Monday, January 4, 2021

#MicroblogMondays: "The Simpsons" & childlessness

I knew almost immediately from the first minute or two of "The Simpsons" last night (season 32, episode 11, "The Dad-Feelings Limited") that the episode was being set up as a "parents vs childless" thing (which "The Simpsons" has done before). 

I was right. 

I may not get all the fine details right here, pulling them from my memory, but here's how the story unfolded:  Homer & Marge spend Saturday morning shepherding their kids to umpteen exhausting birthday parties full of screaming children, while Comic Book Guy & his Japanese wife Kumiko enjoy a leisurely breakfast, doing whatever they want.  Desperate to get out (& away from the kids), Homer & Marge wind up at Moe's for trivia night where their table/teammates are... Comic Book Guy & Kumiko. They're a perfect team, filling in each others' knowledge gaps. 

At the Simpsons house, baby Maggie starts crying upstairs, and Marge asks Kumiko to get her. Kumiko protests that she knows nothing about babies. Of course, as soon as she picks up Maggie, she falls in love with her, and as soon as she gets back home, she demands that Comic Book Guy make a baby with her. Comic Book Guy protests that he doesn't want kids. (You think they would have discussed this before they got married??)  There's a hilarious line to the effect that he can't have kids with all these toys in the house (!).  

After spending time with the Simpson kids (at an outdoor movie screening... at the cemetery?!!), he retreats to his childhood home, and we are treated to Comic Book Guy's backstory. His dad (voiced by Dan Aykroyd!) is known as "Postage Stamp Fellow," and there's also a bunch of eccentric (childless, of course...) aunts & uncles who collect various things. After resolving his childhood trauma, Comic Book Guy decides he is ready to be a father. (!) 

I said, "I knew it!"  Dh rolled his eyes and reminded me "It's just a cartoon!" 

I do generally enjoy "The Simpsons" (albeit not as much as dh...!) -- it's full of clever writing and sharp social commentary. But its depiction of childless characters is frequently stereotypical and often leaves a great deal to be desired (even while it sends it up the foibles of parenthood and the idea of the Simpsons as an "ideal" family). Consider some of the childless characters on the show: bartender Moe, hapless salesman Gil, Marge's sisters Patty & Selma (until she adopts Chinese baby Ling), the Crazy Cat Lady, Bart's teacher Edna Krabapple (in earlier seasons)... 

Did you see the episode? (Do you watch "The Simpsons"?)  What do you think?  

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here


  1. Ugh. And I laughed at your comment and your DH's comment. That's exactly how it would have gone down in our house too! lol

    I didn't see the episode. Used to watch the Simpson's regularly, but haven't for a long time now - for no reason really. Because as you point out, they do have some hilarious lines.

    But yes, their treatment of childless people is stereotypical and, therefore, unrepresentative. Sigh. I'm kind of glad I didn't (and probably won't) see the episode.

  2. Ugh, gross. Is be mad even though it's a cartoon, too! 😉 I haven't watched The Simpsons in ages, but always loved the Treehouse of Horror specials. Now that you mention it, the childless characters really are not great. A big harrumph to that.

  3. Well now I need to watch this one. DH and I used to love Simpsons but haven't watched in awhile (like everyone else, apparently).

    Sounds like just as cartoonish as the portrayal of childlessness is the portrayal of getting over trauma.

  4. You inspired me to check this out.
    So DH and I sat and watched it, both of us more and more uncomfortable as the episode unfolded...and then when it ended we looked at each other and that what you came up with?! Come on low hanging fruit...I think it left us both angry and run over.
    there is a cemetery in LA does/did movie night I think that where they referenced.
    The Wes Anderson nod was fun but disappointing too...

    1. I'm sorry you feel run over... but glad it's not just me...!