‘The Simpsons’ Writer John Swartzwelder Says He Wrote Homer Simpson as a Dog

The Simpsons have a dog and a cat, but Homer Simpson himself may be their third pet. The bumbling dad is the instigator of as many Simpsons episodes as Bart, and he did play Poochie the dog on Itchy & Scratchy. While we may not want a dad like Homer, there is something endearing about him. That may be because the writers treat him like man’s best friend. 

Homer Simpson takes a shower with Santa's Little Helper
Homer Simpson and Santa’s Little Helper | Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

John Swartzwelder wrote for The Simpsons from 1990 – 2003. In a recent interview with The New Yorker, he shared some secrets of the long-running show. One of them is that Homer Simpson is a dog. 

This is explains Homer Simpsons behavior on ‘The SImpsons’

Over the 32 seasons of The Simpsons, Homer has tried other jobs besides his day job at the nuclear power plant. He’s been everything from an astronaut to snowplow driver. His mood changes often. 

Yes, he is a big talking dog,” Swartzwelder told the New Yorker. “One moment he’s the saddest man in the world, because he’s just lost his job, or dropped his sandwich, or accidentally killed his family. Then, the next moment, he’s the happiest man in the world, because he’s just found a penny—maybe under one of his dead family members.”

The Simpsons: Homer sleeping on the couch
Homer Simpson | Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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Swartzwelder must be referring to a Halloween episode in which Homer kills his family. There are less extreme examples of his mood changes, like when a cult can’t brainwash him because he loses focus on the indoctrination video.

Homer Simpson isn’t exactly like a dog

Of course, if The Simpsons wants a dog, they’ve already got Santa’s Little Helper. Homer offers some advantages over a four-legged dog.

“He’s not actually a dog, of course—he’s smarter than that—but if you write him as a dog you’ll never go wrong,” Swartzwelder said. 

Bad Homer 

Even at Homer’s worst, Swartzwelder forgives Homer. In the episode “Homer’s Enemy,” Frank Grimes does die due to Homer’s negligence. Swartzwelder maintains it was Grimes’ own fault.

“Grimey was asking for it the whole episode,” Swartzwelder said. “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?”

Homer Simpson kneels before J.J. Abrams
L-R: J.J. Abrams, Homer Simpson | 20th Television

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Perhaps the reason there were so many Homer-centric episodes was that the writers liked writing for him the most.

“I think we all had favorite characters,” Swartzwelder said. “A Mr. Burns episode was always fun for me. And Homer, of course. Patty and Selma, less so. But all of the characters in Springfield can be funny. It’s just a matter of giving them something funny to say.”

Source: The New Yorker