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After several years away I've come back to The Simpsons around S20. I have noticed on at least two separate occasions that longer 'couch gags' have been repeated on more than one episode (one featured them breaking into a museum to find their couch, another featured them chasing the couch around the world).

I thought the whole point of the couch gag was that it was unique, a bonus scene that also pads the show length depending if the main episode is longer or shorter.

When did they start repeating gags and is it documented which have been used more than once?

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    I don't have any hard evidence, but I thought they'd always done it. Harder to tell because of all the repeats I've seen over the years - they used to run one old one followed by one new one, every day, so there would be a lot of jumping between seasons in my viewing order.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 12:09
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    Does this answer your question? Is every Simpsons episode beginning unique?
    – BobbyScon
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 21:19
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    @BobbyScon This question is not a duplicate, and the information in this accepted answer is not presented in your cited link. Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 20:20
  • My favourite example of them repeating very long couch gags (yes, even longer than the circus one from the golden era) is the evolution one, which in its second appearance changes Marge's line from "what took you so long?" to "did you bring the milk?"
    – J.G.
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 8:36
  • You'll also see many more repeats of certain couch gags when you watch The Simpsons in syndication, such as on FXNow. I believe they will favor certain gags more frequently as they are shorter scenes, which allows them to run extra commercials during these reruns. Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 19:42

1 Answer 1

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The show has essentially repeated couch gags from the very beginning. According to a list of couch gags on The Simpsons wiki, the first repeat was in the show’s eighth aired episode, The Telltale Head. If anything, it seems to have actually changed over time from being quite common to extremely rare.

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    I stand (or sit on the couch) corrected. Thanks for digging this up.
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 13:17
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    It seems that in the first few seasons, they produced a few couch gags for the first half of the season and then repeated them for the second half.
    – Taladris
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 4:36
  • People tuned into the Tracy Ullman Show to watch the Simpsons. Now they tune into the Simpsons to watch the couch gag.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 4:41
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    @Mazura Are you suggesting there will eventually be a spin-off show that's just couch gags? Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 8:31
  • @Acccumulation I am waiting for an episode which is just a couch gag
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 20, 2022 at 22:47

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