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The best Maggie Simpson moments on The Simpsons

Most episodes of The Simpsons center on a member of the titular family — foolish Homer, optimistic Marge, troublemaker Bart, or conscientious Lisa. But there are five people in the Simpsons, with baby Maggie joining the family just a few short months before the events of the show began. The Simpsons pokes fun at nearly all aspects of life, and Maggie allows viewers to see the absurdities of the world through the eyes of an innocent (but secretly shrewd and intelligent) child who's only been alive for about a year. 

Like so many other Simpsons characters, Maggie is fully realized, iconic, and comes with her own unique set of quirks. She can't walk more than a few steps without falling down, she loves baby stuff like playing with blocks and The Happy Little Elves, and she rarely speaks, preferring instead to continuously and emphatically suck on a red pacifier. But just because Maggie doesn't talk doesn't mean she isn't a great character who gets some great plot lines from The Simpsons writers. Here are the times when Maggie Simpson proved she's among the funniest and most electric residents of Springfield.

Maggie Simpson shot Mr. Burns (by accident)

One of the biggest television news stories of 1995 parodied the biggest television news story of 1980. The sixth season of The Simpsons ended on a cliffhanger — which well motivated Springfield resident shot evil nuclear power plant owner C. Montgomery Burns after he blocked out the sun? And the seventh-season opener the following fall promised to end months of speculation, much like the "who shot J.R.?" publicity stunt pulled by the primetime soap Dallas more than a decade earlier. 

It's assumed that Burns' loyal assistant, Smithers, committed the act, as before descending into a boozy stupor, he remembers feeling the need to stop Burns, and he later finds a discharged pistol in his coat pocket. Police only have two witnesses to the crime — Santa's Little Helper (a dog) and baby Maggie, who reveals nothing in an interrogation because she can't talk. 

However, that may be out of a want to not self-incriminate. Mr. Burns emerges from a coma and identifies the shooter as Maggie Simpson. What happened was the awful old guy literally tried to steal candy from a baby. In this case, it was Maggie with a lollipop. He fought her for it, and in the struggle, his gun fell out of its holster, landed in Maggie's hands, and went off, firing a bullet. Burns asks Chief Wiggum to arrest Maggie, but he refuses, saying there isn't a jury anywhere that would convict a baby of attempted murder, excepting Texas. And besides, Maggie didn't really mean to shoot Mr. Burns ... right?

When Maggie Simpson actually speaks, it's a big deal

Each member of the Simpson family has a few distinguishing characteristics. For example, Bart is a troublemaker, Marge is totally square, and Maggie doesn't speak. That's partially a function of her being a baby, but a whole lot of comedy can be mined from a character who's very intelligent but stays silent. However, Maggie does speak from time to time, and it's on such rare occasions that when it does happen, it's a certified TV event, with a big celebrity lending their voice to the role. 

The 1992 flashback episode "Lisa's First Word" explores Lisa's toddler years, and it ends with Homer putting Maggie to bed and quipping he hopes she never talks so that she'll never grow up to talk back. After he leaves, Maggie removes her pacifier and says, "Daddy," as voiced by hyped guest star Elizabeth Taylor. Then, in the 1994 "Treehouse of Horror" segment "Time and Punishment," Homer careens through different realities, landing in one where Maggie kills Groundskeeper Willie with an axe. And that's when she takes out her pacifier and quips, "This is indeed a disturbing universe," and her voice comes out in the resonant and recognizable timbre of James Earl Jones.

Maggie goes out looking for Marge and finds danger

Marge Simpson finally cracks under the stress of managing a household and raising three kids with no help from Homer in the 1992 episode "Homer Alone," necessitating a trip to Rancho Relaxo. But Marge doesn't trust Homer to watch the children for even a couple of days, and she shuttles Bart and Lisa off to the sad apartment of aunts Patty and Selma. However, Maggie is smart enough to know that's a bad scene, and she clings to the doorjamb. 

Despite Marge's reservations, Maggie stays with Homer. She was right to worry, though, because Homer and Maggie are lost without her. Maggie is just a baby, after all, and she doesn't understand why her beloved mother suddenly disappeared, albeit temporarily, and so after Homer puts her to bed and trashes the house with Barney almost instantly, she crawls out of bed, out through the doggy door, and into the Springfield night in search of Marge. 

On the surface, this is a plot about a baby wandering the streets in the wee hours, but it's not too troubling because The Simpsons is a family cartoon, and Maggie Simpson is surprisingly self-sufficient. Also, Springfield is full of things and people that look like Marge and get Maggie's hopes up, including a store-topping ice cream cone, a guy in a beefeater hat at a British-themed quick lube place, a shrub, and a hairdresser customer horrified to be given "The Marge."

Her extraordinary animal adventure

As the youngest, least ambulatory, and almost completely silent member of the Simpson family, Maggie Simpson is rarely the center of a main plot or subplot of an episode of The Simpsons, a show that, despite being animated and where time doesn't pass and people don't age, trades in realism. However, Maggie gets her rare chance to take center stage in a delightfully surreal way during the 2015 episode "Puffless." 

Closer in form to one of the Simpsons-themed theatrical shorts, the episodes secondary plot — known as "Maggie's Extraordinary Animal Adventure" – is a self-explanatory, self-contained lark in which Maggie makes friends with a squirrel outside of her bedroom window, which is her entry into a secret world of adorable critters, including an owl, opossum, and Duffman's pet parrot. Maggie takes charge and saves the day when local yokel Cletus traps the opossum for eating purposes and puts him under the watch of his hound dog. Thanks to Maggie (and Spider-Pig), the friendly opossum is freed after a full-on assault from the Springfield animal community. And it's all done without anybody speaking a word (except for the parrot, of course).

Maggie's babbling inspired a landmark invention

The 1992 episode "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" staged a reunion between Homer Simpson and his half-brother, Herb Powell, left homeless and eating out of garbage cans after Homer's failed car design bankrupted his automobile company. So how does Maggie play into this? 

Well, The Simpsons was barely into its third season, but it hit so big and thoroughly that fans were already clamoring to find out what was on the mind of the baby of the family, Maggie Simpson. They got their chance when Uncle Herb, in an attempt to restore himself to a wealthy lifestyle, invents a machine that translates baby talk into plain English. He does it with the help of a $2,000 investment from Homer, as well as Maggie as a test subject. 

The almost always silent Maggie talks a lot in this episode, or at least she babbles and vocalizes, which Herb dutifully records and enters into his machine. There are many hilarious and cute insights into the mind of a baby, particularly the quirky Maggie Simpson, who expresses her desire to suck Herb's nose, to have attention lavished upon her, and to eat "what the dog's eating."

When Maggie Simpson became Maggie Flanders

Through a series of strange events and misunderstandings, the 1995 Simpsons episode "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily" finds the county taking the kids away from Homer and Marge because they're "negligent monsters" and placing them in a foster home — specifically, the homer of Ned and Maude Flanders, right next door. 

While this episode is primarily a Bart and Lisa adventure, focusing on the two older Simpson kids as they miss their parents and struggle against the "creepy, Pat Boone-ish vibe" of Flanders' TV-free environment where nachos means cucumbers with cottage cheese, Maggie shines in a big way in this episode. She's the reason government agents ultimately decide to reassign the Simpson kids, as she's found wearing a sign Bart originally placed on Lisa's back reading "I'm a Stupid Baby." And one of the big twists of the episode is that Maggie really responds well to the Flanders lifestyle, relishing in the attention bestowed on her by the Flanders and calmly drifting off to sleep with a lullaby. She even removes her pacifier — something she never does — in order to babble, calling Ned "daddily-doodily" in a very Ned kind of way.

Maggie makes a great escape

"A Streetcar Named Marge" finds Marge Simpson starring in a community theater's musical version of the extremely dark Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire. But because Homer is such an oafish lout (not unlike Stanley from Streetcar), she has to bring Maggie along to rehearsals. After Maggie disrupts practice by trying on Ned Flanders' glasses and making her eyes appear adorably large, play director Llewellyn Sinclair forces Marge to drop her off at his sister's daycare center, the Ayn Rand School for Tots. 

Inspired by the philosophies of Rand, Sinclair runs a harsh school that promotes stark individualism and encourages children to "develop the bottle within," which includes confiscating all pacifiers. That's a big problem for pacifier-addicted Maggie, who — after finding that sucking on her thumb, crayons, blocks, and a Bart Simpson action figure can't give her what she needs — attempts to break into the locker where the pacifiers are stored. 

However, she gets caught and thrown in "the Box" — a playpen equating solitary confinement. The centerpiece of the B-plot, a grand parody of The Great Escape, commences later. Maggie brilliantly sneaks into the daycare center's vent system and lowers herself into Ms. Sinclair's office with the string from a talking Krusty the Clown doll, grabs the keys to the pacifier locker, and uses a makeshift zipline of her own devising to access it and free the pacifiers for all.

She might be the smartest Simpson

Over three decades of episodes, Simpsons writers have slyly placed numerous, repeated clues regarding the secret truth about Maggie Simpson — that she might be the smartest member of the family, more intelligent even than Lisa. 

Maggie is adept at a number of tasks that, as a baby, she shouldn't be even remotely capable of performing. What's funny, if also a bit heartbreaking, about Maggie's many talents is that they often go unnoticed. In "A Streetcar Named Marge," she plucks out "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker on a toy xylophone, which to Homer is "a racket." She spells out Einstein's theory of special relativity — "E = MC2" — on her baby blocks in the ironically titled episode "Bart the Genius." At other times, Maggie has shown an aptitude for the saxophone, online poker, and even driving. 

When Maggie's family members do notice her abilities, it's seemingly only so that they can be exploited for personal gain. In the 2017 episode "Whistler's Father," Maggie shows off an impressive ability to whistle, which Homer tries to pass of as his talent, hiding Maggie when he's performing, although it's all ultimately for naught when Maggie's first tooth comes in and destroys her newly developed musical skill.

The murderous Maggie Simpson

So many great Maggie Simpson moments are about the character's precocious behavior, where she's acting much smarter or more mature than her very small age would suggest. However, Maggie innocently behaving like a real-life baby or toddler — responding to outside stimuli without knowing the difference between right and wrong yet — provides The Simpsons with some fertile satirical ground (as do Marge's attempts to set Maggie on the right path). 

In the 1990 episode "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge," Homer hits the garage to build a spice rack for Marge. Maggie sneaks away from a viewing of a particularly violent episode of the show's nihilistic Tom and Jerry knock-off, The Itchy and Scratchy Show, and follows Homer to his workbench ... where she whacks him in the forehead with a large, cartoonish mallet, knocking him out. Marge can't figure out what would provoke such violence from a baby, but she soon discovers it's Itchy and Scratchy when Maggie once more mimics what she sees on TV — Itchy stabbing Scratchy — and tries to attack Homer with a pencil. A weapons-wielding baby is very funny — terrifying, sure, but also hilarious.

She can't handle a little caffeine

The 1997 The Simpsons episode "My Sister, My Sitter" once again looks into how funny it can be when the super smart Maggie Simpson is allowed to follow her baby impulses and be inconsistent, immature, and annoying — like how a real baby can be. 

Here, Lisa Simpson proves herself to be such a dependable and mature babysitter — successfully watching over the weird neighbor boys Rod and Todd Flanders, as well as ex-boyfriend Ralph Wiggum — that Homer and Marge trust her to look after Bart and Maggie when they head off to the fancy grand opening of Springfield's South Street Squidport shopping district. The idea of younger Lisa in charge enrages Bart, and he sets out to make the night as bad as possible for his babysitter, refusing to eat dinner and getting ice cream all over himself. 

That fake tantrum provokes a real one in a stress-sensing Maggie, and Bart gives her ice cream to calm her down. One problem — it's coffee ice cream, and it jacks up Maggie into a twitching, grinning, wide-eyed caffeine monster who crawls on the shower curtain rod, sprays talcum powder on Lisa, and runs off. After Bart knocks himself out, Lisa has to safely get the whole crew across town to Dr. Nick Riviera's sketchy clinic. Because Maggie is so thoroughly and hilariously agitated from the coffee, Lisa puts her in a cat carrier, as she won't stop sticking her fingers in passed-out Bart's face.

Maggie Simpson experiences baby love

Disney welcomed The Simpsons to its Disney+ service in 2020 with the Maggie-starring "Playdate with Destiny." In this completely dialogue-free short, Marge takes Maggie to Not Responsible for Injuries Park where she meets a cute boy baby that audiences learn is named Hudson, as that's the name written in his pants. It's love — or a crush or some kind of profound baby-level connection not understood by adults — at first sight. As they hit the various park attractions, Maggie and Hudson imagine they're engaged in grand romantic activities — horsey spring riders become real horses, a drinking fountain turns into champagne for two, and a view from the play structure of Barney picking up trash as part of his community service becomes a picturesque glimpse of the Amalfi Coast. 

It all ends during a game of peekaboo, when Hudson's mom carts him off. After a Goodnight, Moon-themed dream in which everything turns into Hudson's face, Maggie preps for her next playground date, only to find to her horror that Homer is on kid duty, and he takes her to a skate park because they've got a taco truck. The next day, Maggie doesn't take any chances and wrestles control of the car away from Homer, drives them to Not Responsible for Injuries Park, and reunites with Hudson for their first kiss ... but not really. They're babies, after all, and they adorably plop pacifiers into each other's mouths.

Maggie Simpson has a quiet but exciting future ahead

Maggie Simpson often seems to be off doing her own thing, as she's mentally and physically separated from her older, verbal family members. That idea persists in the many future-set episodes of The Simpsons, in which Maggie is the only one in the family who's both successful and at peace with herself. Homer dies a lot, Bart winds up a destitute bar musician, Lisa is president but stuck in bad relationships, all while Maggie is off living the life she wants to live and doing so as early as age nine. 

In "Future-Drama," she isn't home on Bart and Lisa's prom night. Instead, Marge shows off a moving photo of Maggie waving from a beach in Alaska next to a polar bear dying from the effects of global warming. She doesn't speak a word, as is The Simpsons' way with Maggie, nor do audiences hear a word at all from 30-something Maggie in "Holidays of Future Passed," by which point she's become, ironically, a world-famous rock star. Amusingly, future Maggie is also the eventual mother of a cute, silent baby who resembles mom exactly. Her name? Maggie Junior.