The Simpsons opens almost every week with Bart writing on a chalkboard. Currently there are over 400 episodes and even if you take into consideration the fact that not every episode opens with Bart at the board, that’s still a lot of gags. In fact, just the chalkboard gags alone make for more laughs than can be found in any number of hit sitcoms that have come and gone over the past twenty years. Not all of the Simpsons chalkboard gags are winners, of course, but those that are tend to linger in the mind. Herewith, then are the top ten Simpsons chalkboard gags compiled by a cross section of experts from all fields of life that live quite comfortably inside my own head.
10. I am not a 32 year old woman. This Simpsons chalkboard gag is in reference to the fact that the voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy Cartwright, was at the time a 32 year old woman. At the time, it was not well known that the voice of Bart belonged to a woman because Cartwright can pull off the voice of a ten year old boy with such expertise.
9. I was not the Sixth Beatle. What makes this chalkboard gag from The Simpsons funny is that it riffs on the idea that so many people lay claim to being the fifth Beatle. In fact, if count all the members that were ever in the Beatles, there were actually of six of them, including Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe.
8. I do not have a cereal named after me. When Bart Simpson penned this one, there was not only a cereal on store shelves named after him, there was also one named after Homer. Bart’s was Bart Simpson Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch. As disgusting a cereal as you could ever find, but a collectible today.
7. I will not defame New Orleans. This Simpsons chalkboard gag came about one week after the show had written a defamatory song about New Orleans for its musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire. The people of that city apparently took issue of the fact that it was founded by pirates and whores. Amazingly, these people found the fact that a cartoon show pointed out their history far more offensive than the fact that drunkenness and nudity runs rampant in their city not just during the single worst part of living along the Gulf Coast: Mardi Gras week.
6. I will not wait 20 years to make another movie. The very first chalkboard gag of the season after The Simpsons Movie had been released.
5. A person is a person no matter how Ralph. Fun for fans of Ralph Wiggum and Horton Hears a Who.
4. I will not demand what I’m worth. A reference to the fact the voice actors were holding out for pay equitable to the billions of dollars that Rupert Murdoch and Fox make off The Simpsons.
3. It’s potato, not potatoe. A reference to the fact that Sarah Palin may not have been the dumbest Vice-President if she’d gotten elected. Although, at least Dan Quayle was not stupid enough to ever allow himself to be interviewed at length on national television.
2. I am not smarter than the President. Made during the reign of George W. Bush so, well, yeah, Bart was smarter than the President. Of course, Ralph Wiggum was smarter than the President. As was Funzo, the Capital City goofball, and the rotting corpse of Maude Flanders.
1. I will never win an Emmy. Although the Simpsons has won a passel of animation Emmy Awards, it has never even been nominated for Best Comedy despite being named nearly universally acclaimed as the best sitcom in television history. Meanwhile, here are a list of some shows that have won the Emmy for Best Comedy at the same time that the Simpsons was on the air: Ally McBeal, Sex in the City, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond. Yeah, sure, whatever.