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Thread: Homer Badman: aged horribly or more relevant than ever?

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    Homer Badman: aged horribly or more relevant than ever?

    I personally believe Homer Badman is basically apolitical and is strictly a satire of sensationalist tabloids like Hard Copy. But lately, people on the right or left side of the political spectrum either love or hate this episode because they have interpreted it as being anti #metoo. Do you agree with that interpretation?

  2. #2
    Why game 7, WHY? Return Of The Living Trab's Avatar
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    This is a thread now?

    As said before, just because of the potential harassment scene, it has aged a little bit badly.
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  3. #3

    You think harassment is suddenly non-existent ? why? I don't understand how you think this is dated. I would really like to understand your point of view.
    It's even more current.

    To answer OP. I'm personally of the camp that it was a critique of the tabloids at the time, It may be dated now only because tabloids don't seem so bad compared to the current 'news' sources available out there. I think it was a fairly balanced episode and watching it through today's optics I can see why people on either side of the #metoo movement could interpret the episode differently...

  4. #4
    Pin Pal ManuelMaiden95's Avatar
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    It has aged beautifully and I don't understand how anyone could think the contrary.
    I mean, the satire on sensationalist media is now more relevant than ever since media has been slowly getting worse all over the world but specially in America.

  5. #5
    Wears sneakers for sneaking Financial Panther's Avatar
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    What ManuelMaiden said is exactly how I (and apparently many others) feel about Homer Badman. It has aged better than any other episode, and it’s in my top 10 for a reason. The satire just seems more brilliant by the year, and it’s impressive how an episode from 1994 likely has more relevance than any episode that would air currently that tackled a similar topic.
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  6. #6
    Stonecutter The Abominable Dr. Lenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Return Of The Living Trab View Post
    This is a thread now?

    As said before, just because of the potential harassment scene, it has aged a little bit badly.
    Could you please elaborate on this?
    The Simpsons, Season 32:

    Undercover Burns - 3/5
    I, Carumbus - 4.5/5
    Now Museum, Now You Don't - 1.5/5
    THOH XXXI - 4.5/5: Toy Gory - 5/5 Into The Homerverse - 3/5 Be Nine, Rewind - 5/5

    Family Guy, Season 19:

    Stewie's First Word - 2/5
    The Talented Mr. Stewie - 2.5/5
    Boys & Squirrels - 1.5/5
    Cutawayland - 2/5

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  8. #7
    Grotesque Nitsy's Avatar
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    I think it has aged wonderfully. The episode illustrates the problem with getting carried away by allegations and the often wrong conclusions of the "court of public opinion", especially when influenced and guided by the sensationalist media.

    That said, of course the episode will be controversial to many in the #metoo "believe women" crowd. For one, the episode is told from the perspective of the accused, not the accuser. In addition, the accuser is a stereotypical "feminist student" type. Finally, the episode concludes with the accused being vindicated. That is not the preferred narrative in the #metoo movement.

    A criticism of the episode I found:

    "The only thing ‘Homer Badman’ predicted about #MeToo is that women are still treated the same way now as they were in 1994. And it’s because victims of sexual harassment are still seriously believed to be what ‘Homer Badman’ broadly treats them as satirically (shrill busybodies making up stories), that a movement to correct it was necessary."

    Now, the episode portrays the accuser as mistaken and involved in a misunderstanding, not maliciously making up accusations out of thin air. But the episode, just by virtue of presenting an accuser as wrong and the accused as sympathetic, is not going to sit well with many viewers today.
    Last edited by Nitsy; 10-10-2020 at 10:12 PM.
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  9. #8

    Like most things in life the truth lies somewhere in the middle.... I think it was about time for women to stop taking shit from predatory men but you won't hear me say things like "Believe all women", there's plenty of examples similar to the story in homer badman .

    The main reason I am participating in this thread is because the way that "Return Of The Living Trab" made his statement it sounded like the mere act of near-groping of her buttox was dated. I just wanted to understand his reasoning. There's a trend that I have seen with the newer generations where bad behaviour isn't something that should be seen, even if it's in character. The simpsons are not rolemodels.

  10. #9
    :< tyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerkass Scully View Post
    I personally believe Homer Badman is basically apolitical and is strictly a satire of sensationalist tabloids like Hard Copy
    this Is political but yes this is the actual point, reading metoo premonition into the episode is a misunderstanding of the dynamics of metoo, the only absolute villain in this episode is a parasitic media, the rest is misunderstanding weaponized by said media, the intentional power structures of metoo arent present at all. some stuff has still aged pretty terribly but alot of more granular politics in the classic era especially post s4 can be ugly so what can ya do.

    anyway believe all victims.

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  12. #10
    hutz is my waifu owo's Avatar
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    pretty sure anyone with a room temperature iq can tell the mass media sensationalism + demoralization tactics from this ep have aged like wine, regardless of what you personally think about #metoo in 2020

  13. #11

    Homer Badman is tame compared to how the media sensationalizes things to be honest. All about how easy it is to become a mob- even if your cause is just.

  14. #12
    Grappling with Local Oaf Beggs's Avatar
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    My tl;dr take is that it's aged very well, with commentary that is still relevant today. There are a couple of aspects that are inadvertently problematic, if only because they can be interpreted in a way that twists the message, but that doesn't mean it has no applicability or value.

    Expanding on that...

    What holds up

    First of all, the episode makes it clear that sexual harassment is wrong, and a matter to be taken seriously. I should think this is a fairly uncontroversial stance that definitely holds up. Also, while Homer was innocent, Ashley Grant does not make a false accusation as such; certainly not a malicious one, at any rate. You can understand how and why she came to that conclusion, given Homer's actions. Neither she nor Homer are the villain. The sensationalist tabloid reporting and the whole concept of the court of public opinion are the villains of the tale.

    To that end, the main point of the episode - the critique of sensationalist and manipulative reporting, as well as mob justice and the court of public opinion - does hold up extremely well. Times have changed, but integrity in media coverage and people getting stirred up into an outraged frenzy with little regard for details or due process, is definitely still an issue that we face. Social media has only exacerbated the problem, so the themes of the episode and criticisms that it makes are very applicable today. The scenarios are different, but the lessons are the same, and still hold merit.

    Even the final scene where Homer completely misses the point when he sees the "Rowdy Roddy Peeper" expose on Groundskeeper Willie, falling prey to the same manipulative reporting that had just made him a pariah, is relevant commentary. We're aware of these techniques and that we should take things with a grain of salt, search out more information, employ critical thinking and so on, and yet, so often we fail to do so.

    What's problematic

    Because Homer is a main character, the story naturally had to have him be innocent of the crime he was accused of. That stands to reason, but it can have some unintended implications. While I don't believe the intention was to ever suggest that accusations of sexual harassment are simply misunderstandings that get out of hand, anyone who wants to push that narrative could point to the story as an example. Similarly, anyone who would prefer a story where someone is taken to task for sexual harassment might see the episode as going soft on the issue. I think this has always been an unfortunate problem as far as interpreting the point of the story, but those interpretations really hit a raw nerve in the wake of #MeToo, which I'd suggest is where much of the controversy now comes from.

    Also, while Ashley Grant's character is fine for the most part, there are some problems with the way she's portrayed as a perceived victim of sexual harassment, especially considering concepts such as the "ideal victim", and other manner of victim blaming. Rather than go to the police, she leads a protest outside Homer's house. It's generally not what someone would do if they're a victim of harassment or abuse, but by the same token, if someone were to do that, it wouldn't be proof of a false accusation, either. Again, there are implications here that I don't believe were intended, but the message can easily be twisted based on stereotypes and harmful beliefs about the way victims are supposed to act. It's a by-product of the story requiring Homer to be innocent, while making sure that Ashley isn't an antagonist or unsympathetic, as well as being a story about tabloid reporting and trying to clear your name, rather than legal procedure.

    I'd argue that those have always been potential problems with the story, though. As far as recent events that affect the accuracy of the episode's message, you could say that the increased willingness to write off anything you don't like as "fake news", and distrust sources purely due to personal bias, makes any slam of the media/reporting somewhat passe or lacking in nuance. In some ways it makes even more pertinent, of course, but a couple of decades later, the warning to take what you see in the media with a grain of salt does hit a little different.

    Overall, however, it has aged very well

    On the whole, the episode does hold up, and its themes and commentary have aged well. While it does have some problematic elements as far as unfortunate and unintended implications, I'd suggest it's impossible to create art with a message and not have someone twist it for their own ends; especially several years after it was produced. I also think some of those things have always been a potential problem, in part because the story involved a main character who ultimately needed to be innocent, while still making the point that what they were accused of is a serious matter and an unacceptable act. I can see where the controversy lies on both sides, but I'd say the point is being missed.

    The notion that sexual harassment is wrong, that rushing to condemn and campaign against someone without proof or due process, and that not everyone in the media is as interested in the truth as furthering an agenda or being sensationalist for attention and ratings, are themes that should be bipartisan and resonate with us all as still being relevant. That they're causing disagreements today is perhaps a commentary on how we approach these issues and political discourse, rather than it being the intention (or a failing) of a Simpsons episode written over 20 years ago. I believe the message that it's actually going for is apt and evergreen, which is why it still resonates. I don't think it's a shortcoming of the writing that in 2020, some people are trying to twist its message, or overlook the fact that while it's applicable, it can't possibly address specific events that occurred two decades later.

    It's a great episode that tackled some sensitive issues with apt commentary, while still being able to provide some levity. It still does that all these years later, and while some things may have changed, the basic message is still relevant today. Most of the problems come from trying to twist that message, and while there are aspects of the episode that leave themselves open to that, that interpretation has always been there, and I'd ultimately put the blame on the people making bad faith arguments and comparisons, rather than the episode that ultimately had a good take on the issues.
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