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 four).
Saviors Come From All Religions (Episode 3: “Homer the Heretic”)
Most inhabitants of the United States have come to that moment where they just don’t want to go their place of worship with their family or by themselves. Some opt to dredge through the weekly ritual while others decide that the “necessity” isn’t necessarily for them. On a cold, snowy winter’s day, Homer chose the latter. As his family suffered through the church service (only finding relief in the Hell-based sermon being preached in a church with a malfunctioning furnace), the Simpson family’s patriarch enjoyed a warm shower, cooked a heart attack-inducing waffle and even found a “lucky” penny.
Homer, after seeing the benefits of skipping church, decided to give up a portion of his faith (the portion involving him leaving the house for a few hours a week and possibly making God angry for picking the wrong religion). Hearing about Homer’s heresy, many members of the Springfield’s Christian community tried their best to convert Homer back to a right standing with the Lord. But Homer stood steadfast in his new beliefs – denying religious-based charities and mocking the gods of others. Maybe “stood” wasn’t a good word to use. Homer lazily set his house on fire by falling asleep while smoking a cigar after claiming, “Everyone is stupid except me.”
With Homer trapped and his dog happy to steal his dying master’s candy rather than save him, Homer was dependent on the kindness of volunteer fire fighters from all religious walks of life; from Apu the Hindu to the Jewish Krusty the Clown. You never know when the quality of someone’s heart, not his or her religion will matter in your time of need. Oh, and the Lord is vengeful. Show me who to smite and they will be smoted!
Discipline to Greatness (Episode 6: “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie”)
Another school year, another parent-teacher meeting. With two children almost at the same age, Marge and Homer Simpson had the chore of going to two different classes to find out what was going on with their children in school. Homer got the best end of the deal, hearing the praises of his daughter from Lisa’s teacher. Marge, on the other hand, was forced to not only find out her son was a menace, but also that Bart potentially sodomized a fellow classmate with a firecracker and had the potential of being an overweight stripper being pelted by beer bottles when he becomes an adult.
Worried about her son’s future, Marge tried to put her foot down in finally disciplining Bart. Sadly for Marge, her husband had a hard time sticking to his disciplinary guns, inevitably caving into Bart’s puppy dog eyes, the sounds of an ice cream truck approaching and sheer laziness. Eventually enough had become enough and Homer found the perfect way to punish his son for doing something dastardly: ban him from seeing “The Itchy & Scratchy Movie” forever.
Homer put forth one of the greatest parenting efforts of his entire life, ripping up Bart’s pre-purchased tickets, handing out warning signs to the local theaters to alert ticket-takers and monitoring his son’s actions for several months. Homer’s hard work would eventually pay off thanks to a flash forward clip featuring Homer finally joining his son – now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – in seeing the movie that once consumed Bart’s thoughts.
For parents questioning how they can turn their hellion kids into model citizens, look no further than to the actions of Homer Simpson. His disciplinary ways and (eventual) rigid nature helped a boy walking the path to destruction veer off and take the road of greatness.
Be Careful Who You Motivate (Episode 9: “Mr. Plow”)
Winter was here once again in Springfield when Homer decided to take a snowy ride home when he wrecked both of his family’s cars. Having no willpower and easily coerced to purchase items supposedly made to better his life, Homer actually stumbled onto a true money maker in a snow plow. Homer transformed into “Mr. Plow”, snow plower extraordinaire – eventually being awarded the Key to the City.
Fellow barfly Barney Gumble lamented that he wanted to be a hero just like his buddy Homer, only for Homer to give him a motivational speech about going out and making things happen in his life rather than sit and whine like the baby he was dressed as (he had to make some money somehow). The next morning, Homer awoke to find almost every driveway already plowed. The person responsible was none other than “The Plow King” Barney. Barney suddenly became a local sensation while killing Homer’s business.
So be careful when you try to motivate someone while running a successful business. Not only could they steal your idea, they might actually become your competition and you’ll be left with the options of being run out of business or putting your best friend in a potentially fatal situation (like a hazardous mountain during a blizzard).