In 1997, The Simpsons gave us the character of Poochie, a cynical addition to the in-universe Itchy & Scratchy Show meant to appease its fictional producers by introducing a focus-tested new element to the flagging cartoon. Decades later, Poochie—whose episode was created in response to executives suggesting the show bring a new member into the Simpson family—has manifested in a roundabout way with Graggle, a new character conjured up by the internet and placed into old episodes through image and video edits.
Graggle, the idea goes, has always existed but the same collective memory defects that caused us to forget that they were always called The Berenstain Bears (or that Seann William Scott once played “karate meister” Vincey Masters) has led us to forget about him.
To support this theory, people have made clips of Simpsons episodes that show the jaundiced alien creature hanging out with the family. Some of these aren’t all that convincing. Others incorporate Graggle more naturally. There’s even fake Graggle merchandise, VHS slipcovers, Wiki entries, and screenshots.
Vice looked at how Graggle was born in a recent article, tracing the path backward from this current incarnation to his 2015 origins as a 2chan joke. Graggle, we learn, was originally edited into a screenshot by an anonymous user and was later picked up by 4chan to be dubbed “Yellow Matt,” contextualized as Matt Groening’s “self-insert character.”
A YouTuber who goes by Simian Jimmy picked up the baton next, renamed Yellow Matt to “Gumbly,” and, Vice writes, suggested that the character was actually a cast member on The Simpsons that demonstrated “concrete proof the show had jumped the shark.”
Gumbly continued to spread from there, picked up by Facebook user Yeliab Ressap and renamed once more to “Graggle” in an image that took Simian Jimmy’s claim a step further.
Since then, Graggle has spread across social media, appearing in TikTok videos and, in one of the more exceptional examples, modded into early ‘00s video game, The Simpsons: Hit & Run. Graggle now seems to be unstoppable—a character the internet has made real through the undeniable power of simply wanting to run with a dumb joke as far as possible.
At this point, maybe The Simpsons should give in, acknowledge this creature’s existence, apply a defibrillator jolt to its shambling bulk, and just introduce Graggle to the actual show.
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