As the longest running-cartoon in history, The Simpsons has so many memorable moments. Not only does that include its slapstick humor, but also some… serious moments. You’ve read that correctly.
Many TV and streaming shows, including comedic ones, deal with serious issues. But what makes The Simpsons stand out is how those issues are exaggerated to the point where they are also sugar-coated.
I doubt the creators intended to sugarcoat them, but I see them that way.
Below are the specific moments from The Simpsons that are exaggerated and sugar-coated.
1: The portrayal of lobotomy in “Time and Punishment”
In this Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer is about to have breakfast with his family – only for his hand to get stuck in the toaster. He screams and gets it off, but it breaks. So, he fixes it.
He then puts in some bread to test it… only for it to take him back in time to the dinosaur Era. He remembers what his father said on his wedding day: “If you ever go back in time, don’t step on anything. Because even the tiniest changes can alter the future in ways you can’t imagine.”
Homer stays still until a bug flies in front of him. He squishes it, which worries him, although he tells himself that it was just one little, insignificant mosquito.
The toast comes out and Homer returns to the present, where Flanders is the ruler of Springfield. Homer insults him, which prompts the entire family to be taken into a facility for re-education.
There, the family is not only forced to smile with hooks in their mouths, but also receive a frontal lobe lobotomy.
Moe shows him a little piece of his brain in a jar. Then his family tells him to join them in zombie-like tones.
The part above is what I consider highly sugar-coated. In real life, frontal lobe lobotomies can take away cognitive functions, such as how to talk, walk, and so forth.
People used to use it on crazy people as punishments until it was banned due to its cruel nature. The creators of The Simpsons would never have depicted that accurately, which I am glad for.
The depiction of a child’s oxygen running out in “Nightmare Cafeteria”
In this Treehouse of Horror episode, Bart comes up with a plan to turn the desks backwards before Mrs. Krabappel enters the classroom. He is the only one who does it, though.
Mrs. Krabappel sends him to detention, except that it’s overly crowded – so much so that the students are all bunched up against the door. So, Mr. Skinner tells him that he will serve his time in the cafeteria. After that, a boy says that his oxygen is running out.
If your oxygen were running out, you wouldn’t be able to talk.
Alcatraz in “Bart Mangled Banner”
In this episode, the kids go for their shots. While Dr. Hibbert succeeds in injecting Lisa and Maggie, Bart escapes.
After several failed attempts, he finally gives Bart the shot… except that it makes him go deaf. Marge suggests to Bart that he should stay home the next day. But that is the day of the Donkey basketball tournament where the students play against the teachers who will ride on donkeys.
Right before the game, the students play the national anthem. Bart, who is deaf, plays with a donkey, which bites his shorts off. He unintentionally moons the American flag, which angers the spectators.
The Springfield residents turn on the Simpson family several times. Eventually, they knock them out. The family wakes up and finds themselves in Alcatraz.
Alcatraz shut down in the early 1960s, decades before The Simpsons even aired, which was in 1989. It was a dark and scary place where the most dangerous criminals served their time. Inmates even escaped from it.
In this show, the other prisoners include celebrities, such as the Chicks (a country music group, formerly the Dixie Chicks), Bill Clinton, and Elmo from Sesame Street. They also have a talent show for inmates to perform in. That is what the Simpson family participates in to escape the prison.
Of course, the real Alcatraz didn’t do talent shows. I actually toured the prison in 2015, and it scared me. So, I appreciate the fact that it was sugar-coated in The Simpsons.
The portrayals of the opposite of Heaven
What I notice about this afterlife I am referring to is how The Simpsons creators have lightened it up.
One is when Satan nagged Homer’s head as a way to torment him. Another time is when Bart is on his way to heaven through an escalator. Despite being told not to spit, he does it anyway. So, he is sent to the other place.
There, a guy uses a computer to work out getting him back to Heaven.
Many shows exaggerate different elements, although they don’t always necessarily sugarcoat them. But I admire how The Simpsons creators execute them.
Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments if you wish.