Homer Simpson is not known for his parenting style. No one is going to him for advice on raising kids, even after watching him raise them for a whopping 34 seasons of The Simpsons. He did not exactly give off good dad vibes, especially with his precocious son Bart. Who, we all know, he has taken to strangling on a regular basis. But that’s all in the past now. Because Homer recently admitted that he will not be strangling Bart any longer, so I guess everyone can grow and learn as parents.
In the Oct. 22 episode of The Simpsons called “McMansion & Wife,” Homer (Dan Castellenata) heads over to meet his new neighbor Thayer (Hank Azaria) with wife Marge (Julie Kavner). When Thayer notes that Homer has “quite a grip,” the dad of three turned to his wife and said, “See, Marge, strangling the boy has paid off.” The boy in question, Bart (Nancy Cartwright) has been getting chased and strangled for years, and it has never stopped him from being a little mischief maker. Which could be why Homer went on to say, “Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed!”
Homer might have addressed his long history as the Springfield Strangler (with only one victim, of course, his own son) on this episode, but in reality the dad has not strangled Bart on The Simpsons since season 31, which aired from 2019 to 2020. Maybe it took him this long to address his behavior.
This is not the only change The Simpsons has made in recent years in an effort to move with the times. The show had a long history of white actors voicing characters of color, perhaps most notably with Hank Azaria voicing Indian-American convenience store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon until January 2020 when he stepped away from the part. Azaria explained to The New York Times that it was the “right thing to do,” especially once he realized that his portrayal reinforced harmful stereotypes. “Once I realized that that was the way this character was thought of, I just didn’t want to participate in it anymore,” Azaria said in 2020. “It just didn’t feel right.”
The Simpsons has managed to tap into the pop cultural zeitgeist for more than 30 years now, somehow staying relevant while also maintaining its warmth and sense of humor. Their decision to grow and change is a big part of that.
We don’t need to see Homer strangling Bart anymore. In fact, we didn’t even notice it had stopped.