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The Voice Of Homer Simpson Weighed In On A 20-Year-Old "Simpsons" Debate

Now we can stop all the fighting.

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.

this is The Dress, but actually important HOMER'S REFERRING TO A *PRIOR* TIME, KNUCKLEBEAKS

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:

@colebastedo I always assumed he was talking about a previous instance but you'd have to ask Dan Castellaneta who improvised that line

@colebastedo @thatbilloakley @katangus I agree w/Bill: I always assumed it was a previous instance but since Dan adlibbed it, he'd know best

"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.

So... There it is. The best answer we're going to get is that there is no real answer.

What did we learn from all of this? Well...pretty much nothing.

If there IS something to take away from this contentious, unimportant debate, it would probably be this wise lesson from a completely different animated show, Rick and Morty:

Now, let's all go back to finding joy in television, as we were always meant to.