• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #171: Homer Simpson


"D'oh!"

There are dozens of denizens of Springfield who could make this list. Lugubrious, spineless newscaster Kent Brockman and unabashed plutocrat Montgomery Burns are two of my personal favorites. But as this is Father's Day, I give you the paterfamilias of 742 Evergreen Terrace himself, TV's best dad since Fred MacMurray, Homer Simpson.


Homer was originally designed to serve as the angry-dumb dad and foil of the intended series star, precocious delinquent Bart. But before long, Groening and his team discovered that the comedic possibilities of the son were dwarfed by the limitless potential offered by the father. Bart was good for a cheap catchphrase or low-hanging anti-authoritarian hijinks, but Homer represented a deeper vein of humorous ore: the suburban father as sympathetic unstriving victim to banality and his own lazy acceptance of his limitations. We laugh at Homer because he's dumb, or clumsy, or gluttonous, but really he's just all of us with a little extra nudge of surrender. And at times, the best times, there's a low cunning to Homer that meshes with his fundamental love for Marge and the kids to keep him afloat.


So go ahead, dads. Enjoy your day. Have a donut or three. A Duff or six. You've earned it.

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