The Simpsons

The 7 Greatest Existential Crises of Ralph Wiggum Via

The world is a better place because of Ralph Wiggum. His sweet innocence, and general numbskullery has provided for more one-liners than any television character who came before him, or existed in the same era of TV. This includes Joey Tribbiani from Friends, and Woody Boyd from Cheers. The bittersweet nature of loving Ralph is born of taking pleasure from his pain. You might ask yourself if we’ve nothing better to do, building such a list, but we trust the source of the suggestion: Jim Beam never lies. Or as Ralph might say, “It tastes like…burning.” Ralph’s existential crises:

7. He Bent His Wookie

Let us travel back in time. All the way to the fall of 1994. If you were watching The Simpsons in its sixth season, we tip our cap to you. In the second episode of that season, we came to love Ralph Wiggum at new level of depth. The episode entitled, “Lisa’s Rival,” featured the series’ second reference to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. Dealing with an academic rival, Lisa resorted to cheap tricks and cheating to beat her friend and foe in a class diorama competition. Eventually, the award went to Ralph Wiggum, who offered a box full of originally packaged Star Wars actions figures. Then fans were gifted one classic Ralphism after another: “What’s a diorama?” “I beat the smart kids, I beat the smart kids…” before his poor heart was ripped from its chest when he fell and broke Chewbacca. Via

6. He Caught Seymour and Edna

Season 8, Episode: 19. “Grade School Confidential.” Principle Seymour Skinner, and Bart’s teacher, Edna Krabappel had a fling that resulted in some hot and heavy action, and blurred administrative lines. There were sessions of making out and heavy petting, and during one such occasion, the couple were discovered by students. Bart did everything he could to keep things on the down low, but Ralph was privy to the rumor mill, and he was pretty proud of this discovery. And to whom could Ralph boast other than Mom and Dad? “Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies, and I saw one of the babies and then the baby looked at me.” We’re imagining Ralph’s feeble mind wrapping around this information, and his certainty that making babies meant they were mixing some cleaning solution in a mop bucket. Damn it, Ralph. You and your undeniable charm.

5. His Addressing School Administration

This poor kid doesn’t know what end is up. We believe most fans love Ralph so much because we all knew that kid growing up–or know him as an adult. As pathetic as they may remain throughout their human existence, it’s impossible not to hug them tightly when you see them, and say, “Good job. Good to see you. Keep up the thing with the thing.” Ralph just couldn’t make it work at school–not anything. He did his work, ate a lot of paste and crayons, glued his head to his shoulder and misunderstood every assignment. He never really stood a chance, did he? Let’s think about all the times he misspoke, or called Miss Hoover “Mommy.” And how about the time he was working hard to learn words at a kindergarten level, and he was able to address the big boss man? “Hi, Super Nintendo Chalmers.” Via

4. The Time Homer Called Him a Girl

Let’s jump back to Season 6, Episode 15, “Homie The Clown.” It’s easily one of the Top 10 episodes of the long-running series. Homer goes to clown college to become a Krusty the Clown stand-in, but is mistaken for the real Krusty by the Springfield Mafia. It is a traditional comedy of errors, mistaken identity, and Homer repeatedly being battered and bruised through some poor stunt work. While appearing at a local birthday party as Krusty, Homer made and delivered a balloon animal to Ralph Wiggum, stating, “Here’s your giraffe, little girl.” To which Ralph responded, “I’m a boy.” In the grand scheme of the episode, it didn’t seem too weigh heavily on Ralph’s heart and mind, but at some point it did. We know this, because Ralph makes the bold statement: “I like men, now,” after seeing Bart naked on a skateboard in The Simpsons Movie.

3. His Run-in With The Leprechaun

Season 9, Episode 18: “This Little Wiggly.” Another episode built around the eternal pity for Ralph Wiggum. After feeling sorry for Ralph, because he has no friends, Marge invites him spend some time with Bart. This is a death punch for Bart, but the tide turns after Ralph informs his new bestie that he has access to his Dad’s master key, allowing access to any location within the city of Springfield. While Ralph offers Bart a tour of his house, and surrounding property, he presents several gems, including reference to a leprechaun which he sees on an old tree stump in the backyard. This leprechaun is responsible for telling Ralph to “burn things.” This aired 18 years ago, but it is a haunting reminder that if The Simpsons world actually progressed, Ralph would be the kid to shoot up the school. How’s that for some darkly depressing s***?

2. His Misunderstanding of Danger

We wonder if Ralph has any understanding of things that might kill him. The Simpsons offers various examples of personality, and their inherent desire to take risks. Some are in it for the thrill (Bart Simpson), some are in it for the competition (Lisa Simpson) and some are oblivious to the fact that they’re taking a risk, and they dive into the unknown regardless (Homer Simpson, Ralph Wiggum). From eating “burning” berries to a variety of glues and pastes at school to being thrown through a window as a substitute for a brick, little Ralph is lucky to be alive. We know he feels pain, but this guy has less overall understanding than Forrest Gump, and that’s saying something. You can have your own existential crisis thinking about what the future holds for Ralph.

1. He Choo-Choo Chose Lisa

Sliding back toward to the fourth season, we address the 15th episode, entitled, “I Love Lisa.” This aired a few days before Valentine’s Day in 1993, and it featured Ralph and Lisa as the A story. Lisa offered Ralph a Valentine’s Day card, after the rest of the class ignored the sweet little fella. Ralph took things to the next level, and presented The Simpsons world with a new favorite character, and some of the show’s classic one-liners when he pursued the love of Lisa with persistence, and without a clue. Golden morsels of Ralphisms were delivered, and quoted the following week throughout schools everywhere. “It said you ‘Choo-Choo Choose’ me, and there’s a picture of a train…” Lisa tried hard to explain, and to let Ralph down gently, but there was no understanding. Eventually, she crushed his heart on a live TV.

James Sheldon

James Sheldon

James Sheldon has been writing about music, movies, and TV for Goliath since 2016.