The Simpsons Is Going Heavy on the Marge- & Lisa-Based Episodes to Make Up For Its Bart & Homer-Centric Past: Good Idea or Too Little, Too Late?

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D'oh! The Simpsons is going strong in its 35th season, and the writers are exploring some new directions.

After three and a half decades, Marge and Lisa Simpson are starting to get the screen time they've always deserved.

As exciting as it is to see this testosterone-driven classic lean more inclusive of its female characters, there's some question about the motive behind the change.

S.T.E.M. School - The Simpsons

This show has captured the dynamic between Homer and Bart well, and it's not like we never got to see Marge bond with Lisa.

In fact, way back on The Simpsons Season 1 Episode 6, one of the show's best quotes came during a conversation between the mother-daughter duo.

You want to be sad, honey, be sad. We'll ride it out with you. And when you get finished feeling sad, we'll still be there.


Sad Girl - The Simpsons

That doesn't mean The Simpsons isn't guilty of prioritizing its male leads, though. And look, we get it.

Homer is a lovable doofus. Bart is a mischievous prankster. They're entertaining and funny, and the jokes written for them cater to the show's broader audience.

When Marge and Lisa get the spotlight, historically, it's for more emotionally charged episodes.

That's not surprising, given that women have always done the heavy lifting on television when it comes to issues of the heart.

Marge Is Seduced - The Simpsons

Heading into Season 35, Marge and Lisa are at the forefront much more than we've seen in the past.

Six of fourteen episodes so far this season center one or both of them in the main storyline. On the surface, this is a lovely and welcome shake-up.

We have to wonder, though — why now?

Is it a conscious choice designed to refresh a show that has long sidelined its leading ladies? Is it an attempt to cater to a new target audience? Or is it an attempt to organically give life to main characters who haven't had the chance to shine?

Marge and Lisa Meet In A Dream - The Simpsons Season 35 Episode 2

The Simpsons has a long-standing and loyal fan base, but it would be dishonest to ignore the fact that — like any sitcom aimed at adults — there is a toxic subset of fans.

Browse any Simpsons-related subreddit, and you'll find loads of misogynistic comments aimed at Marge and Lisa, racist jokes pointed at characters of color, and general toxicity around anything on the show that they consider "woke."

As time goes on and the show makes efforts to be more inclusive, those particular fans tend to be outspoken about their disapproval.

For that reason, it's easy to assume that as Marge and Lisa get more screen time, the show will get more criticism.

War and Pieces - The Simpsons

But that doesn't mean that the writers are making any mistakes here. Ultimately, the decision to feature women more might alienate some fans who tune in specifically for Bart's hijinks or Homer's relatable rants.

In the same vein, it could see new support from communities that haven't previously felt represented on the show.

Lisa has consistently shown up on lists of the most hated television characters of all time. Marge is often seen as a nag.

The fact is, Lisa is a brilliant child — book-smart, creative, and artistic.

Marge and Lisa Picture

Marge Simpson is an organized, generous, strong woman and mother who pours everything she has into her family and into the causes she believes in.

Frankly, both of them can be and have been hilarious at times when they're allowed to show that side of themselves.

It's true that Bart and Homer have been the focus of most of the show's humor, but we can't overlook the fact that some of The Simpsons' funniest lines have come from Marge and Lisa.

Bart, don't make fun of grad students. They've just made a terrible life choice.


There are critics who are concerned that more Marge and Lisa time will mean that The Simpsons will start to lean more feminist.

Lisa's Shocking Decision - The Simpsons

Come on, now. Let's not pretend that Lisa Simpson hasn't been a proud feminist since she first graced our screens. Just look at Season 5 Episode 14, Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy, which aired thirty years ago in 1994.

Lisa: It's not funny, Bart. Millions of girls will grow up thinking that this is the right way to act; that they can never be more than vacuous ninnies whose only goal is to look pretty, land a rich husband, and spend all day on the phone with their equally vacuous friends talking about how damn terrific it is to look pretty and have a rich husband!
Bart: Just what I was going to say.

If you're looking for mindless humor in a television show that doesn't attempt to keep up with modern expectations, there are plenty of options out there.

The Simpsons has never shied away from growth. It's updated problematic characters (Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, for one).

It's tried to diversify its stories and avoid offensive takes. It has never pretended to be perfect, but its writers have made strides to improve the foundation upon which The Simpsons was built.

Segment Producer - The Simpsons

To credit that effort, we'd like to extend the benefit of the doubt as the show puts the spotlight on Marge and Lisa.

We're always happy to tune into our favorite shows and see women represented well.

We'll stay hopeful that The Simpsons doesn't phone in the opportunity it has to make a difference with these stories.

Could we be in for disappointment? Possibly. But there's a chance that instead, we could get some really great plots and character development that this historic show has been missing for a long, long time.

Marge Worries About Lisa - The Simpsons

The bottom line is we're going to give this new path a real shot before we decide the writers have lost the plot.

So, what do you think?

Is it too late for Marge and Lisa's spotlight to make a difference in the show's dynamic, or are we in for a treat?

We'd love to hear from you.

Haley Whitmire White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.

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The Simpsons Quotes

Larry: What you got riding on this?
Homer: My daughter.
Larry: What a gambler!

Maggie? Oh, you must be sick. Let's see, what's old Dr. Washburn prescibe? Do you have dropsy? The grippe? Scofula? The vapors? Jungle rot? Dandy fever? Poor man's gout? Housemaid's knee? Climatic poopow? The staggers? Dum-dum fever?

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