When you think of The Simpsons, your mind probably goes to the iconic theme tune. Or maybe you think about Marge’s brilliant blue ’do.
And there’s a small chance you imagine an all-too familiar sight on the show; Homer Simpson wrapping his hands around his son Bart’s neck as a form of punishment.
The show, which began airing regularly on Fox in 1990, is now on its 35th season. Much has changed in the last 30 years; the Simpson children have long had mobile phones, and Lady Gaga has appeared as a guest.
Yep! Though Homer hasn’t attempted to choke Bart on the small screen since season 31, he made the change official in season 35′s McMansion & Wife.
In the episode, Homer shakes hands with his new neighbour, who comments on how strong Homer’s grip is.
“See, Marge, strangling the boy has paid off,” Homer says to Marge in the episode ― before adding, “Just kidding. I don’t do that anymore.”
“Times have changed,” the cartoon character then quipped. Amen to that.
Not everyone welcomed the change
The majority of responses on X (formerly Twitter) were positive. “Took them long enough,” commented @BabyLamb5 on his post about the change.
Another commenter said “I knew my man Homer was gonna learn. He’s a smart fella.”
Meanwhile, in response to a comment saying that the violence could be considered child abuse now, @BabyLamb5 replied: “It’s always been considered child abuse, even before the show began.”
Still, some want a return to the old ways. “Why would they stop doing it? Homer Strangling Bart is one of the founding gags. It’s never premeditated, always a snap decision based on how angry Bart Makes Homer. Plus Bart has no right to be upset at Homer for it because Bart does the things that set Homer off. Makes no sense,” said one X user.
“If they’re gonna kill off long-standing gags just end the show already,” said another. True to form, GB News even suggested the change was the result of “today’s modern era of wokeism and cancel culture”.
Still, as Simpsons fan @BabyLamb5 puts it: “Y’all call it ‘woke’, I call it good character development for Homer. Times have changed. Get over it.”
You can catch the new Simpsons seasons (as well as all the older ones) on Disney+ in the UK.