November 14, 2023
The Simpsons will not be retiring its use of Homer Simpson strangling Bart.
Contrary to a previous talks, The Simpsons will not be retiring the act of Homer Simpson strangling Bart. According to Complex, James L. Brooks, the founder of Gracie Films, the company that produces the animated sitcom, says the gag is going nowhere.
Brooks talked to People about the episode which has generated a lot of online conversation, “McMansion and Wife.” Brooks told the outlet, “Don’t think for a second we’re changing anything.”
Brooks then produced an animated panel showing Homer strangling Bart who was holding a smartphone with a headline that read “Simpsons: No More Strangling” A word bubble above Homer’s head read “Why you little clickbaiting-!!” which can be taken as a response to the online conversation about the Oct 22 episode.
Brooks also indicated that Homer was not going to stop throttling his son’s neck, saying “He’ll (Bart) 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.”
Though Brooks made that claim to People, the last time Bart was actually strangled was in 2019-2020 during season 31.
The Simpsons has been very slow to react to cultural shifts, despite being a pop culture fixture for the last 34 years. The show allowed Dr. Hibbert, a Black character, to be voiced by Henry Shearer, a white man, up until 2021 when he was replaced by Kevin Michael Richardson. The character Apu, similarly took far too long to be adapted to changing cultural sensitivities. Matt Azaria, a white man, voiced the character, which had been under fire for a portrayal of negative stereotypes about Indian-Americans, up until 2022. Azaria said on an episode of The Armchair Podcast in 2021 that his white privilege blinded him from seeing the harm, saying “I really didn’t know any better.”
“I didn’t think about it. I was unaware how much relative advantage I had received in this country as a white kid from Queens. Just because there were good intentions it doesn’t mean there weren’t real negative consequences to the thing that I am accountable for.”
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