Hi there. My name is Kat, and last week, I accidentally ignited a civil war among Simpsons fans over a silly, throwaway joke from a 1996 episode of the show.
The debate boils down to this: When Homer says “yes, once,” is he talking about a previous time he saw a man say goodbye to a shoe, or is he referring to Hank doing it?
I'm sorry, OK? I'M SORRY. I just thought it would be a fun thing for all of us to talk about! I couldn't have predicted... this.
Theories were presented, and immediately smacked down, and then those smackdowns were smacked down.
While there was technically a winner of the poll, the results were very, VERY close...
...Essentially rendering the poll useless.
I knew I needed to find an answer — ANY answer. But I also knew that reaching out to the episode's writer, John Swartzwelder, would prove difficult, as he is a notoriously private man.
But it turned out that Swartzwelder wouldn't have had the answer anyway, as the Simpsons showrunners at the time revealed on Twitter:
"Yes, once" was improvised by Dan "Homer Simpson" Castellaneta. If there WAS an answer to this insane debate, he'd have it.
So, abandoning the last shred of dignity I had left, I reached out to Castellaneta's reps for a comment about a single line he ad-libbed 20 years ago. I felt exactly like one of the nerds from the Poochie episode.
Except that my question was, like, a million times more ridiculous.
And, INCREDIBLY, Castellaneta actually answered.
The line was improvised. Albert Brooks always improvised whenever he did the show. That line was a reflexive response to Albert's improvised line about seeing a man say goodbye to a shoe. I probably thought it was a previous time but it is funnier if it means he saw it at that moment.