Perhaps the most unusual fact about this most unusual sitcom is that the best moments of The Simpsons sometimes occur even before the story begins. As careful viewers may have noticed, three segments of the frenetic opening credits change each week. The riff that Lisa plays on her sax varies among six different tunes. When the family dashes for the sofa, there’s always a surprise. ”Once they came in and the couch was missing,” says associate producer Mike Mendel, recalling his favorite switch. ”They just looked at each other like they didn’t know what they were supposed to do.” Then there was the time the Flintstones ran into the living room instead.
But the joke that requires the keenest attention to catch pops up when Bart, suffering the fate of all class clowns, scribbles out his punishment at the classroom chalkboard. Herewith, some of his classic lines:
*I will not yell ”She’s dead” during roll call.
*Spitwads are not free speech.
*I will not call my teacher ”hot cakes.”
*I did not see Elvis.
*I will not do that thing with my tongue.
*They are laughing at me, not with me.
*The principal’s toupee is not a Frisbee.
*I will not belch the national anthem.
*I saw nothing unusual in the teachers’ lounge.
*I will not eat things for money.
*No shirt, no shoes, no education.
*Garlic gum is not funny.