In the season premiere of The Simpsons, Homer will leave Marge, but the producers want fans to know the separation won’t be permanent.
Producer Al Jean made the announcement at the ATX Television Festival, saying that Homer and Marge will separate and Homer will fall in love with his pharmacist, voiced by guest star Lena Dunham. When fans started to panic, Jean clarified his remarks in an interview with the New York Post and assured them that this is a temporary separation, not divorce:
“It’s the plot of the opening episode, and Lena Dunham is in the premiere episode,” Jean says. “There’s more to it than that, but by Episode 3 everything’s the same.”
… “I never said the word ‘divorced.’ That implies finality,” Jean says. “I was surprised that people would interpret it as a final move.
The Simpsons creators also denied on Twitter that Homer and Marge are breaking up, or at least not breaking up for good:
Homer and Marge’s separation seems contrived just to boost ratings for The Simpsons, much like the announcement that Sideshow Bob would finally kill Bart in this season’s Halloween episode. 26-year cast member Harry Shearer recently quit the show, which means writing off or finding another actor to voice Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, and slew of other characters. The Simpsons will be different without Shearer, and the show’s producers probably want to give viewers a compelling reason to tune in.
The problem with these story lines isn’t that The Simpsons is breaking up Homer and Marge or letting Sideshow Bob kill Bart. A show that’s been on as long as The Simpsons could use a major shake-up, and Homer and Marge separating could definitely do that. Unfortunately, these announcements meant to assuage fans who are afraid of change are also taking away any element of surprise or tension left in The Simpsons.
There is no need to take Homer and Marge’s separation seriously because by Episode 3, everything will be back to normal. Sideshow Bob will kill Bart, but he won’t stay dead. At least when Family Guy killed off Brian, he stayed dead for a little while, and the show didn’t put out disclaimers before the episode aired to let people know he would be back. If The Simpsons wants to change things up, then they should go for it without the assurances that these changes won’t, as Jean put it, last “longer than an episode or two.”
(Via New York Post)