The Simpsons Season 24, episode 4, “Gone Abie Gone.”
Comic book fans should be well acquainted by now with secret origins stories. That’s where a chacter’s backstory is revisited, only to introduce an aspect of their life we had no prior knowledge of. Simpsons fans got a taste of this with the recent episode “Gone Abie Gone,” which showcased a sweeter side to Abe than the old coot has ever displayed. As secret origins go, this was worlds better than Seymour Skinner’s ‘Armand Tanzarian’ past.
Biographers of Abraham Simpson’s life would have to learn to overlook some glaring anachronisms of course. Somehow, he dressed in drag during WW2, was a nightwatchman of a grain silo for 30 years, married a hippie chick, and, as this episode reveals, was a busboy at 35 who also played a mean jazz piano.
As it turns out, Grampa found love again after his wife flew the coop when he met Rita La Fleur, an up-and-coming chanteuse. We see their love blossom and come to full bloom fairly quick; Abraham even proposes to her. On the day of their wedding though, young Homer hurts himself several times in several hilarious ways right when Rita receives a call asking her to take their act abroad. As Homer manages to electrocute himself with a power outlet, Abraham sadly says something like “Europe is no place for a six year old. Sure, he can withstand 110 watts, but 220 would kill him.”
Rita decides to follow through on the deal while Abraham stays behind, which leads up to one of the nicest bits of dialogue ever exchanged between Grampa and Homer.
Homer: Are you okay, daddy?
Abraham: Of course I’m okay. I’m with you. I guess this is why life comes before love in the dictionary.
Then, cutting through the treacle, Grampa says “Now let’s make sure neither of us ever remember this again,” as he heads to the airport bar (also tidily explaining why Rita had never been mentioned before). A few other revelations are shared in this episode as well. For example, Bart admits he actually likes Lisa, Homer keeps a locket with Fonzi’s picture in it (now replaced by an image of his father), and Millhouse will go far out of his way to keep Lisa’s sense of wonder intact.
It’s episodes like Gone Abie Gone that keep my sense of wonder alive. The Simpsons franchise, like its characters, never seems to grow any older.
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What was your opinion of The Simpsons “Gone Abie Gone”?