5 U.S. Presidents Who Were Skewered on the Simpsons

Popular Animated Comedy Hasn't Been All That Kind to Politicians

American presidents have long been skewered and scrutinized on the ​op-ed pages of newspapers, the top of television newscasts and opening monologues of late-night comics. But they've also been exposed to ridicule in cartoon form: The Simpsons television show has taken shots at many a politician in front of millions of viewers. 

In fact, all five living U.S. presidents have made appearances, so to speak, on The Simpsons. No, they haven't agreed to lend their voices to the show. But The Simpsons went on without them anyway.

Here's a look at how each was portrayed by Matt Groening and his team of expert writers.

01
of 05

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton was skewered on The Simpsons on several occasions, including this 1996 episode in which he was abducted by aliens. The Simpsons

One of the most famous episodes of The Simpsons to feature Clinton was Treehouse of Horror VII: Citizen Kang. Authors Mark Sachleben and Kevan M. Yenerall describe the episode as being a sharp critique on the American two-party system and voters themselves.

In Treehouse of Horror VII: Citizen Kang, aliens named Kodos and Kang travel to earth and kidnap Clinton and Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Dole during the 1996 campaign for president. But the American public doesn't notice. As Sachleben and Yenerall recount in Seeing the Bigger Picture: Understanding Politics Through Film & Television:

"While they are aliens, the American voting public hardly notices the difference when the two speak. Apparently the vague pleasantries, banal generalities and lack of substance spouted by the aliens Kang and Kodos are what we are used to."

Here's one exchange between Dole and Clinton, whose bodies have been taken over by aliens:

Dole: "Fooling these Earth voters is easier than expected."

Clinton: "Yes, all they want to hear are bland pleasantries embellished by an occasional saxophone solo or infant kiss."

02
of 05

Barack Obama

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on The Simpsons
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are portrayed on The Simpsons during the 2012 presidential campaign. The Simpsons

Before the 2012 election, an episode of The Simpsons portrayed the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's  wealthy owner, Mr. Burns, trying to persuade Seamus the dog to pick the better candidate: Obama or Republican Mitt Romney.

Romney tried to entice Seamus with a hunk of red meat. Obama tried to entice the dog with a healthy snack - shriveled and overcooked broccoli. Seamus jumped out a window instead of choosing either of the candidates.

In a 2008 episode of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson was shown trying to vote for Obama but the voting machine changed the vote to McCain and sucking him inside. 

03
of 05

George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush
This is how The Simpsons portrayed former President George H.W. Bush. The Simpsons

The Simpsons has not portrayed the elder Bush in a flattering light. In one episode, Sideshow Bob says:

"It's high time people realized that conservatives aren't all Johnny Hatemongers, Charlie Bible Thumps, or even - God forbid - George Bushes."

The Simpsons also showed Bush in an unemployment line and had him turned away from a birthday party because "one-termers" weren't invited.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush later called the show "the dumbest thing I have ever seen," a comment that drew a nasty rebuttal from Simpsons producers who drafted letter on behalf of Homer's wife Marge. Mrs. Bush later apologized for her "loose tongue."

04
of 05

George W. Bush

As the fan site WikiSimpsons recounts, Springfield Elementary School stopped teaching students about the younger Bush to save money. The others it chose to cut from its program were James Buchanan, Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce.

In another scene, the young Bart Simpson is asked to identify Bush but confuses him for the actor Will Ferrell. 

05
of 05

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter as portrayed on The Simpsons. The Simpsons

Among the humorous depictions of Carter is Homer's pronunciation of "nuclear" as "nucular," recalls the The Simpsons Archive, and the FOX News headline: "Jimmy Carter: Old, Wrinkly, useless." 

Also, like George H.W. Bush, Carter is banned from a birthday party that excludes one-termers. 

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Murse, Tom. "5 U.S. Presidents Who Were Skewered on the Simpsons." ThoughtCo, May. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/presidents-skewered-on-the-simpsons-3367655. Murse, Tom. (2017, May 5). 5 U.S. Presidents Who Were Skewered on the Simpsons. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/presidents-skewered-on-the-simpsons-3367655 Murse, Tom. "5 U.S. Presidents Who Were Skewered on the Simpsons." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/presidents-skewered-on-the-simpsons-3367655 (accessed December 12, 2017).