In many situations in the old The Simpsons episodes, Bart inexplicably speaks a sentence in British, out of the blue. For example:

You mean it ain't me noggin', it's me peepers?

(After his American teacher states that she suspects that Bart's apparent slow-wittedness may have been the result of a simple eyesight problem.)

Nothing about the context seems to warrant him speaking in a very British manner, and he only ever does it for a "line" or two.

Obviously, it "sounds funny", but is there some deeper meaning behind this which I'm missing? Bart, the character, simply thinks it's funny to speak like a British person sometimes? Is it meant to symbolize something?

  • 4
    Probably derived from Oliver Twist, which embedded cheeky cockney children in the popular consciousness.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 23, 2021 at 13:18
  • 1
    Equally likely from Mary Poppins, which many Brits considered the worst Cockney accent of all time. I have always assumed Bart's 'Mockney' as such accents are known, is intentionally 'bad'. I recall hearing some mumble that it was meant to emulate Clark Gable, & the odd time Bart does [or murders] 'Irish' might support that.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 23, 2021 at 15:13
  • Since in this exact example, he follows it up with “well that’s just loverly”, I wonder if it’s a reference to My Fair Lady. If he does the cockney accent primarily in school then it could be a link between the presumption of the story of My Fair Lady that a person is better when they’ve had a “sophisticated” education. Looking back, some criticize that theme as being overly classist, and it wouldn’t be beyond Groening and the writers to play on that question. Jul 23, 2021 at 16:38
  • Like many Hollywood actors, Nancy Cartwright is in fact a British man (full name Nancibald Register Cartwright-Chollomndley-Harrop), who uses the sharp technical acting skills he honed during years of regional repertory theatre in the UK to make his fortune in the glamorous world of American cartoon voice acting. Bart's occasional Dickens-isms are doubtless a wry reference to this from the writers. Jul 7, 2022 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


It is ultimately just ironic. Bart portrays himself as an innocent Cockney London chimney sweep, to more or less contrast his (un-innocent) American `bad boy' attitude.

Notice Bart in Cape Fear, Season 5:

Clean as a whistle, sharp as a thistle, best in all Westminster!

where again Bart contrasts his life with that of a chimney sweep in old London.

This often happens, as in the example you give when Bart is told his eyes may be behind his bad marks at school, when Bart is agreeing with someone, suggesting the need for the writers to have Bart change character slightly, since he is `complying' (as it is out of character for a rebel to comply).

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