9 Easter Eggs Hidden In TV Shows That Went Over Your Head

Unless you obsessively call every single real phone number presented to you in television shows, it's unlikely you were ever going to notice this fan-service easter egg hidden in a Season 3 episode of The Wire, titled "Back Burners."

See, way back in 2004, people actually used to "call"people. And they would take to them over the phone using their "voices." I know, I know, it's weird. But it was a different era.

Anyhow, because film and TV producers didn't want to provide a real person's actual phone number, they would normally use a fake number that starts with "555." But The Wire was nothing if not dedicated to creating a sense of realism, and the writers of the show knew that using the ol' 555 trick would immediately take viewers out of the scene. Soin a scene where Marlo Stanfield gives out his personal number, they used a real Baltimore-area line.

However, in order to make sure fans of the show didn't keep calling the phone number and bugging a real, live person, an employee at the Baltimore-Washington Telephone Company (who happened to be a big fan of The Wire, as is...everyone?)redirected callers to the then-inactive number to a recording of Marlo speechifying about the importance of his name:

4. The Simpsons= Les Miserables?

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Although we learned in season nine's "The Principal and the Pauper" that Seymour Skinner isn't the Springfield Principal's real name, we then promptly forgot everything we learned in that episode because it was objectively terrible and gimmicky and how would this Seymour Skinner imposter not be found out sooner you stupid, stupid Season 9 writer's room?

Anyhow, although the entire plot of the episode was retconned and pretty much burned from Simpsons' history like it was a modern day Hulk Hogan, there's actually a little something from this episode that still works: a hidden, third identity for Principal Not-Skinner.

Four years before this controversial episode, in a season five flashback to his time in Vietnam, Not-Skinner reveals that his POW number was 24601, which is, coincidentally, the same number given to the Les Miserables' character Jean Valjean.

That, in and of itself, is no big thing. But "The Principal and the Pauper" ups the ante by revealing that Not-Skinner was A) a former criminal, B) an identity thief, and C) now using his new name to become a respectable member of society. All of this closely follows Valjean's story.No one directly calls attention to this on the show, which makes it either a coincidence or one of the most subtle jokes that iteration of the show's writers ever pulled off.


Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor.