Simpsons fans react to the show dropping one of its longest running gags
“I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed."
With over three and a half decades under its belt, “The Simpsons” have more than few recurring bits that fans have come to expect—Bart’s cheeky chalkboard writing during the opening sequence, Homer arguing with his brain, greeting every Halloween season with a new “Treehouse of Horror” episode, just to name a few.
However, one of the show’s longest running gags has seemingly come to an end.
In a recent Season 35 episode titled “McMansion & Wife,” Homer and Marge go next door to visit their new neighbor Thayer, who greets Homer with a handshake.
“Whoa, that’s quite a grip,” Thayer remarks, to which Homer boasts, “See, Marge? Strangling the boy paid off,” referring to his impulse to yell “why you little!” while putting his hands around Bart’s throat.
But then Homer, apparently reformed, looks back to Thayer, saying, “Just kidding, I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”
Watch the moment below:
In a new Simpsons episode, Homer Simpson reveals that he stopped strangling Bart as times has changed. pic.twitter.com/LUR06RbqbY— ToonHive (@ToonHive) November 5, 2023
Homer strangling Bart has been a staple of cartoonist Matt Groening’s iconic show since its humble debut as a series of animated shorts on the “Tracy Ullman show”, inspired by the real temper of Groening’s father. While he never actually strangled Groening, he would get so mad that it “felt like the next move sometimes.”
Over the years, “The Simpsons” would address Homer’s penchant for violence, especially in Season 22’s episode titled “Love is a Many Strangled Thing,” where Homer takes a “fathering enrichment class” and gets strangled by a much larger man (played by Kareem Abdul Jabbar).
Traumatized, Homer isn’t able to perform his standard punishment on his son. That is, until Bart pranks him with a whoopee cushion in the following season.
But now, Homer seems to have completely mended his ways. And while some longtime fans expressed disappointment, most are on board with the change.
“I knew my man Homer was gonna learn,” one person quipped on X, formerly known as Twitter.
This certainly isn’t the first time “The Simpsons” has made a few tweaks to adapt to the changing times. A prime example being in 2020 when Hank Azaria confirmed he’d no longer be voicing Indian convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon after receiving criticism that the character perpetuated racial stereotypes.
It stands to reason that adapting to more modern views is essential for any long running television show. “The Simpsons” is no exception. And really, whether or not you consider the gag removal as necessary, we can probably all agree that it follows along with the Simpsons theme of mirroring—not to mention poking a little fun at—society's ever shifting perspective.