The Wisdom of Homer Simpson

Homer X-rayI am a fan of the Simpsons. I was there from its inception as a prime-time animated series in 1989. My parents actually allowed me to tune in every week. I knew of many other kids who were denied this liberty. The show has had a good run. Over the past 20+ years Lisa has become more sanctimonious, Bart is now a bit more dimwitted, and Marge is a little more selfish (I don’t blame her), and Homer has grown more boorish. These characters were bound to evolve to these levels though. But a show doesn’t run for two decades without evolving their characters in some way.

In the early days of this iconic series, Homer was not as much of a clod as he is now portrayed. Every now and again he would espouse a certain naive wisdom, sandwiched between a few gags (fewer than more recent episodes). That is the Homer I love. I’ve selected a few of the more choice lines that have stuck with me over the years. Each one lends a little life lesson. You may miss the satirical humor that the early seasons demonstrated, so I encourage you to find a copy and enjoy the context of these lines.

1) “Just because I don’t care, doesn’t mean I don’t understand.” (Season 3, “Lisa’s Substitute”)
Sympathy and empathy, this line was a reminder that there’s a difference between the two. Homer rarely demonstrated the latter. He had his moments, though, where he exhibited a small degree of empathy. By the end of this episode he was practically oozing it.

2) “Well, crying won’t bring him back…unless your tears smell like dog food. So either you can sit there crying and eating can after can of dog food until your tears smell enough like dog food to make your dog come back or you can go out there and find your dog.” (Season 3, “Dog of Death”)
It’s interesting how Homer’s pearls of wisdom are often in direct contrast to his standard behavior. This little bit of fatherly advice to Bart bespeaks of determination and initiative. Homer has never been the kind of character to naturally exhibit either one.

3) “A mountain of sugar is just too much for one man. It’s clear now why God portions it out in those tiny packets and why he lives on  a plantation in Hawaii.” (Season 6, “Lisa’s Rival”)
There is something to be said about pining for prosperity that is bigger than one person can handle. And Homer said it very well in this episode. This line about allotments is probably one of the most sagacious things Homer has uttered (in my opinion).

4) “You can’t keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once then move on.” (Season 8, “A Milhouse Divided”)
This line is a practical moment from Homer. In his own Dr. Phil-like way, he presents Marge with a reasonable argument against lingering on fault. This line also typified how Homer was blunt without being ‘in your face.’

5) “I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming.” (Season 8, Homer’s Phobia”)
This line is a personal favorite. The delivery alone invites a chuckle. There’s also a message here. Aim for life that is not situated at lukewarm. Excess isn’t the lesson, but phenomena marked with passion is.

And that’s the wisdom of Homer Simpson. In closing…D’oh!

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