Fan Theory: Is 'The Simpsons' the Connecting Point of All Animated Realities?

What could be more fun than a good shared universe theory? Not a whole lot, and there’s been one pop culture conspiracy staring us in the face the whole time! What if the universes of EVERY CARTOON EVER MADE were the same? And what if The Simpsons was their point of connection? Read on to find out how this could possibly be!

First of all, a young man named Jay Sherman visited the city of Springfield in the episode “A Star is Burns”.

Jay Sherman was of course the star of The Critic, an animated show co-created by Simpsons veterans Al Jean and Mike Reiss, and played by Simpsons regular Jon Lovitz. The crossover between the two shows was meant to advertise the newer Critic, but it established something key — although the Simpsons live in a fairly insulated world, other cartoons can visit it as well. The last we saw of Jay Sherman, he was in a Springfield mental institution, possibly driven mad by the realization that all of fiction was in one interconnected loop.

Now, The Simpsons have of course featured a lot of parody and satire. Take, for example. this clip of Bart and Milhouse watching South Park:

In this case, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone did not voice or give their blessing to the production. It’s a great scene, but it does not a make for a connection between the South Park and Simpsons universes. This is important — a shared universe must contain characters who reflect their artist’s intentions. The DC Universe is an incredible example of this. Joe Schuster’s and Jerry Siegel’s optimistic Superman mixed with Bill Finger’s German Expressionist-inspired Batman and Joker is what makes their meeting so interesting.

And so, when King of the Hill star Hank Hill visited Springfield in The Simpsons’ Season nine episode “Bart Star”, he’s got the same color he does in King of the Hill (rather than The Simpsons’ yellow) and is voiced by his creator, Mike Judge. It establishes that, much like Spider-Man is only a few miles away from Iron Man, so too is Hank Hill just a few miles away from The Simpsons.

Therefore, we also know that King of the Hill takes place in the same universe as The Critic. If Fox ever wanted to create something as rich and detailed as the Marvel Universe with their existing properties, they absolutely could.

However, this is not where The Simpsons’ interconnectedness end. In the last few years, we’ve seen that the future showcased in Futurama is in fact Springfield’s own. Here’s a clip from season 26th’s “Simpsorama”. Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio all reprised their roles as Fry, Leela and Bender, respectively.

Meanwhile, over on Family Guy, Peter Griffin and company visited Springfield.

That clip also features an appearance from Bob Belcher, patriarch of Fox’s Bob’s Burgers. However, he appears in a cut-away, and Family Guy‘s cut-aways seem to inhabit a continuity all their own. They are in a sense, almost alternate universes. Elseworlds, for the comic book fan out there. I mean, The Simpson family was murdered by Quagmire in one of said cut-aways (it’s in the worst clip in the world, so I won’t post it here).

Now here’s where things get complex. Everyone who’s crossed over into the Simpsons-verse has crossed over into other animated universes as well. Here, for example is Hank Hill interacting with John Krisfaluci’s Ren and Stimpy character George Liquor for a UFC ad.

That means The Simpsons co-exists in the same reality as Ren and Stimpy, which means in this clip from The Simpsons’ season four’s “Brother From The Same Planet”, Bart is not watching two cartoon characters, but two actors at the top of their form eating hairball soup.

Likewise, while the Simpson family has never officially interacted with Family Guy’s sister shows American Dad or The Cleveland Show, those shows did cross-over with Family Guy when the three animated families all had to weather a storm.

Continuing this journey of crossovers, here are Finn and Jake of Adventure Time appearing on Futurama. Jake is voiced by his voice actor John DiMaggio, who is an actor on both shows. While the appearance of Jake may not have been blessed by his creator Pen Ward, it has been blessed by John DiMaggio, meaning we can add the Adventure Time world into the rapidly expanding universe.

Likewise, both Futurama and Adventure Time take place in a future where our world crumbled. (Futurama‘s recovered. I guess Adventure Time‘s did not.) If The Simpsons is ever rebooted as a film franchise, I hope the fans cheer as loudly when Maggie finds a mysterious white bear hat as they did when Nick Fury came to speak to Iron Man.

There are two more cross-overs to be mentioned, but they exist in a more questionable corner, continuity-wise. First off, there is this amazing couch gag featuring Rick and Morty — voiced by their original actor Justin Roiland.

Of course, the Simpsons and Ned Flanders are much worse for wear in this couch gag when it ends, and it is not the first time the Simpsons have died in their couch gag. This posits that, much like Rick and Morty live in a multiverse, The Simpsons‘ couch gags exist in an alternate universes of their own, where the Simpsons are cavemen, apes, or toads. Just because we only see them for a few seconds doesn’t mean that they don’t live rich lives.

This means that The Simpsons established a comedic multiverse decades before Rick and Morty made it their calling card. I understand why a show about a family decided not to explore this further, but just having it there so obviously is very tantalizing.

The Simpsons also crossed over with The X-Files, but given that Mulder and Scully could not appear in their true flesh and blood forms, it becomes difficult to know where to exactly place it in the shared universe. Maybe it’s like when Phil Coulson from The Avengers movie started appearing in the comic books as a drawing. As to whether or not this means The Simpsons-verse co-exist with the The X-Files-verse, I will leave at the viewer’s discretion.

So now we have established a clear Marvel-like shared universe for many of the Fox Animated sitcoms and beyond. Yet there’s one more detail to make this theory even more expansive than it already is. What if I were to tell you that The Simpsons exists in a universe neighboring our reality? Take a gander from the ending to the classic “Treehouse of Horror VI” segment “Homer^3”, where Homer finds himself in a dimension where he exists on a CGI plane. The short ends with Homer sucked into a black hole, and here’s what transpires…

That erotic cake storefront still exists in Los Angeles to this day, albeit sans its cakes. Does Homer’s visit to our reality hint that the world of fiction and our reality are separated by a thin line? That we too, given the right Silicon Valley super science, could meet Homer, Bart, and unfortunately Quagmire?

Or does none of it matter because it was a Treehouse of Horror episode?

Only something to consider. However, one thing is clear — The Simpsons is the center of the greatest comedic multiverse since Norman Lear spun off The Jeffersons from All in the Family, and it must be treated as such! , watch your back! Jay Sherman v. Hank Hill is coming your way!

So what do you think? Is this all bunk and madness? Or am I really on to something here? Is there anything I missed to make this universes even grander? Let us know on Twitter @AlexFirer!

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