We all love The Simpsons, right? Or, at least we did at one stage or another. It's safe to say that the newer episodes fail to provide the same punch as the older ones. Regardless, we simply can't deny the appeal of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. But, behind all the laughter and quirky fun lies some dark, sad truths. Some more noticeable than others. So I thought it'd be "fun" to list the Top 10 Sad Truths behind The Simpsons. ENJOY.
An odd choice for sure, but over the course of the 24 odd seasons that have been made it's become clear to me that Homer has some sort of obsession with being or acting like an animal. Using the term "Furry" may be a bit of a stretch but it just makes the title easier to write. I'll list a few stand out examples, firstly above is Homer taking on the role of the Safety Salamander in order to win back Lisa after...something happened that I don't remember. Homer takes on the persona of the costume and wears the suit constantly until Marge cleans it. Homer often acts like a Dog as well, examples include chasing Ned Flanders around and sticking his head out the car of a window. Finally, in a Treehouse of Horror episode where people get turned into animals, Homer voluntarily signs up to become one. It all paints a rather bizzare picture really, there are other examples here and there from early episodes to the newest ones. The reason this isn't higher is because it's not something that's ever really brought up on the show, it's just something I've noticed. Still...pretty weird, even for Homer.
We're not just talking shooting Mr Burns here, there's a whole list of disturbing incidents involving Maggie that suggest she will one day become a violent, deranged person. The earliest example is the episode where Marge tries to get Itchy & Scratchy banned for being too violent. The whole set up is that Maggie smacks Homer over the head with a mallet (In a rather hillarious spoof of Pscyho I may add), and she is later on in the episode seen firing a toy gun at a picture of Homer, managing a headshot. As previous mentioned, she did indeed shoot and nearly kill Mr Burns which is something the series often references back to. But there are other cases as well, she gunned down an entire Mafia syndicate with an air rifle concealed under her bed, she threatened Mr Teeny with a switchblade, shot Homer numerous times with a nail gun, beat down a sack of potatoes for usurping her position in the family and having an unsuallly strong attachment to a cordless drill. All in all it paints a grim picture for Maggie's mental stability, turned violent by her surroundings, she seems fated to a life of crime and violence. She may look all innocent and cute, but when you ask her about it she just sits there, silently suckling away on her dummy, what's she planning? WHAT?!
This is one of the most obvious choices on the list, Lisa Simpson's depression and social isolation has been a theme in the series from very early on. I think the description for the first such episode sums it up best "Lisa finds herself trapped in a world that doesn't understand her", which is about right really, she's a 8 year old middle child of above average intelligence with odd interests and hobbies that finds it hard to fit in with her school chums and even her family. In the majority of episodes she does seem rather resigned and content with her life but she's been known and seen to become desperate at times, pretending to be someone else in order to make friends, playing Jazz with random people on bridges, anything to feel some kind of acceptance or happiness. In one of the newest episodes she was even put on Anti-Depressents after the weight of the world finally became too much for her, she was then taken off of them due to the above scene which, again shows Maggie's homicidal nature. Having been refused the more upmarket and creative education she desired at an early age Lisa's life has taken a downward spiral into depression which makes one wonder what the future holds for her. Apparently President of the USA. Not to shabby actually. Either that or suicide, take your pick.
Often a focus of humour in the show, these jokes conceal the dark truth behind Springfield's law enforcement, it's completely inept and corrupt and would be useless in a dangerous, life-threatening scenario. The Chief of Police, Clancy Wiggum is an overweight, lazy and stupid man who has failed to solve any meaningful crimes by himself, often outright refusing help to people who are being threatened with murder, or burning down houses. The entire of Springfield lives in a world where if a criminal threatened their lives or livelyhoods, the Police would be incapable of saving them. Not only that but they are often seen being bribed or bargaining with the Mafia syndicate in various episodes. On the other hand, one episode showed us that even with a competant, heroic police squad (SpringSheild) the citizens themselves would prove too cowardly to stop the Mafia from gunning down someone who's protected them from danger. So, perhaps the Police are so corrupt and lazy because they don't feel that their jobs are appreciated enough by the citizens? WHO KNOWS? Who cares?
Both the numerous future-based episodes and the normal ones paint a gloomy picture for Bart Simpson who's apparently doomed to lose any resemblance of intelligence at a young age, and live out a life of mediocrity and faliure. He's had different jobs in each future vision, but only one suggested any hope for him and even that is just a brief glimpse at a life where he's Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In every other future he's a wrecking ball controller, am out of money no talent guitarist, overweight male stripper or even a deadbeat dad of two. In an episode from this year it's suggested that his childhood will be the only happy memories that he'll have by the time he reaches his deathbed, and the show also tells us that he'll never achieve true love until that point. A gloomy future for Bart, who has continued to remain ignorant of this until very recently when he became depressed about the rut his life was in...so that makes two depressed children and one violent lunactic of a baby. The Simpsons is a messed up family isn't it?
Another sad truth that was introduced at an early stage in the shows lifespan, Marge Simpsons is a creatively minded, talented artist who's dreams of success and fame were ended when she met Homer. She's attempted numerous times to achieve creative dreams, both through herself and vicariously through Lisa (Ballerina/Dancer) and a...Prison Convict (Artist)...yep, but to no avial, she always ends up back where she started, a miserable housewife being choked by a family completely dependent on her routines and care. More recent episodes have told that us that she was not only a talented artist, but also a skilled journalist who had to choose between a life with Homer or a life as a writer/photographer, a decision she later regrets making. Even more recently, it was also suggested that her intellect was squandered due to falling in love with Homer whilst at College. Although she's attempted numerous times to create a more aspirational life for herself, it never works out and she seems doomed to a life where her many talents are wasted.
One aspect of the show that has since been lessened, or removed altogether is the traumatic life of Principal Seymore Skinner who suffers both from memories of a hellish stint in Vietnam as well as a "Mother" who has abused and twisted him mentally. Skinner is often seen having traumatic flashbacks in early episodes which leave him screaming and calling out for dead comrades whom he lost violently in Vietnam, where he'd also been held as a Prisoner of War for many years, being kept alive through stews that he's since spent years trying to remake to no avail. Later in the series we find out that he isn't actually Skinner at all, having taken the life of a superior officer who was supposedly killed in combat, one can only imagine the mental strain of someone with both long term PTSD and has spent the rest of their life living a complete lie. This makes his relationship with his Mother rather confusing and disturbing. He talks about being brought up with a stern hand and watchful eye, but if Agnes wasn't his real Mother than surely he'd only been living with her in his 20-30's? This implies that after his stint in Vietnam he was then treated and scolded like a child by a woman who isn't even his Mother to the present day, where he continues to live and suffer a rather regressive state of living. Being treated like a child, whilst also being the Principal of a school who suffers from PTSD? Someone should look into that, maybe Super Nintendo Chalmers.
They've won Olympic Gold Medals, Oscars, Golden Globes, Pulletzer Prizes, been succesfully published authors and worked with countless celebrities, but yet still The Simpsons remain completely unknown outside of Springfield and continue to live in seeming poverty. What's that you say? These are the hallmarks of a show that's been running for too long and has run completely out of ideas? NO, these are the hallmarks of a self-destructive family destined to forever live in obscurity and financial destitute! Despite most of the family having aspirations that they often end up achieving, nothing ever comes of them, their aspirations to become famous painters or filmmakers or actors, or authors have led to nothing but regret and misery. I mean, hell, Homer's been into Space! He should be a rich, famous man but nope, he continues to suffer in a deadend job at a place where he gets no respect. All of their accomplishments have come to nothing, it seems no matter how hard they try to dig themselves out of their depressed, violent lives they just can't make it.
Sure, there has to have been that inital spark of love to have brought Marge and Homer together, but the fact of the matter is they would have never married or stayed together had Marge not been knocked up by Homer, hell, he even comes out and says that himself in one episode. Because of Bart, Marge never got to live any of her fantasies out and was resigned to a life of mothering and caring for Homer who knowingly doesn't deserve to still have Marge around as a Wife or even a lover. By the time Bart may have been old enough to leave in the care of Homer she gave birth to Lisa, and then to Maggie, and by the time they were all around she didn't have the ability to live the life she wanted. It's a sad tale indeed, and a stark warning to young lovers to always wear protection before having sex! The Simpsons is just one big advert for contraception really.
Oh boy...here we are...the biggy...the darkest, saddest truth behind The Simpsons is Homer and his upbringing. All of his faliures, all of his families faliures can be traced back to his childhood. Homer was born into a family of turmoil, with a mother who wished to be free of the conformist lifestyle that she was stuck in, and a father who was stuck in the past and despised any showing of creativity or expression. Being told his Mother was dead at an early age, Homers life took a downward spiral, putting on weight and losing focus at school, being raised by a negligant father who himself was suffering from loneliness and depression only further warped him, finding comfort in overeating and watching television. His grades dropped dramatically and he gained weight he has not since managed to lose, he went into a life of disobediance and stupidity that put him in the detention room where he met Marge, where his greed and lack of mothering as a child led him to exploit Marge's kindness, knocked her up, married her and locked her down a path she desperately wishes to get off of. Meanwhile Homer still remains traumatized by his upbringing and bitter to his Father, putting him in a cheap home and rarely visiting him, at one point fantaising about murdering him, a particularly dark moment for the show. Throw in his own inexpereince as a father due to his own poor childhood and you've got one man who's entire life has just been a wrecking ball to those around him, all because his Mother left to be a hippie.
There you go, The Simpsons is ruined now, you're welcome. LATER GATORS!
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