''The Simpsons'' get responsible -- Sam Simon says the show will depict Homer and his co-workers in a better light

Is nothing sacred? Here we were, secure in our belief that the Simpsons would always be equal-opportunity wiseacres, free to make withering cracks about anyone or anything. But then the U.S. Council for Energy Awareness wrote to the producers of Fox’s coolest show. The Council, an industry information group, complained about the nuclear power plant that employs papa Homer, saying that the workers were depicted as ”bungling idiots” and that such scenes as Bart pulling a three-eyed fish out of a pond near the plant were in poor taste.

But did the producers, in their best Bart bleat, yell, ”Back off, dude” ? Alas, no: Simpsons executive producer Sam Simon accepted an invitation to tour the San Onofre power plant in San Clemente, Calif., and returned to Hollywood all aglow. ”No more three-eyed fish,” Simon said afterward. The show, he told Associated Press, will continue to poke fun at Homer’s job, but in ”a more responsible way.” Responsible?! The value of The Simpsons resides in the show’s refusal to buy the notion that a sitcom must provide little moral and civic lessons — that way lies The Hogan Family. What’s next? Ophthalmologists writing in to complain about the Simpsons’ bulgy eyeballs, resulting in every character wearing corrective lenses? If creator Matt Groening doesn’t watch it, he’ll have to retitle his show The Simps.

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