The Simpsons as a study of (my) life

by Katherine Giese

It has been generally accepted that The Simpsons is a study of life. It may be less widely known, however, that The Simpsons is a study of my life. I’m not a big proponent of coincidence, but believe strongly in fate. Why, then, is my life irrevocably intertwined with The Simpsons?

When I was younger, I felt that my father and Homer were virtually interchangeable – but now I’m starting to see similarities between myself and Homer! I mean, we both love potato chips, have a penchant for laziness, and are quite terrifying when we try too hard…

Like in the episode ‘Grampa vs Sexual Inadequacy’:

Bart: No offense, Homer, but your half-assed under-parenting was a lot more fun than your half-assed over-parenting.

Homer: But I’m using my whole ass.

Lisa: Dad, it’s just that too much of your love can really be…scary.

Homer: Someday you’ll thank me for all this scary love.


Then, there are the eerie similarities between Marge and myself. We both have a fear of flying, as revealed in the cryptically titled episode, ‘Fear of Flying’.

Marge: Homer, I’ve never told you this before, but I’m not a good flyer. [pants, gasps] I have to get off the plane.  Let me off the plane.  [stands up] I’m asking you nicely to open the doors!

Homer: Take it easy, Marge.  How about if we dope you up real good?

Marge: [screaming] Let me off let me off let me off let me off let me off let me off — [runs up and down the aisle]

So, maybe I’ve never actually set foot on a plane, but I’ve done practically the same thing on trains…though without the running up and down the aisle.

And Marge’s agoraphobia in ‘Strong Arms of the Ma’. She claimed that she was “Too crazy to go outside; not crazy enough to have imaginary friends.” I mean, who hasn’t felt like that at some point?

Then there’s Bart; Bart, Bart, Bart, Bart, Bart. Well, in all honesty, I can’t think of too much that we have in common…though it may surprise you that we’re both fond of wordplay, the more insubordinate, the better. In ‘How the Test Was Won’, an episode that struck a chord with me due to its handling of the dreaded standardised test, a bugbear of education professionals everywhere, Principal Skinner and Bart had the following exchange:

Bart: So what’s the plan now, Skinrash?

Principal Skinner: My name is not Skinrash. It’s Principal Skinner, and you will refer to me as such.

Bart: Sure thing, Such.

Principal Skinner: I’ll deal with your insubordinate wordplay later.

Lisa and I are more along the lines of kindred spirits. She’s a goody two-shoes, obsessed with school and good grades. She once got a heads-up that she was failing gym… As a student, I was an all-rounder, except for P.E. In Year 10, when we were doing a gym circuit, my teacher wouldn’t even let me attempt to lift the barbell for shoulder presses. He told me to wait a bit, before getting a broom handle for me to lift!!! Oh, the indignity! Lisa’s self-worth is all tied into her achievements at school, and she requires constant validation.

In ‘The PTA Disbands’:

Lisa: [panting] Grade me…look at me…evaluate and rank me!  Oh, I’m good, good, good, and oh so smart!  Grade me!

[Marge scribbles an A on a piece of paper]

[Lisa walks off, muttering crazily and sighing]

My sense of worth is so tied into school life that I became a teacher so I’d never have to leave school!!!

Finally, there’s Maggie. Maggie is the most difficult member of the Simpson family for me to relate to. The best I can do is acknowledge that, like Maggie with her pacifier, sometimes I just suck. Meh.

As the beginning of the 2011 school year approaches and I contemplate how I am going to reinvigorate my teaching this time around, I can feel deep down that nothing is really going to change. Same old, same old. Like The Simpsons on Channel 10, my teaching practice seems to be stuck on repeat. But then, it hits me…The Simpsons won’t be on Channel 10 this year – they’ve moved across to Channel 11! Maybe this year will be one of change after all.


  1. Bluto to Flunder “My advice to you is to start drinking heavily”

  2. Dóhh that should be “Flounder”

  3. Great piece, Katherine.

    Have you graduated beyond the broom yet?

    I don’t want to align myself too much with Homer but many’s the time I’ve asked myself, “donuts, is there anything they can’t do…?

  4. Good to see you on here Katherine! If your writing is anything like Susie’s, you definitely belong at the Almanac.

    Interesting topic as well. We all have a little bit of Homer Simpson in us don’t we?

  5. Thanks for the welcome, guys. :) I’m pleased to say that I have, in fact, graduated to the use of real weights. I kick some serious butt at gym these days. ;)

  6. Katherine, let’s not downplay the long, heroic journey to real weights.

    First, it was the broomstick. Then the mop. Then the mop with buckets on the end. Then, gradually, bit by tiny bit we added water to these buckets.

    Ten years on, and we’ve finally graduated to weights – 1.15kg discs each end of the barbell :P

    Love you lots, Sis. Great writing :D . Let’s get these creative juices working on some Geelong articles this year, eh?

  7. KG,

    Outstanding. The kids must be hanging out for your classes if your reference point (for everything) is The Simpsons. I know I would be.

    Any chance of a snap of the mop with buckets of water on the end?


  8. Bob Ellis, in his marvellous overland lecture, claimed that the Simpsons was the only vehicle by which American kids came in contact with Marxism!

  9. If I could add a couple of my fave Simpsons lines:

    I hate every chimp I see
    From Chimpan-A to Chimpanzee
    No, they’ll never make a monkey outa me


    Grampa: Out of my way, I got a date with an angel.
    Jasper: You don’t know how right you are, Abe.
    Grampa: What?
    Jasper: I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Bea passed away last night.
    Grampa: Oh no.
    Jasper: It was her ticker. The doctor said her left ventricle burst.
    Grampa: No, Jasper. They may say she died from a burst ventricle, but I know she died of a broken heart.

  10. :O Maria’s sister! :)
    welcome, we need more gals on here! ;)

  11. Hi Danni! Thanks :) Now…why do you call Susie ‘Maria’?

  12. 11- lol good question.
    Well Susie and i decided we LOVE muzzas so much that we should be ‘Marias’and we all know that Marias are basically muzza loving girls.
    We also share this nickname because, as you may or may not know, we seem to have a scary amount in common, we might aswell add a shared nickname to that list. :)
    I look forward to more of your pieces!

    Danni :)

  13. #6: By the way Susie, can’t wait to see those creative juices writing about how North Melbourne will perfectly dismantle Geelong on Feb 20 at Kardinia Park. :)

  14. Josh, I draw the line at writing about fictional/fantasy games of football.

    Only facts and realities here :D

  15. Well, comment 6 excluded :p

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