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The Serious Condition You Likely Forgot Homer Suffers From On The Simpsons

Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) is among the most iconic cartoon faces to ever exist, and it's easy to see why. The main protagonist from the beloved and long-running primetime animated series "The Simpsons," Homer represents the American everyman, just as the other denizens of Springfield are meant to satire much of American culture. Throughout the shows over 30-year history, Homer has been defined by his oafish, lazy, and often incompetent personality that gets him into plenty of trouble. Nevertheless, he has remained an endearing figure as Homer ultimately does what's right out of love for his wife, Marge (voiced by Julie Kavner), and children, Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (voiced by Yeardley Smith), and Maggie. 

Regardless, his flaws are what make us love the big yellow guy, as well as what has helped make the show as entertaining as it has been. Pinpointing where those traits of Homer's personality lie, it's easy to blame it on several factors. From his less-than-stellar upbringing at the hand of Abe Simpson to his never-ending love of Duff beer, Homer has plenty of reasons as to why he acts the way he does. However, it might be easy for fans to forget that Homer's apparent laziness did receive an explanation that runs far deeper than simply spending too many nights chugging Duff beers at Moe's Tavern.

Homer was officially diagnosed with narcolepsy

In the premiere episode of Season 27, "Every Man's Dream," Homer is diagnosed with narcolepsy by Dr. Julius Michael Hibbert. Narcolepsy, for those unaware, is a neurological disorder that affects your ability to wake and sleep, as described by WebMD. The disorder often causes the afflicted person to fall asleep at random moments throughout their day with little to no warning. It can even cause you to lose control of your muscles, have hallucinations, and have sleep paralysis. Experts estimate that most people who have narcolepsy are unaware they have it, causing many to go untreated. Obviously, such a disorder can be hazardous to your health in certain situations, including operating heavy machinery. 

In Homer's case, working at a nuclear power plant is probably not the best line of work to be in. In an interview with CNN Health, Rusell Rosenberg, chief executive of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine, says, "I certainly hope that Homer's story will bring more attention to [narcolepsy]. He's not the typical case, although the fact that he is now being identified as having narcolepsy does exemplify the fact that many people can go years and years without getting the proper diagnosis." The doctor also mentions how narcolepsy can often affect relationships, as is seen in the episode where Homer and Marge legally separate for some time. As silly as "The Simpsons" can be, it's episodes like this that showcase just how aware its creators are when discussing such topics.