He’s selfish, he’s stupid, he sleeps on the job. He takes his wife for granted, ignores his elder daughter and regularly strangles his only son. His response to practically any crisis is to mutter unintelligibly and slap himself on the forehead, uttering the catchphrase that has so often captured the essence of the American dream at the dawn of the 21st century: “D’oh!”
Homer J. Simpson may not be much of a role model, but we identify with him all the same. We understand his primitive impulses, even if we have the good sense not to act on them. “I think all of us are secretly ruled by our desires,” says Simpsons creator Matt Groening. “It’s just that we’re infused with guilt, superego and the rest of that stuff saying, ‘Don’t do that!'”
Not so Homer. When Groening first created him, Homer was as angry as he was stupid. But through the years, Dan Castellaneta’s brilliant voice work, along with a nonpareil writing staff, have turned Homer into TV comedy’s Mr. Sunday Night.