Genetic Inheritance on the Simpsons

Okay, so Homer and Grampa Simpson had brown hair, when they had hair.

Marge has blue hair, Thelma and Patty have purple hair, and Grandma Bouvier has blue-grey hair.

So why do Bart, Lisa and Maggie all have yellow hair?

Please don’t tell me that Homer’s going to be Another Guy Who Gets Screwed by the Courts?

Not Marge - please!

Perhapes for the Simpsons, yellow hair is recessive. That way, it would take both parents to have the recessive yellow hair gene in order for the kids to have that trait.

I know we’ve seen Marge’s father and Homer’s mother–does anyone remember what their hair color was?

Who else in Springfield has yellow hair?

The remaining hair that Abe Simpson has appears to have turned yellow with old age. Perhaps the Simpson children all have progeria.

The kids don’t have hair, that’s just the shape of their heads.

For whatever twisted genetic reason, this family doesn’t grow hair until puberty. So we’ll see what color Bart’s hair actually is in several hundred years (the show’s been on for over a decade, and he’s still 9 – clearly this boy ages slowly).

I thought about the recessive gene idea, but isn’t it stretching the odds a bit for all three kid to show the recessive trait? Unless Homer and Marge both have it, I guess.

I think Marge’s dad had blue hair (we only got a quick glimpse of him in the apron as a male stewardess). I think Homer’s mom also had blue hair, but I’m not sure.

The kids don’t have hair, that’s just the shape of their heads.

Actually, they do. When the Simpsons go to church, Bart is able to part his spiked hair down the middle.

Exactly. And what is Lisa’s bow attached to? Her head? Nope.

I can add that homer’s mom’s hair is definetely blue.

Maybe some of them dye their hair.

And we’ve seen the Simpson children as grownups: Lisa as a university student and as President of the United States, Bart as a layabout slacker and as the operator of a wrecking ball. Maggie as whatever.

Their hair STILL hadn’t grown (though Bart did get beard stubble, a la Homer).

Also, Bart and Lisa seem to be the only kids in the show who have blonde hair that is the same tone of their skin. All the rest of the kids have normal looking hair. Not only why is their hair blonde, but why is it shaped so much different then anyone elses on the show?

Blonde hair sometimes get darker as children get older. Mayber this is true of yellow hair as well, so they will eventually have brown hair, from Homer’s side.

One of my sisters and I both had blond hair that turned darker as we aged.

We did, however, start out with four fingers and a thumb.

My hair was white & curly when I was little, now it’s straight & black.

IIRC, Marge purchased some blue hair dye from the quickie mart, and was chastised for it when, I think, Lovejoy’s wife, or Mrs. Krabappel caught her.

I always wondered why everyone else on the show dresses normally, but Marge and Lisa wear strapless sheath dresses with pearls.

Well, lighter pigmentation in general seems to be recessive to darker pigmentation, so it’s logical to assume that yellow hair is recessive to brown or blue. Of course, it’s still a stretch that all three kids would show the recessive trait(.25 chance for each, assuming that both Homer and Marge carry the gene for eyellow hair), but it’s possible. It’s also possible (though unlikely) that yellow hair is an example of mixed dominance between the genes for brown and blue. Usually, though, mixed dominance leads to a trait which is a clear mixture of the individual traits, such as white flowers + red flowers = pink flowers.

By the way, we also see an adult Bart as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (the episode with the Itchy and Scratchy movie, I believe), in which he doesn’t have stubble. Presumably, high government officials take more care in shaving.

My parents both had brown hair and 4/5 of their offspring had blonde hair as children. My in-laws both have brown hair and 2/4 of their offspring had blonde hair as children. My husband and I have brown hair and 1/2 of our children have blonde hair.

It is unrealistic to count the fantasy sequences. Yeah, like any of this is realistic. :rolleyes:

I think everyone is forgetting something: There is no way to prove that Homer is any of the Simpson kids’ biological father. It’s at least slightly possible that someone else fathered the Simpson kids. Like Troy McLure, maybe.

I think in perhaps the first season there were a lot more yellow headed folk running around, especially in the background.

My guess is that it simply saved time and inks when the show was in its infancy. With the legions of Korean animators working on the show and a greatly enlarged budget, they can have hair in all the colours of the rainbow. But to maintain continuity, the Simpson kids’ hair has remained the same.

The creators were also playing around with the look of other Springfieldians. Remember when Moe had dashing black curls, or that in his first appearance, Wayland Smithers¹ was black?

Or perhaps these discrepancies point to something in the water at the time, possibly from the powerplant. Bart, Lisa and Maggie could all be the Simpsonian equivalent of albinos.

Any such contaminant would have to be present in the environment. It could not have come through Homer’s job at the plant since Bart was conceived while Homer was working at the Minigolf(literally).

¹ BTW why is Smithers’ name reminiscent Anglo-Saxon paganism? The Wayland Smith was the Anglo-Saxon Vulcan, a god of the forge.