Hibbert II M.D.

"Mrs. Simpson, Bart tells me he injured himself training for a career in 'death defiance'?"

Dr. Hibbert introduced himself to the world with straightlaced concern for Bart in "Bart the Daredevil."

45. Scratchy

"Lemonade?"

Thanks to Marge, Scratchy's first word was a kind offer of a refreshing beverage to Itchy in "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge."

46. Itchy

"Please."

Itchy's response, from The Itchy and Scratchy Show's "Porch Pals."

47. Lionel Hutz

"Hutz is the name, Mr. Simpson. Lionel Hutz: Attorney at law. Here's my card—it turns into a sponge when you put it in water."

Lionel Hutz, classy from the very start in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car."

48. Dr. Nick Riviera

"Bad news! Your son is a very sick boy. Just look at the X-rays. See that dark spot there? Whiplash."

49. Rainier Wolfcastle

"Captain, I have proof that he's head of an international drug cartel."

Wolfcastle—in character here as the action hero McBain—was always convinced that Senator Mendoza was up to no good throughout the running gag of the McBain movie clips, starting in "The Way We Was."

50. TROY MCCLURE

"Hello, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such movies as Cry Yuma and Here Comes the Coast Guard. But today, I'd like to talk to you about a pleasant tasting candy that actually cleans and straightens your teeth."

From "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment."

51. Hans Moleman

"'F,' 'L,' oh no I'm sorry, that's a 'C' isn't it?"

Poor Moleman flunking an eye exam at the DMV in "Principal Charming."

52. Groundskeeper Willie

"Save your strength, Lad. There's a whole field for you to resod left."

53. Professor Frink

"Why, it's a death ray, my good man. Behold."

Professor John Nerdelbaum Frink, Jr., failing to get grant money from Grampa in "Old Money."

54. Ms. Hoover

"He's bad, but he'll die. So I like it."

Ms. Hoover on Marge's painting of a naked Mr. Burns in "Brush With Greatness."

55. Snake

"All right. I get out at noon and I'm already invited to a party."

Recurring felon Snake, first seen on a prison phone talking to Otto in "The War of the Simpsons."

56. Comic Book Guy

"Tell you what. I'll show you something very special if you promise to put your grubby little hands behind your back and keep 'em there."

From "Three Men and a Comic Book."

57. Lunch Lady Doris

"This is a whole lot of nothing."

Lunch Lady Doris, along with Groundskeeper Willie and Bleeding Gums Murphy, judging Springfield Elementary's talent show in "Lisa's Pony."

58. Maggie Simpson

"Daddy."

Elizabeth Taylor voiced Maggie's famous first word, the result of a "lot of takes." It was the last line of the fourth season episode "Lisa's First Word."

59. Superintendent Gary Chalmers

"Hello, Seymour."

From "Whacking Day."

60. Cletus Spuckler

"Hey ma, look at that pointy-hairded little girl."

Moments earlier, Lisa first refers to him as a "slack-jawed yokel" in "Bart Gets An Elephant."

61. Disco Stu

"Hey, Disco Stu doesn't advertise."

Disco Stu started as a one-off joke, paying off the set-up of Homer running out of room on his jacket to write "Disco Stud" in season seven's Two Bad Neighbors."

62. Duffman

"ARE YOU READY TO GET DUFFED?"

Duffman ruined Barney's night of designated driving in "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson."

63. Gil Gunderson

"Marge, it's a real pleasure. You got any leads? I need some leads. Please, help me."

Sad sack Gil was introduced to Marge by Lionel Hutz as a 42-year veteran of the real estate business, not that his experience was helping, in season nine's "Realty Bites."

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15 Confusing Plant and Animal Misnomers
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People have always given names to the plants and animals around us. But as our study of the natural world has developed, we've realized that many of these names are wildly inaccurate. In fact, they often have less to say about nature than about the people who did the naming. Here’s a batch of these befuddling names.

1. COMMON NIGHTHAWK

There are two problems with this bird’s name. First, the common nighthawk doesn’t fly at night—it’s active at dawn and dusk. Second, it’s not a hawk. Native to North and South America, it belongs to a group of birds with an even stranger name: Goatsuckers. People used to think that these birds flew into barns at night and drank from the teats of goats. (In fact, they eat insects.)

2. IRISH MOSS

It’s not a moss—it’s a red alga that lives along the rocky shores of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Irish moss and other red algae give us carrageenan, a cheap food thickener that you may have eaten in gummy candies, soy milk, ice cream, veggie hot dogs, and more.

3. FISHER-CAT

Native to North America, the fisher-cat isn’t a cat at all: It’s a cousin of the weasel. It also doesn’t fish. Nobody’s sure where the fisher cat’s name came from. One possibility is that early naturalists confused it with the sea mink, a similar-looking creature that was an expert fisher. But the fisher-cat prefers to eat land animals. In fact, it’s one of the few creatures that can tackle a porcupine.

4. AMERICAN BLUE-EYED GRASS

American blue-eyed grass doesn’t have eyes (which is good, because that would be super creepy). Its blue “eyes” are flowers that peek up at you from a meadow. It’s also not a grass—it’s a member of the iris family.

5. MUDPUPPY

The mudpuppy isn’t a cute, fluffy puppy that scampered into some mud. It’s a big, mucus-covered salamander that spends all of its life underwater. (It’s still adorable, though.) The mudpuppy isn’t the only aquatic salamander with a weird name—there are many more, including the greater siren, the Alabama waterdog, and the world’s most metal amphibian, the hellbender.

6. WINGED DRAGONFISH

This weird creature has other fantastic and inaccurate names: brick seamoth, long-tailed dragonfish, and more. It’s really just a cool-looking fish. Found in the waters off of Asia, it has wing-like fins, and spends its time on the muddy seafloor.

7. NAVAL SHIPWORM

The naval shipworm is not a worm. It’s something much, much weirder: a kind of clam with a long, wormlike body that doesn’t fit in its tiny shell. It uses this modified shell to dig into wood, which it eats. The naval shipworm, and other shipworms, burrow through all sorts of submerged wood—including wooden ships.

8. WHIP SPIDERS

These leggy creatures are not spiders; they’re in a separate scientific family. They also don’t whip anything. Whip spiders have two long legs that look whip-like, but that are used as sense organs—sort of like an insect’s antennae. Despite their intimidating appearance, whip spiders are harmless to humans.

9. VELVET ANTS

A photograph of a velvet ant
Craig Pemberton, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

There are thousands of species of velvet ants … and all are wasps, not ants. These insects have a fuzzy, velvety look. Don’t pat them, though—velvet ants aren’t aggressive, but the females pack a powerful sting.

10. SLOW WORM

The slow worm is not a worm. It’s a legless reptile that lives in parts of Europe and Asia. Though it looks like a snake, it became legless through a totally separate evolutionary path from the one snakes took. It has many traits in common with lizards, such as eyelids and external ear holes.

11. TRAVELER'S PALM

This beautiful tree from Madagascar has been planted in tropical gardens all around the world. It’s not actually a palm, but belongs to a family that includes the bird of paradise flower. In its native home, the traveler’s palm reproduces with the help of lemurs that guzzle its nectar and spread pollen from tree to tree.

12. VAMPIRE SQUID

Drawing of a vampire squid
Carl Chun, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This deep-sea critter isn’t a squid. It’s the only surviving member of a scientific order that has characteristics of both octopuses and squids. And don’t let the word “vampire” scare you; it only eats bits of falling marine debris (dead stuff, poop, and so on), and it’s only about 11 inches long.

13. MALE FERN & LADY FERN

Early botanists thought that these two ferns belonged to the same species. They figured that the male fern was the male of the species because of its coarse appearance. The lady fern, on the other hand, has lacy fronds and seemed more ladylike. Gender stereotypes aside, male and lady Ferns belong to entirely separate species, and almost all ferns can make both male and female reproductive cells. If ferns start looking manly or womanly to you, maybe you should take a break from botany.

14. TENNESSEE WARBLER

You will never find a single Tennessee warbler nest in Tennessee. This bird breeds mostly in Canada, and spends the winter in Mexico and more southern places. But early ornithologist Alexander Wilson shot one in 1811 in Tennessee during its migration, and the name stuck.

15. CANADA THISTLE

Though it’s found across much of Canada, this spiky plant comes from Europe and Asia. Early European settlers brought Canada thistle seeds to the New World, possibly as accidental hitchhikers in grain shipments. A tough weed, the plant soon spread across the continent, taking root in fields and pushing aside crops. So why does it have this inaccurate name? Americans may have been looking for someone to blame for this plant—so they blamed Canada.

A version of this story originally ran in 2015.

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18 Tea Infusers to Make Teatime More Exciting
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Make steeping tea more fun with these quirky tea infusers.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. SOAKING IT UP; $7.49

man-shaped tea infuser
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That mug of hot water might eventually be a drink for you, but first it’s a hot bath for your new friend, who has special pants filled with tea.

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2. A FLYING TEA BOX; $25.98

There’s no superlaser on this Death Star, just tea.

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3. SPACE STATION; $9.99

astronaut tea infuser
ThinkGeek

This astronaut's mission? Orbit the rim of your mug until you're ready to pull the space station diffuser out.

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4. BE REFINED; $12.99

This pipe works best with Earl Grey.

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5. A RIBBITING OPTION; $10.93

This frog hangs on to the side of your mug with a retractable tongue. When the tea is ready, you can put him back on his lily pad.

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6. ‘TEA’ ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE; $5.95

It’s just like the movie, only with tea instead of Beatles.

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7. SHARK ATTACK; $6.99

shark tea infuser
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This fearsome shark patrols the bottom of your mug waiting for prey. For extra fun, use red tea to look like the end of a feeding frenzy.

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8. PERFECT FOR A RAINY DAY; $12.40

This umbrella’s handle conveniently hooks to the side of your mug.

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9. AN EGGCELLENT INFUSER; $5.75

cracked egg tea infuser
Amazon

Sometimes infusers are called tea eggs, and this one takes the term to a new, literal level.

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10. FOR SQUIRRELY DRINKERS; $8.95

If you’re all right with a rodent dunking its tail into your drink, this is the infuser for you.

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11. HANGING OUT; $12.85

This pug is happy to hang onto your mug and keep you company while you wait for the tea to be ready.

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12. ANOTHER SHARK OPTION; $5.99

If you thought letting that other shark infuser swim around in the deep water of your glass was too scary, this one perches on the edge, too busy comping on your mug to worry about humans.

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13. RUBBER DUCKIE, YOU’RE THE ONE; $8.95

Let this rubber duckie peacefully float in your cup and make teatime lots of fun.

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14. DIVING DEEP; $8.25

This old-timey deep-sea diver comes with an oxygen tank that you can use to pull it out.

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15. MAKE SWEET TEA; $10

This lollipop won't actually make your tea any sweeter, but you can always add some sugar after.

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16. A SEASONAL FAVORITE; $7.67

When Santa comes, give him some tea to go with the cookies.

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17. FLORAL TEA; $14.99

Liven up any cup of tea with this charming flower. When you’re done, you can pop it right back into its pot.

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18. KEEP IT TRADITIONAL; $7.97

If you’re nostalgic for the regular kind of tea bag, you can get reusable silicon ones that look almost the same.

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