Simpsons Fans Are Livid That ‘The Simpsons’ Broke the Albert Brooks-Marge Simpson Continuity
There is a surprisingly large contingent of Simpsons fans who haven’t enjoyed the show in two decades but still watch every new season for the simple purpose of complaining about it. These perpetually unimpressed nerds should be elated to see a Season One character revisited in the show’s current season, but instead, we have a bunch of “geniuses at work” declaring that they hope someone got fired for that blunder.
Last night, Disney’s best money printer brought back an important character from the annals of Simpsons history with the return of the Albert Brooks-voiced Jacques, a French bowling instructor and adultery attempter. Jacques’ first episode, “Life on the Fast Lane,” showed the character attempt to woo Marge, who managed to avoid the temptation to cheat on her lovable oaf of a husband. The episode marked a massive milestone for The Simpsons in its first season, as it won the landmark series its first Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.
In the most recent episode, “Pin Gal,” Jacques returns to the Simpsons fold after Homer hires him to coach Marge in a bowling tournament to save Barney’s Bowlarama, unaware of the Frenchman’s flirtatious history with his wife. However, as many angry Simpsons fans have pointed out, Marge already told Homer about her near-temptation with Jacques in the Season Six episode, “Another Simpsons Clip Show,” where the couple admitted their adulterous urges to each other.
Worst episode ever.
Immediately after the airing of “Pin Gal,” Simpsons die-hards delivered their continuity corrections on every available platform. The top comment on the Simpsons subreddit’s discussion thread for the episode reads, “So, Marge actually did tell Homer about Jaques, it was just in a clip show that everyone always skips.” Others have tweeted their criticism of what they call “retconning” Marge’s admission of her near-affair, and many more have predictably used the plot hole as an excuse to declare that modern Simpsons content is the death of comedy, and they will only watch the new episode three more times — today.
However, The Simpsons exists on a floating timeline, a narrative device that allows a baby to stay a baby for 30 years — we’re more than a decade past the point in real time when an adult Lisa was supposed to call off her wedding to the Mandy Patinkin-voiced snob Hugh Parkfield in a flash-forward episode, yet current-season Lisa is still very much stuck in second grade. For a show that has run for 745 total episodes and counting without much movement in the everyday lives of its protagonists, the likelihood of a continuity error only continues to climb each time they attempt to revisit old plotlines. If we want more Simpsons, we’re going to have to accept some incongruities in an already bloated catalog. All that being said, even if we deliberately ignore the point of the floating timeline, is it really that unbelievable for an inattentive husband to forget an offhand comment his wife made about a bowling coach 30 years ago?
Simpsons writer and executive producer Al Jean addressed the complaints on Twitter, saying of the Season Six episode where Homer learned of the near-affair, “I think it goes without saying, but clip shows aren’t canon.” If he really wants to quell the continuity defenders, he’ll declare that Armin Tamzarian isn’t canon, either.