The Floating Timeline is a fictional device used to prevent characters from aging and maintain part of the series's full status quo. This is used for The Simpsons series and other animated shows.
The Floating Timeline is a way to keep the show going despite past events. Characters' ages never change even with the world moving forward, while the dates of certain events, such as birthdays, do.
- Lisa Simpson's future - Lisa's Wedding - Set in 1995, its future takes place in 2010, where Lisa is said to be 23 years old. However, the latter portion of Season 21 and the former portion of Season 22 and the end of The Burns and the Bees from Season 20 are said to take place in 2010, and yet, Lisa is still eight years old. Boy Meets Curl also has the Simpsons going to the 2010 Winter Vancouver Olympics in Canada.
- Homer and Marge's past - That '90s Show - Set in 2008, its flashbacks take place during the 1990s, before Bart is born. However, episode 10 of Season 2 to the former portion of Season 12 take place in the 1990s (January 1, 1991 to December 31, 2000). Also, Three Gays of the Condo from Season 14 is presumably set in 2003 when Bart is ten and his parents are in their mid- to late-thirties, yet a flashback of Marge and Homer's early years strongly indicates that Bart was conceived in the late 1970s. Episodes from earlier seasons, such as The Way We Was (which reveals how Homer and Marge met in high school) and I Married Marge (which tells the story of Bart's birth) are set in 1974 and 1980, respectively.
- Lisa's First Word - Set in 1992, its flashbacks take place in the spring of 1983 and the summer of 1984, where Bart is two years old. However, Bart was said to be born in 1977, so he should be six - seven during that time.
- Lisa's Sax - Set in 1995, it is said that in 1990, Bart was five years old, and Lisa was three. However, the latter portion of Season 1 and the former portion of Season 2 take place in 1990, with Bart being nine until 1992 and Lisa is seven until 1991.
- Bart and Lisa's future: Future-Drama - Set in 2005 it depicts eight years into the future (2013). It says Lisa is sixteen (but a senior in high school) and Bart is eighteen and also a senior in high school. However, the latter portion of Season 24 and the former portion of Season 25 still take place in 2013 and Lisa is still eight and Bart is still ten.
- Bart Simpson's future: Bart to the Future - set in 2000 it has a future set in 2030, but the latter portion of Season 41 and the former portion of Season 42 will take place in 2030, not that those seasons will ever come.
- The Simpsons's future: Holidays of Future Passed - set in 2011 it has a future set in 2041, but the latter portion of Season 52 and the former portion of Season 53 will take place in 2041, not that those seasons will ever come.
- Fland Canyon - Set two years in the past (2014) and shows a younger version of the family (except for Maggie as she wasn't born yet), However, some episodes of Seasons 25 and 26 are also set in 2014, with the family at their normal ages.
Birth Year Discrepancies
- Seymour Skinner's past - Seymour Skinner served in the Vietnam War as early as 1966. In 2018, he would be born, at the latest, on 1968.
- Abraham Simpson's past - Abraham Simpson fought in WWII and, at the age of eight, lied about his age and enlisted in the Army to fight in WWI. In 2012, he would be born in 1929, making him only ten - sixteen during WWII and not even born before WWI. In 2013, he would be born in 1930, making him nine - fifteen years old during WWII. In 1990, he would be born in 1907, making him 32 – 38 years old during WWII and 7 - 11 during WWI.
- Kearney Zzyzwicz's past - According to Seymour Skinner in Lisa the Iconoclast, Kearney is old enough to remember America's bicentennial (which is 1976). The episode aired in 1996, so Kearney would be nine years old in 1976. Without the Floating Timeline in 1990, he would've been fifteen. However, in 2013, he would be born in 1984, eight years after the bicentennial.
- Hans Moleman has both been stated to have been born in 1961 and 1921.
Without Floating Timeline (1990)
- Homer Simpson - May 12, 1956
- Marge Simpson - October 1, 1956
- Bart Simpson - April 1, 1980
- Lisa Simpson - May 9, 1982
- Maggie Simpson - January 12, 1989
- Abraham Simpson - May 25, 1907
- All of Edna Krabappel's Students - 1980/81
- All of Audrey McConnell's Students - 1981/82
- All of Elizabeth Hoover's Students - 1982/83
- Ned Flanders - 1939
- Lenny Leonard - 1952
- Carl Carlson - 1952
- Barney Gumble - April 20, 1950
- Otto Mann - 1961
- Comic Book Guy - 1945
- Clancy Wiggum - January 31, 1947
- Charles Montgomery Burns - September 15, 1896
- Herschel Krustofski - January 15, 1937
- Moe Szyslak - November 24, 1936
- Jimbo Jones - October 26, 1974
- Kearney Zzyzwicz - October 9, 1961
- Dolph Starbeam - October 1, 1976
- Timothy Lovejoy - 1953
- Helen Lovejoy - 1955
- Jasper Beardly - October 25, 1900
- Hans Moleman - February 2, 1959
- Patty and Selma Bouvier - June 11, 1951
- Ling Bouvier - January 11, 1988
- Apu Nahasapeemapetilon - 1952
- Seymour Skinner - November 1, 1944
- Mayor Joe Quimby - 1946
- Nelson Muntz - October 30, 1979
- Waylon Smithers – December 25, 1954
With Floating Timeline (2020)
- Homer Simpson - May 12, 1986
- Marge Simpson - October 1, 1986
- Bart Simpson - April 1, 2010
- Lisa Simpson - May 9, 2012
- Maggie Simpson - January 12, 2019
- Abraham Simpson - May 25, 1937
- All of the Fourth Grade Students - 2010/11
- All of Audrey McConnell's Students - 2011/12
- All of Elizabeth Hoover's Students - 2012/13
- Ned Flanders - 1969
- Lenny Leonard - 1981
- Carl Carlson - 1981
- Barney Gumble - April 20, 1980
- Otto Mann - 1991
- Comic Book Guy - 1975
- Clancy Wiggum - January 31, 1977
- Mr. Burns - September 15, 1916
- Herschel Krustofsky - January 15, 1967
- Moe Szyslak - November 24, 1966
- Kearney Zzyzwicz - October 9, 1991
- Jimbo Jones - October 26, 2004
- Dolph Starbeam - October 1, 2006
- Timothy Lovejoy - 1983
- Helen Lovejoy - 1985
- Jasper Beardly - October 25, 1930
- Hans Moleman - February 8, 1989
- Patty and Selma Bouvier - June 11, 1976
- Ling Bouvier - January 11, 2018
- Apu Nahasapeemapetilon - 1982
- Seymour Skinner - November 1, 1974
- Mayor Joe Quimby - 1977
- Nelson Muntz - October 30, 2009
- Waylon Smithers – December 25, 1984
- In some episodes, the Floating Timeline is exempt, and when people mention events from previous episodes they give the year it happened, or how many years ago when it happened. For example, in Sideshow Bob Roberts (from 1994), Lisa mentions that Sideshow Bob framed Krusty in 1990 for armed robbery and Bart got Sideshow Bob put in jail. This refers back to Krusty Gets Busted, which actually aired in 1990. However, characters still remain the same age.