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April 18, 2018 at 03:30 PM EDT

The Simpsons

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
12/17/89
performer
Hank Azaria, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith
guest performer
Pierce Brosnan, Richard Gere, Stephen Jay Gould, Lisa Kudrow, Edward Norton, R.E.M., Ben Stiller, Reese Witherspoon
broadcaster
Fox
genre
Cartoons/Animation, Comedy

A long time ago, there was a war — or maybe more like a few skirmishes — between the Bushes and the Simpsons.

When first lady Barbara Bush, who passed away on Tuesday, told People in 1990 that the fledgling animated comedy was “the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,” the Simpsons writers decided to respond off-camera, penning a letter to Mrs. Bush that began: “I recently read your criticism of my family. I was deeply hurt. 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.'” Marge wrapped up her letter by noting, “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.”

Just a few weeks later, the first lady not only responded, she apologized with a dash of humor. “How kind of you to write,” penned Bush. “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.” The P.S. she added? “Homer looks like a handsome fella!”

And they got along peacefully ever after. Well, not quite. In a 1992 speech, her husband, President George H.W. Bush, took a shot at the show, saying, “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 Simpsons didn’t let that insult go unanswered. In an episode that aired soon after, the family was seen watching Bush’s speech, and Bart quipped, “Hey! We’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end to the depression, too!”

In a 1996 episode, the Bushes moved to Springfield to escape the world of politics, and Bart winds up destroying the President’s memoirs, which earns him a spanking and leads to a fist fight between POTUS and Homer. It should be noted that Barbara and Marge got along swimmingly during the Bush’s brief stay in Springfield.

Read the letters below:

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