Has The Simpsons ever attacked President Bush directly?
February 14, 2008 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I haven't watched The Simpsons regularly since about season 12 or 13, but in those episodes I did happen to catch on TV, I have never seen them directly attack President Bush. I do remember back in the 'golden age' they used to regularly poke fun at Clinton (to name but one example, Clinton playing the sax and Moe telling him to "get back to work"). I'm wondering if regular watchers of The Simpsons can point me to episodes from season 13 onwards where they did directly parody or attack Bush.
posted by Effigy2000 to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And to clarify, I meant Bush Jnr, not Senior (who of course was parodied in the episode Two Bad Neighbours).
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:51 PM on February 14, 2008

See here. Bart's chalkboard: "I am not smarter than the president."
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:53 PM on February 14, 2008

Best answer: Commander cuckoo-bananas in charge
posted by bonaldi at 8:09 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

They just recently did a 90s parody episode, and at the end, Homer and Marge talked about how they'll never ever see a president do anything worse than lie in a deposition in a civil lawsuit. Never ever ever. Seemed pretty clear what they were getting at.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 8:11 PM on February 14, 2008

(From That 90s Show, Season 19 ep 11 mentioned by Doctor Suarez)

Homer: At least we know there will never be a president worse than Bill Clinton. Imagine, lying in a deposition in a civil lawsuit. That's the worst sin a president could commit.

Marge: There will never be a worse president. Never.

Homer: Never.
posted by null terminated at 8:13 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

There was the episode Bart-mangled Banner back in 2004 where The Simpsons are sent to Alcatraz for high treason. The only clip I could find is in Spanish but has Elmo and Bill Clinton sharing a cell in Alcatraz.
posted by Kattullus at 8:45 PM on February 14, 2008

Oops, this is the Spanish-language clip I meant to link to.
posted by Kattullus at 8:46 PM on February 14, 2008

Take it as a criticism of the war, or of Bush, but one of the Halloween episodes ended with a bleak assessment of the war - the voice over for which was removed from the final broadcast.
posted by wfrgms at 8:48 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. Judging by them, it seems that they have never directly attacked him. They have taken thinly veiled swipes at him, but has he, like Clinton, ever appeared as a character in the show? Have the other characters interacting with him? Has he even ever appeared in a photo?

If this is the case, has this ever been explained by the writers? By this I mean, have they explained why they seemed happy to directly attack or parody Clinto (and Nixon and other Presidents) but not Dubya?
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:57 PM on February 14, 2008

Best answer: If you look at my previously posted link, it says that there's a picture of Homer fighting Dubya.

[HABF13] Homer has photos of him fighting with George Bush and George W. Bush.
posted by Frank Grimes at 9:09 PM on February 14, 2008

It could be conspiracy. But it could simply be that Bush is not funny.
posted by zadcat at 9:10 PM on February 14, 2008

Best answer: In the movie, President Schwarzenegger says, "I was elected to lead, not to read."

In the medical marijuana episode, Homer says that he "could walk up to the President and blow smoke in his stupid monkey face, and he'd just have to sit there groovin' on it."

In this clip, one of Cleetus's children is named "Dubya." (Also I love the line "You're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 9-11.")
posted by General Malaise at 9:13 PM on February 14, 2008

But it could simply be that Bush is not funny.

I think zadcat has it. Clinton was a president you could make light of. He's a philanderer, not a murderous thug.

Here's a list of presidential appearances (some pretty loose) throughout the Simpsos. The GWB are below:

[2F02] Sideshow Bob says it's high time people realized that conservatives aren't all Johnny Hatemongers, Charlie Bible Thumps, or even - God forbid - George Bushes.

[3F09] Using crude cardboard cutouts, Homer tricks former President Bush that his sons George Jr. and Jeb are at the front door.

[BABF20] Bart's subliminal message on chalkboard similar to Dubya's "rats" ad.

[CABF01] Bart's chalkboard message "I am not the acting president" refers to the disputed election 2000 results in Florida.

[CABF10] Wiggum complains that "everything is aluminum this and George W. that".

[CABF12] Sideshow Mel demands a "re-race" after Bart caught cheating in marathon refers to the Florida re-count.

[CABF22] Moe cannot have minors in his bar because of an incident involving the Bush girls.

[DABF07] Krusty has a comedy sketch about hanging chads.

[DABF11] Homer on medicinal marijuana: "I could walk up to the President and blow smoke in his stupid monkey face!". ('monkey' is a derogatory nickname for Bush, Jr.)

[EABF08] Flanders says he hasn't been this happy since they stole the 2000 election.

[EABF09] Krusty at Republican meeting was worried about some of his youthful and middle-aged indiscretions surfacing during his congressional election.

[FABF17] "The Government Knows Best Act" is a swipe at the Patriot Act.

[FABF17] Homer finking on Bart for not serving the armed forces is a swipe of Bush only serving in the National Guard during the Vietnam war.

[FABF21] Bart's t-shirt "Weapons of Ass Destruction".

[FABF22] FoxNews bus still displaying the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign banner and playing victory music.

[GABF09] Homer says the next miltary quagmire will either be in Iran or North Korea thanks to "general cuckoo bananas in charge".

[HABF03] Bart's chalkboard punishment "I am not smarter than the President" is an obvious swipe at George W. Bush's intelligence.

[HABF13] Homer has photos of him fighting with George Bush and George W. Bush.
posted by wfrgms at 9:33 PM on February 14, 2008

I don't know if the writers have ever said anything on the subject, but it seems pretty obvious to me that while Clinton can be good fodder for jokes, Bush just isn't funny. This certainly isn't limited to The Simpsons: I recall a lot of comedians getting a lot of mileage from Clinton, but there are relatively fewer jokes being made about Bush. Monica, "I never inhaled", etc. are potentially humorous, while torture and invasion of foreign countries are more likely to make one angry than make one laugh.
posted by ssg at 9:40 PM on February 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks guys, that's great.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:59 PM on February 14, 2008

those Clinton jokes you remember were actually very few and far between. Most of the political humor of the Simpsons in its prime was indirect and bipartisan.

Bad comedy, which the current Simpsons inarguably is, tends to pick on current events for cheap laughs. It doesn't take much talent or creativity to point to something in the news and have the audience say, "hey I recognize that."

They do far more topical humor now than ever before. i find the current show absolutely unwatchable, like seeing a formerly brilliant and funny friend who's suffered brain damage. But I just saw an ad where they referred to Cletus "going to Iraq to stop 9/11" or something like that.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:30 PM on February 14, 2008

Is it that Bush is not funny, or are they wary of the possible consequences?
posted by chillmost at 12:39 AM on February 15, 2008

I wouldn't rule out that they are wary, but I do think that if you think an unforced laugh has something to do with the unexpected, there is a lot more comedy in a very smart man who is undermined by his physical urges and applies his eloquence to the task of getting himself out of trouble, than there is in a dumb guy who acts in accordance with his nature and shuffles by all right due to power dynamics which are mostly obscured.

A little surprising that they haven't done anything with The Decider's tortured syntax, though.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:16 AM on February 15, 2008

This is what wfrgms was talking about:

"Well, the Earthlings continue to resent our presence," Kang says. "You said we'd be greeted as liberators!"
"Don't worry," says Kodos. "We still have the people's hearts and minds." In the show's characteristic over-the-top sarcasm, Kodos then holds up a brain and heart.
"I don't know," says Kang. "I'm starting to think 'Operation Enduring Occupation' was a bad idea."
Kodos disagrees. "We had to invade. They were working on weapons of mass disintegration."

Kang says, "This sure is a lot like Iraq will be."
posted by Ironmouth at 6:22 AM on February 15, 2008

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