Review: The Simpsons “Mad About the Toy”

Has Grandpa Simpson been living his best life, or is it time for him to explore his sexuality?


It’s Homer and Marge’s anniversary, and Grandpa is in charge of babysitting.  Unfortunately, a collection of green army men toys trigger a flashback to his days in the war.  It turns out that he was the model that helped to design the toys.  Grandpa tells the story but struggles to remember all of the details.  The family believes he may be entitled to millions of dollars in royalties.

The toy company flies the family out to New York, but Grandpa’s contract was never completed.  He remembers that the photographer made an advance on him and scared him off before the job was completed.  Grandpa decides to confront the man who he ended up getting fired.  Yet, it turns out that the man is completely happy, and maybe it is Grandpa that has been living in regret.

Our Take:

Of course, The Simpsons offer us another great opening credits.  This one was all about New Years and celebrating 2019 – Happy New Year by the way.  2019 is significant for The Simpsons as it officially marks the 30-year mark since the show first aired in December of 1989.  Though, January is also prominent as the show did not begin its regular airing until January 1990.  So, the show has plenty of reason to celebrate right now, and aren’t we glad we can come along for the party?

Fittingly this episode is all about how drastically things have changed.  Things may have been a lot different in the 90’s, but this show is taking us back to the end of WWII when grandpa returned home after being discharged.  Grandpa Simpson faced something back then that was nearly unheard of but common enough in today’s day and age.  He was hit on by a man.  Could Grandpa Simpson be gay?

Let’s hold on a second.  Would it be that crazy if The Simpsons made Grandpa gay?  It’s not like the show doesn’t have other gay characters.  But, to make one of the main family members gay would help to bring the show into 2019 with a bang.  And, of all people, making the veteran senior a homosexual would speak volumes.  It would say that it doesn’t matter who you are, how conditioned you are, or what your life has been like, it is always okay to be open to your heart.  Unfortunately, the show opted not to follow through, but even throwing the idea on the table seems to be enough.

This episode is also significant for the travel.  The Simpsons not only travel to Texas, but they also make it back to New York City.  I thought the latter was kind of strange considering the very memorable episode in which Homer describes his pure hate and rage for the Big Apple.  They didn’t make mention of the fact, which seems like a missed opportunity to throw back to a fan favourite episode.  Though, they did not miss the chance to make some great jabs at Texas.

All in all, this was a surprisingly well-written episode.  The commentary was strong enough that it really makes you question the lives that maybe even our family members missed out on because of societal influence.  We also add more depth to Grandpa Simpson’s overall character.  He has been a war hero, a senile old man, a bad father, a good father, but this was something that really questioned who he is.  Besides all of that, we also received a well-written story with just the right amount of lovable Simpsons humour.  I would say that The Simpsons rolled into 2019 right on point.


Jesse Bereta

Jesse (Green Onion) Bereta is a chef of words. Classically trained in the kitchen, Jesse changed careers in ‘015 to pursue his passion of writing (and being a full time pop culture nerd). Aside from his work as a freelance writer, Jesse also operates his own website, podcasts, and is a father of two budding sprouts. The Green Onion headquarters is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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