The Simpsons is one of the most well known television shows in the world, and Homer is undoubtedly the most popular character from the series. It's little wonder the Homer Simpson coma theory Redditor Hardtopickaname came up with became such a hit among fan theorists. The theory suggests Homer Simpson has been in a coma for years, and there's significant evidence to back up the sensational claim. If you ever find yourself wondering "Is Homer Simpson in a coma?", you've come to the right place.
The fan theory about Homer Simpson stems from Season 4 Episode 18 of The Simpsons, “So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show”, in which Homer is hospitalized after an April Fool’s joke by Bart paralyzes him. He falls into a coma, after being crushed by a candy machine. The idea presented by this theory is, he never woke from this vegetative state. Instead, all The Simpsons episodes from that moment on are the imaginative dreams of the coma ridden character.
Though the characters on The Simpsons don't age, it's clear time passes. Real world events happen as you'd expect, and culture shifts as it does in the parallel real world. There's one small caveat here - Homer does age. In Season 1, he's 36. In the “Homer Votes 2012” short, he's 40. Other episodes put his age at 38 and 39.
According to Hardtopickaname, Homer slowly aging makes sense if he's in a coma that allows his mind to run free (as opposed to a brain dead coma). In such a state, he would be aware of his own time passing, but would want to remember everyone else he knows as they were, especially his children, whom he might not want to see grow up.
An important piece of evidence to this theory is found 15 episodes before Homer's come. In Season 4 Episode 3, “Homer the Heretic”, Homer converses with God, and asks about the meaning of life. God tells him he has to wait until he dies to learn that, to which Homer responds "I can't wait that long." God replies: “You can't wait six months?”
"Homer the Heretic" aired on October 8, 1992. "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" aired on April 1, 1993, almost exactly six moths later. While death isn't the same thing as a coma, both signal the end of a normal life, and, for the consciousnesses victim, entering another plane of existence.
According to Hardtopickaname, since Season 4, fans have felt The Simpsons moved away from being a grounded series that told personal stories to an absurdist face. Even members of the cast have expressed concerns about what they see as the declining quality of the show thanks to increasingly zany plots.
Of course, if the show all takes place inside the head of a man who has lost touch with the real world, it makes sense it would get increasingly bizarre and detached from reality.
It's widely accepted by Simpsons fans that the show shifted focus from Bart to Homer after Season Four. Even show creator Matt Groening acknowledged this in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
"EW: The show’s focus shifted from Bart to Homer around season 4. How did that come about? Were you responding to the audience’s love for Homer?
MG: With Homer, there’s just a wider range of jokes you can do. And there are far more drastic consequences to Homer’s stupidity. There’s only so far you can go with a juvenile delinquent. We wanted Bart to do anything up to the point of him being tried in court as an adult. But Homer is an adult, and his boneheaded-ness is funnier. The things that come out of Homer’s mouth and the decisions Dan makes are unbelievable…. Homer is launching himself headfirst into every single impulsive thought that occurs to him. He is truly American in his love of food and idiotic pop culture. We can all relate to it, we just feel guilt about it. Homer feels guilt, but not until hours later. [Laughs] And only momentarily. Homer really is living in the moment."
“So It’s Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show” comes at the end of Season 4, meaning it may well mark the transition from the show's focus from Bart to Homer. If the rest of the series takes place in Homer's head, it makes sense he would be the central focus.