It’s been over twenty years since I can remember the first time I saw Matt Groening’s “crudely drawn” family of five deal with the almost surreal problems that life seemingly presents on a daily basis. From that moment I laid my eyes on “The Simpsons” I became enamored and, eventually, a life-long fan (more than likely I’ll be re-watching episodes when I’m old enough to shout at clouds). During my time as a “Simpsons” viewer I’ve discovered many relatable life lessons that I plan to share with you. Welcome to “The Simpsons Life Lesson” series (season two).
Hard Works Pays Off (Episode 1: “Bart Gets an ‘F’”)
Bart Simpson was the epitome of a growing, slacking generation of students in the U.S. who saw very little merit in education. But like most people who don’t see the point in studying, doing homework or even reading a single book once a year to complete his book report, Bart didn’t see the error of his ways until he was threatened with failure of the fourth grade. Bart’s fear of being the oldest kid in the class lit a fire in his spirit to pass an upcoming test that would be the determining factor in whether or not he’d pass.
But no matter how hard Bart tried, he seemingly couldn’t get past his lacking attention span he seemingly inherited from his father. Bart needed some outside help. Entered Springfield Elementary resident 4th grade nerd/super genius Martin Prince. In an exchange of Bart’s coolness for Martin’s study habits, the youngest Simpson male prayed to God for one extra day for some study sessions when Martin left him high and dry to cause some mischief. God must’ve heard Bart’s prayers as a snow shower cancelled all school activities; giving Bart the hours he needed to hopefully succeed.
And you know what – he didn’t. Bart failed the test. Bart failed after trying his hardest. Bart’s felt like a true failure; just like George Washington surrendering to the French at Fort Necessity in 1754. Listening as a crying Bart reminded Ms. Krabappel of the obscure event, his teacher was impressed by Bart’s applied knowledge and had no choice but to give Bart a bonus point that would bump his “F” to a “D-”. It might not have seem like it initially, but hard work and perseverance will eventually pay off … even if it ends in you kissing your teacher from sheer joy.
Follow Your Dreams (Episode 5: “Dancin’ Homer”)
Surrounded by the usual set of barflies at “Moe’s Tavern”, Homer found himself retelling the story from a period in his life from not that long ago. During the Mr. Burns’-hosted “Nuclear Plant Employee, Spouses and No More Than Three Children Night” minor league baseball event, Homer found himself doing his best to rally the lackadaisical fans behind their hometown team – The Springfield Isotopes. Homer would find himself empowered by alcohol thanks to the money of Mr. Burns, jumping out of his seat and dancing to the song “Baby Elephant Walk”.
Homer’s shocking actions eventually worked and the crowd was going wild. The Isotopes would win and Homer was given the chance to become the team’s official mascot. Going by the name “Dancin’ Homer”, The Isotopes “caped crusader” shimmied, shuffled, moonwalked his way to top billing. Homer’s growing popularity gained him the attention of the “big leagues” where he’d fill in for Capital City’s Capital City Goofball baseball mascot. Unfortunately for Homer, his bush league routine failed the capture the imagination of a different, bigger, and seemingly more sophisticated crowd. “Dancin’ Homer” was promptly fired and sent packing.
Disappointment in his story’s outcome turned into joy when Homer realized the barflies were hanging on his every word. In truth, very few people ever have the chance to achieve something great; even if “greatness” is a subjective word. For one short period of time, Homer Simpson was the epitome of Sarah Breathnach’s famous quote about what the world really needs – a dreamer who actually tried to turn his dreams into reality; even if the end result wasn’t what he would’ve hoped.
Thou Shalt Not Steal (Episode 13: “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment”)
On one random afternoon, Homer overheard his usually light-hearted, caring neighbor Ned Flanders screaming at some random handyman to leave his property. Homer quickly discovering the reason for Flanders’ anger, confronting the revealed cable man to hook him up with free, illegal cable. Though conflicted, the Simpson females decided to enjoy the joys of counterfeit televised entertainment. But if there’s one thing to put a child’s morality in perspective it’s a Christian Sunday school session. Learning about the Ten Commandments, Lisa realized her family was on a pathway to Hell by stealing cable.
Lisa watched as a majority of Springfield, including her own mother, participated in petty thievery on a constant basis. But no matter how hard Lisa tried she couldn’t make her father understand the error of his ways. In an attempt to save her father’s soul from fiery damnation, Lisa staged a non-violent protest outside of her home during the epic, highly anticipated boxing showdown featuring Drederick Tatum (the show’s homage to pugilistic master Mike Tyson).
As the night progressed, Homer became more and more conflicted with his once-pleasing, yet illegal actions until he had no choice but to cut the cable line when everyone left. You don’t have to believe in God, Heaven or Hell to be quilted into rectifying a wrong; especially if you have a little girl with high ethical standards. So just make it easy on yourself and your conscience and don’t steal.