Marge and Homer Simpson may not be winning all the parenting awards, but they definitely get more flak for being bad parents than they deserve! Sure, Homer occasionally strangles Bart and maybe Marge is a little more flighty than she should be, but at their core, they truly love their kids and want what’s best for them.
Throughout the 26 seasons we’ve had them on the air, we’ve been able to see Marge and Homer at their best and at their worst when it comes to raising Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, but they never lose sight of giving their kids an amazing life. From uprooting their lives to live in a better school district for the kids, to protecting them from media outlets when it’s discovered that Bart faked a burglary at Christmas, Marge and Homer are with their children through thick and thin. While you can point to a lot of moments where maybe they weren’t so great in the parenting department (hey, they even had to take a class on it at one point!), these are 15 times when Marge and Homer were the kind of parents we all aspire to be.
15 When Homer And Lisa Share A Secret
In the episode, “Lost Our Lisa,” Lisa is desperate to attend the museum’s Egyptian exhibit, but can’t get there because Marge has to take Bart to the emergency room to remove the joke prosthetics he had super-glued to his face. After getting the okay from Homer to take the bus (instead of a limo), she ends up lost – and Homer takes it upon himself to find her. He searches throughout Springfield’s Russian district, even using a cherry-picker to find his little girl.
Once the two are reunited, Homer tells her that it’s okay to take a little risk every now and then, which prompts the pair to enter the museum at night illegally, where they stumble upon the Orb of Isis. After accidentally cracking it open, they hear its lullaby and promise to keep it their little secret. It’s a truly touching moment between father and daughter.
14 When They Both Showed Lisa That She Should Believe In Herself
After failing to solve a simple puzzle that the rest of her classmates quickly figured out, Lisa worries that her intelligence is slipping away, much like it did to Homer when he was a child. Grandpa Simpson informs her that it’s the “Simpson gene” and that it’ll happen to her.
In an effort to convince her otherwise, Homer calls up multiple relatives, only to learn that most of them ARE losers (like the one who wants to play a millionaire at parties and the one who shoots birds at the airport). However, Marge tells Homer to ask the women, which is when Lisa learns that the Simpson gene only affects the men in the family, while the women can grow up to be environmental lawyers and doctors! Since Lisa often has a lot of crises over her abilities, this is a nice moment between both parents who remind her of her greatness.
13 When Homer Gave Maggie What She Wanted
Homer is usually the kind of guy who’ll happily sell his dignity to make a buck, but that tendency came to a surprising halt in season five’s episode, “Rosebud.” After discovering that Mr. Burns’ beloved childhood teddy bear, Bobo, is in the arms of his daughter Maggie, Homer intends to give up the bear to Mr. Burns in exchange for millions of dollars and three private islands. However, after seeing Maggie’s love for this mouldy, old stuffed animal, he changes his mind. Even when the townspeople come to the Simpsons’ door with guns and threats, Homer stands his ground. For someone who’s usually obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes, this is a sweet example of his familial devotion, and it seems that his empathy works out just fine in the end: Maggie, of her own volition, gives her bear back to Mr. Burns, who, no surprise, gives the family nothing in return.
12 When Marge Saved The Family From A Cult
Marge doesn’t usually get the credit for being a force to be reckoned with, but she definitely was in “The Joy of Sect” in season nine! After Homer moves the entire family to the Movementarian compound to pick beans and worship “The Leader,” Marge is the only one to resist their brainwashing, eventually escaping the compound and requesting the help of Reverend Lovejoy, Ned Flanders, and Groundskeeper Willie to save the rest of the family. Sure, there’s some bribery involved in the form of fake hover bikes and getting Homer to taste beer again (plus a few beatings with a baseball bat), but what matters is that Marge was willing to put her own life on the line to save her family from being taken advantage of by weirdoes who believe in a planet called Blisstonia.
11 When Homer Built Bart A “Robot”
Look, Homer is hardly the most handy dad around. In fact, he’s tried and failed many times to fix a few simple things around the house (including a toaster, which turned into a time travelling machine in a memorable “Treehouse of Horror” episode). But, he doesn’t let his lack of skills stop him, and tries his best to make a robot for Bart so he can enter in the TV show, Robot Rumble. Of course, his best isn’t good enough, and so Homer pretends to be a robot – named Chief Knock-A-Homer – for Bart, winning as many fights as possible, while sacrificing his own health and body to do it. It may not have been the brightest thing to do, but it’s definitely a testament to Homer’s desire to make his kids proud!
10 When Marge Catered To The Kids’ Interests
It may be a small thing, but it’s still a nice little mention of Marge’s understanding of her kids’ unique personalities and different interests. In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace,” Marge whips up some homemade cookies for the family, a perfectly normal Christmas tradition, except that these cookies included Christmas trees for the girls and bloody spearheads for Bart! It’s cute and weird, but perfectly Marge, because not only does she understand her kids’ differences – she celebrates them. Instead of forcing Bart to eat normal Christmas cookies, she makes them a little gorier because she knows he’ll enjoy them that much more, which is evident once he mimes stabbing himself with them. (And besides, they’re the same cookie shape, just different icing!)
9 When Homer Got Lisa Her Saxophone – Twice!
This wouldn’t be such a great example of parenting if it didn’t have the story it did. Instead of simply getting Lisa a saxophone, Homer gave her something to nurture her gifted mind. In the aptly-titled “Lisa’s Sax” in season nine, the school psychologist who is dealing with young Bart’s troubles learns that Lisa is gifted, and tells the family they need to nurture her spirit. To do this, Homer (at Marge’s prodding) decides to spend the $200 they saved for an air conditioner on a saxophone, despite Springfield being in the middle of a heat wave. The inscription on it reads, “Never forget that your daddy loves D’oh!” This episode opened with Lisa’s original saxophone being destroyed, and so Homer again forgoes his air conditioner, and buys her another sax, with the inscription this time saying, “May your new saxophone bring you many years of D’oh!”
8 When They Both Enrolled In Parenting Class
After being declared bad parents by the CPS in season seven, Marge and Homer are told to enrol in a parenting class while their children go to live with the Flanders family next door.
Although Homer does well in the class, Marge finds it humiliating, because she IS a good parent, the kids were simply taken away when the house was a mess and Grandpa was in charge. The two are finally able to pass the class and convince the court that they’re fit parents, before running home to realize that the Flanders' have taken the Simpson kids to baptize them. In the end, despite the love she received from Ned and Maude, Maggie reaches for Marge in what is one of the most touching moments in the series, because the family, in all its disarray, is now back together.
7 When Marge Believed In Bart
Even though Bart is a little hell-raiser, he’s still Marge’s “special little guy,” and that allows her to see the good in him when everyone else is intent on finding the bad. In “Bart the Mother,” Bart decides to take care of the eggs that were in the nest of a bird he accidentally killed with Nelson’s BB gun. Instead of being birds, however, they hatch into Bolivian tree lizards, which are dangerous and place Springfield’s bird population at risk.
After the Springfield Birdwatching Society tries to get Bart to destroy the lizards (whom he’s named “Chirpy Boy” and “Bart Jr.”), Bart tells Marge, “Everyone thinks they’re monsters. But I raised them and I love them. I know that’s hard to understand.” To which Marge responds, “Not as hard as you think” (no doubt thinking of Bart himself), before telling him to make a run for it.
6 When Homer Stuck To His Guns
90% of the time, Homer can be swayed to do almost anything for beer. This instance falls into the other 10%. After Mr. Burns threatens to take away their dental plan (for a keg of beer in return), Homer is elected the new union rep and has all the nuclear power plant staff go on strike, since he knows that the elimination of the dental plan will mean he has to pay for Lisa’s much-needed braces himself. Since Mr. Burns does not understand Homer, he thinks Homer is a brilliant strategist instead of a total buffoon, and caves to the union’s demands, as long as Homer resigns his post. Instead of playing the short game and being in it for himself, Homer went for the big picture here and got Lisa the (invisible) braces she desperately needed.
5 When Homer Boosted Lisa’s Confidence
We’ve all had a point in time where we too have felt like an “ugmo,” but it’s Homer’s dedication and love for his daughter, Lisa, here that is really the standout in this episode. To prove how beautiful Lisa really is after she sees an unattractive caricature of herself, Homer enters her in the Little Miss Springfield pageant, selling his Duff blimp tickets to Barney to pay for the entry fee. Throughout the pageant, Homer acts as her coach, showing her such tricks as rubbing Vaseline on her teeth for that stick-free smile. Even though she comes in as runner-up since Homer improperly filled out the form, Homer’s dedication to his daughter is wonderful to see, and one of many adorable Homer-Lisa moments in the show.
4 When Marge Stood Up For Bart
Not many people will stick up for Bart, since he can be a real brat a lot of the time, but Marge will always be there for her son. One stellar example of that is in season three’s episode, “Homer Defined,” when Marge learns that Mrs. Van Houten thinks that Bart is a bad influence on Milhouse, and so orders Milhouse not to invite Bart to his party. Bart is understandably crushed, and so Marge decides to stick up for him and speaks to Luann herself, saying that while Bart may be a bad influence, the two boys are miserable without one another. Luann, for her part, relents, and Bart gets his best friend back. The exchange between Marge and Bart is sweet, with Bart thanking his mom for sticking up for him and Marge replying, “What makes you think I did it?” To which Bart responds, “Who else would?”
3 When Homer Stepped Up
Marge and Homer are not without their flaws, like when Marge finds herself addicted to the slot machines at Burns’ casino, and Homer has to take control of the house in her absence. Part of that control involves making a costume for Lisa’s school pageant, where she has to go as the state of Florida. Homer does his best, although he misspells the state’s name and fashions something that looks more like California, but once he sees Lisa in tears, Homer also wipes at his eyes and goes to confront Marge. This episode is a pretty great example of when Homer put his daughter’s wellbeing above anything else, and tried what he could to make sure that Lisa could attend the school pageant (even though his best wasn’t good enough). He also gives Marge a piece of his mind, showing his fierceness when it comes to his kids.
2 When Marge Was There For Lisa No Matter What
Even way back in season one, Marge showed that she was a good parent. In the episode “Moaning Lisa,” Lisa admits that she’s depressed, and at first Marge tells her to smile no matter what she’s feeling, which is not the best advice (hey, you can’t be right 100% of the time) and was in fact a hand-me-down of bad judgment from her own mother. Shortly afterwards, though, she changes her tune after seeing Lisa fake-smile through some boys teasing her, and in a show of maternal ferocity, scoops Lisa back up, apologizes for the bad advice she gave, and lets Lisa know that it’s okay to be sad, because her family will be there for her no matter what. It’s a seriously touching moment, especially so early on in the series.
1 When Homer Did It For Maggie
Now this one’s a tear-jerker! Before Maggie comes along, Homer and Marge are financially stable enough that Homer can quite his job and work at the place of his dreams: the bowling alley. Of course, things don’t go quite as planned, and Marge gets pregnant with Maggie, so Homer does what he has to do, and goes back to grovel for his job at the plant. To remind Homer of his future and add further insult to injury, Mr. Burns nails up a sign in his office that says, “Don’t forget, you’re here forever.” However, in the moment that’ll have you reaching for the Kleenex, Homer rejigs the sign to read “Do it for her,” using pictures of Maggie as a little visual reminder. I’m not crying, you’re crying!