In "Moaning Lisa," Bart and Homer get involved in video-game boxing. The boxers displayed in the game look very similar to Homer and Bart. Production-wise this makes sense, as it eliminates the need to explain which character is controlling which boxer, etc. But is there a canon explanation why there is a similarity? Or is it a coincidence?

  • 3
    FWIW, "Moaning Lisa" is S1E6: Feb 1990. That predates any user-customizable avatar action video games I'm aware of by around a decade. Heck, it's before Eternal September, so I don't know how widely-known chat avatars would have been. What I'm saying is that there's nothing in the computer gaming state-of-the-art at that time for it to be based on, so it basically has to be a viewer convenience.
    – DavidW
    Dec 18, 2019 at 18:15
  • It's certainly possible that the Simpsons' universe is more advanced than the "real" one in terms of such technology. Dec 18, 2019 at 22:05
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    This feels like one of those questions where "because it's a cartoon" is a fine answer.
    – komodosp
    Dec 19, 2019 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia, citing the episode's DVD commentary, states that

The designs of the boxers in the video game Homer and Bart play were loosely based on Homer and Bart

So from a production standpoint, the resemblance was deliberate, and presumably done so that the viewers would know who was controlling which character. In-universe, though, it was almost certainly coincidence.

There's another, more prominent example of these intentional design similarities: Matt Groening designed Krusty the Clown to resemble Homer, to create a "satirical conceit" in which Bart "had no respect for his father, but worshipped a clown who looked exactly like his father". Yet in-universe, the resemblance between Homer and Krusty is pure coincidence. In-universe, the resemblance between them forms part of the plot of the episode "Homie the Clown", but is otherwise coincidental.

  • In-universe, though, it was almost certainly coincidence. It's not impossible for them to have picked characters that resemble themselves, assuming there are more than two boxers in the game.
    – Flater
    Dec 18, 2019 at 22:20
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    Also, Homer was initially slated to be Krusty the Clown - specifically to subvert the "satirical conceit" in which Bart loathes his father (as Homer) yet unknowingly looks up to him as well (as Krusty). The planned storyline was cancelledand instead Homer trained to be a replacement Krusty in "Homie the Clown". You can sort of see Krusty look more like Homer in makeup on his first appearance in the show
    – Flater
    Dec 18, 2019 at 22:23

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