One of the best things about rewatching The Simpsons – particularly those ‘Golden Age’ seasons – is catching so many jokes you missed the first time.

As an adult especially, you realise that a lot of jokes completely flew over your head as a child. A lot. Thanks to the wonderful Twitter account @SimpsonsQOTD, a hilarious oversight has come to light. Each day, the account posts a classic quote from the series, and yesterday’s pick prompted an actual Simpsons writer to respond.

In a season five episode, Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel ring the Simpsons at home after Bart goes missing on a trip to the Springfield Box Factory. We see Marge hurtling down the stairs in a towel to answer the call, but she doesn’t make it in time.

When Skinner and Krabappel then call Homer at the power plant instead, he’s also surprisingly in a towel. “You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel,” he comically replies.

Except it might not have been as comical as we all once thought. When the above line was posted by @SimpsonsQOTD, it received a reply from Josh Weinstein, a Simpsons writer who co-wrote iconic episodes like ‘Who Shot Mr. Burns?’.

“I’m proud to say I’ve loved this joke and possibly misinterpreted it for nearly 30 years now,” he cryptically wrote. As he went onto reveal, someone once explained to him that “it’s what people with long hair say when they have a towel over their wet hair (and ears) after a shower when they answer the phone.”

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“Makes 100% sense but also make me like joke less,” Josh added. It’s incredibly disorientating finding out that this line wasn’t a silly non-sequitur, just Homer being Homer, but a carefully crafted inside joke for people with long hair to get.

Weinstein’s revelation was followed by a defence from fellow Simpsons writer Mike Scully, who comfortingly wrote, “Don’t let people ruin it for you. It’s the silly joke you think it is.” Thanks, Mike. You can watch the clip in question below and see if you laugh as much now. We’re truly sorry for ruining it if you don’t.

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