The executive producer on The Simpsons has responded to fans of the show who pointed out a “continuity error” in the long-running series.
In the recent episode 15 of season 32, titled ‘Do Pizza Bots Dream of Electric Guitars?’, a flashback features 14-year-old Homer to be shown trying his hand at becoming a DJ in the 1990s.
Viewers were quick to point out the problems with the timeline, recalling examples including that Homer and Marge had previously been depicted to have met as teenagers in high school in 1974, and that Abe Simpson’s service in World War Two wouldn’t add up.
Twitter user @NessMudkip wrote: “Homer was now a teenager in the late 90s, meaning his hypothetical birthday is later than Bart’s was at the start of the show. Homer is now younger than Bart. HOW LONG CAN THEY KEEP IT UP THO.”
It gained more than 22,000 likes as one person responded to say: “A lot of people just say ‘oh yeah cartoon logic’ and sure, okay, but the fact that these events change time all the time bothers me.”
The fan discussion caught the attention of The Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman, who responded with a thread to explain the show’s ‘sliding timeline’.
He wrote : “Continuity Alert: Sunday’s The Simpsons playfully re-interprets the show’s timeline to allow Homer to be a teenager in the early ’90s — The Simpsons is a 32-year-old series where the characters do not age, so the “canon” must be elastic/contradictory/silly.
“This does not mean other beloved classic The Simpsons flashback shows didn’t happen. None of this happened. It’s all made up. Every episode is its own Groundhog Day that only has make sense for that story (if that).
“There is no The Simpsons “canon” or “non-canon.” There are only stories. If all these crazy things really happened to one family the characters would be in a mental hospital.”
Not everyone seemed satisfied by the explanation, as one said: “An inelegant solution to a problem the show created for itself by failing to evolve. The characters should’ve been aged up and characters refreshed around the time of the movie.”
But Selman replied: “An extreme minority opinion. Also that would not have solved the problem, since it’s been 14 years and counting since the movie.”
And others defended the changeable timeline of the show, arguing: “The timeline has always been elastic. Even early on in the show the dates kept having to be moved because it wouldn’t make sense otherwise. It’s fun to have an ever growing and moving timeline. It just makes sense, and allows for new storytelling.”