Thursday, June 7, 2012

Character Analysis: Homer Simpson

So the results are in, and the character analysis choice won. So, for the next few weeks, I'll be taking a look at the characters of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie (As well as any other I can think of that have changed significantly) and how much they've changed. First up is Homer, and for those of you who regularly read this blog, you know how much I hate Modern Homer, so I'll try to be analytical here instead of rage filled. Oh and an early side note, unless it's important, I'll be ignoring Season 1 for characterizing them as Season 1's characterization of Homer and Lisa in particular are off from the rest of their normal characterization.

Classic Homer:
Classic Homer in my eyes was a misunderstanding father who took the easy approach to things and wasn't the type of role model you would want to be to kids. However, Homer always had good intentions whenever he was around his family.

  • Bad father with good intentions
    • In Lisa's Substitute, Homer focuses so much attention on Bart and his campaign that he can't even see that his daughter is taking a substitute teacher as her new father figure. Even when he takes a trip with Lisa and Mr. Bergstrom, Bergstrom tries to tell him to be a better father figure to Lisa, but he doesn't think he needs to be despite the fact that throughout the trip, she spends more time with Berstrom than her own father. It escalates to the point where at the dinner table Lisa's sad over Bergstrom's departure and Homer doesn't understand why she's sad. However, Homer redeems himself by cheering up Lisa and Bart with some talks which showed that his heart's in the right place, even if his brain isn't. 
Baboon Homer love Lisa
  • Loving husband
    • While Homer has had his temptations (Lurlee Lumpkin and Mindy Simmons to name two) he has always loved Marge first. And while he has gotten into numerous fights with Marge, in the end they will always love each other. Their love is not based on a physical attraction, but rather a deep emotional bond shared together after Homer faked learning French just to get to know Marge better in High School (Fuck you That 90's Show). Homer gave Marge a pretty crappy wedding and has done a lot of irrational things, like spend more money on temporary tattoos over gifts for his wife. Marge has every reason to leave Homer, but I do believe that if a gunman held Marge hostage, Homer would do everything he could up to getting shot to save her. 
I totally want this reception
  • Lazy worker
    • Let's face it, we've all had that "Homer Simpson" co-worker or classmate at one point in our lives. That one guy who seemed to coast through, doing as little work as possible and yet somehow coming out on top. This was highlighted in Homer's Enemy where Grimes was the embodiment of a hard working human being who has been screwed over time and time again, while Homer symbolized everything wrong with America. However, this still works because while it went to show how far removed The Simpsons was from reality, it still was able to keep some sort of attachment to that same reality. Homer is not the ideal worker and basically the opposite end of the spectrum of what an employer would want (A trait that would be forgotten entirely by the Modern Simpsons). While this is a vice of his, it's still a defining character trait that must be mentioned.
That's my type of co-worker! I'm sure not to get fired first

Modern/Zombie/Jerkass Homer:
I think I could write a thesis on how much Jerkass Homer sucks and how far removed he is from Classic Homer. But you're not here to read for days, so let's make this short. 
  • Walking punchline
    • I've said this so many times that it's become a broken record, Homer gets very few lines of dialogue that a normal person would say. An example that comes to mind is The Scorpion's Tale. If I recall correctly, Homer had a grand total of two or so lines that weren't meant to be followed by a laughtrack. Even worse was the majority of his actions felt like shoehorned in punchlines. For instance, Lisa discovers that her medicine makes scorpions docile and she tells that to Homer. Unlike a real father or human being, he tells her "If you were a boy, you'd be a scientist". I've said it before but I'll say it again, the only way it could have been worse was if Homer had followed that up with "Now go to the kitchen where you belong and make me a sammich!" That particular line was par for Homer's dialogue in recent years as he's devoid of actual character and speaks awkward dialogue that would be laughed off the set of Two and a Half Men. But that's JUST the dialogue part, I could go into the numerous occasions of stupid actions, but I'll just list one more from that episode. So after that atrocious line, Homer sees Grampa acting grumpy and he decides to use Lisa's medicine to clean his shirt... it's actually worse when you hear the dialogue.
This makes LESS sense in context
  • Human pinata
    • Slapstick can be funny, we all enjoy other people's suffering. Why do you think AFV lasted for as long as it did? But when the slapstick is part of the character's main trait and is used over, and over and over and over and over and over and... you get the point. Now it's not like Homer wasn't injured for the sake of laughs in the classics, don't get me wrong. But I'd just like to compare two scenarios to try to prove a point here. In Bart the Daredevil, Homer, like the good father he is, tries to save Bart from hurting himself. Bart promises not to jump the Gorge and Homer accidentally jumps it instead. What results is the most overused bit of Homer falling down getting hurt all the way. While it is overused in my opinion, it's still funny, there was the set up of Homer trying to be a good father and more or less accidentally taking a bullet for Bart. There is humor in that scene and it works great. Now in A Mid Summer's Nice Dream on the other hand, Homer brings Cheech (Or Chong, I don't care, the episode sucked and I'm not watching it again to confirm which one it was) to the stage to reunite with the other and Homer ends up grabbing a random rope that causes bags of sand to fall on him. There was no setup for it, the scene wasn't the least bit interesting and it was just random as the next time we see Homer, it's like nothing happened. 
Most recent photo of Homer

  • Jerkass Homer
    • When Homer was selfish back in the classics, there was usually some sort of repercussion in the end. Homer denounces religion and embraces sloth? He gets saved by everyone from a house fire. He prays for Flanders' business to crash and burn? He ends up saving it in the end. The point I'm trying to make here is that even at his worst, he still was able to change and be a likable character in the end. The latter however was removed when Jean decided to advance Scully's ideas and make Homer a full-on jerkass. Now this character trait also covers his "Instant Expert" as well as his selfishness because they just go hand-in-hand. By the writer's standards, Homer can never be blamed for anything and should be worshiped like a God. For example, in Them Robots, Homer goes through a painfully unfunny sequence where he can't consume alcohol and 'hilarity' ensues. He ends it by spitting on some food and everyone applauds him for it. I don't care if the man started shitting out golden eggs, if he ruined my breakfast, I'd punch him in the face, not applaud him. For another example, I refer back to the awful The Scorpion's Tale episode. Towards the end, Homer has basically what amounts to a 2 minute soliloquy meant to set up how bad his generation his. And after he wrecks his car, the next time we see him, his car is overturned and he's dancing around it shirtless...there is no rhyme or reason to Homer's actions, it's just what the writers think is funny. 
Such a jerkass that he even got them trademarked


  1. So you're supporting the Simpsons' belief that you have to be religious to be a good person and it's ok to stalk and attack people who don't want to be religious.

  2. I would compare Modern Homer to Bender from Futurama but Bender gets his comeuppance sooner or later.

  3. With suggestions for other characters to do, there is Flanders. However, even though it is technically not a character it could be worth doing guest stars (as themself or voicing a character). There is a fair bit of difference if you look at the roster then and now as well as the appearences then and now etc.

  4. Say, its been a month (minus 1 day). Any chance of more characters? Like maybe do Lisa since she's now a bitch?

    1. Yeah I've been kinda lazy recently ^_^; and I wanted to make an apology post about that. I have been working on Lisa and HOPEFULLY it should be out Monday. I'll also be working on another over the weekend so that hopefully this doesn't happen again and I can resume a normal schedule.

  5. I'm still not sold on Lisa's substitute as an example of Bad father with good intentions. The whole episode Homer was doing nothing but actively avoiding Lisa, and the times he was with her he did nothing but whine and make only the most careless jerkass remarks. Even after Lisa explodes at him when he makes the "Just because I don't care" remark, he has complain on how HIS feelings were hurt.

    Then the episode tries to gloss over this with a last minute "Oh I so sorry please forgive me" scenario in which he is immediately forgiven, which is the crutch of many bad modern Simpsons episodes.

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