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The Simpsons Airs 700th Episode This Sunday

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This coming Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, “Manger Things,” marks the 700th half-hour in the series’ history, and they’re guaranteed to reach at least episode 750 in the future. The plotline is a flashback to six years ago, an untold story that involves both Homer and Flanders, as well as that little room above the garage that you see in every title sequence yet no one ever goes inside.

Fox has released THREE clips from Sunday’s episode, including the above, where Homer is disturbed by Flanders’ decorations…and the below, which is something about Burns releasing hounds with Santa hats on them, which causes everyone to fight for no reason, and an ice sculpture of Burns to slide out of the room and down the street, passing a theater showing Frozen (because they’re two things with ice in them, get it?) Umm….okay. You do you, show.

And here’s the couch gag, created by animator Bill Plympton, who has now done more guest couch gags than anyone else:

The Simpsons has rarely embraced these numeric celebrations with any zeal. Neither the 100th episode, “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baaadaaaassss Song,” nor the 200th episode, “Trash of the Titans,” made any real mention of their significance, beyond a chalkboard gag that read “I will not celebrate meaningless milestones.” There is nothing celebratory about “Manger Things” either. The only standout thing about it is that it appears to be a Christmas episode airing in late March.

By the way, if you didn’t know, this series has officially given up keeping continuity straight across so many decades and has embraced the Sliding Timeline that all other IPs that last this long inevitably have to. Last week’s episode also included a flashback sequence, which depicted Homer as a teenager in the 90s instead of the 70s. It was controversial, as things that make people feel old tend to be.

So, then, will the flashback sequence in “Manger Things.” As Al Jean told Variety, “if you kept ‘The Simpsons’ frozen in 1990, it would be a little bit like that show ‘The Goldbergs,’ it would be a retro show. They wouldn’t have cell phones, it would be a different life.” They’re not interested in making a period piece, which leaves a fluid timeline as the only other option. Batman does it, Spider-Man does it, Archie does it…now Homer does it.

The Simpsons airs new episodes Sunday evenings on Fox, and the rest of them can be seen anytime on Disney+.