A chalkboard gag, sometimes called a blackboard gag, is a running visual joke that occurs during the Opening sequence of many episodes of The Simpsons . In this gag, Bart Simpson is writing a unique phrase on the chalkboard repeatedly; when the school bell rings, he immediately stops writing and runs out of the classroom. The phrase is usually in the form of an admonishment, implying that Bart has been assigned this task as punishment in detention for some misbehavior left partly to the viewer's imagination. The chalkboard gags are usually written in upper case.
Some of the gags have been shown to reference crimes in the United States.
In the early days of the series, a chalkboard gag was used in almost every episode, but, as commercial time has increased, they have gradually disappeared. They are now shown as rarely as twice per season. The show's producers have said that they may soon disappear altogether. However, they seem to be making a comeback as there were eight chalkboard gags during season 17 including three in a row during the last three episodes of the season. The fourth season, the 11th season and the 12th season are the only seasons to use chalkboard gags in each episode (excluding the Treehouse of Horror series).
A chalkboard gag was also used in The Simpsons Movie . Bart can be seen writing "I will not illegally download this movie" on the chalkboard at school. As a follow-up, the chalkboard gag on the Season 19 premiere episode which immediately follows the Simpsons Movie, shows Bart writing, "I will not wait 20 years to make another movie."
References in The Simpsons Edit
- In "Skinner's Sense of Snow", Bart says that he had written on the chalkboard so many times that his hands sound like a cement mixer.
- In "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens and Gays", Bart asks for a detention but Ms. Krabappel said they all got tired of that years ago, referencing the reduced number of gags in the openings.
- In "Bart the Murderer", Bart is inspired by Fat Tony and attempts to bribe Principal Skinner. In the next scene, Bart is seen writing "I will not bribe Mr. Skinner" on the chalkboard, monitored by the principal himself.
- In "Adventures in Baby-Getting", Bart mentions the gag when Lisa asks what he does on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Bart then asks if she has any ideas because he is running out.
- In "Lisa's Date with Density", Lisa writes on the chalkboard as punishment and questions, "How does Bart do this every week?" She does this again second time was in "Grift of the Magi." When Bart finds out, he says "The ironing is delicious"
References in other media Edit
Since the chalkboard gag was one of the highlights of The Simpsons, the chalkboard gag has even been featured in other television shows. They include:
- The chalkboard gag appears in the South Park episode, Cartoon Wars Part II. Bart writes in the alleyway "I hate Family Guy" repeatedly with a chalk.
- In the first episode of ChalkZone, Rudy writes repeatedly on the chalkboard, "These cartoons are not at all funny."
- In the Pilot for Invader ZIM, Dib repeatedly writes, "Zim is not an alien" on the chalkboard a lot. Phrases like "My hand hurts" and "Zim dissects farm animals" were also on the chalkboard.
- In The Fairly OddParents! episode Channel Chasers, one of the shows Timmy, Cosmo, Wanda, and Timmy's adult doppelganger end up in. Timmy parodies Bart and starts out by writing on the chalkboard: "This is the sincerest form of flattery" and then exits Wintergreen Elementary School (parody of Springfield Elementary School).
- In the UK, when Channel 4 promoted it will first show the Simpsons, there was a chalkboard that the Simpsons are coming next and at 10:00PM 'The World According to The Simpsons'. See 
- In Kid vs. Kat, episode, "Coop D'Etat", when Miss Brannigan put in detention to Coop Burtonburger for a month due to Science Center's catastrophe (which actually was caused by Kat), she forces him to Coop to write on the chalkboard: "I will not make space artifacts", 10,000 times.