Cruelly Bleak Simpsons Lines


“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.

7 Responses to “Cruelly Bleak Simpsons Lines”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    17 December 2016 at 6:52 pm

    The bleakest funeral of all would have to be Bleeding Gums Murphy’s. Asa Phelps at least had accurate information at his funeral.

  2. 2 D.N.
    18 December 2016 at 8:53 am

    I’m partial to the following bleak exchange between the Bigger Brother voice-over guy and the fatherless little boy:

    “Lost your dad?”
    “He’s not coming back, is he?”
    “He might.”
    “No, he’s not.”

  3. 4 Dave2
    18 December 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Some episodes really did pull on the ol’ heart strings, wether that was the intention or not.

    I often think about the cinder blocks. Was there really no other way to replace them? I’m sure 6 blocks wouldn’t cost a lot compared to the overall budget of actually constructing a hospital.

    The episode with Homer trying to find his soul mate is a nice one for this sorta thing. The montage of Homer going from place to place being rejected, only to end up in an automated lighthouse is a real sympathy-getter.

    And lets not forget again poor Homer, this time as a child, being rejected from entering the treehouse of his “friends” as they are all members of the popular “No-Homers club” (except Homer Glumplich), an event that is shortly mirrored with his not-so-loyal Stonecutters.

    Yup, the Simpsons sure knows how to make me shed a tear from time to time.

  4. 5 Brad M
    18 December 2016 at 10:41 pm

    “The Marge-ian Chronicles” from Season 27 actually had a pretty good joke about the Earth dying.

    Homer: What about those Mars nutjobs? Who wants to take a one-way trip to a barren, lifeless rock?
    Bart: Yeah, in a couple years, we’ll have a perfectly good barren, lifeless rock right here!

  5. 6 madeofghosts
    19 December 2016 at 5:08 am

    “I guess one person can make a difference, but most of the time they probably shouldn’t” is one of my all-time favourites.

    I’ll defend Grimes’ funeral too. Having everyone laughing at Homer as the coffin goes into the ground is absolutely pitch-black.

  6. 7 Anonymous
    20 December 2016 at 10:56 am

    The Simpsons has taught me lots of wonderful life lessons. Many of them about not even making an effort in the first place.

    “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”
    “Can’t win, don’t try.”
    “Trying is the first step towards failure.”
    “Aim low. Aim so low that no one will even care if you succeed.”
    “No matter how good you are at something, there’s always about a million people better than you.”
    “Never help anyone.”
    “If something is hard to do, it’s not worth doing.”

    And then there are these gems:

    “Sometimes the only way you can feel good about yourself is by making someone else look bad. And I’m tired of making other people feel good about themselves!”
    “Why? Why was I programmed to feel pain?”
    “I’m a lonely, insignificant speck on a has-been planet orbited by a cold, indifferent sun.”
    “The young man you replaced is rolling over in his grave!”
    “People die all the time, just like that! Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow. … Well, goodnight.”
    “Okay, I’m not gonna kill you, but I’m gonna tell you three things that are gonna haunt you for the rest of your days: You’ve ruined your father, you’ve crippled your family, and baldness is hereditary!”
    “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”
    “Aw, Dad, you’ve done a lot of great things, but you’re a very old man, and old people are useless.”
    “They may say she died of a burst ventricle, but I know she died of a broken heart.”
    “Okay, search party, before we set out, let’s take a moment to humor the children. Kids, your father’s gonna be just fine! Okay, everybody, put on your corpse-handling gloves, we’ve got two frozen bodies buried somewhere on this mountain.”
    “America’s health care system is second only to Japan… Canada, Sweden, Great Britain… well, all of Europe. But you can thank your lucky stars we don’t live in Paraguay!”

    Not a quote, but “So You’ve Ruined Your Life”

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