Then and Now

“Cesspool!  Cesspool! Cesspool!  Cesspool! Cesspool!” – Bart Simpson

Yesterday, all-star commenter D.N. said:

I mean, in the show’s golden age, Homer’s wackiness was channelled through displays of infantile happiness – giddily chasing the dog with the puffy tail, joyously fetching his giant foam cowboy hat and airhorn, caressing his half-eaten, mould-ridden giant hoagie even after it made him deathly ill, etc. There was a definite sense of sweetness about Homer back then – you really did gain affection for him in spite of his offensive characteristics. Alas, for about a decade now, Homer’s default “wacky” setting has been rage – flying off the handle, threatening others and bringing violence upon himself, and generally being an angry and obnoxious sociopath. Homer’s been crude from day one, but he wasn’t always a bastard.

That is dead on.  I was going to write something similar for today but he did it for me.  Now all I have to do is illustrate his point with the two Homer quotes I was already planning on using.

#1 – Homer’s Night Out (Season 1) – After being tossed out by Marge (the first time), Homer does what any man would do: goes to his favorite bar, plants his ass on a stool, and speaks of his woes.  At Moe’s, and full of melancholy, he says:

“Oh Moe, my wife gave me the old heave-ho because of some lousy picture.”

(Since The Simpsons always knew how to handle its feelings with humor, even the sad ones, Moe immediately points to the picture of Homer with Princess Cashmere and says, “What, this one?”)

#2 – The Simpsons Movie – Jerkass Homer walks out on Marge and the kids in a petulant huff for almost no reason.  He goes to Eski Moe’s (because he’s in Alaska, natch) and fires up a video game aimed at people half his age that a guy like him would never play.  Finished, he says:

“Well, I guess I’ve let her worry about me long enough.”

One of these men is a relatable guy who screws up in hilarious ways.  The other is self absorbed dickwad you wouldn’t even want dating, much less married to, any woman you care about.

It’s time to wade into the cesspool of Season 21.

1 Response to “Then and Now”

  1. 27 September 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Regarding the points you and I have raised about the jerkification of Homer, I think Chris Suellentrop of Slate hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset (perhaps while Bart gagged in the background) now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge’s neck” (and Suellentrop wrote that back in Feburary 2003).

    I think because we all know Marge would never leave Homer, the writers feel like they have carte blanche to make Homer’s behaviour as vile as possible. When Homer was out of line in the old days, you knew Marge would forgive him because she loved him. When Homer acts like an asshole these days, you know Marge will forgive him (or at least tolerate him) for no other reason than the fact that the conventions of the show require her to.

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