Bones Placed A Simpsons Reference In The Back Of One Season 5 Episode

"The Simpsons" will turn 35 in 2024 — and like just about any other Millennial, it celebrated becoming a legal adult (with "The Simpsons Movie" in 2007) blissfully unaware of the obstacles awaiting in its future, had a proper quarter-life crisis (what else would you call the 2014 "Family Guy"/"Simpsons" crossover? I kid, I kid), and now Disney owns its childhood. Entire empires have risen and fallen since the series began in 1989, and a whole lot of TV shows with them. In point of fact, when the animated institution turned 20 in 2009, a fellow Fox series called "Bones" was only just entering its fifth season, with no idea it was less than halfway done.

To celebrate the occasion, Fox announced it would be paying "homarge" (hey, far be it from me to slam someone else for making an eye-roll-inducing pun) to "The Simpsons" with an on-air scavenger hunt from November 9 -13, 2009. Never one to pass up an opportunity to goose its ratings, the network encouraged its viewers to tune into other Fox series that week and hunt for Easter eggs nodding to Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, Maggie, and the many other residents of Springfield. Those who found some could then log into the official Fox website and compete for a variety of daily prizes.

"Bones," a show that was usually game for shenanigans, joined the party with season 5, episode 7, "The Dwarf in the Dirt." This chapter saw the dynamic duo of Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) investigating the suspicious death of one Bryce DaFonte, a little person who wrestled under the byname "The Iron Leprechaun." At one point, Booth even begrudgingly climbs into the squared circle and faces off against another little person ... because, of course, "Bones" couldn't resist going there.

A familiar looking skull (and security guard)

Pop quiz: If you're a network procedural about a socially awkward forensic anthropologist and her colorful crime-solving colleagues, where would you stick a reference to the longest-running American sitcom in history? That's right! In an X-ray scan. 

Sure enough, those who kept a close eye on one of the lab scenes at the Jeffersonian in "The Dwarf in the Dirt" caught an X-ray image of a skull that looked conspicuously similar to the noggin of one Homer J. Simpson (complete with a distinctly minuscule brain relative to the rest of his head). Far from the only Easter egg of the hour, Homer voice actor Dan Castellaneta also played a minor role in the episode as "Officer Novarro" (seen above), with part of Danny Elfman's iconic opening theme for "The Simpsons" accompanying his appearance in one scene. On top of that, the ultimate winner of the episode's little person wrestling match is none other than the Bumblebee Man, the Spanish-language sitcom actor who's been a recurring character on "The Simpsons" dating back to season 4 in 1992.

"The Simpsons" would, in a sense, repay the favor the year after "Bones" ended in 2017. The show's season 30 premiere, "Bart's Not Dead," centers on a group of Christian filmmakers eager to make a film inspired by Bart's experiences after he nearly died trying to pull off a dangerous dare and lied about seeing Heaven when he was unconscious. Among those interviewed to play the Simpsons in the film-within-the-show is Emily Deschanel (as herself). The whole thing might have come across as broad satire once upon a time — before 2014's uproariously nonsensical "God's Not Dead" ushered in a new age for faith-based films as bonafide box office contenders. Who says "The Simpsons" isn't relevant anymore?