The Simpsons: Abraham Simpson
Abraham J. Simpson ("Grampa" or "Abe") is a
fictional character featured in the animated cartoon television series The
Simpsons. His voice is provided by voice actor Dan Castellaneta.
Abraham J. Simpson was born in an English-speaking European country,
probably Ireland or Wales, although he forgets which one. He was the son
of Orville Simpson and Yuma Hickman. He immigrated to the United States as
a child with his parents, where they lived in the Statue of Liberty until
they supposedly (according to Abe) filled the head with garbage. As a
young boy, Abe enlisted in World War I by lying about his age.
Abe's exact age is indeterminate, perhaps inconsistent in the series.
This includes his being older or younger than fellow cast member Charles
Montgomery Burns. He brags that President of the United States Grover
Cleveland (March 18, 1837 - June 24, 1908) spanked him on two
non-consecutive occasions (a play on Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms
of office). He admits to having "taken a shot at Teddy
Roosevelt," (October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919). He is also known to
be a decorated war hero, having paradoxically earned the German Iron Cross
during his service in the United States Army -- clearing mine-fields.
the Second World War Sgt. Simpson was the leader of the Flying Hellfish
squad. Among those in his command was Burns. After "liberating"
a stash of priceless art from the Nazis, they formed a tontine, and buried
the art in a trunk at sea. Decades later, Burns tried to murder Abe in
order to get the art. This prompted Abe to violate the tontine because he
knew the now-deceased Hellfish wouldn't want Burns to wind up with them.
After Abe and Bart got the art back from Burns in a spectacular chase,
agents from the United States State Department arrived, and gave the art
to their "rightful" owner, a snooty young German aristocrat.
Grampa Simpson has also been noted as saying "I havent felt this
relaxed since I was watchman at Pearl Habour", implying that he had
been stationed there.
Abe also said that he was in The
Wizard of Oz. The legs that curled up when the ruby slippers were
removed were his.
He also claimed to have served on PT-109, where he and two other
crewmen beat up John F. Kennedy, thinking he was a Nazi. It should be
noted that the vast majority of his memories of the past are known to be
wildly inaccurate and often physically or historically impossible and thus
most likely to be symptoms of his senility. For example, he once referred
to Sarah Bernhart as a former president, and claims to have personally
turned cats and dogs against each other. He is also known to have retired
as a Colonel.
There is evidence that Abe was not a kind or caring father to Homer (as
he told Homer on his first day of school: "Homer, you're dumb as a
mule and twice as ugly. If a strange man offers you a ride, I say take
it!") Homer does not seem to particularly resent these casual abuses,
considering his father's now feeble state.
After the war, Abe held a variety of jobs, including being a farmer in
Homer's early childhood until the bank foreclosed on his farm (after the
cows began giving sour milk); this was presumably followed by years spent
as night watchman at a cranberry silo. He spent most of this time living
in a house he won on a crooked 1950s game show, until he sold it to help
Homer buy a house for his family. Abe moved in with the Simpsons after
selling his house, but was quickly sent to a retirement home about amonth
Abraham Simpson is estranged husband to Mona Simpson, father to Homer
Jay Simpson and Herbert Powell, father-in-law to Marjorie
Bouvier Simpson and grandfather to siblings Bartholomew
J. Simpson, Lisa Marie Simpson and Margaret
Simpson. He also fathered a daughter named Abbie by a British lady
named Edwina while in England during World War II. He was briefly married
to Amber, the woman Homer married while in Vegas. Also in The Simpsons
Uncensored Family Album, the family tree shows his parents' names to
be Orville Simpson and Yuma Hickman.
Abraham Simpson's name derives from Matt
Groening's real-life grandfather's first name. However, the writers of
The Simpsons were the ones that chose the name, not Groening. Also,
one of Matt Groening's sons is named Abraham.
His name as "Grampa" seems to be obscure and mysterious.
Originally, the name seems to have come from the fact that he was Bart,
Lisa, and Maggie's grandfather. However, his Junior Buckaroo Badge
contains the name "Little Grampa Simpson". This would be
impossible, since it is thought that he obtained his badge during his
childhood, long before he even had sons.
He was married for a number of years to Mona, who left him after
becoming entranced with the hippie lifestyle and going on the lam while
Homer was very young. She came back three decades later, but Abe's bids to
woo her and win her back were met with ambivalence at best.
Before his marriage, during WW2, he had an affair with a woman in
England named Edwina, producing an illegitimate daughter, Abbie, whom he
did not meet until she was grown.
He once even got as far as dating the oldest woman ever, with her age
at 120 years old. But the short-lived romance fell quickly after she spent
most of her time with the Guinness crowd. He wore a 13 pound beard of bees
for her but it was not enough to win back her heart.
Another affair, with a nameless prostitute he met at a carnival,
produced Herbert Powell. Herb was adopted by Edward Powell and Mililani
Osler and worked his way up from poverty to found a successful automotive
design business. Believing himself to be dying, Abe confessed his
infidelity to Homer, sending him on a quest to find his half-brother.
In his golden years Abe dated Bea Simmons, a fellow resident of his
retirement home. Bea passed away and left Abe a little over a hundred
grand in her will. After some soul-searching Abe later used his newfound
wealth to refurbish the falling-down Springfield Retirement Castle,
including a fancy new memorial dining hall in Bea's name.
He briefly dated another fellow golden-ager, but her head was turned by
a slick elderly gentleman at the home with a spiffy car. Abe realized,
following an ill-fated jaunt to Branson, Missouri that she was a
"hoochie" and totally wrong for him.
He also, for the span of one episode, dated his daughter-in-law's
mother, Jacqueline Bouvier. She later started dating Charles Montgomery
Burns and almost married him, though the marriage was stopped by Abe.
Grampa Simpson is an ancient, grizzled, periodically incontinent, and
mostly senile figure who lives in the Springfield Retirement Castle, a
sad, lonely place filled with demented, crippled, and depressed old people
(a sign near the entrance says "Thank you for not discussing the
His rambling stories trail away in forgetfulness and despair:
- "You see, back in those days, rich men would ride around in
zeppelins, dropping coins on people, and one day I seen J. D.
Rockefeller flying by. So I run out of the house with a big washtub
and... hey! Where are you going?" "Anyway, where was I? Oh
yeah. I used my washtub that morning to clean my turkey, which back
then was called a 'walking bird'. We had walking bird on Thanksgiving
with cranberry sauce, potatoes, and stuffing full of gun powder. We
also sat around and watched football, which back then was called
- "Long story short...is an expression whose meaning is long
A recurring feature is Abe's constant explanation of what happened
"in those days":
- "We canít bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways.
One trick is to tell 'em stories that donít go anywhere -- like the
time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for
my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called
Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was
the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in
those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. 'Give me five
bees for a quarter,' youíd say.
- "Now where were we? Oh yeah -- the important thing was that I
had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They
didnít have white onions because of the war. The only thing you
could get was those big yellow ones..."
Bart and Lisa dread his occasional childminding sessions; even a phone
call has its dangers (" ... and that's everything which happened in
my life right up to the time I got this phone call...") -- at least
until he falls asleep and leaves them to their own devices. In the
meantime, he fills his time with complaining about anything and everything
to anyone and everyone he can find.
A note on his last name
In the episode where Homer changes his name to Max Power, Abraham
indicates that his grandfather traded a mule for the last name
"Simpson" (which went on to save spring break).
||The Simpsons on