Over the years, The Simpsons has given fans several memorable moments, with one of its most famous recurring gags being when Homer strangles Bart.
In Season 35, Episode 3 titled “McMansion & Wife,” which premiered on October 22, Homer demonstrates a shift in his behavior when he and Marge meet their new neighbor, Thayer. Upon their introduction, Thayer compliments Homer on his firm handshake, to which Homer jokingly responds, “See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off.” He quickly amends, saying, “Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed.”
Fans observed that the last instance of Homer strangling Bart occurred in Season 31. According to IGN, this particular episode aired between 2019 and 2020.
Homer’s reality check.
This gag had been a point of discussion for a while, dating back to a Season 22 episode titled “Love is a Many Strangled Thing,” which aired in March 2011. In that episode, former NBA star Kareem Abdul Jabbar, playing a basketball player, teaches Homer a lesson by momentarily strangling him, leading Homer to cease strangling Bart.
While this recurring gag had garnered controversy in the past, some fans of The Simpsons were still dissatisfied when Homer indicated his change of behavior. However, others noted that such instances of strangling Bart had become increasingly rare in the later seasons of the show.
Other controversies from “The Simpsons.”
The Simpsons has also had to rethink some of its character portrayals in recent years. The show’s character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon drew criticism for its negative stereotypes and even inspired a documentary called The Problem with Apu in 2017. Hank Azaria, who’s 59, stepped down from the role in 2020, and they haven’t recast Apu. Although the character has been making background appearances since then.
Whenever a long-running show like The Simpsons makes a change, you can bet there’ll be fans voicing their thoughts. Old and new fans alike had plenty to say about the Homer-strangling-Bart gag phasing out. Take a look at some fan reactions below.