(Make sure you read part one) 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 five – part two).
Old People Are Not Useless (Episode 11: “Homer the Vigilante”)
Midway through the season, crime had rattled the very foundation of Springfield when home invasions by a cat burglar resulted in the stolen property of everyone ranging from Krusty the Clown to the Simpson family. Upset over his family being burgled, Homer took it upon himself to find the “Springfield Cat Burglar” (est. 1957) before this unidentified thief could steal the crown jewel of Springfield – the world’s largest cubic zirconia located inside Springfield Museum.
But it wasn’t the “youthful” vigor of Homer and his band of doorknob-carrying vigilantes that caught the dastardly cat burglar, but the keen eye of Abe “Grandpa” Simpson – Homer’s father who was, according to his son, too old to be of any help. How? Because the person responsible was a nursing home resident, too! Come to find out, a sneaker-wearing, shifty eye-having, wall-climbing individual named “Molloy” was responsible. And to the shock of everyone, Grandpa was right as Molloy returned the items before using a fake treasure hunt to convince the town to leave his presence while Molloy dug his way out of his jail cell.
So from now on don’t think people of elderly age are incapable of doing things mostly associated with individuals half their age. In actuality, years of knowledge and exercise can make the eldest among us the greatest of criminals.
Fame is Fleeting (Episode 12: “Bart Gets Famous”)
Very few, if any stories of famous individuals begin with a story of someone visiting a box factory where, as one would assume, is a place where boxes are created. But for Bart, a harrowing adventure to escape a school field trip to the local “Box Factory” saw him befriend his hero Krusty the Clown by stealing local news anchor Kent Brockman’s pre-show Danish pastry to give to Bart’s favorite TV star. Thanks to a lack of attention, Bart triggered Sideshow Mel’s lactose intolerance; leaving Krusty without a second in his antics. The end result was Bart messing up everything by destroying all the on-stage props before exclaiming, “I didn’t do it!”
The crowd loved Bart’s statement, making him an overnight comedy sensation. Krusty was happy to squeeze every penny out of this new laugh-inducing phenomenon with t-shirts, dolls, and even a remix of MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This”. But Bart eventually grew tired of being a repetitive buffoon until his mother convinced him to perform to the best of his abilities because it made other people happy.
Just as Bart accepted his role in the televised circus that was Krusty’s show, the fickle viewing audience found themselves tired of Bart’s new catchphrase. Poor Bart didn’t even have a chance to reinvent himself when he was literally shown the door and kicked out to become a true one-hit wonder in the world of TV. Though it can come and go in an instant without the ability for one to even appreciate what he or she had before it’s gone. Or they could be like Krusty and overstay their welcome to the point people don’t think someone’s famous anymore; they just believe that person is dead.
Everything Will Go Back to Normal (Episode 16: “Homer Loves Flanders”)
Poor Homer, never able to win anything, found himself with football fever but no ability to buy tickets to the big game. Then something wonderful happened: Homer’s neighbor Ned Flanders won a pair of tickets and invited Homer to the game. Homer, who doesn’t have the best opinion of Ned, begrudgingly accepted and tried to avoid being seen with his neighbor until Flanders got the game-winning football for Homer after the game. Not satisfied with simply being nice to Ned from now on, Homer became obsessed with the Flanders family; creating something of a parasitic relationship that destroyed Ned’s grip on reality and caused the God-fearing Flanders family’s patriarch to dream about going on a murderous rampage (while paying homage to the movie “Vertigo”).
Homer’s children questioned more and more about their father’s growing obsession with Ned Flanders and whether or not their days of zaniness were over when the show seemingly concluded with Homer restoring Ned’s ailing good name (mostly thanks to Homer’s actions anyway). The show flashed forward as both the viewer and Bart & Lisa discovered the Homer-Ned relationship had returned to its normal state where Homer hated Flanders. If TV shows have taught us anything it’s things will naturally return to the status quo for no rhyme or reason a week after each wacky adventure.
Any Marriage Can Be Saved (Episode 22: “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”)
Finally coming to terms with his stupidity, Homer, rather than going back to school (like the “Homer Goes to College” episode early in the season), took it upon himself to educate others about the “secrets” of a successful marriage. Unfortunately for Homer, his analogies regarding such subjects as weddings and arousing one’s partner (similar to peeling and eating an orange) fell on deaf ears.
Lamenting loudly, Homer started revealing personal secrets from his own marriage. It didn’t take long before people started talking behind Marge’s back, making fun of her sexual exploits with her big-mouthed husband. Following a special “class” where Homer’s students monitored his family over dinner, Moe eventually suggested to Homer to nibble Marge’s elbow to calm her reasonable anger. This was the final straw for the Simpson matriarch, resulting in her kicking Homer out of the house and forcing him to live in his son’s tree house. With everyone suggesting Marge leave Homer and her husband’s mental stability cracking under the pressure of being alone (causing him to create a Marge plant), Lisa takes it upon herself to make Homer solve this problem.
And solve he did as Homer reentered his home with the realization that he could offer Marge something no one else could, “Complete and utter dependence!” Though Marge seemed apprehensive, she felt an unyielding compassion and pride to know that someone was completely dependent on her to survive that she let Homer back into her heart. If you ever hurt the feelings of your significant other enough to be cast out of their lives, and you want to work it out, just admit that you can’t literally live without them. If they have a caring bone in their body, they’ll take you back with a smile on their face.