“Why you little…”
For decades, after Homer Simpson yelled those three words he would wrap his hands tightly around his son Bart’s neck causing the youngster’s eyes to bulge out and tongue to protrude out of his mouth. Homer would hold on tight as the skateboarding youngster gasped for air.
It is one of the most recognizable scenes from the long-running animated sitcom, but it appears Homer has had a change of heart.
A recent episode of “The Simpsons” has gone viral after the doughnut enthusiast revealed he’s stopped choking his son.
In the Oct. 22 episode titled “McMansion & Wife,” Homer and Marge greet their new neighbor Thayer.
The new neighbor commended Homer on his strong handshake, to which he credited to one thing:
“See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off,” he bragged to his wife.
“Just kidding, I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed,” he then explained in the second episode of the show’s 35th season.
The scene caught the internet’s attention when it was posted to X, formerly Twitter on Nov. 1.
“I just found out that, after over 30 years, ‘The Simpsons’ has finally retired their long-running gag of Homer strangling Bart. Took them long enough,” the user wrote.
Reactions then began pouring in with some commending the move and others slamming it.
“I knew my man Homer was gonna learn,” replied one user.
“Homer will no longer choke Bart. It’s time for ‘The Simpsons’ to go,” one user posted to X.
“Homer Simpson will no longer choke Bart on the Simpsons anymore because ‘times have changed.’ I’m sorry when was it considered okay to choke out your son again? 1989?” another wrote.
Others wondered who was actually still watching the show.
“‘I can’t believe Homer isn’t going to choke Bart anymore!'” The same people that haven’t watched The Simpsons in 25 years,” wrote one user.
Fans on social media noted that Homer actually hasn’t strangled Bart for quite some time, about four years ago to be exact.
The Independent reported that the last time the fictional character was shown choking Bart was during Season 31, which ran between 2019 and 2020.
“The topic of parent-child violence had been covered on several occasions before that,” the outlet said.
In Season 22’s episode titled “Love is a Many Strangled Thing”, Homer stops strangling Bart after he attends a fathering enrichment class. During the class, the tables are turned on Homer after a large basketball player, played by real-life former Los Angeles Lakers star Kareem Abdul Jabbar, teaches Homer what it feels like “to be young, small, and terrified” by strangling him, and letting his friends do it too.
Homer’s traumatized by the situation and refrains from strangling Bart, even when he misbehaves.
But he soon went back to his old ways in Season 24’s 12th episode titled “Love is a Many-Splintered Thing.” The choke even frightened Bart’s friend Milhouse.
“The Simpsons” premiered in 1989 and has long touched on controversial topics. The show has also been slammed for its use of racial stereotypes.
In 2017, the Matt Groenig-created series was called out over its depiction of Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu, in the documentary “The Problem with Apu.”
Hari Kondabolu, who wrote and starred in the doc, called out actor Hank Azaria as “a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father”.
Azaria admitted this past April in the podcast “The Fallout of the Callout: Code Switching” that he now finds his casting “embarrassing” and acknowledged how his portrayal of Apu led to “the broader dehumanization of Desi people in the United States.”
Azaria stepped down as the voice of Apu in January of 2020. The last time he voiced the character was in the Season 29 premiere in 2017.