‘The Simpsons’ Ruptures Space-Time Continuum By Showing Homer Use the ‘Homer Backs Into Bushes’ Meme
The Simpsons is airing its 30th season on Fox, a milestone that it’s celebrating by doing everything from introducing a new logo to rupturing the space-time continuum. The show broke the fourth wall Sunday by airing a new episode in which Homer Simpson texts an incredibly famous GIF of Homer Simpson (from a 1994 episode) backing into some bushes to escape from embarrassment.
Although the meta moment didn’t cause the world to explode, it did quickly catch fire online after the show tweeted a GIF of the GIF.
“This GIF is very popular,” Justin Garbett, a content development manager at GIPHY, an online GIF database and search engine, told Fortune. “If you search ‘Homer Simpson’ in GIPHY, it’s currently the first result. This particular version of the GIF — as there are several — has more than 400 million views.”
That’s right, the GIF of Homer disappearing into hedges after an embarrassing moment—which was even included in a 2014 Museum of Moving Images installation called “Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture” — is so widespread that even Homer Simpson has not only seen it, but used it.
“There are many classic reaction GIFs that never get old and are used to convey a very specific thing,” said Garbett. “The Homer GIF is used when people want to remove themselves from a conversation. It’s the perfect exit GIF.”
On Sunday’s episode, the cartoon dad appropriately sent the GIF to his daughter after texting her that he didn’t know where his phone was. (It was in his hands, obviously.)
Its a GIF inside of a GIF, Its GIFception
— Han (@Han49825073) January 14, 2019
“Seeing the use of this GIF on the show itself was definitely a fun surprise for us at GIPHY as it speaks to the growing presence of GIFs and their ubiquity across nearly every channel,” said Garbett. “GIFs have the capacity to capture a stand-out moment of a TV show and then be shared beyond the show via messaging, email, text, etc. In this case, they also had the capacity to be shared via messaging in a TV show. Very meta. We look forward to seeing how the world of GIFs and TV continue to merge like this!”
While Garbett didn’t respond to questions about the whether The Simpsons’ GIF gag disrupted the space-time continuum, we believe that if the cartoon was going to open a vortex, it would have happened after it had predicted the Trump presidency in 2000, well before he announced his candidacy.