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A Simpsons Theory Says Frank Grimes’ Death Created Jerkass Homer

The Simpsons had just completed its debut episode, “The Tracey Ullman Show,” when the death of Frank Grimes caused Homer’s personality to change.

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The comedy and content of The Simpsons have undergone numerous minor changes over the years. The residents of Springfield don’t seem to change much on the surface, but characters have undergone many changes in the background, as evidenced by Apu’s lack of development and Ralph’s Flanderization. Some of the main characters in the Fox program are included in that concept.

Over the years, Homer Simpson has undergone a lot of small alterations. He’s been portrayed as everything from a simpleton to a jerk to a hero, changing from a downtrodden everyman to a well-intentioned buffoon. However, a fan hypothesis suggests that one of his most contentious changes may have an in-universe justification.

The Simpsons’ “Homer’s Enemy” from Season 8, Episode 23, was something of a paradigm shift. Frank Grimes, a recent hire at the Nuclear Power Plant, was the main subject of the episode. He was a hard-working, no-nonsense employee who rapidly developed a dislike for Homer’s straightforward but contented lifestyle. Grimes grew to view Homer as “everything wrong with America,” a selfish jerk who coasted through life while others were forced to take more challenging paths, despite Homer’s efforts to make friends with him. The more Grimes tried to make their fellow workers aware of this discrepancy, the more Homer became popular with them; as a result, Grimes had a mental breakdown and died. The episode’s conclusion implied that Homer had not grown as a result of the experience, however a fan theory suggests otherwise.

The theory, which comes from the TVTropes WMG page, suggests that Homer’s perception of himself and other people may have changed as a result of Grimes’ passing. Homer really found this development upsetting because he saw Grimes as an anomaly—someone he couldn’t win over with his customary oafish charm and likeability. His careless demeanor just served to inflame Grimes further, and all of his attempts to build a relationship with him or to develop a professional persona that Grimes could respect failed and were derided. When Homer first presented Grimes to his family, the father insulted him and called him a “fake” in front of his kids, which the rest of the family seemed to concur with in silence. All of these might have led Homer to believe that he was a fraud, in which case he ought to start behaving like one.

Early on in The Simpsons’ run, Homer was a decent person. Even when he made stupid errors or behaved selfishly, his primary motivation was to support his family. He sacrificed dream jobs for their financial security and repeatedly endangered himself if it meant protecting them. However, following Grimes’ criticism of him, Homer might have silently decided that he should just start behaving like the egotistical jerk that everyone else apparently thought he was. This would provide an explanation for why Homer in the following seasons turned crasser, crueler, and colder. By utilizing a more scathing kind of humor, this iteration of the character—nicknamed “Jerkass Homer” by the show’s audience—helped propel the program into a new era.

The Homer who leapt Springfield Gorge in Season 2 to protect Bart and gave up his dream job in Season 6 to support his family isn’t the same one who set up his wife for a drunken driving charge in Season 15. However, a damaged emotional version of Homer who was then more vengeful and self-centered may. Grimes mistook Homer for a parasite at the moment, but the character Homer developed into in later seasons perfectly fit that description.

However, it should be noted that even Jerkass Homer was capable of selfless deeds, even surrendering what little dignity he still had for money from Mr. Burns. Homer’s more emotional and selfish sides would eventually come to a happy compromise in later seasons, indicating that Homer eventually took Grimes’ censure to heart and made some effort to improve. It’s an intriguing theory that contends there is a valid and moving reason for Homer’s development into a more complex character.