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Fox's The Simpsons has inspired many art forms over the past few decades, so it's only fitting that the everlasting series invaded early meme culture as well. Anyone who frequents the internet has undoubtedly seen the "Homer disappearing in bushes" GIF, which features family patriarch Homer Simpson's backwards-disappearance into some bushes. Because the animated series is known for doing just about everything, The Simpsons had to reference that GIF and did so in the most meta way ever.
In an incredibly weird but totally Simpsons moment, Homer used the familiar GIF to express his embarrassment over texting Lisa to see where his phone was. (Who among us can say we're any better?) In any other show, this gag might have been seen as an incredibly problematic, shark-jumping plothole, but these things are obviously acceptable in theSimpsons' universe. Do you think Homer uses any of Fry's Futurama memes as well?
What's hilarious is that The Simpsons used the meme for its current denotation, even though the original scene it came from has little connection to its widespread popularity. The moment came from the episode "Homer Loves Flanders," and actually makes Homer seem more creepy than anything when viewed in proper context. Homer creeps up on Ned and the boys to see what they're up to, and then slinks back into the bushes when his attempts to hang out are rejected.
Check out a clip from that scene below.
Perhaps The Simpsons, along with the rest of the world, should be thankful that the GIF hasn't seen more widespread use among the web's more self-aware creepsters. After all, its emergence as an out-of-context joke makes it much funnier than it was originally, and has thus gotten a lot more mileage thanks to the Internet. The question I have is, where is the creative mind who first realized this clip could be used in a different context?
The Simpsons self-referential humor wasn't the only entertaining bit from "The Girl On The Bus" that embraced other areas of pop culture. The opening couch gag made a pretty funny reference to Avengers: Infinity War and Marvel's deadliest villain. Fans can see what happened between the Simpson family and Thanos below.
So, did Thanos' snap affect the rest of Springfield as well? If so, that would certainly be a convenient way for the show to handle its Apu problem, potentially preventing further jabs from others who have derided the show's stance on the issue thus far. Of course, if couch gags were canon, I'm sure it would take more than a snap to erase The Simpsons from existence, considering they've had some pretty wild stuff happen to them over the years.
The Simpsons typically airs on Fox on Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET. That's usually provided there aren't any sports contests running into its programming time. For more on upcoming TV shows set to air in 2019, be sure to visit and bookmark our handy midseason premiere guide.