The Simpsons, one of the oldest and most iconic TV shows of all time, appears to be doing away with one of its most famous recurring gags. In a recent episode of The Simpsons, Homer explains that he no longer suffocates his son Bart because “times have changed.”
As part of the season 35 episode “McMansion & Wife”, which debuted on October 22, Homer confirms that he no longer strangles Bart by wringing his neck with his hands. Homer meets a new neighbor, Thayer, and shakes his hand. “Whoa! That’s quite a catch,” Thayer said to Homer. He replies, “See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off. Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”
The producers of The Simpsons have yet to officially comment on whether or not this is a permanent change for the series.
I just found out that after over 30 years, The Simpsons finally retired their long-running gag of Homer strangling Bart.
It took them long enough lmao pic.twitter.com/JuHyNu1eiK
– Simon A. (Baby Lamb Creations) (@BabyLamb5) November 2, 2023
As IGN points out, Homer hasn’t strangled Bart since a Simpsons episode of the season 31 years ago. In a season 22 episode, 2011’s “Love is a Many Strangled Thing,” Homer attends a “father enrichment class” with NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He teaches Homer that choking someone is actually no fun at all, and so Homer stops choking Bart.
Homer’s strangulation of Bart dates back decades. We know that Homer chokes Bart when he does something bad, before the act by telling him: “Why are you little?” Homer chokes Bart so hard that his eyes bulge and his tongue sticks out of his throat.
This isn’t limited to Homer, as Bart once strangled an ostrich. Then there was the time when an adult president, Lisa, choked the adult Bart. In an episode of Treehouse of Horror, Homer clones himself and then suffocates. You can see a strangulation compilation below.
Homer is no longer choking Bart, so while this is indeed a permanent change, it’s not the only significant update to the series in recent times. In 2020, it was announced that The Simpsons would no longer use white actors to voice non-white characters. Recast characters included Apu and his wife Manjula, Dr. Hibbert, Lou, Cookie Kwan, Drederick Tatum, and Bumblebee Man, among others.
In January, The Simpsons was renewed once again, taking the series through 2025 and beyond 800 episodes. Seasons 1-34 are streaming on Disney Plus.
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