In the upcoming season of The Simpsons, Homer has a narcolepsy problem, which strains relations with Marge to the point that they separate.
This shocking news traveled from executive producer Al Jean's lips to Variety, who then shot it through my heart like a sad cupid:
In the premiere, it’s discovered after all the years Homer has narcolepsy and it’s an incredible strain on the marriage. Homer and Marge legally separate, and Homer falls in love with his pharmacist, who’s voiced by Lena Dunham. We’ll have cameos from the other women from "Girls." We have an episode coming up where Lisa befriends a homeless woman who turns out to be an incredible singer. The woman’s voiced by Kate McKinnon, but the singing is done by Natalie Maines.
In another episode, Spider Pig makes his return. Sideshow Bob appears in a segment, and we finally see him do something he’s wanted to do for 25 years. And we have an episode based on the film "Boyhood." It’s a flashback/flashforward about Bart. We go to various points in his life and his life to come which I think came out really well.
I have a few immediate reactions to this scripted tragedy.
First, it is ridiculous. No animated married couple (of about 35 years, though the math on that is fuzzy) should have any problems. They aren't part of a reality television show. This is a show about family, and I need emotional stability in my animated series.
Second, it is disappointing. I root for the happiness of others, fictional or otherwise, and I don't like to see anyone struggle through a relationship. I want to see this problem addressed quickly.
Third, Homer's condition is medically concerning. Do the Simpsons not have healthcare insurance or coverage? Has Homer received a medical review? Has he refused care, or was there any care to give? We know nothing.
Fourth, I can only wonder whether Homer and Marge are on the same page about what sort of break this really is.