5. DR. NICK RIVIERA: ROLE-MODEL
THE THEORY: There was an extremely detailed and perhaps even disturbing analysis of the medical practices in Springfield published by the Canadian Medical Association in 1998. Titled “D’oh! An analysis of the medical care provided to the family of Homer J. Simpson,” the article actually makes a convincing case that Dr. Nick Riviera of all people is the closest thing to a role model in Springfield’s medical community:
In all honesty, this is not too different to what most kids are eating in the US public school system.
According to the article: “[Dr. Hibbert] treats the health care system like his personal cash… No wonder the US system is so expensive.” Dr. Nick, on the other hand, is precisely the type of doctor Springfield needs in such a broken health system. “Knowing that physicians’ fees are the real cause of the health care funding crisis, Dr. Nick produced a TV ad in which he offered to do any surgical procedure for just $129.95 (Can$193.95 at time of writing). Cost-effective and consumer conscious, Riviera would never let quality of care interfere with discount-rate fees.”
Say what you will, but it was still better than what your typical HMO offered at the time.
STATUS: As lousy a doctor as Dr. Nick is, nothing changes the fact that it was he and not Dr. Hibbert who saved Homer’s life when he needed a triple bypass. Dr. Hibbert, meanwhile, is a walking caricature of the health care industry in America.
While we may never know if this was the writers’ intent for the entire run of the Simpsons, for one episode in Season 4, Dr. Nick was precisely the type of doctor America needed prior to health care reform.
4. THE LOST EPISODE: NAZIS ON TAP
THE THEORY: That there exists a lost episode of the Simpsons called “Nazis on Tap,” which was supposed to air on March 21, 1991 following “Bart the Daredevil.” According to TV Guide, the episode was an animated short “set in the 1940′s,” and most likely focusing on WWII.
That’s all we need to hear to know that it would have been awesome.
STATUS: As strange as this sounds, it appears there is actually some fact to this theory. Not only was Nazi on Tap written, but some audio of the short surfaced on YouTube a few years ago. According to the Simpsons wikia, the short would have unfolded as follows:
An announcer (played by Harry Shearer) says “And now, a classic short from the Simpsons archive. First released on October 16, 1943.” Homer, in a 1940′s version, is in a bar talking to the bartender (who is a dog). Adolf Hitler sits next to Homer and starts pumping him for information. Then Bart comes along, spots Hitler, and chases him. The final scene is of Franklin Delano Roosevelt giving Bart and Homer a medal for capturing Hitler. Homer starts chasing another man and FDR says “no, no, that’s Joseph Stalin, America’s best friend!” The short ends with Bart saying “Catching Hitler was neato! Next stop, Hirohito! I’m Bart Simpson, the wise-cracking kid.”
An inside source cited on the Simpsons Archive claimed: “It wasn’t really that funny, just really weird and inside. Which is why it wisely never went outside.” As for how TV Guide found out about it, we have absolutely no idea. All we know is that with no surviving animation, we’re likely never going to see this lost gem.
Still, it doesn’t explain what the hell happened to that audio recording that disappeared YouTube. If that wasn’t Harry Shearer, it sure as hell sounded exactly like him.
3. THE SIMPSONS IS LOADED WITH ILLUMINATI SYMBOLS
THE THEORY: We had to go to a couple of New World Order websites to research this, but since they were as incoherent as you’d expect the best we have to go with is this YouTube video.
Basically, the Simpsons is loaded with hidden images in reference to the Illuminati, such as eyes, pyramids, and other images that you can find just about anywhere in animation.
We’re guessing this entire episode was just a smoke screen.
STATUS: While we’ll gladly admit that we nearly cut this entry for being too ridiculous even for this website, all that changed the moment we laid eyes on the Masonic Malibu Stacy doll from “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy.”
Yeah, there’s probably nothing to this conspiracy theory since the Illuminati doesn’t even exist, but it wouldn’t surprise us one bit if John Swartzwelder was behind that freaky Eye of Providence Malibu Stacy accessory.
2. THE SIMPSONS CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE
THE THEORY: That The Simpsons boasts a record comparable to Nostradamus when it comes to vaguely but somewhat accurately predicting the future. Sometimes.
STATUS: While The Simpsons writers have made quite a few interesting observations over the past few decades, it is sort of their job. The episode “Lisa’s Wedding,” for example, accurately predicted numerous elements of what life would be like in 2010 because it was written by a team of some of the best social commentators on television. After more than 20 seasons, you bet your ass some of their observations stand out more strongly than others in comparison, such as Homer’s theory of a donut-shaped universe in “They Saved Lisa’s Brain” or Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon becoming an octomom. However, there’s still an incalculable amount of “predictions” they made that didn’t pan out at all.
For example, most soy pops today don’t have a gag suppressant.
That is, expect for it came to Siegfried and Roy getting mauled by one of their own tigers. The Simpsons writers/soothsayers hit that nail right on the head.
Truth be told, they had it coming.
1. “SUPER DUDE” SHOT MR. BURNS
“Who Shot Mr. Burns?” remains the only Simpsons two-parter to date and stands the test of time as a classic parody Dallas, The Fugitive, and, of course, the O.J. Simpson murder case. Countless theories have been proposed about Mr. Burns’ assailant from the numerous clues dispersed throughout the episode. Suspects ranged from Moe Szyslak to Santa’s Little Helper to the legendary “El Rey” of Latin Jazz, Tito Puente himself.
A cold-hearted killer?
However, none of the Mr. Burns murder theories—or for that matter, any conspiracy theory—can compare in size, scope, or sheer brilliance to the proposal that Mr. Burns was shot by Springfield Elementary’s beloved fourth grade gerbil: “Superdude.”
THE THEORY: Superdude’s attempted assassination of C. Montgomery Burns is a theory almost as epic as the entire “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” storyline, and maybe even moreso because it takes into consideration even more factors than those that pointed to the actual assailant: Miss Maggie Simpson. According to the Simpsons Archive: “cursed druid burial ground” that Springfield Elementary was built on, the geographical location of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant where Principal Skinner threw Superdude’s deceased corpse, the dangerously high pollution-levels of Springfield, and even its effects on past animals such as Blinky where enough to turn a postmortem Superdude into a “SPRINGFIELD MUTANT RABID GERBIL!”
Like this, only he kills old people.
What ensues is one of the most complex commentaries on the Simpsons in history. Dana Scully and Fox Mulder of the X-Files play a cameo, the words “Super Dude” became subject to countless dissections, and even the number “4″ trumps the number “3″ as the clue to who shot Mr. Burns. Among them: “Super Dude is the only character with four legs (Santa’s Little Helper was reduced to two legs).”
The “S” stands for Super Dude, and the “W” stands for “Groundskeeper Willy.” Also, due to daylight savings, it’s really 4.
STATUS: The theory generated so much attention that Simpsons creator Matt Groening and staff briefly subscribed to it on the “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” DVD commentary. In addition to this, the theory added such a rich layer to the already classic episode that it could be considered the most successful piece of fan art in Simpsons history. In other words: a viewer of the Simpsons wrote a solution to “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” that even the show’s creator and writing staff acknowledged was funnier than what they could come up with in a year.
See that shadow! SUPER DUDE!!!
And finally, when you consider that nobody guessed the correct answer to the 1-800-COLLECT “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” sweepstakes and be animated onto the show, whoever came up with the elaborate Super Dude theory can at least claim credit for making it onto the Simpsons, Season 6 DVD commentary.
Jacopo della Quercia is now on Twitter. Follow him!