In a recent episode of “The Simpsons,” Homer Simpson’s seemingly changed ways regarding his infamous act of strangling his son, Bart, left fans questioning if the iconic animated series was altering a long-running gag. Season 35, Episode 3, titled “McMansion & Wife,” aired on October 22, 2023, saw Homer claiming to have turned over a new leaf during an encounter with a new neighbor, Thayer, played by Hank Azaria.
Thayer remarked on Homer’s firm handshake, prompting the patriarch to joke, “See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off. Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.” This sparked speculation among fans about whether the show was abandoning the controversial running gag of Homer strangling Bart, a comedic element dating back to earlier seasons.
I just found out that, after over 30 years, The Simpsons has finally retired their long-running gag of Homer strangling Bart.
Took them long enough lmao pic.twitter.com/JuHyNu1eiK
— Simon A. (Baby Lamb Creations) (@BabyLamb5) November 2, 2023
However, addressing concerns, James L. Brooks, co-creator of “The Simpsons,” clarified that Homer’s signature stranglehold on Bart was far from over. In an interview with People, Brooks emphatically stated, “Nothing’s getting tamed. Nothing, nothing, nothing. He’ll continue to be strangled—[if] you want to use that awful term for it. He’ll continue to be loved by his father in a specific way.”
Brooks dismissed any notion of the show changing its long-established dynamics, asserting that the iconic act of strangling Bart remains an integral part of the show’s humor. To emphasize this, he shared an illustration featuring Homer still engaged in his familiar act, with Bart holding a smartphone displaying a misleading headline: “Simpsons: No more strangling.” In a humorous exchange in the illustration, Homer yells at his son, accusing him of clickbaiting.
‘THE SIMPSONS’ co-creator confirms Homer will still strangle Bart.
“Nothing’s getting tamed… He’ll continue to be loved by his father in a specific way.”
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) November 13, 2023
Despite Homer’s claim in the episode that he no longer strangles Bart, Brooks assured fans that the iconic gag will persist. The co-creator’s statement aimed to put to rest any speculation regarding a major shift in the show’s comedic elements.
Contrary to concerns raised by fans, Brooks highlighted that the essence of “The Simpsons” would remain unchanged, reinforcing the longstanding tradition of humor that has defined the animated series for over three decades. While acknowledging Homer’s statement within the episode, Brooks made it clear that, in Springfield, the Simpsons’ dynamic and Homer’s unique way of expressing love for Bart would endure, offering fans reassurance about the show’s commitment to its comedic roots.