After 33 seasons of hilarity on the Fox network, The Simpsons are undoubtedly interwoven into pop culture. The legendary award-winning animated comedy series opened doors for many other animated television shows, some of which are still running themselves. And several of the show’s humorous, impressionistic and satirical elements over the years are still yet to be forgotten.
Take, for example, how the show has managed to — like clockwork after 33 years — poke a little fun at whoever is the U.S. President at the time. And didn’t the show seem to have “predicted” a certain reality TV personality’s bid for the White House? Over all this time, television audiences can still identify Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and the rest of Springfield’s citizens by either their unique qualities, looks, or voices — including memorable catchphrases.
And speaking of catchphrases, one of the most popular animated youngsters of the modern era, Bart Simpson, had plenty of them. But what are his best one-liners, throughout the show’s 728 total episodes?
“Eat my shorts!”
This rather crude directive is one of Bart’s most famous lines, even featured in the 2007 movie. According to the show’s legend, he first said these words as a kindergartener, during “Lisa’s Sax,” the third episode of season nine. Bart being Bart, picking on his sister Lisa results in her saxophone sustaining damage. This results in a story behind how Lisa first got her hands on her treasured musical instrument. During the flashback regarding the sax, a scene plays where 5-year-old Bart tells Principal Skinner to indeed, “Eat my shorts!,” one of the countless exchanges between both characters.
This exclamation is actually the second-most used of Bart’s long list of catchphrases. This one came from an old episode entitled, “The Art Museum.” The episode technically ran as a short, as part of The Tracey Ullman Show, where the Simpsons characters were first seen by television viewers. In a quick little flashback scene, a baby Bart, in diapers, is surprised to find his parents in bed, hence the shocking response. “¡Ay, caramba!” were also Bart’s first words as a child.
“Don’t have a Cow, man!”
Another one of Bart’s most well-known catchphrases is “Don’t have a cow, man!” He first used it during several episodes of the show’s early seasons, during the early 1990s. This was at the height of the program’s popularity, where lots of merchandise with Bart’s image and the particular catchphrase were featured on everything from keychains to t-shirts and posters. Bart also sang this line, part of his own rendition of the Jewish folk song, “Hava Nagila,” where he replaces the original lyrics with this catchphrase in a season 16 episode of the show.
This one, like his more famous one-liners, has been seen on plenty of Simpsons-related merchandise during its most-popular years — the 1990s. And, also like those catchphrases, Bart first used it during the show’s earlier seasons. He often uses it to express his contempt in various situations.
“I didn’t do it!”
Now, this one is rather unique in that, while it isn’t the most famous catchphrase to fans of the show, the words actually make him famous in the series’ universe, if just for one episode. In fact, the episode where he says those words is literally titled, “Bart Gets Famous,” the twelfth episode of season five. After Bart accidentally destroys stage props from Krusty the Clown’s TV show, Bart simply replies, “I didn’t do it,” and he’s instantly shot into stardom. While he’s famous, he becomes a guest on Conan O’Brien’s talk show and even records with MC Hammer.
“I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?”
This catchphrase definitely stands out among others, especially when it comes out of a child’s mouth. And that there — the fact that Bart is a fourth-grader — is practically why this line of dialogue has been remembered for so long. Even though society in the real world has changed here and there, only a few people of Bart’s age — and fictionality — can get away with saying it. The first time Bart was known to have said this was to Santa Claus in the first standalone episode in the show’s history titled, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” Santa was actually Bart’s dad Homer, who was dressed as “jolly old St. Nick.”
This line is often said by Bart when he’s facing certain defeat, despair, or discipline from his parents and teachers. It’s unsure exactly when Bart first said it but fans of the show will know that Bart’s dropped this line as early as the first season, and almost as often as his more popular catchphrases over the years.
This catchphrase is a more positive one coming from Bart. And yes, also like his most popular lines, you can find it on plenty of Simpsons merchandise and memorabilia. He also spoke this line in the same aforementioned episode “The Art Museum,” alongside “¡Ay, caramba!”
Of course, this isn’t originally Bart’s catchphrase but rather Homer’s. Still, it’s always endearing to see the “like father, like son” concept in full swing. And, just like when Homer realizes one of his own potentially embarrassing blunders, Bart also follows suit, facepalm and all. Since it’s not one that Bart says often, it’s not precisely known when he first said it.
This last catchphrase has been said often by Bart, though like some of the moderately famous lines, has a yet-to-be-confirmed origin episode. Some from an older generation have thought that perhaps this particular exclamation from Bart was inspired by one of the most iconic cartoon characters, Charlie Brown, and his world-famous catchphrase of the same words. Series creator Matt Groening has yet to confirm that, even after 33 seasons.