The Simpsons Went Super-Misogynistic This Week!

I know the terribleness of the Simpsons should be a surprise to no one at this point - least of all me, but every now and then it plumbs a depth of unfunny inappropriateness that even I didn't think it was capable of. Such was the case a few seasons back when an episode revolved around (and I'm not remembering a Family Guy episode by accident - this really happened on a real episode of the Simpsons) a pregnant 14-year-old tricking Bart into marriage so that she could identify him as the father of her child.

I thought that particular woman-hating bar would never be raised any further, and then last Sunday(the 8th of May, 2011)'s episode came along. The technique it used to be more unpleasant than any previous episode? Both the A and the B stories are devoted to the awfulness of the modern woman!

Let's start out with the B storyline, shall we?

Wistfully remembering the beautiful hair of his youth, Homer decides to become a stylist, opening a salon so that he might have a chance to be around full, lustrous heads of hair. Yes, it's creepy. He proves more-than-capable at his new job, but the dream quickly turns into a nightmare. Why? Homer can't take listening to women talk to him for eight hours a day.

Seriously. Being around women forces him to quit his (latest) dream job. The show doesn't present this as fault of Homer's, either. The women are all depicted as shrill, emasculating harpies who spend all day describing their men's shortcomings to anyone who will listen. This also hampers Homer's ability to just hang out with the guys at Moe's, since now he can't look at them without seeing the litany of flaws that all their significant others have laid out in full-

So yeah, it was pretty bleak. Although, fascinatingly, the episode demonstrated something I'd never really thought about before - just how sparse the female supporting cast is. We see a few familiar faces, Luanne, Apu's wife (who drove him to cheat by nagging, you'll recall), and Helen Lovejoy, but by and large the women who show up in Homer's chair are generic, interchangeable faces, as if the writers and animators couldn't be bothered to go looking for actual female extended cast members to include.

Now, about the A story - it's nothing less than a vicious character assassination of Lisa Simpson.

After Milhouse professes his love in public (while somehow not getting punched by Bart - nothing creepier than a guy hitting on his friend's little sister, even if they're ten and eight), Lisa shoots him down once and for all. This leads Milhouse to find solace in the arms of guest star Kristen Schaal, which creates a strange reaction in Lisa.

She's not jealous, per se, as she doesn't really like Milhouse (who could?), she just misses the attention that his constant hopeless fawning provided her. Naturally, Lisa devotes herself to breaking Milhouse and Kristen up, so that she can go back to cruelly stringing Milhouse along until she finds someone who legitimately interests her.

So that's what happens. Seriously, she breaks them up, and resumes stringing Milhouse along. No lessons are learned, Lisa is just revealed to be an awful caricature of a heartless, scheming bitch.

And I now hate whoever wrote (and all the people who approved) this episode because of it.


Perpetual Beginner said...

Oh, bleah! Well that tells me my decision several years back to stop watching The Simpsons was indubitably the right one.

Nothing like implying that half the human race is composed of horrible, intolerable people.

Vardulon said...

Yeah, more than a decade back a friend and I were watching the Simpsons, and a panda raped Homer. His response? "I'm done with the Simpsons". You two were right, I was wrong to continue watching.