Of all the ways that the Internet has made life more amazing, bizarre fan theories-gone-viral continue to add extraneous intrigue to our favorite slices of pop culture. From the mind-numbing to the adorable, we’ll take them all. But it looks like a recent theory about The Simpsons, in which the majority of the show’s run is all Homer Simpson’s dream, has been shot down by showrunner Al Jean. That’s good news for Moe’s and Duff, at least.
A clever Reddit user posted his thought-provoking ideas earlier this month in the Fan Theories forum, proposing that Homer never woke up from the vending machine-related coma that he fell into for the Season 4 episode “So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show.” As such, the show’s increasingly surreal nature can be attributed to everything being a figment of Homer’s imagination. We’ll get into some specifics in a bit, but first we’ll let Al Jean shoot it all down.
Jean spoke with TMZ about the issue, and he said it’s all a bunch of hooey.
It would mean back in 1993 we would presume the show was going on for years and years more and right before we left, threw this hidden monkey wrench in for all our successors…I’m afraid it goes with the ‘Dead Bart’ episode in the intriguing but false file.
Of course, it’s hard to actually believe that something as ridiculous as a “the character was dreaming the whole time” explanation would ever really hold water in a modern TV show. Sure, Bob Newhart did it with Newhart, but that was a gag unto itself and not one that shows every really try to emulate on the large scale, though sometimes series use singular episodes as full-length dream sequences; and those are almost always the worst episodes. Don’t get me started with Lost theories, either.
In this case of this theory, though, there are several good (faux) clues backing it up. For one, the coma episode came six months after “Homer the Heretic,” in which God implies that Homer will die in six months. Another factor involves how off the rails the Simpsons’ storylines got after “So It’s Come to This,” and that this can all be explained by Homer’s imagination just running wild. It also sorta explains why no one ever ages, why the show’s flashbacks and continuity can get muddled, and why there are so many celebrities involved in Springfield citizens’ lives. I mean, all of that is really explained with “Because it’s a cartoon,” but you know what I mean.
Incidentally, the origin of that fake “Dead Bart” episode is a fascinatingly disturbing read. I’m working on my own theory about how Twins was just an acid flashback for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Frank Reynolds.