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Simpsons Writer Defends Frank Grimes Episode’s Dark Ending


Original Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder defends the infamously dark ending of “Homer’s Enemy,” stating that Grimes was “asking for it.”

Legendary Simpsons staff writer, John Swartzwelder, has defended the infamously dark ending to the fan-favorite season 8 episode, “Homer’s Enemy.” The episode, which first aired on May 4, 1997, sees new character Frank Grimes (Hank Azaria) introduced as the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant’s latest employee. Grimes quickly becomes more and more frustrated at Homer’s flaws and general incompetence at his job, declaring Homer to be his enemy and attempting to humiliate him by entering him into a contest at Springfield Elementary to design a new power plant. When Homer wins, Grimes snaps and excessively mocks Homer’s attitude to life, accidentally electrocuting himself to death in the process. At the end of the episode, Homer talks in his sleep at Grimes’s funeral, making everyone laugh.

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Despite only appearing in one episode of The Simpsons – which recently aired its 700th episode – Grimes is one of the animated sitcom’s most memorable antagonists, his strong work ethic and responsible nature making him an outlier amongst the employees of the Nuclear Power Plant and a natural foil to Homer. “Homer’s Enemy” is considered one of the darkest ever episodes of The Simpsons, and though it garnered some controversy at the time for its dark ending, it’s often praised by fans as one of the best episodes of the series too.

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Now, Swartzwelder, writer of “Homer’s Enemy” as well as 58 other classic Simpsons episodes, has revealed where he stands on the infamous ending of the episode. Swartzwelder is a notoriously private but highly revered comedy writer who recently gave his first major media interview in thirty years, revealing many behind-the-scenes secrets and anecdotes about the original Simpsons writer’s room. In an interview with The New Yorker, Swartzwelder mentioned “Homer’s Enemy” as one of his favorite episodes, prompting the interviewer to mention its dark nature and how the ending couldn’t be described as having a “lot of heart.” Swartzwelder responded:

Grimey was asking for it the whole episode. He didn’t approve of our Homer. He was asking for it, and he got it. Now what was this you were saying about heart?

It’s clear that Swartzwelder thinks that Grimes brought his tragic end on himself by not accepting Homer’s many flaws like the rest of Springfield and Simpsons’ viewers are encouraged to do. Swartzwelder even revealed the secret to writing Homer, equating writing for the impulsive and immature character to writing for a “talking dog.” Homer’s constant fluctuation between glee and despair is one of the many qualities that have made fans resonate with the character for over thirty years, and his obliviousness and laziness – even at a funeral – are infamously funny.

Whether fans agree that Grimes was “asking for it” or not, “Homer’s Enemy” remains one of the show’s most classic episodes, which is even more impressive when considering the series’ staggering run of 32 seasons. The Simpsons may not ever get that dark again, but at least Grimes will always be remembered as one of Homer’s worst enemies – and a lesson that professionalism and hard work will get you nowhere in Springfield.

More: The Simpsons Theory: Bart Is Telling The Story In The Future

Source: The New Yorker

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