Last Monday’s post about “Homer’s Enemy” attracted the notice of longtime Simpsons writer (Season 3 – Season 10) Bill Oakley, who sent us an e-mail. That e-mail is reprinted below, with permission and in its entirety. You can read our response here.
You do realize that the Homer depicted in “Homer’s Enemy” is a satirical take on certain elements of Homer’s character and history that we (meaning, the writers at the time) always found excessive, right? At least that’s what it was intended to be, and I realize the distinction may well be so subtle as to be meaningless to many, if not most, fans.
But, that said:
Anything that may have happened after that episode and that season should not be extrapolated from the content of the Grimes story.
On the continuum between Homer the Misguided but Essentially Well-Meaning Oaf Next Door and Homer the Absurdly-Gluttonous World-Famous Idiot with No Recognizable Human Traits or Emotions, we usually tried to to stay to the left. Not always, but usually.
But for this episode, as a counterpoint to Grimes, we intentionally threw in a lot of stuff that was ridiculously over-the-top (or so we thought) like Homer snoring at the funeral, for Pete’s sakes, and hauled out of the closet all his most unrealistic (though hilarious) past adventures (he went into outer space! he won a Grammy! President Ford moved in and invited him over for nachos!).
If Frank Grimes had crossed paths with the fairly normal Homer (of “Lisa’s Pony” for instance) it simply would not have been as funny or as clear, satirically, as it was to have him cross paths with the ridiculously-boorish world-famous glutton that we depicted in “Homer’s Enemy”.
Basically, the Homer depicted in that episode was an intentional self-parody, a catalog of gleeful excesses past and present.
If it didn’t come off as such to even the most devoted fans, it was certainly our mistake.
Didn’t somebody say all this on the DVD commentary?