While they weren’t too busy making me laugh, The Simpsons provided countless helpful life anecdotes as well. Here are the top 12 life lessons I received from the residents of Springfield.
1. Although your family may be embarrassing, they still love you.
In “Lisa the Vegetarian”, Homer and Bart constantly chastise Lisa over her decision to no longer eat meat. This pushes Lisa to her boiling point, where she kidnaps Homer’s suckling swine and runs away to the roof of the Kwik-e-Mart to hang with fellow non-meat eaters Paul and Linda McCartney. While Lisa was frustrated with how she was being treated by her family, she realized that they loved and accepted her. Even if your family says or does things you find embarrassing, they’ll still love you until the end. Just make sure you don’t kidnap one of their pigs to prove it.
2. Your family is definitely worth fighting for, too.
Homer was reluctant to fight for his employee’s dental plan only until he saw Lisa unhappily trudge upstairs with her rusted jaws of death. The sight of his daughter’s struggle pushed Homer to do what’s right and get their dental plan back. It’s not always easy to support your loved ones, but their improved happiness (and dental hygiene) will make it all worthwhile.
3. Never be ashamed of your cultural roots.
It isn’t uncommon for those who hail from a different ethnic or cultural background to be hesitant to proudly display their roots. Just look at Krusty the Clown and Apu, who were apprehensive to appreciate their Judaic and Indian backgrounds in their respective professional and personal settings. But ultimately Krusty found passion in his Judaism and reconnected with his father, while Apu found the love of his life in his arranged marriage. Your cultural background has shaped who you are, and should be cherished throughout your life.
4. It doesn’t matter how you look, but how you feel.
With the constant, invasive imagery of beautiful people in the media, you can’t help but feel pressured to look like an A-list actor or Supermodel every time you step out the door. And when Homer regrew his hair with Dimoxinil in “Simpson and Delilah”, he felt like the king of the world. But when Homer’s supply went empty and his hair fell out again, Homer’s secretary Karl passionately reminded him that he had everything he needed to succeed all along. Looks and beauty will only go so far, it’s how you feel inside that really counts. And if you can sport the cash for dimoxinil that helps too.
5. Money isn’t the key to happiness.
Mr. Burns has enough wealth to serve as the GDP for a small country. But even with all of his mansions, old-time jalopies and chain-smoking monkeys, Burns’ still isn’t personally fulfilled without his precious childhood teddy bear Bobo sleeping by his side in “Rosebud”. Even when Maggie becomes attached to the tattered bear, Homer won’t give it over to Burns for millions because he knows his daughter’s happiness and memories are worth so much more. Money and wealth can certainly buy comfort, but only memories, experiences and teddy bears are life’s true currency.
6. It’s difficult, but still very worth it to improve your health.
All of us have our vices, whether they be smoking, drinking or any excessive amount of a substance or activity that is unhealthy. It was difficult for Homer to give up Duff beer for a month in “Duffless”. And while his first instinct was to get wasted when his month was up, Homer bettered himself and chose a sunset bike ride with Marge instead of sipping suds. Quitting any sort of addiction or dangerous behavior is never easy. But with the support of loved ones and determination, the rewards from improving yourself will serve you for a lifetime.
7. Everyone enjoys a musical touch.
Who doesn’t love singing to the radio in their car, or catching an impromptu flash mob while walking around town? Music, and musical numbers, have always been great ways to improve our moods. Just as Lyle Lanley conducted Springfield in a passionate railway ode in “Marge vs. the Monorail”, the power of music and singing and harmony cannot be ignored. Whether you’re singing Simpsons songs in your shower or catching a Broadway show at night (let’s hope the “Planet of the Apes” musical happens!), it’s undoubtable that music improves our lives greatly.
8. Hard work and perseverance do pay off.
Bart Simpson drearily thought he had lost all hope when he failed his history exam in “Bart Gets an F”. But after he verbally displayed his knowledge, earning him the additional passing points and an unintended smooch for his teacher Mrs. Krabappel (yuck!), Bart had persevered and was granted passage to the next grade. Even when your goals and dreams seem impossible to grasp, hard work and perseverance will always see you through to the finish line.
9. Some people simply won’t like you, and that’s ok.
In “Homer’s Enemy”, the angst-ridden, down-on-his-luck Frank Grimes despises Homer to his core. Homer becomes concerned that Grimes doesn’t like him, but after realizing his efforts to turn his enemy are futile, Homer shrugs it off and just continues doing his own thing. Not everyone you meet or interact with is going to like you. While it seems troubling, wasting time on trying to change someone’s opinion who doesn’t matter is a futile effort. Just don’t push them to self-imposed electrical death, though.
10. Nothing is truly fun without your friends.
In “Bart on the Road”, Bart, Milhouse, Martin and Nelson got stranded without money in Knoxville, TN, lose their luggage on a moving train, and have to ride in the cargo hold of a plane just to get back home. But they had a great time in the process. And while Homer’s constant journeys to Moe are fueled by his desire for beer, they’re made enjoyable by his fellow friendly barflies. Without your friends close by, no experience, large or small, first class or cargo hold, will be nearly as enjoyable.
11. It isn’t worth changing yourself to impress people.
“Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield” depicted Marge’s efforts to fit in with a group of aristocratic women at the nearby country club. While Marge was enjoying the attention of her new found affluent peers, she was constantly stressed to live up to their standards, while pushing away those who already loved her for who she was. In the end, Marge felt more at home chowing on Krusty Burgers than at a posh Country Club ball. Everyone’s felt a desire to be cool or part of the popular crowd in their lives. But those who liked you for who you already are truly are the only ones worth your time.
12. Donuts are the key to happiness.
This one is self-explanatory. Mmm, donuts….