Springfield On Drugs
Getting high with The Simpsons
Published August 18, 1999 in Whoa!

Most television shows avoid the issue of drug use like Jerry Falwell avoids a gay pride parade. One major exception, however, is The Simpsons. Matt Groening's wildly popular study of dysfunctional family bonding relies as heavily on drug humor as Diff'rent Strokes did on "whatchootalkinboutwillis." All the members of the Simpson clan -- and a great many other residents of Springfield -- have enjoyed a wide variety of drug-induced exploits, ranging from binge drinking to unapologetic marijuana use to LSD-like hallucinations. While the rest of television is encouraging kids to "Just Say No," The Simpsons is turning them on.

See also...
... by Don Vaughan
... in the Whoa! section
... from August 18, 1999

Homer Simpson:
Hallucinates and meets his spirit guide (a talking coyote) after eating chili containing "Guatemalan insanity peppers."

Takes expired medication he finds in a neighbor's trash. When Marge tells him to stop, he says, "But Marge, what if I'm not getting enough ... [glances at label] ... estrogen!"

Invents a drink -- the Flaming Homer, a.k.a. the Flaming Moe -- in which the main ingredient is children's cough syrup.

Gets the entire town of Springfield high when he distributes a beverage made from carrots and peyote.

Takes another man's medications while visiting his father in the nursing home. Grandpa comments, "The pink ones keep you from screaming."

Gets high on cleaning-chemical fumes and hallucinates that he's being attacked by Scrubbing Bubbles, Mr. Clean, and other characters.

As he and Ned Flanders drive to Las Vegas, they pass a car driven by a warped and hallucinating Hunter S. Thompson as drawn by Ralph Steadman.

Marge Simpson:
Hallucinates that the walls are melting, and that a roasting turkey talks to her, after she drinks tainted tap water.

Has a false-positive test for crack and PCP after taking a parenting course. Confesses to being high on LSD, "love for my son and daughters."

Attends the Broadway play Kickin' It, "a musical journey through the Betty Ford Center," with Lisa during a trip to New York.  

Bart Simpson:
Drinks "malk" at school, "now with vitamin R" (a slang term for Ritalin).

Gets drunk on beer during a St. Patrick's Day parade.

Asks Marge to pick up some "Flintstones chewable morphine" when he gets the flu.

Lisa Simpson:
Has LSD-like hallucinations after drinking the water while on a ride at Duff Gardens. Proclaims, "I can see the music," and "I am the lizard queen!"

Becomes addicted to "Trucker's Choice" brand speed, a gift from Bart.

Has LSD-like hallucinations featuring The Beatles after receiving nitrous oxide at the dentist's office. Later in the same episode, the entire family gets high when the dentist accidentally leaves the gas on.

Comments to Bart that the air at a Hullabalooza music festival "smells like Otto's jacket," a reference to their pot-smoking school bus driver (see below).

Maggie Simpson:
Clearly addicted to pacifier.

Grandpa Simpson:
Used to sell his medication to Deadheads.

Steals Matlock's pills (to prevent spastic heart convulsions) when an aging Andy Griffith visits Springfield.

Otto:
Complains about blatant false advertising as he storms out of a housewares store called "Stoner's Pot Palace."

States, "Whoa! Another acid flashback!" as a giant advertising mascot picks up the school bus during a Simpsons Halloween special.

C. Montgomery Burns:
Mistakes Homer for the Pillsbury Doughboy while high on ether, which he takes to eliminate the pain of having his fingernails filed.

Gets high when he accidentally doses himself with knockout gas during a parody of King Kong; starts singing "While Strolling Through the Park."

His fortune gone, Burns starts collecting aluminum cans, which he sells to a recycling guy he refers to as "my hemp-smoking friend." As he leaves, Burns says to the aging hippie, "Shine on, you crazy diamond!"

Impersonated Wavy Gravy to infiltrate Greenpeace. Comments that he was smoking "harmless tobacco" in his bong, not marijuana.

Police Chief Clancy Wiggum:
Shows school children a "hippie pot party" exhibit during a tour of the police station. The exhibit features a mannequin of a girl so stoned she's about to eat a baby on a hoagie roll.

Attends what appears to be a pot and beer reggae party with officers Lou and Eddie at the home of a blind man who smokes pot "so he won't go more blind."

Ralph Wiggum:
Receives a package addressed to Otto as a gift during a tour of the Springfield post office. Drug dogs sniff the package and go berserk. Exclaims Ralph, "I got dog food!"

Krusty the Clown:
Addicted to Percodan à la Jerry Lewis. Ironically, Percodan is also a sponsor of his show.

Dr. Nick Riviera:
Injects himself with narcotics before performing hair transplant surgery on Homer.

Don Vaughan writes because he isn't qualified to do anything else. His work has appeared in Hustler, Penthouse Forum, Screw, and Modern Maturity.