Simpsons fan uses audio processing to uncover a three-decade-old lost joke

A fan of The Simpsons has uncovered a lost joke in a three-decade-old episode using audio processing.

The moment was taken from the season three episode entitled The Otto Show – which saw the character of Otto move in with the iconic American family after losing his job as the school bus driver.

The episode begins when Homer is about to take his son Bart to his first rock concert – headlined by parody rock group Spinal Tap – but is lectured by Marge about the possible consequences the event could have.


While warning him about the concert, the ringing of Homer’s tinnitus drowns out her voice – quite literally showing that the warning fell on deaf ears. However, 31 years after the episode first launched, a fan has used audio processing to uncover what it was that Marge actually said and, in turn, unearthed another hidden joke.

Shared on Twitter, audio editor Ewzzy Rayburn, revealed the joke for the first time. Using Adobe Audition, Rayburn was able to remove the sound effects that mimicked the sound of Homer’s tinnitus, and boosted her voice in substitute.

Her warning stated: “Well alright, but make sure [Bart and Lisa] don’t pick up any of the band’s attitudes toward, liquor, religion, politics… really anything.”

Later, Rayburn also shared screenshots of the spectrogram both before and after he edited the audio – explaining that it showed the volume levels using colours and depicted the pitch through height on the graph. Through monitoring this, he was able to locate and remove the tinnitus tones, and boost the remaining audio of Marge’s voice – performed by Julie Kavner.

According to IGN, the producers of the show – which is the longest-running American sitcom – explained the choice to override Marge’s voice in the scene in a DVD commentary, where they explained that the joke took them a long time to write, so had to mix it down by the time it aired.


In other The Simpsons news, last week (April 13), it was announced that Cypress Hill would finally be making their orchestra mash-up joke in the show into “a reality”.

The joke was taken from a 1996 episode, Homerpalooza, which saw Homer take his family to alt-rock festival Hullabalooza – featuring guest cameos from Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill.

In one of the scenes, the latter was suspected of booking the London Symphony Orchestra while high and then had the band perform their 1993 hit ‘Insane In the Membrane”. Now, 27 years after it first aired, the band announced that it would be teaming up with the orchestra again to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their album ‘Black Sunday’.

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