Now, it’s true that The Simpsons is a bit of a controversial topic of late. When it comes to the show’s overall quality, even the most dedicated fans have to admit that Homer and co. may not be firing on all cylinders in recent seasons.
This is inevitable, really. After over thirty years and almost 700 episodes (679 at the time of writing), there have been ups and downs aplenty. How could there not be? Whether the show’s outlived its welcome or not is a matter of personal taste, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: when The Simpsons is on a high and doing what it does best, it’s absolute gold.
One of the major strengths of the show is in the smaller details. Yes, Homer’s latest crazy adventure and/or chocolate fantasy usually takes center stage, but the low-key visual jokes in the background, the easily missed nods and subtle references are the things The Simpsons does best. From Mr. Burns showing his age in the most ingenious way to brilliant little ‘keep entendres single’ signs, here are some of our favorite examples.
10. Homer’s Old Mr. Plow Jacket And His Many, Many Jobs
Long-time fans will, of course, remember Homer Simpson’s brief stint as Mr. Plow (as documented in a Season 4 episode helpfully titled “Mr. Plow). This is all part of a long-running trope in which Homer takes a job outside the power plant on a whim, quickly loses it and returns to the plant/status quo.
This has happened so many times over the course of the series that he has quite an astonishing resume. The great part is, though, The Simpsons constantly makes self-deprecating references to this fact. In “Poppa’s Got A Brand New Badge,” Homer founds a private security service called Springshield. He proudly tells Marge, "I've had a lot of jobs in my life: boxer, mascot, astronaut, baby proofer, imitation Krusty, truck driver, hippie, plow driver, food critic, conceptual artist, grease salesman, carny, mayor, grifter, body guard for the mayor, country western manager, garbage commissioner, mountain climber, farmer, inventor, Smithers, Poochie, celebrity assistant, power plant worker, fortune cookie writer, beer baron, Kwik-E-Mart clerk, homophobe, and missionary, but protecting people, that gives me the best feeling of all."
None of these vocations were forgotten, which is a great little touch. Even better, the Mr. Plow jacket in particular remains in Homer’s closet, sparking the events of “Oh, Plow, Where Art Thou?,” A The Simpsons Winter Wingding story in which he comes across the jacket while looking for an old meatloaf in the closet (vintage Homer) and wonders where his plow is now.