There are many theories about the longevity of The Simpsons – why it’s managed to last so long and maintain its audience’s interest – but the main reason for the show’s success is simply that it’s about a family. The Simpson family are a real family, with real relationships.
Homer’s relationship with Bart is toxic, because it’s built on child abuse and bad influence, but this contrasts in interesting ways with Bart’s relationship with Marge. Bart might disappoint Marge a lot with his bad behavior, but at the end of the day, he’ll always be her “special little guy.” Here are 10 Bart And Marge Moments That Broke Our Hearts.
10 Marge gets Bart to love and accept his baby sister
In the flashback episode “Lisa’s First Word,” we see what life was like for the Simpson household before Lisa came along, when it was just Bart, and how the family adapted to having a second child. Bart was the most perturbed by the new arrangement, feeling that he’d lost all the attention to his new sister, so he hated her throughout the whole episode and kept trying to get rid of her. However, he was turned around when Lisa’s titular first word turned out to be “Bart.” Marge said, “Well, I’m not surprised. Lisa’s crazy about you. She thinks you hung the Moon.”
9 Bart and Marge become tennis partners
The Simpson family gets a tennis court in their backyard in “Tennis the Menace.” At first, Homer and Marge are partners and play doubles games with the neighbors. However, Homer is so bad at tennis that they become a laughing stock around Springfield and people start playing them specifically because they’re easy to beat.
So, Marge drops him as her partner and starts playing with Bart instead. They work so well together as tennis partners that they even end up competing in a professional tournament with the Williams sisters (Serena was called in to play right after polishing off “a personal pizza”).
8 Marge launches a revenge campaign for the Shadow Knight
In the episode “Marge Gamer,” Marge discovers the wonders of the Internet and completely stops leaving the house. She eventually comes across a fantasy-based MMORPG called Earthland Realms that is terrorized by a villainous player named “the Shadow Knight.” When she learns that Bart is the Shadow Knight, she starts bonding with him on the game. In the end, the other players revolt against the Shadow Knight and kill him. Bart isn’t too bothered by this, as he decides to go and play outside instead, but Marge still launches a revenge campaign using the Shadow Knight name in his honor.
7 Bart stops riding a tandem bike with Marge
One of the best Simpsons episodes focusing on Bart and Marge’s mother-son relationship is “Marge’s Son Poisoning.” The two of them start riding a tandem bike together and going out to get tea. The most heartbreaking moment in the episode is when Bart gets picked on by the bullies for riding around on a tandem bike with his mom and he responds by angrily rejecting Marge. Bart eventually fixes it by agreeing to pair with Marge at a karaoke contest, but she lets him get out of it after seeing Principal Skinner and his mother performing and getting creeped out.
6 Marge helps Bart to come to terms with fame
In the episode “Bart Gets Famous,” Bart becomes an overnight sensation by saying the phrase, “I didn’t do it,” on Krusty’s show after accidentally destroying a set. When the pressures of fame start getting to him, Marge comforts him by saying, “Honey, I know you feel a little silly saying the same four words over and over, but you shouldn’t. You’re making people happy, and that’s a very hard thing to do.” Unfortunately, right after Marge had this heart-to-heart with Bart and he could finally embrace what made him special, the public moved on and his popularity plummeted. Still, Marge kept all of his merchandise and memorabilia to remember the brief time that he was “the world’s special little guy.”
5 Bart hugs Marge before being arrested
When a bulldozer and a wrecking ball destroy half of Springfield, Bart gets the blame and Marge is furious. Despite the fact that Bart insists that he wasn’t behind the bulldozer scheme, Marge doesn’t believe him and starts following him around. He responds by setting up a real bulldozer prank where he’ll knock over letters in the Springfield sign until it just says, “F.I.E.” Right before the prank, he finds some fried chicken that Marge cooked for him in his backpack and it inspires him to change the prank to leave “F.D.” instead, so the residents of Springfield will think it’s a tribute to the local Fire Department. Before Chief Wiggum arrests Bart, he lets him give Marge a hug.
4 Marge tries to give Bart a potato for show-and-tell
This one isn’t heartbreaking in the traditional sense – not in the sense that it actually makes you cry – but it is heartbreaking to see Bart reject something Marge really cares about. He needs something to bring in to school for show-and-tell and Marge suggests that he bring in a potato.
Bart says, “Mom, you’re always trying to give me potatoes! What is it with you?” Marge says, “I just think they’re neat.” Potatoes clearly fascinate Marge, and it’s devastating to see Bart turn it down so quickly. If any Simpsons fans needed definitive proof that Marge Simpson is everybody’s mom, then this is it.
3 Marge convinces Bart to take Focusyn
In “Brother’s Little Helper,” Bart is diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and prescribed some Focusyn (a pretty obvious reference to Focalin). While Homer’s attempts to get Bart to take the pills are fruitless, Marge manages to do it by simply talking to him on his level. She tells him, “Honey, if you don’t wanna take the medicine, we won’t force you...I just thought you might love me enough to let me help you.” This line has a hint of guilt-tripping, but it does the job – it gets Bart to take the medicine he needs (well, until the side effects start to show) – and proves that deep down, Bart loves his mom and wants to make her proud.
2 Marge helps Bart to raise his bird eggs
In the episode “Bart the Mother,” Bart realizes just how hard his mom has to work when he accidentally kills a bird with a BB gun and, racked with guilt, he decides to protect the eggs until they hatch. Initially, Marge is suspicious when she sees how much more time Bart is spending up in his treehouse, but her heart is warmed when she learns that he’s just been raising some baby birds to make up his mortal debt to their mother. After that, she decides to help him protect the eggs and they bond over it until they hatch.
1 Bart buys Marge a Christmas present
In the Christmas-themed episode “Marge Be Not Proud,” Bart shoplifts a violent video game that Marge won’t buy him and she finds out when they go for a family photo at the store and Bart getting pinched ruins it. Bart spends the rest of the episode feeling guilty as Marge refuses to speak to him or tuck him in at night. At the episode’s climax, Bart returns to the store and we see him come home with something hidden under his jacket. Marge thinks it’s another video game he’s stolen, so she forces him to show it to her – and it turns out to be a framed picture of himself that he bought her for Christmas.