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Mona Simpson

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Mona Simpson
Mona Simpson (Official Image)
Sex Female
Status Deceased
Alias(es) Grandma Simpson
Hair Blue-gray, formerly brown
Age 76
Occupation Former hippie and political activist
Fugitive
Relatives Husband: Abraham Simpson

Son: Homer Simpson
Step-Children: Herbert Powell and Abbie Simpson
Daughter-in-law: Marge Grandchildren: Bart Simpson, Lisa Simpson and Maggie Simpson
Ling Bouvier (adopted granddaughter) and Homer Junior
Step-granddaugther: Jessica Simpson
Parents: Jay and Janet Olsen
Father-in-law: Orville Simpson
Mother-in-law: Yuma Hickman
Brother-in-laws: Bill, Chet, Tyrone, Cyrus and Hubert
Sister: Kari Olsen

First Appearance "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Voiced By Maggie Roswell Season 2-6
Glenn Close Season 7-9 11-25
Tress MacNeille Season 10
You awful awful man, get out of my son's grave
―Mona Simpson
It wasn't your fault sweetie
―Mona Simpson

Penelope Mona Simpson (née Olsen) was the mother of Homer Simpson, the wife of Abraham Simpson, the mother-in-law of Marge Simpson and the paternal grandmother of Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Mona Wanted

Mona on a "Wanted" poster

Mona young with Homer

Brown-haired Mona with little Homer

ImagesCAMI0D74

Mona with young Homer

Sometime during the late 1950s or early 1960s, Mona married Abe Simpson, later giving birth to a son, Homer, their only child. Before Homer's birth, she had cheated on Abe with a lifeguard, when a love letter was discovered by a mailman after being frozen. The letter stated that "in his heart he'll know that the baby she carries is his". When Homer, then almost 40, discovers the letter, he questions who his "real" father is. It is later discovered that Abe's DNA is a perfect match with Homer's DNA.[1] At some point before Homer's birth, she learned that Abe fathered a child with a carnival slut before he married her. Shortly after Homer was born, she made him promise never to tell Homer about the incident at the carnival, as she wanted Homer to grow up respecting his father.[2]

During the 1960s, while Homer was a small child, she became increasingly involved in a hippie movement and political activism. She cites Joe Namath's long hair during Super Bowl III as igniting her beliefs. She takes Homer and Abe to the Woodstock Music Festival, where Homer ends up having been influenced by the hippies. She and other activists, protesting germ research, enter a facility owned by Charles Montgomery Burns, destroying all the biological warfare experiments and in the process curing Clancy Wiggum of asthma. While escaping, she stopped to tend to a fallen Burns, who threatened her with arrest. She leaves her husband and son, with Abe later telling Homer that she had died while he was at the movies. Abe even goes as far to point out a grave, telling Homer it is Mona's, although the grave belongs to Walt Whitman. Almost a week prior to Mona's departure, Abe once took Homer on a fishing trip that ended badly, with Homer nearly drowning, but Abe rescues him and takes him back home. This resulted in a brief re-connection between Mona and Abe.[3]

After leaving Springfield, her exact movements are unknown, although it is later revealed she resided at the hippie commune Groovy Grove Natural Farm for several years, painting murals of Homer.[4] She sent Homer care packages each week, although Homer was unaware of this, because of his refusal to tip his letter carrier, only collecting the packages many years later.[5] During this time, she also cheated on Abe, having a menage a trois relationship at Groovy Grove with Seth and Munchie, who later fondly remembered her as a "pretty groovy chick" and "a demon in the sack".[4] Abe, in the meantime, remained unaware of her whereabouts.

Mom...

Homer meets his mother again, after thinking she is dead

Return to SpringfieldEdit

When Homer faked his death to avoid work, Mona hears of her son's death on the news and visits her son's still open grave, finding Homer in the grave, who accidentally fell in. She returns to the Simpson house, spending time with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. She meets Abe again, although Abe continues to harbor resentment over her leaving him and Homer. Mona gets angry after learning he had told Homer she was dead. When Homer and Mona go to the post office, to collect years worth of care packages, she is spotted and recognized by Burns. Mona is forced again to leave Springfield, on the run from the police, although the now Police Chief, Clancy Wiggum, aides her escape as she had helped cure his asthma.[5]

Second return to SpringfieldEdit

Sometime later, Homer discovers a hidden message in a newspaper, left by his mother, to meet her under a bridge. Homer and Bart do so and reunite with Mona, although she is discovered by the police at a diner and is arrested, later put on trial. She is acquitted because of evidence given by Homer, although she is later imprisoned, thanks to Mr. Burns, for signing into a federal park under a false name. Homer attempts to break his mother out of prison on a prison bus, with a police chase ensuing. The chase ends when she apparently dies, after the bus drives off a cliff and into some water, where it explodes, which sets off a rock avalanche, burying the bus. Mona narrowly escapes the bus before it went off the cliff. She again goes on the run, where she sends another hidden message in a newspaper to Homer, written while eating a Rhode Island-style clam chowder[6]

Final return and deathEdit

DaDeath

Homer, preparing to apologize to Mona, shortly before discovering she is dead.

Mona returns to Springfield again, visiting Homer. Homer has grown sick of his mother's constant leaving and returning and refuses to reconcile with her in order to keep himself from feeling hurt. Later, feeling guilty, he attempts to apologize to his mother. Finding her sitting on an armchair, he apologizes, before realizing she is dead. Her death devastates Homer.

She is cremated and, sometime after her cremation, the Simpson family watches her recorded will. She leaves Bart her Swiss-army knife, Lisa her rebellious spirit (although Lisa takes her earrings) and Marge an old purse made of hemp, asking Homer to release her ashes from the top of a specific mountain at 3:00 pm. Homer completes his mother's wish, releasing the ashes, which are sucked into a missile launch computer within the mountain, owned by Mr. Burns. The ashes stop the missile from launching, preventing the nuclear power plant's waste being blasted to the Amazon rain forest. Homer is arrested, but manages to escape, with help from Marge, Bart and Lisa, destroying the base and fulfilling his mother's final wish.[7]

Homer's dreamsEdit

Mona continues to live on in Homer's dreams. When Homer develops a bedwetting problem after taking Bart on a fishing trip (which brought back his memory of his disastrous fishing trip with Abe), the rest of the family ventures into his dreams to find the cause of the problem. Eventually, they come across Mona after she saves them, under the guise of Death, from being crushed by a pair of gears. She provides them the answer to Homer's bedwetting problem via movie theater. Mona also tells Homer that he misinterpreted everything that happened between her and Abe after the fishing trip and shows him a video of what really happened. She tells Homer she will always live on his memory along with younger versions of Homer and Abe. She then tells them to leave the dreams and to wake up, with Homer saying goodbye to his mother one last time. Homer's dream then collapses (due to Professor Frink and Chief Wiggum fighting), and he and the rest of the family return to the real world.

Behind the LaughterEdit

Creation Edit

Prior to the seventh season, Mona Simpson had only made two brief flashback appearances, the first being Season 2's "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", appearing again in the sixth season episode "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy". In both episodes she was voiced by Maggie Roswell.[8]

Mona's first major appearance was in the seventh season episode "Mother Simpson," which was pitched by Richard Appel, who was desperately trying to think of a story idea and decided that he had to really reach for an idea and decided to do something about Homer's mother, who previously had only been mentioned once.[9] The writers used the episode as an opportunity to solve several little puzzles, such as where Lisa's intelligence came from.[9]

The character is named after Richard Appel's wife, whose maiden name is Mona Simpson.[9] Mona Simpson was designed in a way so that she has a little bit of Homer in her face, such as the shape of her upper lip and her nose.[10] There were several design changes because the directors were trying to make her an attractive older and younger woman, but still be Simpson-esque.[10]

The inspiration for the character comes from Bernardine Dohrn of the far-left revolutionary group Weather Underground, although the writers acknowledge that several people fit her description.[11] Her crime was intentionally the least violent crime the writers could think of, as she did not harm anyone and was only caught because she came back to help Mr. Burns.[11]

Glenn Close, who was directed in her first performance by Josh Weinstein,[11] was convinced to do the episode partially because of James L. Brooks.[12] When Mona gets in the van, her voice is done by Pamela Hayden because Glenn Close could not say "d'oh!" properly[11] and thus they used the original temp track recorded by Hayden.[9]

Mona was originally voiced by Maggie Roswell, before Glenn Close took over in the episodes "Mother Simpson", "My Mother the Carjacker", "Mona Leaves-a" and "How I Wet Your Mother". Tress MacNeille voiced her flashback appearance in the episode "D'oh-in' in the Wind". Pamela Hayden has also voiced Mona, due to Glenn Close's inability to properly say 'd'oh'.

DevelopmentEdit

Glenn Close would record original material for another episode, season fifteen's "My Mother the Carjacker", and a deleted scene featuring Mona from "Mother Simpson" would appear in season seven's "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular." Mona also had a speaking appearance in season ten's "D'oh-in' in the Wind" episode, this time voiced by Tress MacNeille. Glenn Close returned as Mona for the third time in the nineteenth season episode "Mona Leaves-a".[13]

ReceptionEdit

"Mother Simpson" is one of Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein's favorite episodes, as they feel it is a perfect combination of real emotion, good jokes and an interesting story[14] and they have expressed regret about not submitting it for the Emmy Award in the "Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour)" category[11]

IGN.com ranked Glenn Close's two performances as Mona as the 25th best guest star in the show's history.[8] In 2007, Entertainment Weekly called Glenn Close one of "fourteen guest stars whose standout performances on TV make us wish they'd turn up in a Simpsons Movie 2."[15]

TriviaEdit

  • Homer said that his mother said to him that he was a big disappointment[16], long before Mona was introduced.
  • Made two early appearances on The Simpsons before her formal introduction in Season 7.

GalleryEdit

Appearances Edit

CitationsEdit

  1. Homer's Paternity Coot
  2. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
  3. How I Wet Your Mother.
  4. 4.0 4.1 D'oh-in' in the Wind
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mother Simpson
  6. My Mother the Carjacker
  7. Mona Leaves-a
  8. 8.0 8.1 Goldman, Eric; Iverson, Dan; Zoromski, Brian. Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-10-06.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Appel, Richard. (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "Mother Simpson" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Silverman, David. (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "Mother Simpson" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Oakley, Bill. (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "Mother Simpson" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  12. Groening, Matt. (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "Mother Simpson" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  13. "Simpsons Writers Dish on Movie and New Season", TV Guide{{{date}}}. Retrieved on 2007-07-28. 
  14. Weinstein, Josh. (2005). The Simpsons season 7 DVD commentary for the episode "Mother Simpson" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  15. Bruno, Mike. Simpsons Movie 2: Our Dream cast. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-10-06.
  16. There's No Disgrace Like Home


Characters voiced by Maggie Roswell
Maude Flanders | Helen Lovejoy | Elizabeth Hoover | Luann Van Houten | Princess Kashmir | Mary Bailey | Shary Bobbins | Barbara Bush | Mona Simpson | Martha Quimby

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