'Simpsons' Premiere Was Timely Allegory Of Unchecked Power

“The Simpsons” started its 35th season last Sunday with a pointed message about the dangers of authoritarianism.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” English historian and politician Lord John Dalberg-Acton wrote in 1887.

The famous quote is still relevant today, and it applied to Homer Simpson this past weekend when he was invested with absolute power, and all of Springfield suffered as a result.

The story began when Homer unknowingly volunteered to serve as a school crossing guard.

He complained about it at first. “Now I have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to walk loser kids across some loser street!” he lamented to his nuclear plant colleagues Lenny and Carl.



But almost as soon as he had strapped on the crossing guard’s safety belt over his shoulder and chest, he began his journey down the path to power.

“Well, well, time to help the baby brigade cross the road,” he said derisively to a group of schoolchildren as he waited at a crosswalk.

When they laughed at him, he burned with anger. “I deserve your respect, you little jerks!” he yelled after them. 

“Without me, they’d be stuck on one side of the street for the rest of their lives,” he muttered to himself, nursing the same kinds of grudges held by the power-mad, and asserting that only he has the power to protect ordinary people from themselves and otherwise direct their lives.

He then saved the life of one of the schoolchildren, little Ralph Wiggum, who was nearly run over by Barney, the town drunk.

With his newfound fame, and seeking to capitalize on the affection and gratitude of the town, Homer began to consolidate his power.

At City Hall, he lobbied loudly for more funding and an intimidated Mayor Quimby said yes. Homer then hired about a dozen new crossing guards (pictured above), who agreed to make him captain.

In numbers, there was strength. Backed by his new crossing-guard goon squad, Homer imposed his will on Police Chief Wiggum, detaining the chief for jaywalking and positioning the newly powerful crossing guards as a force above the law.

They then took over Mel’s Tavern, renamed it O’Crossigan’s, and declared that only crossing guards can enter.

In an Orwellian scenario, the very pedestrians this group of public servants were supposed to serve were being barred from a facility formerly open to them.

Homer clung to power even when he and his crossing-guard stormtroopers failed to manage heavy traffic around Springfield Elementary when two events, a bake sale and science fair, were being held at the same time.

Homer responded by angrily blaming others for the fiasco and demanding more money from the town.

He then applied his dictator’s charisma to promise the townspeople increased safety for their children if his unit received more money.

In the face of the town’s enthusiasm, Mayor Quimby meekly acquiesced and gave Homer and his crossing-guard thugs a blank check, which emboldened Homer to begin shopping for heavy weaponry.

When Chief Wiggum vocally and eloquently objected, Homer disparaged him as a “wokester,” and then said, “And if you don’t like it, you can jaywalk your ass back to Portland!”

Among other abuses of power, Homer cowed a restaurant waitress into permitting his family to eat for free. 

When his troopers began to be known as “orange shirts,” Homer established a social media web site,, where his radical supporters left messages calling for the death of Homer’s political enemies.

“Ah, the internet marketplace of ideas,” said Homer smugly, when wife Marge expressed her alarm at the online messages.

Eventually, Springfield felt the full effects of Homer’s reign of terror as his orange shirts fired automatic weapons at approaching cars with no regard for human life, and the town burned. 

When other forces gathered to depose him, their efforts failed. 

In the end, Homer was driven from power after he was struck by Springfield’s one and only school bus and suffered serious injuries. 

The TV Blog has no doubt that the producers of “The Simpsons” meant their season-premiere episode to serve as a warning. 

As they likely hoped it would, this very special episode of “The Simpsons” raised the age-old question: Could it happen here? 

Sure, why not? If it can happen in congenial Springfield, USA, then it could happen anywhere. We’ve been warned!

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