I'm normally not a fan of "fan theories," but this one is too good to pass up. Reddit user "Hardtopickaname" has a novel theory: that Homer Simpson never awoke from a coma he suffered over 20 years ago, and the entire series run from that point has been a series of dreams taking place within Homer's mind. Sounds crazy? Submitted for your approval, here is his grand thesis:
October 1992: Homer The Heretic airs and ends with Homer talking to God.
Homer: God, I gotta ask you something. What's the meaning of life?
God: Homer, I can't tell you that.
God: You'll find out when you die.
Homer: I can't wait that long!
God: You can't wait six months?
Homer: No, tell me now!
God: Well, okay. The meaning of life is…
April 1993 (six months later): So It’s Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show airs and involves Bart’s April Fools prank inadvertently putting Homer into the hospital, where he is then crushed by a vending machine and put in a coma. Now the episode ends with Homer waking up (and giving us a hilarious POV shot of him choking Bart), but it seems to be too convenient and sudden.
I propose that Homer didn’t actually wake up from his coma. He is still in a vegetative state and every single Simpsons episode afterwards is in Homer’s imagination.
This is why the characters don’t age. Homer remembers Bart, Lisa, and Maggie as 10, 8, and 1 year old, so they will always appear that way in his dreams. He is subconsciously aware of time passing, so his mind will often “update” his memories so that the year they occurred matches up with the age he thinks he is (e.g. That 90’s Show contradicting other flashback episodes).
While the characters’ ages don’t change, the events happening to the Simpsons definitely did. The plots of episodes following the April Fools show are far zanier than beforehand. Let’s compare, shall we?
Plot Examples Before April 1993:
Bart cheats on an IQ test
Homer tries to give up drinking
Marge considers cheating on Homer
Lisa has a crush on her teacher
Yes, there were some wacky plots, but overall fairly mundane stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Plot Examples After April 1993:
Homer goes into outer space
Principal Skinner is revealed as an imposter
Mr. Burns captures the Loch Ness Monster
Homer works for a super-villain who takes over the eastern US
Bart and Homer buy a racehorse and discover the secret land of jockeys
Celebrity after celebrity after celebrity
This is clearly Homer’s imagination running wild. With no real world restrictions, Homer’s mind is able to dream up scenarios of him and his family in fantasies involving him winning a Grammy, his father fighting his boss for buried WW2 treasure, his wife getting breast implants, his infant daughter saving him from drowning, etc.
The massive amounts of celebrity appearances are easily explained as well. People in comas can sometime hear what people in the same room are saying. While Homer wouldn’t physically react, his mind processes that information and includes it in his dreams.
Maybe the nurse leaves the radio on and Homer hears a Lady Gaga song. Suddenly:
His family visits and talk with each other about the new Mel Gibson movie they’re going to be seeing after leaving the hospital. Next thing you know:
And so on.
There’s one last thing I want to leave you with. Going back to Homer’s conversation with God, "What is the meaning of life?" Or at least Homer’s life? Well life can have different meaning for different people and a purpose or reason for one’s existence can be as unique as their fingerprints. For Homer, his grand purpose is obvious – he is here to entertain. His dreams, his imaginative adventures, have provided millions of fans with amusement and will continue to do so for decades.