Among the longest-running shows in TV history, The Simpsons has delighted viewers for nearly 35 years with its reflection of American family life through a satirical lens. Through the series’ many years on air, its creators have made numerous tweaks to keep up with the times, and in an episode that aired late October, it appeared they made another.
Homer Simpson, the family’s bumbling patriarch, often shows fatherly affection toward his son, Bart, in an unusual way – by strangling him. On October 22, in the episode “McMansion & Wife,” it appeared as though the series was taking a step away from this long-running joke, based on Homer’s own words.
While meeting his new neighbor Thayer, Homer offered a handshake, during which Thayer noted Homer had “quite a grip.”
“See, Marge, strangling the boy has paid off,” Homer joked to his wife, Marge. “Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore,” he added with a grin. “Times have changed.”
Seeing this comment, fans assumed it was a subtle breach of the 4th wall, the creators’ way of saying that Homer would be taking a gentler approach with Bart in the future. As The Simpsons co-creator quickly pointed out, however, no such thing is happening. And how could fans think for a second that it was?
‘The Simpsons’ Co-Creator Slams Strangling Rumors
In a recent interview with People, James L. Brooks, one of the minds behind The Simpsons, claimed the idea of changing Homer’s parenting style was simply ludicrous.
“Don’t think for a second we’re changing anything,” Brooks said. He then showed a recent doodle of Bart Simpson strangling his son while saying “Why you little clickbaiting-!!”
Meanwhile, Bart holds a phone showing a headline that reads, “Simpsons: No more strangling.”
Homer Simpson was unavailable for comment as he was busy strangling Bart. pic.twitter.com/Yh6koeqTQS— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) November 9, 2023
In fairness, “clickbaiting” is probably a little strong. Homer said himself that he “didn’t do that anymore.” It’s also not at all outside of the realm of possibility that the show would give a wink to its viewers when making a major change. Regardless, Brooks assured The Simpsons fans that Homer will remain just as unhinged as ever when disciplining his son.
“Nothing’s getting tamed. Nothing, nothing, nothing,” Brooks said. “[Bart will] continue to be strangled—[if] you want to use that awful term for it. He’ll continue to be loved by his father in a specific way.”
Despite the creator railing against rumors of the show making any major changes, Homer has refrained from strangling Bart for a few years now. According to IGN, the last time the patriarch wrapped his hands around Bart’s neck was in Season 31, which aired from 2019 to 2020.
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