The Simpsons may be the best mainstream critic of American society. So it was with great interest that I watched this past week as they dealt with death. Homer's estranged mother Mona passed away, leaving him with many unanswered feelings. My favorite exchange came at the Kwik-E Mart and was between Homer, Apu, Ned Flanders, and Majula (Apu's wife):
Homer: Apu, what do you think happens after you die?
Apu: Manjula will sell this store, die her hair blond, and marry my cousin ... .
Manjula: Yes, I will!
Homer: I mean, do you think my mother's out there somewhere? Does she know I feel bad about things I said?
Apu: Oh, perhaps she's around us now. She may have already been reincarnated as that newborn baby or that tiny mouse in the nacho cheese.
Ned: Oh, for crying out loud, people aren't mice.
Apu: Oh, what a surprise, Joe Jesus Jr.'s going to set us all straight.
Ned: Look, Homer, people don't come back as anything, except for our Lord who came back as bread. That's it.
Homer: That's it. (sighs)
Apu: That's the thing with your religion; it's a bummer.
Ned: Even the sing-alongs?
Apu: No, the sing-alongs are okay.
I love this show. Where else on primetime TV will you see such frank and lighthearted discussions of death and religion? There's no animosity and no bile, but a clear discussion of the differences in opinion. I love it!
You can watch the full episode online here.