Throughout its long history, The Simpsons has referenced just about any and all popular culture in one form or another, often with Simpsonized representations of famous characters or places. One reference that has popped up time and again throughout the 25 seasons of Springfield is Doctor Who. Matt Groening is a self-professed Who fan and every time the Doctor has been physically represented on screen, it’s been in the form of Tom Baker, owing to the fact that he’s who Groening watched, and also who most Americans would recognize if they indeed recognized the Doctor at all. What, are they going to put Sylvester McCoy in there? In honor of FXX airing every single episode of The Simpsons in order which began on Thursday and is running until 25 seasons’ worth (552 episodes!) are finished, I thought I’d include a brief list of all the episodes in which you can spot a Who in one form or another.
1) The first reference came in the Season 7 episode “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming” which aired in November of 1995. In it, the Esteemed Representatives of Television are called in, and one of them is very clearly Tom Baker in his famous Fourth Doctor get-up, complete with scarf.
2) Later that same season, in the episode entitled “Bart the Fink,” airing February 1996, Comic Book Guy is seen walking out of a taco shop with a wheelbarrow full of tacos and says “Yes, this should provide adequate sustenance for the Doctor Who marathon.
4) The 1999 episode “Treehouse of Horror X” from Season 11 featured a scene in which Bart and Lisa, as superheros Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl, respectively, get taken to Comic Book Guy (as a villain called The Collector)’s secret lair. In it, he has many science fiction characters in plastic bags on the wall. The main one is Xena (because the title of the vignette is “Desperately Seeking Xena,” but right next to her, looking screen inaccurate PUSHES UP GLASSES, is Tom Baker. The Collector also refers to him as “Doctor Who” in case people missed it. (pictured above)
5) The next reference doesn’t come until the 2007 episode “Springfield Up” as part of the 18th season in 2007. In it, Eric Idle voices Declan Desmond, in Springfield to film a documentary about the Simpsons and their neighbors. At one point, Homer says to him, “Check with me in 8 years, Doctor Who. I’ll be kicking your ass with a golden boot!”
6) In the Season 23 episode “Holidays of Future Passed,” a brief glimpse at future London, where grown-up Maggie is, includes Dalek constables complete with bobby hats.
7) In the Season 24 episode “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” from December 2012, the outline of a Dalek can be seen at the bottom of T-Rex’s drawer.
8) The 2013 Valentines Day episode “Love is a Many Splintered Thing,” the TARDIS appears for a second piloted by Alfred Hitchcock in a British movie characters are watching. That movie also features Parliament watching whilst Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, and Sir Isaac Newton do the “Full Monty.”
8) The final Doctor Who reference to date came in the Season 25 episode “Diggs” which just aired in March of 2014. The titular character, voiced by Daniel Radcliffe, who is a horribly sick child, wears a cast that has a list of people and places he wanted to visit (but won’t because he’s gonna die). That list includes “TARDIS” and “Dalek #7.”
These are all the references I could find. I think it’s pretty complete, but if I’ve missed some, please let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to watch all those episodes of The Simpsons airing ad infinitum on FXX starting now, and Doctor Who of course which premieres Saturday, August 23rd, at 8/7c on BBC America.