Lee has a bachelor's in English Lit. She loves analyzing fiction and obsessing over books, film, and television.
For anyone who's been watching The Simpsons since its 1989 debut, Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) is kinda a terrible person. He doesn't mean to be. It's just that most of the time he's too stupid, ignorant, and oblivious to realize he's being a jerk. This makes him a character we can both sympathize with and relate to. I mean, who doesn't accidentally sit on their kid every now and then?
Without intentionally meaning harm, Homer Simpson is selfish, lazy, rude, loud, annoying, and utterly, utterly human. Marge once described his persona as his "in your face humanity."
But as annoying and obliviously destructive as Homer is, he had several very heartwarming moments throughout the seasons that should be noted.
Season 3, Episode 8: "Lisa's Pony"
In the episode "Lisa's Pony," Lisa needs a new reed for her saxophone so that she can perform at the talent show. When Homer fails to get one in time, she is forced to perform without one, and her saxophone sounds so bad that she is humiliated to tears.
After this emotionally scarring event, Lisa refuses to talk to her father, who is so desperate to win back her love, he buys her a pony.
Needless to say, ponies are kinda expensive. So Homer takes a second job at the Quick-E Mart to make Lisa happy. He works himself to the bone, allowing Apu to figuratively whip him over the back, all so that Lisa will love and forgive him.
By the end of the episode, Lisa realizes how hurt her father is; he loves her so much that he has been losing sleep trying to make her happy. She decides her father is better than any pony, and the episode ends on a heartwarming note as she rides his back and they laugh together.
The more classic episodes of The Simpsons (before they started trying to match Family Guy's more toxic humor) were constant with moments like this.
Season 6, Episode 13: "And Maggie Makes Three"
In the episode "And Maggie Makes Three," Bart and Lisa are going through the family photo album with Marge when they notice that there are no pictures of Maggie.
Homer and Marge sit down to explain why in an appropriately episode-long flashback. As it turns out, Maggie's conception was an accident and actually ruined Homer's dream of leaving his job at the plant and working with his best friend in a bowling alley. Just the day before, Homer had quit his job in the most appallingly hilarious way by beating on his boss' head like a bongo.
When Homer comes home after having quit his job, Marge sits him down and announces her pregnancy. Naturally, he freaks.
This goes to show how important it is that spouses communicate before making decisions that affect their entire family.
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Seriously, though? As poor as they were—and after conceiving the demon spawn that is Bart Simpson—why didn't Homer and Marge invest in some sort of protection? It was available around the time Maggie was born.
The episode shows us how Homer freaks out and tears his hair and has a mid-life crisis. When he confronts Marge about his disappointment, Marge says she's having her baby, dammit. Homer respects his wife's bodily autonomy, and weeping like a little girl, he shuffles back to Mr. Burns, begs for his job back, and is accepted on the sole basis of Mr. Burns' desire for revenge. He is then humiliated all day long as a prerequisite.
A wretched and defeated Homer is bitterly against having a third child, right up until Maggie is actually born and he meets her for the first time in the hospital. He instantly falls in love with her—so much so that he takes all her photos from the family album and pins them up at work as a sort of morale booster.
Season 20, Episode 16: "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe"
Moe, the bartender and owner of the bar Homer frequents, is probably the meanest, loneliest guy in Springville. He's bitter, angry, and has a policy about shooting people in the face. So nothing was so sweet and heartwarming as the episode where he fell in love with Maya, a woman he meets on the internet while in the library.
When Maya turns out to be a little person, Moe panics. He is terrified of what his friends will think and is terrified that he will say or do something to drive Maya away. This turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Moe's discomfort eventually hurts Maya, who—like anyone else—just wants to be treated like a person.
Moe tries and fails to win Maya back, and the episode ends on a realistic but hopeful note when a heartbroken Moe is comforted by Homer, who tells him:
"Sometime when you least expect it, you'll realize someone loved you. And that means someone can love you again. That'll make you smile."
Season 8, Episode 11: "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson"
Marge is desperately unhappy when she is kicked out of the Springville Investorettes for being a wet blanket. Not to be daunted, she attempts to run her own business, a pretzel selling gig that fails miserably due to the aggressively competitive nature of the Springville Investorettes.
Rather than sabotage Marge's old club and their food wagon in retaliation (which is what I would have done), Homer turns in desperation to some criminal mobsters, who had—hilariously enough—put up a notice on the church bulletin board. This results in Marge being bullied by dangerous gangsters and possibly nearly killed for "da pretzel monies."
By the end of the episode, a furious Marge demands to know why Homer indebted her to criminals. Homer admits that Marge was unhappy and that it hurt him terribly to see her that way.
Season 20, Episode 9: "HOMR"
In this episode, Homer discovers that a crayon has been lodged in his brain since he crammed one up his nose as a child, causing his outlandish stupidity. Once he opts to have the crayon removed, he becomes incredibly intelligent, and for the first time, he is able to bond with Lisa in ways that he couldn't before.
At the same time, however, being intelligent causes Homer a great deal of sadness and distress. So much to the point that he decides ignorance is bliss and crams the crayon back up his nose. Before he does, he writes Lisa a very touching letter in farewell,
"I'm taking the coward's way out. But before I do, I just wanted to say being smart made me appreciate just how amazing you really are."
Season 3, Episode 3: "When Flanders Failed"
Anyone who's ever watched one episode of The Simpsons knows that Homer has an unrelenting hatred for Ned Flanders, mostly because Flanders has his shit together, while Homer is a miserable slob.
In the one episode where Flanders failed and lost everything, Homer initially decided to gloat. Then, once the Flanders became homeless, Homer realized what a jerk he was and pulled the town together, helping Ned reopen his silly "Leftorium" store.
Season 2, Episode 12: "The Way We Was"
And finally, one of my favorite episodes is a flashback to when Homer and Marge were teenagers and met while attending the same high school.
When Marge is sexually assaulted by her prom date, Artie Ziff (voiced by the wonderful Jon Lovitz), she is driving home with a torn dress and notices Homer walking home along the road. She takes pity on him and gives him a ride. Homer in turn takes pity on her by fixing her torn dress.
They then have the following exchange:
Marge: Why so glum?
Homer: I've got a problem. Once you stop this car, I'm gonna hug you and kiss you, and then I'll never let you go.
[The story flashes back to the present]
Homer: And I never have.
Yeah. If none of those episodes gave you the warm fuzzies, then I don't know what to tell you. Maybe see a doctor?
© 2018 Lee