The renowned adult animated sitcom The Simpsons recently came under fire for implying that the patriarch of the family Homer Simpson would stop the gag of ‘strangling’ his son Bart. The visual gag has been featured multiple times over the show’s more than thirty-year tenure.
The beloved show has been changing its ways with many of its controversial creative choices and one of them was the gag of strangling Bart. However, the series’ creator James L Brooks assured fans that nothing was going to change and that there would still be moments that the fans loved on the show.
History of Homer Strangling Bart On The Simpsons
For the past thirty-four years, the patriarch of the Simpsons, Homer strangles his son Bart in anger whenever the latter does something to annoy the father. It is one of The Simpsons’ numerous running gags that has become one of its trademarks. The hilarity is because the immature Homer is not mockingly strangling his son, but does it for real.
The show, however, has been changing its ways since the 2000s after coming under fire for many of its gags. Issues such as the controversial depiction of the Indian-American character Apu, voiced by Caucasian actor Hank Azaria, caused a huge stir in the new millennium and Azaria stepped down from voicing the character.
In a recent episode, Homer Simpson implies that he does not strangle Bart anymore after he is congratulated on a firm grip by another character. Homer reportedly says,
“See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off. Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”
Other episodes also included criticism of Homer’s habit of strangling his son, with one featuring Homer getting strangled himself to understand what his son goes through before deciding to reduce it.
Also read: Top 5 Celebrity Cameos in The Simpsons
Creator Says That Nothing Will Change On The Simpsons
The prospect of The Simpsons losing yet another running gag from the show angered many fans. Many have pointed out how the show, known for its edgier style of humor, has not been the same since the 2000s. When asked if anything was changing on The Simpsons, creator James L Brookes stated that nothing would be changed.
In a statement to People Magazine, the co-creator mentioned,
“Don’t think for a second we’re changing anything. Nothing’s getting tamed. Nothing, nothing, nothing. He’ll continue to be strangled—[if] you want to use that awful term for it. He’ll continue to be loved by his father in a specific way.”
Fans of The Simpsons have pointed out that the strangling has been reduced since the 2000s, with the last strangling scene being aired in 2019. Brooks also assured the fans by whipping out an illustration that shows Homer strangling Bart while the latter holds a phone that says, “Simpsons: No more strangling,” while Homer exclaims, “Why you little click baiting -”. Fan reactions to the controversy have been extreme with many being relieved at Brooks’ assurance.
Thank God they didn’t fold…— eruj (@erujabidi) November 13, 2023
D’oh! It seems Homer’s signature parenting technique isn’t going anywhere🤣🍩— Ashish Arora (@AshishArora_06) November 13, 2023
Good! Keep the classic humor this show is known for— Truly Pete (72%)👽 🔜 Some Rave Eventually (@AStateofPete) November 13, 2023
I mean I wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s a classic moment with Simpsons. pic.twitter.com/y8xhBIVEzx— CynicalFate (@CynicalFate) November 13, 2023
No one cares end it— demigod LFC (@CollinsUkam1) November 13, 2023
How about bringing back Apu then?— The One Nerd (@The_One_Nerd) November 13, 2023
The show is currently airing its 35th season and has already been renewed for a thirty-sixth season, which will air in 2024.