Op-Ed

THOUGH DIVORCE RATES are on the rise, and knocked-up high-school sweetheart couples are at the bottom of the list when it comes to quality marriages, there is one couple that’s been making it work for 23 years and counting. This pair has survived all the highs and lows of marriage, including botched holiday plans, rebellious children, and financial strife—not to mention alcoholism, murderous stalkers, and prolonged exposure to nuclear radiation to boot.
Since Dec. 19, 1989, this devoted couple has both entertained and educated viewers around the world with their twisted sense of humour, wayward dedication, and merry ignorance. By now, most North American prime time television watchers are aware that The Simpsons is in the middle of season 23, making it one of the longest-running shows of all time. This animated family has managed to keep up a solid viewer rating, won numerous awards, and even kept most of the same cast members for the nearly 500 episodes aired since its inception.
The new millennium, however, has brought about many changes to classic television shows. Family-based shows have taken a backseat to more friend-based ones. My childhood was chock full of shows like Full House, Family Matters, and The Cosby Show. The parental role models may have been unrealistic, but they gave viewers some kind of moral compass to aspire to. Everybody Loves Raymond was a transition program of sorts that painted a more pragmatic family picture in all of its glory and pitfalls.
Homer has been working relatively hard at keeping his wife and family happy. He follows a few simple steps that perhaps more males in society should follow. But what does he do that makes him so lovable? For one, he always says and does what’s on his mind. No exceptions, no games. He accepts Marge the way she is and never suggests she change her hair or spruce up her wardrobe.
Kudos goes to Marjorie for doing the same. Neither man nor wife tries to change the other, and that is what’s at the crux of their union. Forgiveness is also commonplace with the couple. Even the controversial episode with the sexy Mindy, voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer in 1993, trying to seduce Homer in a private hotel room could not shake their strong marriage. Marge and Homer don’t dwell on one another’s mistakes, and every episode is truly another day for them.
This is what makes The Simpsons unique in its steadfast combination of wit and unexpected wisdom, where the parents and family unit remain at the core of the show’s essence.
Today the Simpsons officially have the longest-running TV marriage of all time and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere in the near future. Fox has signed on for at least another two seasons.
Homer and Marge Simpson may not be ideal the role models, but like it or not something about their compatibility resonates with a North American audience. Their marriage may not be typical, but there’s something to this yellow couple that just works.