with a Slight Historical Bend
|Image Courtesy of WikiSimpsons|
The Simpsons has always been an remarkable source for pop culture in its ability to create pop culture moments while pulling from other ones. One of the gems of the series is its ability to weave references – no matter how obscure or timely – together to color the lives of the Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson, and their expanded universe (which includes The Critic) that is Springfield, USA. The result is an enjoying experience and oftentimes, a heartwarming story. Recently, The Simpsons took on the Golden Age of Professional Wrestling with “Gorgeous Grampa.”
|Image Courtesy of WikiSimpsons|
Homer jumps at the chance to participate in the Storage Battles (a Storage Wars like show) phenomena, bidding on a storage locker with unknown contents. He wins the locker only to discover that it belongs to Abe Simpson. The contents – blonde wigs, feathered boas and bedazzled robes – lead Marge to believe (hope?) that Grampa Simpson is a closeted gay man. Unfortunately, Wrestling fans have already started marking out: Abe Simpson was a Pro Wrestler! Known as “Glamorous Godfrey,” a Gorgeous George-esque character for the Simpsons alternate universe, Abe became a top heel – complete with using the terms heel and face! – booed for his displays of vanity and egotistical behavior. Abe retired when his received jeers became too much for him to experience but not before doing two things: inspiring Mr. Burns to be a lifelong HEEL and creating a finishing pin that would later inspire future WWE Superstars like Maryse:
|Maryse adds some Sexy to Springfield|
Seeing footage of Glamorous Godrey inspires Bart. Having seen a different side to his grandfather, Bart – now dubbed “Beautiful Bart,” possibly a Bobby Eaton homage – infuses his little league with the pomp and circumstance of Godfrey’s less favorable habits, drawing the ire and trash of baseball fans.
|Beautiful Bart getting a Hollywood Hogan/Bully Ray reception|
Meanwhile, Mr. Burns – a fully actualized heel – encourages Abe to don the blonde wig and bedazzled robe once again, partly for his own nostalgia but largely for money. Abe agrees in part to bond with Bart who wants to be in the ring with him. However, Marge wanted Abe to learn of the negative impact Glamorous Godfrey has had on Bart and after seeing it firsthand,
|Beautiful Bart channeling his inner La Parka.|
Abe takes from wrestling history to make a change. Glamorous Godfrey Russo-Swerves the Promoter (Mr. Burns) by debuting a new persona: Honest Abe, a complete departure from the heel tactics of Glamorous Godfrey.
|Honest Abe’s ready to pass on the Figure-Four to Laddie Liberty|
With his trusty side kick, Laddie Liberty (a reformed Beautiful Bart), they take out Mr. Burns, with Laddie Liberty executing Godfrey’s trademark pin. Abe Simpson, at his core, is a babyface – a theme that The Simpsons has explored this season in other episodes like “Gone Abie Gone” and “To Cur with Love.” It is a legacy that his often troubled grandson could relate to and build upon.
So how does The Simpsons go from Storage Wars to Professional Wrestling? Both concepts play with the sense of nostalgia. Storage Wars searches for treasure in forgotten, unearthing history even if value cannot be found. The Gorgeous George-like past of Abe Simpson stirred up the nostalgia in both Mr. Burns and Abe Simpson but for different reasons and with different results. Mr. Burns was reminded why he’s the ultimate heel of The Simpsons: because he greatly imprinted on Glamorous Godfrey in his youth. Abe saw the consequences of a person growing up with Godfrey as a hero and knew something better was needed for his own lineage, for Bart. This is a topic that has not been discussed much since the classic episode, “Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in ‘The Curse of the Flying Hellfish.” “Gorgeous Grampa” plays with the same topic, even with the same characters (Abe, Bart and Burns), but utilizing writer’s Matt Selman’s love of professional wrestling instead of Jonathan Colliler’s fondness for boats.