Homer Simpson has decided to put an end to his infamous act of strangling his son, Bart, a choice driven by contemporary sentiments that has sparked a passionate debate among fans. This significant departure from the long-standing running gag was unveiled in the third episode of Season 35, titled 'McMansion & Wife.' In this episode, Homer Simpson encounters his new neighbor and makes a pivotal announcement: he will no longer engage in the cartoonish act of choking his son.
The revelation of this transformation occurs during a handshake between Homer and his neighbor. As the neighbor notes the firmness of the handshake, Homer quips, "See, Marge, strangling the boy paid off." He quickly follows up by saying, "Just kidding, I don't do that anymore. Times have changed." Fans interpreted this development as a not-so-subtle indication from Disney, the current owner of 'The Simpsons' intellectual property, that they were retiring this enduring comedic trope that has been a staple of the show for years.
Before this episode, the show's creators had already experimented with the idea of Homer evolving and refraining from strangling Bart. In Season 22, Homer sought therapy and gained insight into the harm he was causing by attacking his son. However, in subsequent seasons, Homer continued to intermittently choke Bart, with the last instance occurring in the 2019/2020 seasons. Nevertheless, it now appears that the creators are acknowledging the end of this recurring gag.
Homer's decision to abandon his strangling tendencies has generated mixed reactions. Some viewers have criticized the move as 'The Simpsons' going 'woke,' while others have praised it for its progressive change.
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