Homer-palooza...from a Harvard perspective

The glowing hum of the television set calms momentarily, starting abruptly seconds later, this time heralding a tune as familiar as the Ed Sullivan Show's opening jingle must have been in its heyday.

The Simpsons' familiar opening vignette focuses on Springfield, as hundreds of dedicated fans on campus settle into place.

In Springfield, life is different: It is blanketed with a fine shade of Crimson.

For one, the snooty businessmen and sociopathic killers are all Yale graduates.

Now into their second generation, Harvard alumni have occupied the majority of positions on The Simpsons writing staff since the show's inception as a short-running segment on the Tracy Ullman Show.

The writers, all graduates from the College during the mid-1980s, have included ever-increasing references to Harvard--whether obvious or obscure--during the last three seasons.

D'oh!

In one early episode, Homer discovers he has a rich half-brother, Herb Powell (voiced by Danny DeVito), the president of automobile manufacturer Powell Motors.

During a meeting Herb turns to his staff and asks "Why did I ever hire you Harvard deadheads?"

"Because you went there, sir," an employee responds.

"Yeah, but my mommy and daddy didn't pay my way," said DeVito. "I worked my way through washing your dishes and scrubbing your toilets."

"Oh, yeah, now I remember you."

And this season there have been several humorous references to Harvard--one obvious, one subtle, and some nearly subliminal.

Homer forms a bowling team but is forced to throw Otto, the burn-out bus driver, off the team in favor of Mr. Burns--who funded the team.

Otto occupies himself with an arcade-style game in which the player attempts to grab stuffed animals and trinkets from a bin using a large mechanical hook.

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