November 9, 2023
Homer Simpson Will No Longer Choke Bart on ‘The Simpsons’
Homer Simpson announced to the world that he no longer strangles his son, Bart.
Homer Simpson will no longer strangle his son Bart in new episodes The Simpsons, the long-running legendary sitcom.
Times have changed since the show’s 1989 debut, including the designs of the characters and additional cast members. According to The Independent, despite the gag being a mainstay in the series, it has not been without its detractors.
In the Oct 22 episode “McMansion and Wife” Homer introduces himself to his newest neighbor, Thayer. As Thayer shakes his hand and remarks how firm Homer’s grip is, Homer says to Marge, “See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off.”
Homer then adds, “Just kidding, I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”
Buzz started to build once clips of the show started circulating on Twitter/X on Nov. 2.
The last time Homer strangled Bart was in Season 31 which aired between 2019 and 2020, though the show had discussed the topic of abuse well before then.
In the season 22 episode, “Love Is A Many Strangled Thing,” Homer attended a fathering enrichment class at the bequest of Marge. The class, taught by a giant basketball player voiced by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, left Homer with the inability to strangle Bart after Abdul-Jabbar’s character impressed on Homer how it feels to be at the mercy of someone bigger and stronger than him.
Two seasons later in the episode “Love Is A Many-Splintered Thing, Homer again strangles Bart, this time in front of his son’s best friend, Milhouse Van Houten. The event leaves Milhouse traumatized.
The Simpsons have adapted to cultural shifts, albeit somewhat sluggishly. For years, the character of Apu, the Indian convenience store owner, was voiced by Hank Azaria, a white man. The show began featuring the character less and less beginning in 2018 following the documentary The Problem With Apu debuted by Hari Kondaboli in 2017.
Azaria told Kondaboli in 2023, “Through my role in Apu and what I created in Hollywood messaging–which is a big deal in this country and around the world–I helped to create a pretty marginalizing, dehumanizing stereotype.”
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