The USA’s longest-running animated TV show documents the trials and tribulations of an average American family that has had to suffer with the reality of alcohol abuse. Homer Simpson, the series’s patriarch, endangers his own life and property at the start of every episode with his drunk-driving antics that necessitate replacing his mailbox each time at considerable financial cost. More shocking is his skin discolouration, which is a stark reminder of the toll alcohol takes on the liver, developing cirrhosis eventually that manifests in jaundice. This lifestyle choice, no matter how self-destructive, would be one’s own to make were it not to affect the rest of the family: Bart is the target of physical and verbal abuse from a booze-fuelled Homer. Worst of all, however, is Marge’s past drinking habits while pregnant, giving rise to deformities in her children – Bart, Lisa and Maggie were all born missing several fingers and toes. Fetal alcohol syndrome has meant that despite being in their early twenties they remain physically and mentally underdeveloped, though Lisa escaped the worst, with the mental faculties roughly in line with someone her age. Maggie’s story on the other hand is unfortunately one of complete tragedy, being a twenty-something with the mental age of a baby.
TV Reviews – The Simpsons