The Simpsons may have been at its creative peak in the 1990s, but not everyone was a fan.
Barbara Bush, the former first lady who died this week at the age of 92, was among the voices of dissent.
At least to start with.
She was quoted in People magazine in 1990 as calling the now venerated show ‘the dumbest thing I have ever seen’.
Such was the criticism that writers of the show penned a personal letter in response to the first lady, from Marge Simpson.
“I recently read your criticism of my family. I was deeply hurt,” it read (via Entertainment Weekly).
“Heaven knows we’re far from perfect and, if truth be known, maybe just a wee bit short of normal; but as Dr. Seuss says, ‘a person is a person.’
“I always believed in my heart that we had a great deal in common. Each of us living our lives to serve an exceptional man. I hope there is some way out of this controversy. I thought, perhaps, it would be a good start to just speak my mind.”
The letter clearly had the desired effect, as Bush replied, some weeks later.
“How kind of you to write,” she wrote, on White House headed stationary.
“I am glad you spoke your mind; I foolishly didn’t know you had one. I am looking at a picture of you, depicted on a plastic cup, with your blue hair filled with pink birds peeking out all over.
“Evidently, you and your charming family — Lisa, Homer, Bart and Maggie — are camping out. It is a nice family scene. Clearly you are setting a good example for the rest of the country. Please forgive a loose tongue. P.S. Homer looks like a handsome fella!”
— Al Jean (@AlJean) April 18, 2018
Sadly, it was not the final barb towards Springfield’s first family.
In a speech from President George H.W. Bush in 1992, he famously proclaimed: “We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the America family to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons!”
The show, of course, answered back in kind.
In a later episode, Bart referenced the remark, saying: “Hey! We’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end to the depression, too!”