The Simpsons has parodied all kinds of pop culture staples over the years. Mark Hamill inspired Homer to “use the forks,” every Beatle that was alive when the show premiered has guest-starred as themselves, and a few episodes have shot-for-shot remakes of scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
One of the reference wells that the writers keep coming back to is Star Trek. The iconic sci-fi franchise has provided the groundwork for many classic Simpsons gags, like Homer fighting Barney in the Triskelion arena or a trailer for a movie called Star Trek XII: So Very Tired.
10 The Simpsons Get Beamed Up To The Enterprise From Their Couch
The episode “Itchy & Scratchy Land” is primarily a parody of Westworld, as the family visits a theme park full of sentient Itchy and Scratchy robots that turn on the guests.
But the opening couch gag parodies a different sci-fi franchise: Star Trek. While the Simpsons sit on the couch and watch TV, they’re beamed up to the Enterprise.
9 Homer’s College Friends Engage In The Classic Kirk/Picard Debate
When Homer first arrives at college in “Homer Goes to College,” he’s determined to prove that he’s one of the jocks, not one of the nerds. But he ends up making friends with three of the nerdiest students at his school.
These nerds get into an online argument with some MIT students over which Starfleet captain is better: Kirk or Picard? This is a classic debate among Star Trek fans, who can’t seem to just agree that they’re both great leaders in their own ways.
8 Comic Book Guy Has An “I Brake For Tribbles” Bumper Sticker
In “Viva Ned Flanders,” Comic Book Guy’s car bears a bumper sticker that reads, “I Brake for Tribbles.” This is, of course, a nod to the titular creatures from the iconic Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” (and a bunch of subsequent appearances).
He also has two other Trek-themed bumper stickers: “Keep Honking, I’m Charging My Phaser,” and “My Child is an Honor Student at Starfleet Academy.”
7 William Shatner Auditions To Play Mr. Burns In His Self-Made Biopic
When Marge organizes a film festival in Springfield (to set up a crossover with The Critic) in “A Star is Burns,” Mr. Burns gets to work on a biopic chronicling his own life. He hires Señor Spielbergo, Steven Spielberg’s Mexican non-union equivalent, to direct.
One of the actors who audition to play Burns is familiar to Star Trek fans: William Shatner, the man behind Captain Kirk. Shatner even does his Burns audition in character as Kirk. He wears a Starfleet uniform and says, “Ex-cell-ENT!”
6 The Itchy & Scratchy Show Depicts Futuristic Mice As Talosians
There’s a great Star Trek reference in one of the Itchy & Scratchy cartoons enjoyed by Bart while he’s stuck in his room with a broken leg in the show’s Rear Window parody “Bart of Darkness.”
When Scratchy is launched into the distant future, he finds himself surrounded by futuristic mice with big, bulging brains and telepathic and telekinetic powers like the Star Trek universe’s Talosians.
5 The Simpsons Watch A Trailer For Star Trek XII: So Very Tired
Although the big movie event in “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie” is, of course, Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie, the Simpsons watch the trailer for a very different TV-to-film adaptation at the beginning of the episode.
The 12th installment in the Original Series movie franchise, subtitled So Very Tired, depicts an elderly Enterprise crew ready to give up their interstellar mission.
4 Kang And Kodos Are From Rigel VII
The recurring alien characters in the Simpsons universe – Kang and Kodos, a pair of tentacled E.T.s who keep a close watch over Earth (or, more specifically, over Springfield) – have named their home planet as Rigel VII.
Rigel VII shares its name with a planet from the Star Trek universe. Since it’s not as widely known as Vulcan or Romulus, The Simpsons got away with borrowing the name.
3 Leonard Nimoy Rides On The Maiden Voyage Of The Springfield Monorail
Leonard Nimoy guest-starred as himself in “Marge vs. the Monorail,” widely regarded to be one of the greatest Simpsons episodes. Nimoy is the celebrity guest on the monorail’s maiden voyage, although Mayor Quimby has no idea who he is (he thinks he’s an ex-Little Rascal).
During his commencement speech, Nimoy makes a reference to warp speed that is lost on Quimby. At the end of the episode, after taking credit for something he had nothing to do with, Nimoy is beamed away.
2 Martin Loses A Vulcan Ear At A Comic Book Convention
Bart, Milhouse, and Martin are torn apart by Treasure of the Sierra Madre-style paranoia when they split the price of an expensive comic three ways and agree to share it in “Three Men and a Comic Book.”
In an early scene at the “Close Encounter of the Comic Book Kind” sci-fi convention, Martin visits the lost-and-found bin to retrieve a pointy ear that fell off his Vulcan cosplay. The lost-and-found bin also contains a tricorder.
1 Homer Fights Barney In The Triskelion Arena
The Simpsons is one of the only sitcoms that has managed to do a going-to-space storyline without jumping the shark. Not only does “Deep Space Homer” avoid feeling gimmicky; it’s one of the series’ strongest episodes.
There are nods to all kinds of sci-fi classics peppered throughout the episode, including a few homages to Star Trek. The title is a reference to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and part of Homer’s NASA training involves fighting fellow recruit Barney in the Triskelion arena while the classic Star Trek fight music plays on the soundtrack.
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