“I’m just wondering: what’s the point? Would it make any difference at all if I never existed? How can we sleep at night when there’s so much suffering in the world?” – Lisa Simpson
“Well . . . uh . . . come on, Lisa! Ride the Homer horsey! Giddy-up, weeee!” – Homer Simpson
The Simpsons always took a pretty dim view not just of human nature, but of human existence generally. Misdeeds are rarely punished, triumphs are rarely recognized, and justice is all but non-existent. After all, if there’s one thing Homer’s learned, it’s that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.
So, in honor of Simpsons Day, here are some of the show’s most existentially bleak lines. This list is by no means meant to be exhaustive, so feel free to suggest your own in the comments.
“Please don’t make me retire. My job is the only thing that keeps me alive. I never married and my dog is dead.”
We only ever see Jack Marley in “Marge Gets a Job”, and he breaks down sobbing at this short, horrifically bleak summary of his own life. Worst/funniest of all: later we see him not get his job back, which means that the reason we haven’t seen him again is probably because he died shortly thereafter.
“Sir, six cinder blocks are missing.”
“There’ll be no hospital then. I’ll tell the children.”
The children – presumably very sick ones – who’ve been waiting for a new hospital so they can get better, will now continue to suffer and die because Homer Simpson wanted a crappy bookshelf. Truly, fate is cruel.
“I’m trying to turn it off.”
“No, bear want to live!”
The first time I saw Rick & Morty‘s ultra-depressing butter robot, I thought of Frink’s doomed bear. It’s a sentient being staring into an unanswerable existential crises because it was somebody’s side project. At least the robots in Westworld are magnificent masterpieces, the bear and the butter robot are hopeless.
“I used to be with it, then they changed what it was. Not what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you.”
Even youth cannot protect you from obsolescence and death. There’s a reason I see this line quoted all the time as one of the show’s best: it’s depressing when you’re a kid, and it just gets worse with each passing year.
“Most of you will never fall in love and marry out of fear of dying alone.”
Happiness is only ever attained by a few people, and certainly not by you. Congratulations on your nuptials.
“I guess one person can make a difference, but most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”
Your beliefs and activism are probably futile, and even if you succeed it won’t have the effect you wanted. Vote Trump.
“Before we sit down to our delicious turkey puree, I have some happy news. The following people have relatives who wish they could be here today: Antonovsky, Conroy, Falcone, Martin, Thorson, and Walsh . . . oh, and Mrs. Spencer, you too.”
“Oh, I knew they wouldn’t forget me.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nobody got it worse on this show than old people. This poor, lonely old lady has her heart warmed because the family that imprisoned her in the Springfield Retirement Castle (Motto: Thanks for not discussing the outside world) sent a fax. Forget just on The Simpsons, that’s one of the saddest things on television ever.
“Asa Phelps spent his entire life in Springfield except for four years service in World War II and one high school day trip. He worked at the United Strut and Bracing Works as a molder’s boy, until he was replaced by a molder-matic and died.”
A funeral with no guests, save two men who were waiting to profit from his death, now that’s bleak. A life spent entirely in Springfield, his only skill made obsolete, and then an unnoticed demise, Asa Phleps had it every bit as bad as Frank Grimes. At least Grimey’s funeral had mourners.