Only One 'Simpsons' Character Survived Thanos on Sunday

Thanos wants to wipe out half the known universe in the pursuit of perfect balance, but he has a (very toxic) soft spot. In a guest appearance on The Simpsons on Sunday, the villain of Avengers: Infinity War used the Infinity Stones to wipe away most of the Simpsons family, except for one.

In the “couch gag” for the Sunday premiere of Season 30, Episode 12 of The Simpsons, Jim Starlin’s Thanos occupies the Simpsons family couch and uses his Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out most the Simpsons family.

Maggie, the youngest of the Simpsons clan, survives, and takes up a spot next to the Mad Titan.

It’s interesting that Maggie survives

While the couch gag is what it is — a gag — it is interesting that Maggie Simpson survives Thanos. It’s even more interesting that Maggie happily joins him, as if nothing happened. (Maggie Simpson has secretly always been one of the most stone-cold members of the Simpsons family.)

It’s a bizarre inversion of what Thanos has received from his own children. Throughout Infinity War, Thanos’ arc involved his adopted daughter, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who rightfully resented Thanos for her upbringing. And in the movie, Thanos (spoilers!) kills Gamora to obtain the Soul Stone.

Thanos in 'Avengers: Infinity War'.
Thanos in 'Avengers: Infinity War'.

Narratively, Thanos is a blunt object, a hurricane big enough to unite the powers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But because that alone doesn’t make for an interesting film, screenwriters Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and actor Josh Brolin tried to embed some semblance of a twisted humanity into the character.

Unfortunately, the results were even more mixed. As argued by YouTube critic Mikey Neumann in a video essay, Avengers: Infinity War wielded trauma “like a circus act” and “makes light of them for entertainment.”

“This movie is an unrelenting exercise in abuse trauma and torture,” Neumann argued. “It tries to justify, not unambiguously, abuse with love.”

So what to make of the Simpsons family massacre and Maggie’s survival? Maybe nothing. It’s a gag. It’s just unmistakable how such ideas ripple across different universes.

Avengers: Endgame will be released in theaters on April 26.

Media via Marvel Entertainment, 20th Century Fox