The Simpsons is regarded as one of the funniest shows in television history. Despite a general belief that the series is far past it's best years at this point, there were still a long stretch of seasons where it was delivering the big laughs. But apart from the humor the show has given us, we have also learned a lot from the show over the course of its historic run.
Through the lives of the titular dysfunctional family or the mayhem that transpires in the town of Springfield, there's plenty of opportunities for education on The Simpsons. Sometimes it's learning the lessons along with the characters, more frequently it's by learning from the many mistakes they make. Whatever the case, these are some of the most valuable life lessons The Simpsons have taught us.
10 Beware False Doomsday Predictions
On several different occasions, the entire town has fallen into anarchy over false apocalyptic beliefs. In the most famous event in the episode "Bart's Comet", the town becomes convinced that a comet is heading for Springfield and will wipe out everything. The town quickly descends into chaos and begins choosing who should live or die. If only they waited to get all the facts.
9 Censorship Is A Slippery Slope
The "Itchy and Scratchy" show has always been the show's parody of over the top cartoon carnage, but it has also been the subject of some teachable moments. In the episode "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge", the Simpsons' matriarch sets out on a crusade to get the violent cartoon off the air, sparking a lively debate about the effects of cartoon violence on children and censorship of media.
Predictably, the show argues that cartoon violence is not the problem but also warns against letting censorship get out of hand. Marge's triumph leads to parents attempting to censor works of art deemed offensive. It's a valid point that continues to be topical to this day.
8 Prank Calls Never Get Old
One of the tried and true recurring jokes on The Simpsons is Bart's prank calls to Moe's Tavern. Asking for a nonexistent customer with an odd name -- like I.P. Freely and Seymour Buttz -- Moe calls out the name and becomes irate when he realizes the jokes that have been pulled at his expense.
Obviously, the many, many names that Bart comes up with are great fun, but the real reason the joke stays funny is because Moe always falls for it. With all the crazy trouble that Bart gets into, a nice wholesome prank call is harmless fun that never gets old.
7 Don't Be Bitter About Others' Success
As we see episode after episode the embarrassing, painful and demoralizing situations that Homer Simpson finds himself in, you might start to think that he is one of the unluckiest people alive. However, in the classic episode "Homer's Enemy," we see Homer's life from the outside and suddenly it doesn't seem so bad.
Frank Grimes is a new employee at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant who has worked tirelessly his entire life to reach this point. He is amazed and infuriated that a man of Homer's incompetence has reached even greater heights. This eventually drives him crazy and leads to his death, all becomes of his own jealousy.
6 Dedication Leads To Improvement
Many times in the show, Bart has been described as an underachiever and proud of it. While that might be true most of the time, sometimes that attitude has led him down a path that even he is scared of. In the episode "Bart Gets an "F"," his dismal grades threaten to hold him back another year in school.
Terrified by the possibility of flunking, Bart actually begins to apply himself to the work. We see, for the first time, Bart's real struggles with learning and the dedication he's willing to put in. While he still flunks his test, Bart shows that he did learn and that his hard work did pay off.
5 Ultimatums Don't Work
Speaking of Bart's poor grades, they have come up a few more times throughout the series. Marge and Homer try many different tactics to motivate their son into doing better in school. Marge's tactics are generally more helpful while Homer just tries to trick him into doing well.
In "Kamp Krusty," Homer tells Bart that he needs to achieve a C average to go to Kamp Krusty for the summer. When Bart comes home with straight Ds, Homer quickly admits his ploy didn't work and lets Bart go the camp anyway. While maybe not the best parenting, at least he owned up to his mistake.
4 Bad Things Happen To Good People
Ned Flanders is an impossibly kind and decent man. His overly religious lifestyle might be a bit creepy, but he always treats everyone with respect and does the right thing. While his beliefs teach him that such behavior is rewarded, Ned has experienced his fair share of turmoil.
In "Hurricane Ned", the Flanders home is the only one destroyed by a terrible storm that hits Springfield. In trying to put his life back together, more and more bad luck befalls him. Ned has also seen his store suffer and he has lost two women he was in long relationships with. He seems to be walking proof that there's no rhyme or reason for what bad things happen to people.
3 Being Sad Is Alright
Lisa has always seemed like the outcast in the Simpsons family. Her creative nature and high intelligence makes her very different from the rest of them, and that feeling of being an outsider extends to school as well. Lisa, while kind, is rather unpopular. All of this could lead to her feeling of depression seen in "Moaning Lisa".
The episode deals with depression in a very honest and touching way. Lisa can't explain why she feels sad, but it's a feeling she can't escape. She is repeatedly told that she should try to cheer up and smile, only for her to realize that being sad is okay sometimes and she doesn't have to pretend she's happy when she's not.
2 Don't Take Your Soul For Granted
The soul is a hard thing to wrap your head around. There are many definitions of what one's soul is and what its purpose is, but The Simpson's might have had one of the best examinations of the soul in the episode, "Bart Sells His Soul."
After selling his soul to Milhouse of five dollars, Bart soon finds that something is definitely missing in his life. While Lisa agrees that the soul might not have the religious connotations we usually hear about, it's still a big part of who we are and to dismiss it as unimportant is like losing some part of yourself. That will make you think twice about selling your soul.
1 Sacrifices Must Be Made For The Family
Homer Simpson is not a perfect family man. He is a lazy and inattentive husband and father who makes a lot of trouble for his family. However, on occasion, we have seen examples of just how much he truly loves them all and what he's willing to do to keep them happy.
In "You Only Move Twice," Homer gives up his dream job when he discovers the rest of the family is unhappy in their new life. Even more touching, it is revealed the reason Homer stays at his abusive and terrible job is solely so he can provide for his family once Maggie is born.