“Hey, kids? Always recycle . . . to the extreme!” – Poochie
Johnny Sugar, who once wrote a guest post for us titled “Where Al Jean Went Wrong”, has made it to what passes for the big time if you’re a blogger, Uproxx. There, he’s been the driving force behind their expanded number of Simpsons posts (you know, the ones that keep showing up in Reading Digest). On Sunday, he put up another one:
It’s a rundown of things which will be sadly familiar. In order, they are:
He’s More Of A Jerk
Zany Homer Is Now The Norm
There Are Way Fewer Consequences for His Actions Now
He’s Good At Everything Now
Shortly after the article was published, Al Jean took to Twitter to belittle it:
“Article how Homer is “now” w eps from seasons 9,11.12.15. All 10+ years old. Is Homer the researcher?”
Jean is, of course, correct. All of the examples are from episodes that are now themselves more than a decade old. But his implication, that these traits are not present in more “now” episodes, is demonstrably incorrect. Here are examples of each from just the last three seasons:
He’s More of a Jerk:
Season 24 – “Moonshine River” – The family goes back to New York City (Bart is investigating his many, many past loves). Homer doesn’t do well in the “not being a jerk” department:
Season 25 – “Yellow Subterfuge” – Homer helps Bart get revenge on Skinner by pretending to murder Skinner’s mother:
Season 24 – “A Test Before Trying” – Homer scams the entire town with a broken parking meter:
Zany Homer Is Now the Norm:
Season 25 – “The Winter of His Content” – Homer becomes a zany old person:
Season 26 – “Bart’s New Friend” – Having done him as an old person, they went the other way and had Homer spend an entire episode thinking he’s 10-years-old. Here he is playing tag with children on the school playground:
Season 25 – “Steal This Episode” – Homer opens a bootleg movie theater, gets arrested, breaks out of prison, hides in an embassy, then goes on trial, all in one episode:
This is the lame Fugitive scene, and, yes, they did it a million times better back in Season 7.
Season 24 – “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” – Homer changes his whole life around and becomes a hipster, so it’s zany, but in an ironically un-ironic way:
There Are Way Fewer Consequences for His Actions Now:
Season 24 – “Homer Goes to Prep School” – Homer gets obsessed with the apocalypse, becomes a doomsday prepper, then releases an “EMP” that wipes out the town, whereupon the Simpsons flee, only to return and find out that everything is fine:
In this scene, Marge and the kids think Springfield has just been destroyed. Of course, it wasn’t.
Season 26 – “Waiting for Duffman” – Homer becomes Duffman, feels bad about being a corporate shill, then everything goes back to normal. The picture speaks for itself:
Season 26 – “The Wreck of the Relationship” – Homer and Bart go on a father son cruise where Homer repeatedly falls overboard to no noticeable effect:
He’s Good At Everything Now:
Season 26 – “Covercraft” – Homer picks up guitar, gets immediately good, and ends up replacing a real band on stage in a stadium:
That’s Homer with Apu, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, and Kirk van Houten. The crowd loves them.
Season 26 – “The Musk Who Fell to Earth” – Homer goes into successful business with Elon fucking Musk of all people. They basically destroy society, but it all gets wrapped up before the credits:
Season 25 – “Labor Pains” – Homer delivers a baby in an elevator and becomes a great father to the kid:
Season 25 – “You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee” – Homer becomes a frickin’ World Cup referee:
Season 24 – “Pulpit Fiction” – Homer becomes a hugely popular deacon at the church:
They are still capable of a good sign gag on occasions. Don’t say I never write anything nice.
I could cite a lot more examples, or keep going through Seasons 23, 22, etcetera, but the record is pretty clear. And lots of these episodes could easily fit into more than one category. When Homer delivers that woman’s baby and starts being a super parent to the kid, he neglects his own family and almost gets Maggie eaten by zoo animals (seriously), that’d certainly qualify him as a jerk in addition to being instantly good at something he’s always been terrible at. Or when he goes into business with Elon Musk, they wreck society, but there’s no real consequences or fallout and everything gets wrapped up quickly.
The problems that Homer developed as the show slid into senility and Zombie Simpsons haven’t gone away. They haven’t even changed much. Any way you slice it, old examples or new, Homer’s been a successful, zany, consequence free jackass for fifteen years running. And if FOX decides to exercise that option of theirs and take the show through Season 30-31, he’s going to keep being the same jerkass he’s been since Season 10 or so.