Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union after 40 years is already having major political and financial consequences. David Cameron has announced his intention to resign as prime minister, for instance, and the value of the pound has plummeted to its lowest level since 1985. And that’s after just one day. Brexit is a complicated, inherently divisive issue with seemingly innumerable facets. To those living outside the United Kingdom or having no firsthand experience with the EU, this story may be especially challenging to decipher. Who will be there to make sense of Brexit and boil it down to its very essence? The answer, as it has been for decades, is The Simpsons. There is precious little in this world that cannot be explained with images of the irradiated yellow inhabitants of Springfield. Brexit is well within their purview.
In a public Facebook group called “Woo Hoo!: Classic Simpsons Quotes,” fans have been using screenshots from the long-running Fox animated show to put Brexit in its proper perspective. A two-panel comic by user Louie Shaw, utilizing images from “The Springfield Connection,” casts Homer as Britain and Marge as the EU. Perhaps like the impetuous Homer, Britain has not thought this thing all the way through.
Another group member, Corey Pierce, has summarized his feelings about Brexit with a moment from “Lisa’s Wedding.” Hugh, Lisa’s future fiancé (but not her future husband), holds a smoldering, manure-covered British flag in his hands. Tears well up in his eyes as he contemplates what has happened to his home country.
Perhaps a humorous animated GIF will make everything better. For this, one need only turn to another Facebook page called The Content Zone. Once again, Britain has been depicted as the foresight-deficient Homer Simpson. In this case, it’s the Homer from “And Maggie Makes Three,” the one who literally burned his bridges when he quit his job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. This would seem to be another slam on Britain, but in this metaphor, the EU becomes heartless plutocrat Mr. Burns. Does it matter that, by the end of “And Maggie Makes Three,” Homer literally comes crawling back to Burns on his hands and knees?