You Gotta See This

You Gotta See This

You Gotta See This

Over the years, The Simpsons has given fans several memorable moments, with one of its most famous recurring gags being when Homer strangles Bart.

In Season 35, Episode 3 titled “McMansion & Wife,” which premiered on October 22, Homer demonstrates a shift in his behavior when he and Marge meet their new neighbor, Thayer. Upon their introduction, Thayer compliments Homer on his firm handshake, to which Homer jokingly responds, “See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off.” He quickly amends, saying, “Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”

Fans observed that the last instance of Homer strangling Bart occurred in Season 31. According to IGN, this particular episode aired between 2019 and 2020.

Homer’s reality check.

This gag had been a point of discussion for a while, dating back to a Season 22 episode titled “Love is a Many Strangled Thing,” which aired in March 2011. In that episode, former NBA star Kareem Abdul Jabbar, playing a basketball player, teaches Homer a lesson by momentarily strangling him, leading Homer to cease strangling Bart.

While this recurring gag had garnered controversy in the past, some fans of The Simpsons were still dissatisfied when Homer indicated his change of behavior. However, others noted that such instances of strangling Bart had become increasingly rare in the later seasons of the show.

Other controversies from “The Simpsons.”

The Simpsons has also had to rethink some of its character portrayals in recent years. The show’s character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon drew criticism for its negative stereotypes and even inspired a documentary called The Problem with Apu in 2017. Hank Azaria, who’s 59, stepped down from the role in 2020, and they haven’t recast Apu. Although the character has been making background appearances since then.

Whenever a long-running show like The Simpsons makes a change, you can bet there’ll be fans voicing their thoughts. Old and new fans alike had plenty to say about the Homer-strangling-Bart gag phasing out. Take a look at some fan reactions below.

  • You're late on this!

    Someone took a moment to share with fans who might not be up-to-date with the latest episodes. They pointed out that The Simpsons has actually moved on from the whole strangling gag for quite a while. “People complaining that The Simpsons changed but haven’t watched the new episodes to know that it’s been rare for Homer to strangle Bart ever since the 2000’s and the last (actual) time he did was over four years ago,” said a fan on X (formerly Twitter). “The real story is that the show is kind of entertaining again.”

    Cropped image of happy girl using smartphone device while chilling at home

    Inside Creative House/ Getty Images

  • A deeper relfection

    A fan responded with a thoughtful perspective, expressing that The Simpsons‘ choice to retire the famous gag of Homer strangling Bart marks a crucial moment in the show’s history. ” It reflects the evolving cultural landscape and the need to adapt humor to changing sensibilities,” they wrote. “It’s a nod to the awareness of the impact such humor can have. The show has always been known for its social commentary, and this change is another example of that,” they continued.

  • Fictional medical bills

    Some fans took a lighter tone in their reactions. One fan cracked a joke about the strangle scenes, playfully suggesting that they became a budget concern for the characters. They wrote, “he got tired of paying for all the neck reconstruction surgeries I fear.”

  • Simpsons prediction

    Another fan summed up the news as just another “Simpsons prediction.” They drew a comparison between this change in direction and an episode from season 2, episode 9 titled “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge,” which aired in 1990. In that episode, Marge influenced the network to tone down cartoon violence in “Itchy & Scratchy” by introducing a revamped “Porch Pals” cartoon.

Sign me up for the 102.9 WMGK At Work Network email newsletter!

Join WMGK's At Work Network and get the latest rock news, exclusive presales, contests and more straight to you inbox.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.