George H.W. Bush’s sexual harassment controversy has breathed some new life into an old feud between the former president and some of the minds behind The Simpsons. The world was quite different back in 1992. The Simpsons was still at the height of its powers, the country was coming down off of a decade under Reagan and Bush, and the world was about to feel the burn of the Macarena. But it was also a period when President George H.W. Bush was trying to keep his hold on the White House and using The Simpsons as his way to appeal to certain voters. This didn’t sit well with the folks behind The Simpsons at the time, coming off of another Bush feud with Barbara Bush. The First Lady called the show the dumbest thing she had ever seen and received a letter from Marge Simpson for her troubles.
As you can see in the clip above, President Bush reignited the fires of that feud by saying American families needed to be “more like the Waltons and less like The Simpsons.” This stung, the show made a comment about it in their opening the following episode and then added to it a few years later by having Bush move across the street from Homer in the episode “Two Bad Neighbors.” That ended poorly, but it did provide a classic episode.
With all the backstory out of the way, we can fast forward to today. The former president has been accused by at least four women of sexual harassment, allegedly groping their butts while delivering his now trademark joke about “David Cop-A-Feel.” It’s not a good look, even for a 93-year-old man with Parkinson’s, but it did allow showrunner Al Jean to reference the old rivalry one more time for a slice of retribution:
Former writer and showrunner Bill Oakley — who helped craft the “Two Bad Neighbors” episode — also got in on the fun, asking for someone to create the perfect George Bush/Simpsons post and receiving this gem in return:
In the end, it is funny to see The Simpsons get the last laugh on the former president considering he lost his bid for reelection soon after his original comments. The Simpsons probably isn’t the show it once was, but it has survived and outlasted numerous presidents since Bush. This is just the cherry on top.