Top Ten Simpsons Betrayals

A collage of various Simpsons betrayals.

The Simpsons TV show has been on for a very long time, and in that time there’s been a lot of betrayal. Characters have been betrayed by their lovers, friends, co-workers, and even their own children. Join us as we rank the top ten betrayals in Simpsons history.

10. Bart and Lisa Trick Their Parents into Thinking Bart Died (“Itchy & Scratchy Land”)

Lisa bursting into her parents' bedroom carrying Bart's body in a wagon.
Lisa bursts into her parents’ bedroom carrying Bart’s body in a wagon, exclaiming her brother is dead, and Homer and Marge scream in shock… only for Bart to sit up and explain he’s “dead serious about going to Itchy & Scratchy Land.” It was a cheap ploy, but it works, it only lasts a moment, and the kids seem to be immediately forgiven. For these reasons, this betrayal is ranked lowest on this list.

9. Homer and Marge Lie to Their Children About Taking Them to Disneyland (“The Secret War of Lisa Simpson”)

The Simpsons stand in front of a dentist's office. Lisa and Bart are dismayed while Homer and Marge chuckle.
After the kids complete military school, Homer and Marge promise to reward them with a trip to Disneyland – only to take them to the dentist instead. What makes matters worse is this is the second time in the episode the parents used this tactic. By Season 14’s “The Great Louse Detective” the family has at least been to Disney California Adventure, so maybe Homer and Marge eventually made good on their promise.

8. Bart Gaslights Milhouse About His Goldfish (“The Canine Mutiny”)

Milhouse argues with Bart.
After his dog Santa’s Little Helper ate Milhouse’s goldfish, Bart attempted to gaslight his best friend into thinking he never had any goldfish. Luckily, Milhouse didn’t fall for Bart’s deception because he still had the bowl.

7. Lisa Betrays Christianity (“She of Little Faith”)

Lisa stands in front of a Buddhist temple.
After the church becomes heavily commercialized, Lisa renounces her Christian faith and becomes a Buddhist. This is a devoutly Christian fansite and we will not accept such heresy!!!

6. Jessica Lovejoy Betrays Bart (“Bart’s Girlfriend”)

Jessica Lovejoy empties the collection plate into her purse.
Speaking of church, Bart’s one-time girlfriend Jessica Lovejoy stole money from the church’s collection plate, left Bart with the empty plate and allowed him to get blamed for the theft. This act of betrayal made Bart a social outcast for an entire week and may have damaged his future relationships. Of course, Jessica claims it was a classic cry for attention from her negligent parents, so maybe she’s not entirely to blame…

5. Sideshow Bob Frames Krusty for Armed Robbery (“Krusty Gets Busted”)

An assailant resembling Krusty sticks up Apu.
Alright, now things are getting serious… tired of playing second banana, Sideshow Bob donned an incredibly lifelike Krusty disguise and robbed the Kwik-E-Mart at gunpoint as part of an elaborate plan to frame Krusty, take over his TV show, and refashion it in his image. Krusty was arrested and thrown in jail until Bob’s deception was uncovered by Bart and Lisa. *suddenly donning Italian accent* Now that’s-a mighty big betrayal! For what it’s worth, Krusty would later publicly forgive Bob in “Day of the Jackanapes” and Apu appeared to harbor no ill will towards him in “The Great Louse Detective.”

4. Mr. Burns Attempts to Steal Candy from a Baby (“Who Shot Mr. Burns”)

Burns attempting to take a lollipop from Maggie.
Mr. Burns has done a lot of despicable things – investing in Confederated Slave Holdings, making shells for the Nazis, and using a foreign militia to crush freedom fighters and behead Colonel Montoya – but perhaps his most egregious action was when he tried to steal a lollipop from Maggie Simpson, betraying the infant who just one season earlier had given him back his beloved long-lost teddy bear Bobo. Have you no shame, Monty? Of course, Maggie would soon get revenge by shooting him at point-blank range, which is the most severe punishment received by any of the betrayers in this list. Looks like Mr. Burns fucked around and found out…

3. Apu Cheats on Manjula (“The Sweetest Apu”)

Manjula orders Apu out of their house.
Speaking of fucking around and finding out, Apu cheated on his wife Manjula with a Squishee vendor. What the hell, man? The fact that it’s beloved character Apu makes his betrayal all the more shocking. He is truly remorseful and makes it up to her by completing a series of tasks, including changing his name to Slime Q. Slimedog and getting a cartoon published in The New Yorker.

2. Homer Frames Marge for a DUI (“Co-Dependents’ Day”)

The police examine Marge, who's at the wheel in an upside down car.
Driving home after drinking with Marge, Homer crashes the car, moves Marge to the driver’s seat, and hides in the woods while Marge takes the blame. Yikesaroo! This is a pretty big betrayal and pretty much the worst thing Homer’s ever done to Marge, and this is a show all about Homer doing bad things that his wife just has to wearily accept that’s been on the air since the George H.W. Bush Administration. Beyond the guilt, his only punishment is a promise to give up all clear liquors, which he doesn’t even follow through on.

1. U.S. Government Betrays Skinner (“Dog of Death”)

Skinner recieving an eraser from the state lottery.
While receiving a single eraser from the state lottery, Principal Skinner, a Vietnam veteran, remarks that he’s used to his government betraying him. Indeed, the US Government systematically lied to the American people about the scope and objectives of its role in the Vietnam War. On a personal level, we know from “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” that Skinner was forgotten about while he spent 18 agonizing months in a tiger cage as a prisoner of war. Due to the high amount of bloodshed involved and the trauma Skinner must carry for the rest of his life, we have no choice but to rank this as the ultimate Simpsons betrayal.