‘The Simpsons’ On Drugs: 6 Trippiest Scenes

Homer Simpsons Smokin' Weed

It's no secretThe Simpsons has relied as heavily on drug humor as Diff'rent Strokes did on "Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis." Ranging from binge drinking to marijuana use to LSD-like hallucinations, all the members of the Simpson clan — and a great many other residents of Springfield — have enjoyed a wide variety of drug-induced exploits.

Even The Simpson's Movie included at least one instance of Homer craving something psychotropic, saying, "More, please!" to an Indian chief's flaming brew. So let's re-cap some of the "high" points of what is arguably the world's foremost pop culture institution.

6. Guatemalan Insanity Peppers

Drug blog Dosenation.com calls it a highlight of The Simpsons' "nods and winks to the drug-using populace." Exquisitely crafted in theme and form, this segment could be seen as the ultimate tribute to the psychedelic drug experience, complete with self-discovery, adventure and even an animal guide (a coyote with the voice of Johnny Cash).

We imagine The Simpsons writers are especially proud of this 1999 episode. Notice when Homer first swallows the psychotropic pepper, he says, "More, please" — the exact line he's now using in the new movie's trailer. Maybe the writers are sending a secret signal to all Homer's fans in the drug culture:

He's still a druggie after all these years.

5. "Wow, that saxophone would make a great pipe."

Homer gets a prescription for marijuana. Marge is troubled, the kids bemused, but Homer, who indulges as expected, is also conflicted. His remedy: "Do as I say, not as I do."

In other episodes, Homer...
  • Has insomnia and watches a late night TV commercial for "Nappien," which "won't cause foot-fattening or elbow stink."
  • Takes expired medication he finds in a neighbor's trash. When Marge tells him to stop, he says, "But Marge, what if I'm not getting enough ... [glances at label] ... estrogen!"
  • Invents a drink — the Flaming Homer, a.k.a. the Flaming Moe — in which the main ingredient is children's cough syrup.
  • Gets the entire town of Springfield high when he distributes a beverage made from carrots and peyote.
  • Takes another man's medications while visiting his father in the nursing home. Grandpa comments, "The pink ones keep you from screaming."
  • Gets high on cleaning-chemical fumes and hallucinates that he's being attacked by Scrubbing Bubbles, Mr. Clean, and other characters.
  • As he and Ned Flanders drive to Las Vegas, they pass a car driven by a warped and hallucinating Hunter S. Thompson as drawn by Ralph Steadman.
And of course, Homer's fondness for Duff beer is legendary.

4. "What am I smokin'? Oh yeah..."

About as straightforward as possible — even in Spanish — and without any apology. Otto the bus driver is portrayed as smoking pot while driving the kids to school.

In other episodes, Otto...
  • Complains about blatant false advertising as he storms out of a housewares store called "Stoner's Pot Palace."
  • Is told by Mettalica to never listen to their music again, ostensibly for being a druggie.
  • Mistakenly answers this true-or-false question while practicing for his driving test. "Alcohol improves your ability to concentrate."
3. Marge's LSD?

Marge Simpson hallucinates that the walls are melting, and that a roasting turkey is talking to her, after she drinks tainted tap water. (Shown here in an extra-trippy version that was redubbed for foreign markets.)

In other episodes, Marge...
  • Attends the Broadway play Kickin' It, "a musical journey through the Betty Ford Center," with the kids during a trip to New York.
  • Is maliciously portrayed in a political ad as saying "Now it's time to do some coke off the blade of a knife..."
  • Has a false-positive test for crack and PCP after taking a parenting course. Confesses to being high on LSD, "love for my son and daughters."
  • Checks into a rehab clinic herself after excessive drinking with Homer.
2. Naked in the Fermentarium

Lisa has LSD-like hallucinations after drinking the water while on a ride at Duff Gardens. Proclaims, "I can see the music," and "I am the lizard queen!" (Homer had been binging on an enormous sandwich he'd brought home from the company picnic, and sent her to the park with her Aunt Selma.)

In other episodes, Lisa...
  • Becomes addicted to "Trucker's Choice" brand speed, a gift from Bart.
  • Has LSD-like hallucinations featuring The Beatles after receiving nitrous oxide at the dentist's office. Later in the same episode, the entire family gets high when the dentist accidentally leaves the gas on.
  • Comments to Bart that the air at a Hullabalooza music festival "smells like Otto's jacket," a reference to their pot-smoking school bus driver (see below).
  • Comments that the pot smoke emanating from Homer's room "smells like the art teacher's office."
1. "Ow! My Bones Are So Brittle."

Bart Drinks "malk" at school, "now with vitamin R" (a slang term for Ritalin).

In other episodes, Bart...
  • Gets drunk on beer during a St. Patrick's Day parade.
  • Asks Marge to pick up some "Flintstones chewable morphine" when he gets the flu.
And in 1990, federal "drug czar" William Bennett made headlines when he warned patients at a drug treatment center that watching The Simpsons was "not going to help you." (He'd spotted a Bart Simpson poster on the wall that said "Underachiever — and proud of it.") Later when he made a conciliatory offer to sit down and talk to Bart, Matt Groening issued a counter-statement on behalf of Bart.

"If our drug czar thinks he's going to have a conversation with a cartoon character, he must be smoking something."

Do you have a favorite Simpsons drug reference? Tell us which ones we overlooked in the comments.

See also:
The Cartoon Porn Shop Janitor: Carol Burnett vs. Family Guy
Paul McCartney on Drugs
10 Worst Spider-Man Tie-Ins
Hallucinogenic Weapons: The Other Chemical Warfare
The Great Wired Drug Non-Controversy
Pulp Fiction Parodies on YouTube

69 thoughts to “‘The Simpsons’ On Drugs: 6 Trippiest Scenes”

  1. I just love that episode when Homer goes trippin’ because of chilli. Especially the moment when get bored following the tortoise through the desert. The one when he start searching for his soul-mate.

  2. isn’t the “b sharps” episode all one drug-induced hallucination? homer had to be on something when he told lisa, after she expressed amazement that homer’s group beat out dexy’s midnite runners for the grammy, “don’t worry honey, you’ll be hearing a lot more from them!”

    and george harrison makes an appearance!

    ok, it’s nothing to do w/drugs, it’s just my fav episode.

  3. How could you forget the Squishy bender that Bart and Milhouse went on when they found 20 dollars. All delivered in 50’s era shock-film montage style. I think they asked for an all-syrup Squishy.

    Bart once bought a bong at a fleamarket thinking it was a cool pencil holder. Homer says, “I haven’t seen a bong in years.” I think that was the b sharps episode.

    I think in the episode where Lisa smells pot she actually says it smells like the art teachers jacket, which I think is a lot funnier.

    I think Homer’s chili pepper trip was more of a nod to Carlos Casteneda than the drug using populace in general. Johnny Cash’s talking coyote is a Simpson’s masterpiece.

    It wasn’t drug induced, but I love the hallucination where Mr. Burns opens the casino and becomes a Howard Hughes-like character. He looks at Smithers’ face and sees it covered with germs who are chanting “Freemasons are running the country.”

    Joe, the Duff Gardens episode was number 4 on the list.

  4. There have been a lot of blatant drug references by bart in the more recent season. When bart becomes a jazz drummer he is caught in the attic with his musician friends “not smoking reefers”.

    At one point, while being part of a reality wife swap show bart begs a camera man for help adding “I let you smoke a cigarette in my room”. The camera man responds “that was a joint”

  5. how come they left out the end of the psychedelic peppers part? with the pyramid golf shop and talking dog? that’s quite trippy, too.

  6. What about the antacid trip? When he eats the baking soda? Oh, and the Ribwich!

  7. “Ow! My Bones Are So Brittle.” clip has nothing to do with drugs. If you want Ritalin then he sings a song praising it in the Focusin episode, which is all about drugging kids.

    The toad licking in the South Pacific episode should be listed.

  8. What about the episode where Bart asks Homer if he’s licking toads again, and he responds that he’s “Not not licking toads.”

  9. The Insanity Pepper episode was not from 1999. It was from 1997. A season (’96-’97) that is widely percevied to be the best season of all.

  10. Clay…the article is correct. Lisa says it smells like Otto’s jacket. Not the art teacher’s.

  11. What about the one where Homer running from PBS and ends up licking toads?

    “Homer are you licking toads?”

    “I’m not NOT licking toads.”

  12. There’s also the one where Homer goes to a remote island and gets high licking toads, leading to this great exchange:

    Marge: “Homer, are you licking toads again?”

    Homer: “I’m not not licking toads.”

    Oh, and the one where Bart takes Focusyn (a Ritalin parody) and ends up figuring out that Major League Baseball is spying on everyone.

  13. Pin Pals Episode:
    Mr. Burns hallucinates on ether. Homer becomes Poppin Fresh, and gets sponsorship for his bowling team. Burns then goes after Hans Moleman with a drill to get the ‘Lucky Charms’ out of his brain.

    (also, the insanity-pepper episode was not 1999)

  14. Pat and San…it was easy to miss the Chili episode, as the author only put it at Number One, with a video clip.

  15. How bout the ep where homer becomes a hippy and ends up making an entire batch of juice out of the hippy’s private stash, and the whole town gets high. Or the ep where bart takes focus in. This list is incomplete.

  16. What about when he eats that box of baking soda and has hallucinations about the moon landing and stuff?

  17. You missed one of the best Otto drug lines (albeit one cut in syndication)- in the Halloween short “Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores,” advertising mascots come to life after Homer steals a giant donut. As Otto is driving the bus and is attacked by one, he comments to himself, “Whoa! Another acid flashback! I wouldn’t want to be driving the bus right now!”

  18. Although spicy Indian food isn’t really a drug, neither are Guatemalan insanity peppers: I almost forgot Lisa after eating Apu’s cooking: “I can see through time…”

  19. The insanity pepper should definitely be #1, but Lisa tripping at Duff Gardens is a close second. #4?! For shame!

    Chad Powers – agreed – Malk?! Hilarious, but has absolutely NOTHING to do with drugs – how is this #2?!

    Clay – Squishy bender – yes, another good one.

    One of my favorites in Mr. Burns in “The Springfield Files” – his dilated pupils alone should make the list. (Ben – the ether incident’s a good one, too.)

    And how is the episode where Homer puts peyote in that juice drink just an afterthought, mentioned in passing on #6?! You sure this isn’t the “6 Trippiest Scenes Available on YouTube” ?

  20. How is the lisa in pepperland scene not in this? The whole thing is a take-off on the acid-induce-hallucination-induced cartoons from the 60s.

  21. Homerpalooza:

    Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth: Hey, Hullabalooza isn’t about freaks; it’s about music, and advertisement, and youth-oriented product positioning.

    Sen-Dog from Cypress Hill: That, and getting toasted. Nicely toasted.

  22. One of my favorites was the episode where a new candidate ran against Quimby for mayor, during which there was a small cut-scene showing quimby in his office, hunched over his desk rolling a joint. The camera cuts to his closet, lined in aluminum foil where you can see a marijuana plant and grow-light.

  23. Just remembered the episode with the organic hippie juice, that has to be one of the greatest “mass” trip-outs ever! Luckily, alcoholism saved the day for Barney.

  24. How about the episode where with the blind guy & the dog where you here the police smoking pot with him (‘glaucoma medicine’), & chief wiggam is singing
    “we’re jammin'”?

  25. Is it my imagination, or did they cut out Barney’s segment when Homer begins hallucinating from the peppers? It begins with Flanders, then moves down the line. Barney is at the end, and I remember him burping and there being scintillating triangle patterns or something similar.

  26. I can’t believe nobodies mentioned the episode where Homer sits in a massaging chair in the furniture store and hallucinates for a bit…

  27. Props for remembering the Laddie/Blind Man episode. Springfield’s Finest have hookers and beer too. Definitely my favorite music while the credits roll. Wiggum tells Lou to shut up because he likes the song.

  28. Yes, you can’t forget about the Tomacco episode, where homer cross-bred tomatoes with tobacco and got the whole town hooked.

  29. Not about ILLEGAL substance abuse, but the episode where the Simpsons go to London – Bart and Lisa ingest a lot of sugar-rich British confections, and go on a wild montage/rampage through the city, to the strains of Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life”. That’s one intense sugar buzz.

  30. “Becomes addicted to “Trucker’s Choice” brand speed, a gift from Bart.”

    thats not right …its a gift from lisa!

  31. so far noones mentioned the homerpalooza ep where frampton gets on and starts jammin…then after jimbo states ‘woah he’s makin his guitar talk’ otto replies ‘thats nothin maan, my shoes are talking to me’ and it shows his shoe laces flying around and his shoes ask to be taken to his leader or something. I think this is the only scene removed permanently from syndication of the simpsons, it was only ever in the first airing and isn’t on the dvds either.

  32. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the episode where people hallucinate from the natural gas leak in front of the Maude statue at Flander’s theme park. Not really a drug reference, but still people hallucinating from chemicals.

  33. thank you schlep for bringing up the candy episode, it was definitely Trainspotting inspired.

  34. In the B-Sharp episode, as the family is leaving the swap meet, Bart says he bought a pencil holder. Homer responds with “Man, I haven’t seen a bong in years!!”.

  35. In the episode where Homer and Flanders become friends, Lisa explains the ongoing war between Springfield and Shelbyville in which Shelbyville threatened to spike Springfield’s water supply (Homer doesn’t think they have the guts). Immediately after this, Marge drinks some tap water and begin to to trip. The walls drip, and then the turkey gets out of the oven, tells Marge he’s overcooked and flies out the window leaving a rainbow trail behind him.

    WAY tripper than “vitamin R”.

  36. no one mentioned the simpsons rip off of jack the ripper, i believe its a holloween special and bart and lisa are investigating the murders of the hookers ex. Aunt Selma and it leads them to an opium den ran by Moe, and you have otto mr burns, and ralph hitting the opium pipe, this is where they find homer with huge sideburns

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