We've seen Bart Simpson prank pub owner Moe Szyslak what feels like thousands of times since The Simpsons started in 1990. Each time Moe seemed more and more livid, never able to work out who the mystery caller was.
On January 1st 2016, a diehard Simpsons fan blew the premise wide open - by suggesting that Moe knew who it was the whole time.
Here's Senor_Schnarf's theory in all its glory (strap yourself in, it's long):
"Today I propose to you, Reddit, a modest fan theory that Moe always knew Bart was the mystery caller, but never showed it, instead deciding to play along to make Bart happy.
Let's begin by proposing how Moe might know the caller is Bart. Well, frankly, it's easy. It's always the same voice which calls and pranks him with ridiculously obvious setups ("I'd like to speak to a Mr. Youcuddleme, first name, Will"). While very few people in Springfield are smart (even fewer when crayons get thrown into the mix...), the bar to hurdle this particular mental challenge is pretty low.
He is shown to know what Bart's voice sounds like in some random episode whose exact spot in the series I can't remember, where Bart goes to Moe's with Homer, full of fear that Moe will recognize him and make good on his threats and flay him alive. Upon entering, Moe says "I know that voice... It's little bitty Bart Simpson!" and picks him up to give him a hug. While people's real life/phone voices aren't EXACTLY the same, they're generally similar enough that you can easily make out who's who.
Why does Moe put up with these juvenile pranks every day? Because he's a sad, lonely guy who loves children and always wanted a family of his own. He's even shown to be particularily drawn towards Homer's family, as evidenced by his first name basis with all family members, and the special, uncharacteristically kind treatment he gives the children. He's shown to be kind to Lisa, and in one episode developed an extremely strong atttachement to Maggie. It is not out to left field to think he may harbour similar sentiment towards Bart as well. Allowing Bart to make a fool of him is done in the same way parents will let their children play petty pranks on them, because Moe loves Bart and takes joy in his joy."
But Hank Azaria, who not only plays Phoebe's boyfriend David in Friends, but also voices more characters on “The Simpsons” than any other actor, called this theory out in a BIG way. He said:
"That’s absurd. I never heard that before.”
He started to go back on his assertion, continuing: “Wait, now that I’m thinking about it, he did sort of take a shine to Maggie. And he has often sort of ... ”
And then came full circle once again: “But no ... I think Moe kind of is what he is. He hates pretty much everyone and has no patience for children.”
Azaria finished with: "Moe is not the brightest bulb in the box” and summed up by saying, “that’s really all the explanation you need".
The Huffington Post squeezed Azaria for even more answers, juuuusst to be sure Moe had, and still has, no idea:
“Oh, yeah, I would say for sure,” said Azaria. “That’s how I’ve been playing it.”
So there you have it, folks. On with the rest of your lives. We have a few ideas about how you can pass the time...
Related: Diehard Simpsons Fans Troll The Local News