Simpsons: anticipation and the unexpected

Probably the prototypical example of this is when Homer is spraying bottle after bottle of lighter fluid onto the barbeque. After 25 seconds of pouring (like 3 bottles later) he carefully moves a match close to the grill and…

a modest size flame starts up the charcoals normally.

Of course, we all expect the thing to blow up in Homer’s face (which IMO would have been funny too, in a slapstick-Homer-football-in-the-groin sort of way), but the writers know we are anticipating this and pull a switcheroo and make that the joke.

There’s another one I can’t think of, but I saw recently. Maybe had something to do with Homer falling out of a window and Barney was driving. Well whatever.

Can you think of any? Seems like a recurring theme, and they are usually good for a chuckle.

My favorite was from the episode where Bart gets Principal Skinner kicked out of school so Skinner joins the army. During mortar practice, Bart suddenly appears riding his bike across the target range causing Skinner to yank the mortars away from the field. The scene then switches to Apu at the Qwik E Mart proudly observing their just finished gas tanks when a low whistle appears from above.

The anticipated joke is that the Qwik E Mart will soon be shown exploding in a mushroom cloud but, instead, the scene just quiety, switches to Bart and Skinner walking through the army base having a nice conversation. Sure a neon ‘E’ sign falls from the sky a few seconds later but I like their way of telling the joke better.

I loved the bit where Homer was kicked out of Moe’s and looking for a new bar. He finds himself in a bar where he’s the only man in a sea of butch looking women. He says something like this to himself:

“Wait a minute… There’s something not right here…”

Pause…

“This lesbian bar has no fire exits!!!”

“Presented for your consideration: Springfield. An average little town, with a not-so-average monster. The people of Springfield have to think happy thoughts, because this monster can read minds, and if upset, can turn people into horrible, walking terrors. Did I mention that this monster is…a ten year old boy??

<and now for the hilarious unexpceted part>

“Quite a twist, huh? Bet you didn’t see that coming.”

Cracks me up every time.

In the episode where Homer gets kicked out of Moe’s, a man with an appearance strikingly similar to Homer’s comes into the bar. He introduces himself as “Guy Incognito”, and is promptly beaten up and thrown out. Just then, the real Homer steps over Guy Incognito as he walks down the street.

I think this is from the first episode with Krusty…

Krusty, after a long day, returns home to fix himself a drink. Picks up the large bottle of seltzer water, carefully aims into the glass, and sprays exactly the right amount of water into the glass. This clown clearly doesn’t take his work home with him.

I forget which episode the OP is talking about, but I think it’s one where Homer jumps out a window, and Barney is driving a car with a mattress on it. As Homer tumbles out, Barney says “Hey, that’s Princess Di!” and zooms off, so Homer goes splat. Barney then backs up over him… “It was just a pile of rags!” The fairly unexpected part being Barney’s return. It’s not entirely a good example, but it’s what I can think of based on that description.

“Enjoy your death trap, ladies!”

I dunno why, but that is possibly my favorite Simpsons joke of all time.

The very first episode of the Simpsons that I ever saw: the one where they are lost in the forest and Homer eventually gets mistaken for Bigfoot.

He and Bart are trying to catch some food, so Homer bends down a sapling and sets a snare. They then hide behind a rock and watch while a rabbit hops innocently towards it. Of course, the cliche is that the rabbit will fail to set off the snare, and Homer will eventually get caught in it when he investigates why it won’t work.

Instead, when the rabbit steps into it, the snare actually goes off; but flings the rabbit, catapult-like, into the far distance. I about fell out of my chair laughing.

“What’s her problem?”

If you’re going to be telling it, tell it all the way, man. :smiley:

He notices Guy, but something else catches his eye.

“That guy looks exactly like me…(gasp)That dog has a puffy tail!”

I’m a big fan of the irony gag. (That is, you expect some sort of cliche or reaction that isn’t what you get.) Some I can think of off the top of my head:

From Lost Our Lisa
Homer is looking for Lisa. He can see better if he gets up higher. So he buys a bunch of balloons and gives them to a crane operator as a bribe so he can use the crane.

From Burns, Baby Burns
Homer and Larry Burns are on the lam. They walk into a costume shop. A quick pan to represent the passing of time, and two men walk out dress as an organ grinder and a monkey. The proprieter of the shop bids them farewell. As he walks back into the store, he notices Homer and Larry hiding on the bathroom floor. He advises, “Either buy something or get out!”

And perhaps the most famous of all:
From The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson
After finishing up a klavh kalash, Homer needs something to wash it down with. He has a choice of Mountain Dew and crab juice. "Yuck…[spoiler]I’ll take the crab juice!

That last one didn’t code right. The joke’s so well-known (IMHO) that it doesn’t need a spoiler, anyway.

Cool mobo85, those are exactly the kind of gags I was thinking about in the OP. I know there are tons, but they’re so quick that its easy to forget.

When Bart, Lisa & Maggie are hiding from Bart’s evil twin in the TofH episode, there are two large floor vases and a small floor vase next to a closet. Lisa asks “Is he still out there.” Bart replies “I don’t know, but it’s dark and I can’t breath in here.” Then they all tumble out of the closet (not out of the vases).

There is the one where Homer is friing the family somewhere and it is getting late. Marge tells Homer he pull over if he is gettting tired, but Homer says he is finr. The next scene is a car just like the Simpsons plowing into a tree and bursting into flames. They pan up to Bart in a nearby Hotel looking out a window at the crash saying, “Glad that wasn’t us.”

I think this was the Simpsons.

Homer and Ned are running away from their wives in Las Vegas when they come upon to men walking. They push them into some bushes, and you hear fighting sounds. Next thing you know, the two men are walking away, angry, and Homer and Ned are on the ground, beat.

Hopefully someone can describe it better than I can.

One of my favorites is the one where they go to Legoland in the beginning and Lisa gets the Eiffel Tower kit which is missing a leg. They turn around and return back to the park where the guy at the soveigner stand says that Homer can complain all he wants but the soveigner industry has a powerful lobby group (or something like that) and he’s out of luck.

Homer, very angry replies, “Well maybe I’ll just give you a soveigner of my own” implying from his movements he is about to punch the guy. He suddenly extends his arm, and presents a snow globe to the stand owner with a bust of himself in it that says ‘Homer’ on it. The guy is touched and reaches into a box that says something like “Missing Eiffel Tower Legs” and says “Ah, here you go”.

That scene always makes me laugh my ass off.

I loved that one…

Homer: I need to get up higher. (to balloon salesman) Give me all your balloons… I hope this works. (to crane opertator) I’ll give you these balloons if you let me use your cherry picker.
Operator: Well, I have balloons at home, but they’re not this nice.

Classic.

I like the episode where homer is sitting on the couch and he is talking to Bart and Lisa about cartoons and says something to the effect of, “Cartoons don’t have to be realistic.” As a second homer walks past the window, humming to himself.

Homer, to Patty and Selma: “It’s time to take out the trash! But first, I’ll have to ask you two to leave.”