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The Funny Story Behind a Classic Simpsons Scene

As the longest-running scripted series of all time, The Simpsons has built up its fair share of folklore surrounding how the series comes together. Just last week, How I Met Your Mother actor Josh Radnor (of all people) gave the world another anecdote to add to the history books.

In an appearance on the podcast You Made It Weird, Radnor told host Pete Holmes about a conversation he had with longtime Simpsons producer Bonita Pietila. He asked Pietila about a specific episode—one of his favorites—from 1993. The season five, episode two installment is a Sideshow Bob-centric parody of Cape Fear called “Cape Feare.” It’s a classic, and one of its well-known bits involves Bob stepping on a series of rakes after freeing himself from the underside of the Simpsons' car, which they’ve driven to their new home on Terror Lake as part of their new life in the Witness Relocation Program. The rakes scene is one of those jokes that lasts so long it goes from funny to annoying and back to funny all over again.

Here’s what Radnor had to say about his conversation with Pietila: “I said, ‘I love the rakes so much,’ and she said, ‘I’ll tell you a story about the rakes.’ She said, ‘It was the one episode that we're short on time-wise and a writer goes, ‘What about more rakes?’’ That’s why that’s in there. Which I thought was amazing.”

And there you have it. A classic joke from a classic episode was spawned from a simple need to fill time. To listen to Radnor tell the story, skip ahead to about 1 hour and 14 minutes in. He notes that, in syndication, the scene is shortened for time (irony of ironies), so make sure you watch the clip above for the full effect.

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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