While a genuine sendoff to the late Marcia Wallace has yet to be integrated live into The Simpsons’ broadcasts, owing to the terrible strain it would put on the animators’ wrists, the show has been making do with shorter tributes in the meantime. First there was the saddest chalkboard gag you’ve ever seen. Then, during Sunday’s Christmas episode, came another split-second acknowledgement during the overstuffed credits—an acknowledgement you might have missed unless you were looking very, very closely.
Fortunately it was captured by commenters at IGN, who spotted that—right around the 1:14 mark, during the rapid pan across Springfield—animators inserted the two angels seen above: one of them Mrs. Krabappel, the other late Simpsons writer Don Payne, who died in March. As executive producer Al Jean explained to E! News, “[W]e wanted to do a tribute to two terrific people, Marcia and Don. The episode was sadly, Don’s last.” It won’t be the last tribute to Wallace, of course, but fortunately, this one arrived just in time to make you a little depressed for the holidays.