For many of us who grew up in the 90s, The Simpsons was not only a hilarious, groundbreaking show, but a learning experience. It advanced our knowledge of pop culture well beyond our years (Seriously, how else would most 9-year-olds know about Citizen Kane and Stanley Kubrick movies?) But aside from the dozens of references to movies, TV, and books that we had to ask our parents about, The Simpsons was also loaded with subtle and not-so-subtle sexual references. I recently rewatched the entire series and noted ten particularly sexual jokes that, as a kid, slipped past my freakin' ears.
(Note: By "The Simpsons," I mean the classic years of the show. Seasons 1-11 only.)
1. Krusty's Bawdy Joke ("Black Widower")
Even as a kid, I knew something was dirty about Krusty's joke setup, I just didn't get what it was: "This guy walks into a bar and takes out a tiny piano and a twelve-inch pianist. Oh no, wait! I can't tell that one!" Dear 9-year-old me, welcome to Dick-jokesville. Population, you.
2. Smithers And Sea-Men ("Treehouse of Horror III")
Even a prepubescent ignoramus could pick up on "the real deal" with Mr. Smithers, but although I got that he was latently gay, I missed a lot of the jokes that went along with it. Probably the most notorious example came in the third Treehouse of Horror episode when Mr. Burns asked for Smithers' opinion about taking Marge along in a ship full of sailors. Smithers' answer: "I think women and sea-men don't mix." Oh! That. Got it.
3. Flanders' Unintentionally Foul Mouth ("Bart the Lover")
As a kid, I did a pretty good impression of Ned Flanders, which basically entailed throwing "diddly" onto the end of words. But when watching "Bart The Lover," I did not understand why my parents chuckled at one particular line which was virtually diddly-free. Now I get that Flanders accident-diddly-ally let out a few innuend-doodly-endos: "All of us pull a few boners now and then, go off half-cocked, make asses of ourselves. I don't want to be hard on you " Oh, 9-year-old me, you don't fully appreciate the simple pleasures of a good boner joke. But you will!
4. Bart's Hawaiian Shirt ("Homer's Phobia")
I was a couple of years older than Bart when "Homer's Phobia" aired, but both of us were too naive to pick up on his wonderful double entendre when he tells Homer that his Hawaiian shirt "came out of the closet." I honestly thought the punchline was the idea that Bart found a Hawaiian shirt in his closet. Why I thought that was funny, I don't know.
(This is technically a 'sexual-orientation' joke more than an actually-sexual joke, but still, it wasn't exactly in my joke-getting wheelhouse back in 1997)
5. Homer's Whacking ("Whacking Day")
Homer and Marge have a pretty active sex life, as is made clear by their frequent references to "snuggling." (Snuggling totally means doin' it, you guys.) In hindsight, these peeks into their bedroom antics were pretty unsettling, given that Homer and Marge essentially raised me as my TV parents, but one line that sticks out as being particularly sexual appears in the episode "Whacking Day" when they discuss the fine art of snake-whacking. Homer asks seductively, "Should I whack slow or fast?" And Marge responds, "Slow then fast." I understood that they were being frisky, but it would've melted my tiny brain to imagine Homer and Marge "whacking" anything. It's bad enough that when the busty Ms. Springfield says, "Gentlemen, start your whacking!" it made me feel all weird in the pants.