Insight: The Simpsons: Is Homer Really Done Strangling Bart?

The running gag is almost as iconic as the series itself. Homer lashing out at Bart, screaming “Why You Little!” followed by a violent grab of Bart’s spaghetti neck that causes the young boy’s head to expand wildly in a manner that only animation can really deliver. The bit was actually inspired by Matt Groening’s own upbringing when his father Abe used to spank him after getting into trouble. The bit has been used numerous times starting even way back when the franchise was a part of the Tracy Ullman shorts.

But is that all about to change? In a recent episode of The Simpsons entitled “McMansion & Wife“, Homer notes that he no longer has the urge to strangle Bart anymore because “times have changed”. But do they? Because most recently on this week’s episode of The Simpsons for the 34th rendition of the Treehouse of Horror, we got to see “Kirk-as-Homer” strangle “Milhouse-as-Homer” after a virus spreads all through Springfield turning everyone into Homer clones. So, it seems, strangling won’t go away anytime soon.

It’s important to note that nothing The Simpsons does or say should be construed as “canon” which in this day-and-age I know some of you GenZ fans raised on Marvel movies just drives you nuts, but it’s true. The series is episodic by nature and design. Unfortunately, the series has become increasingly bending into subjective wokeness as seen in the voice actor changes over the last few years which has seen the show replace character voices once renditioned by straight white men and women with that of actors that are PoC or LGBTQIA. Or, in some cases, actors pass away in which case the producers just get a different voice actor. Personally, I think this is the less creative way to deal with the “inclusiveness” argument as I think it would have been more fun and creative to replace the characters rather than the actors.

How else will the woke-mind virus infect The Simpsons thereby continuing to hollow out the franchise of its ever-decreasing fanbase? Twitter is largely dead which is probably depressing to some of the writers who rely on the social platform to get their punchlines as of late, fortunately, it seems as though the classic “Why You Little!” bit seems to be safe…for now.

Update 11/12/23: The producers have responded with a hilarious meme.

Update 11/18/23: James L. Brooks says nothing is changing as it pertains to Bart being choked.


The longest-running primetime scripted show in television history, THE SIMPSONS exploded into popular culture in 1989 and has remained one of the most groundbreaking and innovative entertainment franchises, recognizable throughout the world. HOMER (Dan Castellaneta), MARGE (Julie Kavner), BART (Nancy Cartwright), LISA (Yeardley Smith) and MAGGIE are instantly identifiable television icons. Rounding out this cast of characters are many beloved Springfield residents, including tavern proprietor MOE SZYSLAK (Hank Azaria) and nuclear power plant owner MR. BURNS (Harry Shearer). The Emmy Award-, Annie Award- and Peabody Award-winning animated comedy will begin its 34th season this year. In the premiere, Homer is desperate to prove he’s not dumb and sets out to solve the case of the tortoise missing from the zoo. Season 34 also will feature a double dose of “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, marking the first time in the show’s history there have been two “Treehouse”-branded episodes in a single Halloween. One of this fall’s two “Treehouse of Horror” episodes will be a full-length parody of “It,” with Krusty the Clown playing Pennywise, the evil clown character. Guest voice appearances this season include Simu Liu, Anna Faris, John Roberts as BOB’S BURGERS’ Linda Belcher, and Melissa McCarthy, who will play Homer’s rival for Grampa’s love.

THE SIMPSONS is a Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Television. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean and Matt Selman are the executive producers. The Gracie Films Worldwide Brand Division develops and produces the licensed content for the series.