Why you little…! Despite all of the recent headlines to the contrary, it looks as though Homer Simpson will continue strangling his son the same way he has for over 30 years. The latest Simpsons controversy has been put to rest thanks to series co-creator and producer James L. Brooks.
Homer Vs. Bart
“Don’t think for a second we’re changing anything.” Brooks recently told People.
Brooks then revealed an illustration where Homer was strangling Bart for reading about The Simpsons controversy on his smartphone. “Why you little clickbaiting-!!” Homer exclaims via word bubble.
Brooks then answered the question of what on The Simpsons would be “tamed” with four uses of the word “nothing.”
The producer clarified that Bart Simpson would “continue to be strangled—if you want to use that awful term for it.” This might imply that Brooks doesn’t consider physically abusing a child by closing both hands around their neck and squeezing the same thing as “strangling.”
Indeed, Brooks prefers to describe it as Bart being “loved,” by Homer “in a specific way.”
The Simpsons Controversy
The Simpsons strangling controversy was set off when a recent episode of the long-running series, October 22’s “McMansion & Wife”—a reference to the 1970’s TV show McMillan & Wife proving that The Simpsons is still on the cutting edge of pop culture—suggested that Homer would no longer be choking Bart.
The scene in question featured a new neighbor, Thayer (Hank Azaria), shaking hands with Homer and remarking that the Simpson patriarch had “quite a grip.”
Homer Pretending To Be A Good Dad
“See, Marge, strangling the boy has paid off,” Homer jokes to Marge before adding, “Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”
In light of Brooks’ recent statements, it would appear that the Simpsons writers were just trying to have Homer pretend to be a good dad in front of a new acquaintance.
That’s not how fans of the show interpreted the scene, however.
The Simpsons Has Changed
Even if this latest Simpsons controversy is more of a misunderstanding, it doesn’t change the fact that Homer (Dan Castellaneta) hasn’t actually throttled Bart (Nancy Cartwright) on screen since the show’s 31st season (2019-2020).
While there may not have been any official mandate to have Homer ease up on crushing his oldest child’s windpipe, it’s possible the strangulations stopped organically due to both Disney acquiring the series and a changing culture.
After all, physical abuse towards children is looked at in a different light in 2023 than it was in 1989.
Not The First Controversy
This is far from the first Simpsons controversy to pop up during the show’s 34 years on the air.
A documentary from 2017, The Problem with Apu, pointed out the trouble with having the very non-Indian Hank Azaria voicing the Indian-American character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon with a stereotypical “Indian” accent.
Azaria acknowledged the problematic nature of the role and stopped voicing Apu in 2020.
Other The Simpsons Issues
A similar Simpsons controversy—white voice actor Harry Shearer portraying the black Dr. Hibert—was dealt with in 2021. African-American voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson was cast to voice Dr. Julius Hibert for the remaining run of the show—however long that ends up being.
While we would hope this goes without saying, 99% of the things Homer does on The Simpsons should not be emulated. Strangling a ten-year-old kid is one of them.