Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Title text: In-universe, Bart Simpson and Harry Potter were the same age in 1990. Bart is perpetually 10 years old because of a spell put on his town by someone trying to keep him from getting his Hogwarts letter.
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom centered on the lives of the fictitious Simpson family. It is a very long-running series, having started with a Christmas episode in 1989, with the rest of the first season airing in 1990. As of the publication of this strip, it is still in production, having been on the air for 28 years with the same characters and primary cast. The decision was made early in the series that the characters wouldn't age, meaning that the parents, Homer and Marge, remained perpetually in their mid-thirties. The three children, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, have remained 10, 8, and 1 year old, respectively. One of the interesting impacts of this dynamic is that the audience and the world have significantly aged over the course of the show, but the characters remain the same age. A rather dramatic example is that many of the early fans were similar in age to the children, but have now grown up, many have married and had children of their own, and they are now closer in age to the parents. This is a commentary on the longevity of the show.
The title text further relates this to the Harry Potter series, providing an explanation for why nobody has aged. Harry Potter is the protagonist in a series of young adult novels (later adapted into films) about the adventures of a boy wizard in his magical school, Hogwarts. The series begins when Harry is accepted to Hogwarts, at age 11, and the timeline implies that he was born in 1980. When "The Simpsons" began, Bart was 10, implying he was also born in 1980. Unlike Bart Simpson, Harry and his compatriots explicitly age over the course of the series. This strip ties the two series together, joking that the lack of aging in the Simpsons is a result of magic from the Harry Potter universe, intended to stop Bart from ever turning 11, for fear that he'd be accepted to Hogwarts.
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
- [A black frame containing a table of two columns and three rows, mostly in grey. The columns are titled 1990 and 2018, the rows are titled Lisa, Bart, and Homer & Marge. Lisa & Bart's ages now, as well as Homer & Marge's age in 1990, are in black, surrounded by a black jellybean-shaped loop visually grouping these three entries together.]
- Fun Fact:
| Homer & Marge
- [Caption below:]
- If you were Bart and Lisa's age during the first few seasons of The Simpsons, this year you're the same age as Homer and Marge.
This is another entry in xkcd's genre of comics that emphasize how surprising the passage of time can be.
This was the second Fun fact comic in three weeks, following 1950: Chicken Pox and Name Statistics, after more than two years break from the series. It seems that Randall returned to his old themes this month.
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!
Provided an explanation, feels short but I really cant think of any more to say! :) As a Simpsons fan / Harry Potter fan / night owl who's reading this "fresh off the presses", as it were, I felt obligated, LOL! I can't think of any reason / explanation why Bart being born the same year as Harry Potter means he'd automatically be in the HP universe, or automatically magical and accepted to Hogwarts (especially seeing as, as an American, presumably he'd go to some American magic school instead). Going to workup the transcript now. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:49, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
Provided the transcript. Even figured out how to do the gray text, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 07:25, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
The U.S.A school is Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Andcoz (talk) 08:09, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
- Ah, yes, thank you. I knew there must be something, though I figured on several, scattered over the continent, not just one. The only extra material I've seen (i.e. beyond the original 7 books and original 8 movies) are the two little Comic Relief books, nothing really from Pottermore. Cursed Child and the Fantastic Beasts movie are still on my to-do list. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:42, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
The modern seasons have 22 episodes, they're currently in season 29. The episodes are usually longer than 20 minutes. That means that there about 9 days of Simpsons so far, little enough to not completely disprove the timeline. If just two episodes on average depict one day, it's reasonable that the characters stay the same age, they would just have an extremely busy year. Yes, many episodes depict multiple days, but nobody said that one episode has to start after the previous one ended. And the other ones could fit more into one day. So Randall's spell theory could be right, but doesn't have to. Fabian42 (talk) 08:22, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
- except that the timing of the setting changes. For example: In the early episodes there wasn't any modern technologies, later episodes focus on wether or not Bart is old enough to have a simple cell phone, in more recent ones he has a smartphone and it is no big deal. Other example: Real people making appereance in the series reflect the age of the real people. Not only age, but also job, etc. E.g. in many episodes you can see who is US-President. Lupo (talk) 19:08, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
- And except they experience seasons and holidays (most notably Hallowe'en and Christmas) :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:42, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Kinda funny he posted this in the wake of the whole Ted Cruz saying all the Simpsons except Lisa are Republicans. -Sensorfire (talk) 14:11, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
It doesn't actually make me feel that old because I remember the Simpsons on the Tracey Ullman Show, which ended in 1990. (And I cannot believe that Tracey Ullman isn't mentioned already.) 18.104.22.168 00:10, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
Not related to the Simpsons or Harry Potter, but what the Simpsons underwent was Comic Book Time where the characters, even after a span of years, they will always be as the same age as where they started from. Comics like Foxtrot and Garfield are the best examples of that, since they are still the same age where they debuted from.Boeing-787lover 04:13, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
- Actually, between comic strips and cartoons, the ONLY exception I can think of, where characters actually age, is the Canadian comic For Better Or Worse, which focuses on parenting, and over the decades the 2 kids from the early strips slowly turned into adults by the end (including a third kid being born during the strip becoming a teenager by the end). Helps that the whole family - except the baby born - were based on the author's real-life family. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:42, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Pretty sure the transcript is done already, can someone's check? It looks ok to me but I'm not sure if it's finished. Herobrine (talk) 10:45, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
I'm 85% sure this is a reference to Simpson's Paradox https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson%27s_paradox, which is unrelated to the Simpsons family. The way the table was constructed and highlighted is a giveaway. 22.214.171.124 12:54, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
The hover over text is also similar to various theories about why Ash in Pokemon does not age. The theory is typically Ash stays 10 years old because in the first episode he sees Ho-Oh who magically blessed him with eternal happiness and not aging.
- But that doesn't explain all the other characters. Team rocket is the same age. Etc. Keybounce (talk) 03:14, 5 March 2018 (UTC)