Television comedy rarely uses serialized storytelling to get the job done, and there’s a fair amount of reset button-pressing that happens, particularly in animated series. So when it was announced that The Simpsons would put Homer and Marge through a legal separation in Season 27, most sane fans understood this would just be a one-episode plotline that would resolve itself by the time the Gracie Films “Shh” followed the credits. But apparently enough people backlashed that executive producer Al Jean had to go blatant in clarifying his statements.
There’s no better way to appeal to Simpsons fans’ understanding than through a blackboard gag, so here’s one shared on the show’s Twitter page.
Now, one could read this as “Bart is, like, so traumatized by the thought of his parents splitting up that he is raging against it through a form of self-punishment.” But that would be a dumb way to read it. The Simpsons creative team is just making sure that viewers grasp that no one is actually destroying one of television’s most beloved couples. Considering the episode has Homer falling for a pharmacist voiced by Lena Dunham, an actress who hasn’t joined the show as a permanent voice actor, it’s beyond safe to assume that we’ll never see that pharmacist again after this episode.
To drive the point home even further, this tweet was posted.
So you see, world? Though Homer and Marge may have their problems on occasion, they’re not going to go through any Kramer vs. Kramer-ish plotlines in this lifetime or the next. Doesn’t anyone remember the fantastic episode “Holidays of Future Passed,” when we see them still together in the flash-forwards? I guess that can be another example of an episode not necessarily being canonical, but it wasn’t.
Al Jean himself had my favorite response to the uproar, recalling the famously braggadocious words of John Lennon.
Stay tuned for Season 27 coming later this year, when Bart is definitely dead forever, the Monorail has kept Springfield permanently broke, and all of Harry Shearer’s characters are going the way of the dodo. You can trust me on all that.