Do You Let Your Children Watch the Simpsons?

I’ve got to wonder. Because the Simpsons. Is it an adults’ cartoon? Or a children’s? It’s harder to say now these days than it was when I was younger (Generation X).

I know that I had a very protective mother. But as I got older, she let me watch more stuff. So I don’t know if she’d let me watch it, especially when I was young. (In case you’re wondering, the Simpsons premiered on the Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, when I was 19 [you all do remember that it was the Tracey Ullman Show that they premiered on? :wink: ].)

So I guess my question also is, is the Simpsons meant for children or adults? Because as I said, these days you just never know.


It is or at least was a Family Show. Meant for kids and adults. I let my kids watch Simpsons and Futurama.

Adults-only shows rarely air (on network TV) in the time slot that The Simpsons has always occupied.

I was 10 when I started watching The Simpsons, their first season. My mother wasn’t keen about it, but my father and I enjoyed it.

My 12 year old daughter started watching them about 5 months ago on Disney+. I have been joining her when I can, and making her wait to watch certain episodes with me. Not because of any sort of parental guidance, I just want to be there when she sees them for the first time (Marge vs the Monorail, etc.). I have to say, I am proud of her sense of humor - clearly she got it from me.

Mrs KCB hasn’t been thrilled about it, but she’s conceded that its about time. If both of us are ok with it, it’s all good.

I’m not a parent, but I watched this as a kid and would let my kids watch it. I guess it’s more suitable for teenagers than young kids but policing what shows a teenager watches is nearly impossible anyway. (I bypassed every restriction my mother put on my TV watching habits when I was a kid, and this was before people had TVs in their bedrooms and before you could watch TV on your computer.)

Many kids’ shows have semi-hidden adult jokes in them. The parents will notice when the kids won’t. Doctor Who was the same thing in the “old Who”: it used to be “edutainment” for kids (for the first few seasons) but had characters like Leela for “the dads”. If you saw what Leela wore (and looked like) you will know what I mean.

I wouldn’t have any issue with it. My kid has never all that in to it, but she’s an avid fan of Bob’s Burgers.Bob’s Burgers is probably ‘worse’ (read: more adult oriented) in terms of the subject matter, style of jokes and Tina’s obsession with butts than The Simpsons.
As for the Simpson’s being a kid’s show, I think it started out that way and kinda grew up with us. While I don’t remember all the old 90’s era episodes, I don’t recall them covering political and ethical issues nearly as much as they do today, or at least not going quite as deep with them.

I also try to keep in mind that we all watched Ren and Stimpy, Beavis and Butthead, South Park, Family Guy etc and turned out just fine. Kids today watching Spongebob, Bob’s Burgers or even South Park or Rick and Morty will probably turn out just fine as well.

Part of growing up is consuming entertainment not aimed little kids.

I’ve let them watch some episodes but there were some parts where I had to turn it off or switch episodes. It’s funny how woke the show is nowadays but when I watch the golden age episodes they’ll use words like fag or similar words fairly often.

My kids grew up during the heyday of the Simpsons. Many “grownups” were shocked at the language and the disrespect shown.


I still remember one of our minister’s sermons: “And by the way, that was a quote from The Simpsons. Every one of you here who’s a parent should be watching that with your kids. They’re going to watch it anyhow, and you should know what they’re talking about. And besides, where else are you going to find a TV family who all go to church together?”

And the next week: “And don’t forget, watch the Simpsons together. I mean, the family that laughs together…”

I’m going to answer this in the hypothetical, as I don’t have kids.

My parents didn’t like me watching it, but I think a lot of that was due to lack of knowledge about the show, hearing about it from gossip. I don’t see any particular reason not to let a kid watch it, though the exact age would vary. I don’t see too young a kid getting much out of it.

The Simpsons is an adult show that is kid-offensive only to adults with a bigger stick up their ass than Ned Flanders.

(You can interpret that to mean either “a stick as large as Ned Flanders has” or "a stick as large as Ned Flanders is.)

When The Simpsons got started, your parents, as you mentioned, didn’t watch it, only heard about it. My WAG is that one of the only things they heard about it is that the main character says “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?” (and maybe that he was a ‘bad kid’) and that was enough for them to assume it’s not appropriate for kids.
Granted that’s no “Shut your fucking face Uncle Fucker” or “Kyle’s mom is a big fat bitch” or Towelie or Mr Hanky The Christmas Poo or finding out one of the main characters is murdered each week, often in a gruesome manner, but it was a simpler time back then.

Maybe in another 20 years my kid will watch reruns of South Park and wonder why I didn’t let her watch it growing up with how tame it is by 2041 standards.

I feel like I fell out of a time machine in 1991. Yes, back then many parents did not allow their children to watch The Simpsons and the first President Bush even criticized the show.

Today? It’s nothing compared to South Park, Family Guy, and/or American Dad or a thousand other shows.

Yeah, I accidently let my son watch a South Park marathon with me when he was 3 or 4. A few days later my wife calls from her parents house asking me why he’s running crazy and what’s a “Manbearpig?” Duh…It’s either a half man, half bearpig or a half manbear half pig. No, I don’t know where he got that from.

I tried to be a good parent, but all to often I found myself learning about the controversial stuff from them. My son introduced me to GTA (video game) and I remember being shocked by the brutality. He got the game trading with a friend. Then, Call Of Duty came along and my son asked me to pick it up for him. I stood in line to purchase it and the sales clerk made a big point about pointing out the rating.

My oldest was born in 1991. She and her sister absolutely grew up with the show. It was a weekly ritual for the three of us on Sunday nights. They still make Simpson references when we are talking. I have many faults as a parent, but allowing (mandating) them to watch the Simpsons isn’t one of them.

Let’s step back a gazillion years to Marx Brothers movies - as a kid, I laughed at the slapstick and the silliness. Then one day, I listened to, and understood, the dialog. Yoiks!

I don’t think we censored our daughter’s viewing of The Simpsons, but I admit I was a little bit bothered when I found out she and her friends in college used to have Porn Nights. They’d rent porn videos and give them the MST3K treatment while snacking and drinking. I didn’t have Porn Nights when I was in college…

We don’t have “TV” (broadcast or cable) but I happened to have the first season of Futurama on DVD. I wasn’t comfortable with my kid watching it alone when he was 7 or 8 years old, because of the “adult themes” although he was really fascinated by the show and really wanted to watch it.

Now that he’s 16, not only do I not mind his watching stuff by himself, I learned that he discovered and watched in its entirety, on his own, Groening’s new series “Disentantment” on NETFLIX. It is even more grown-up than Futurama, and pokes fun at fantasy tropes.

I adore this show. Even moreso than I like Futurama.

Actually, this sounds brilliant, and entirely the kind of thing college students ought to be doing.

My kids aren’t yet old enough to watch the Simpsons, but I eagerly anticipate watching it with them when they’re older. I started watching it when I was about 9, and that seems like a reasonable age.

I never censored anything my kids watched or what video games they played.

I’d give them the fatherly advice of: “You know we don’t do those things in real life right?”

To which they would answer: “Well duh…”

They came out alright.