Patty and Selma
|The Simpsons characters|
|Patty (left) and Selma (right)|
|Jobs||Civil servants, DMV|
|Relatives||Parents: Jackie, Clancy
Nieces: Lisa, Maggie
Daughter (Selma): Ling
(See also Bouvier family)
|Voice actor(s)||Julie Kavner|
|The Simpsons||"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"|
Patty and Selma Bouvier (pron.: //) are fictional characters in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. They are twins and are both voiced by Julie Kavner. They are Marge Simpson's older twin sisters, who both work at the Springfield Department of Motor Vehicles, and possess a strong dislike for their brother-in-law, Homer. Selma is the elder by two minutes, and possesses a strong desire for companionship while her sister, Patty, is openly lesbian. Kavner voices them as characters who "suck the life out of everything".
Distinguishing features 
Although the two have a similar look, there are several easy ways to distinguish them. Notable differences include:
- Hairstyle: Patty has an afro, while Selma's similarly textured hair is parted in the middle to form an "M".
- Outfit: Patty wears a short-sleeved pink dress and pink shoes while Selma wears a hemmed sleeveless blue dress and blue shoes.
- Earrings: Patty wears orange or blue triangular earrings while Selma wears purple or orange circular earrings (and, in earlier episodes, earrings shaped in an "S").
- Necklace: Patty wears orange or blue spherical necklace pearls while Selma wears purple or orange spheroid-shaped necklace pearls.
In the episode "The Blue and the Gray", it is revealed that Selma is actually a blonde, while Patty is a redhead. Their blue-grey tinged hair is due to cigarette smoke and ash.
Both Patty and Selma are noted for their raspy voices and their fondness for cigarettes. The two possess a strong, mutually reciprocated dislike for Homer. Unlike Homer, who usually tries to be polite to his sisters-in-law out of respect for Marge, Patty and Selma have no hesitation about treating Homer with open rudeness and disdain. On several occasions, they do not seem to care even when Homer faced a life-threatening situation; for instance, upon discovering via a telephone call that Homer had suffered a heart attack, the two continued cutting coupons as though nothing were wrong, expressing more shock at a five cent discount on wax paper. The two attempt to set Marge up with a sleazy man named Andre as a replacement for Homer, despite the fact that Homer was still alive. Shortly after Marge's wedding the two bought a tombstone inscribed with the epitaph "Homer J. Simpson. We are richer for having lost him." The same episode reveals that they use the tombstone as a coffee table.
They share an apartment at the Spinster City apartment complex and both work at the DMV. There have been several occasions where they've acted unprofessionally in the course of their jobs, usually when Homer is involved; they've given stoner Otto Mann a driver's license due to their mutual dislike for Homer, deliberately failed Homer to make him feel like a failure (although he did actually fail the test), and ignored applicants at their workstation when they laughed at Homer through their video surveillance camera after kidnapping him. Patty and Selma are very cynical. According to Marge, the two have very brittle necks. The two are avid, sometimes maniacal fans of the TV series, MacGyver, even getting the chance to star in their own subplot with Richard Dean Anderson (the actor who played the title character) in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore". The two seem to be aroused by the character, taking cigarettes after every viewing of the show. In "A Star Is Burns", guest-star Jay Sherman, on advice from Homer, tells them MacGyver is gay; as a result, they stripped him to his boxers and hung him from the gutters. Prior to Selma's marriage with Sideshow Bob, he insulted MacGyver (describing an episode sarcastically as "that was a well-plotted piece of non-claptrap that never made me want to retch") and the wedding was almost canceled as a result. In "Simpson and Delilah", it is revealed that Patty and Selma both show some attraction to Homer for his newly-regained hair.
Patty and Selma are often shown to have gone on vacations and bringing back long dull slide shows or other activities; in "Treehouse of Horror VI", they bring a pillowcase full of seashells from their trip to Sulfur Bay for them and the family to clean and organize; in "The Wife Aquatic", they display a boring home video about Barnacle Bay; in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", they eventually drive away Richard Dean Anderson by showing him slides of their trip to the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston, Alberta.
Patty Bouvier 
Patricia "Patty" Bouvier is the younger of the two. Despite the similarities between her and Selma, Patty has been shown to be more jaded than her sister particularly towards relationships. It was once said by Marge that she chose a life of celibacy, and that Selma had it thrust upon her. Her decision to not have relationships has been implied to be due to her then closeted sexuality. However, Patty is more vicious in her treatment towards Homer than Selma is. The reason is she resented Marge's choice to dump Artie Ziff, years ago. He was their family's choice of a husband for her and wishes she reconsidered marrying him. She believes Artie could have taken better care of Marge because he was rich and she did not have to worry about getting a job and constantly having to look after Homer. Patty always thought he was beneath their family's contempt, despite the unwavering loyalty he has for Marge and their children. Unlike Selma (who was more kind to Homer), she has no pity for his well-being and remorse for her actions. The only exceptions however, are when Patty came out of the closet as a lesbian, she managed to swallow her pride and ask Homer (who was legally allowed to perform marriages) to perform the ceremony and when they were both disgusted that Selma got into a relationship with Homer's father Abe and they decide to work together to break them up.
In "There's Something About Marrying", Patty comes out of the closet as a lesbian. She exclaims "you could see it from space!", and hints of her sexual orientation have been dropped many times; in "Bart After Dark" she is seen coming out of a burlesque house. She is also seen saying "There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality", when Homer runs past her, naked and screaming, in "Treehouse of Horror III", and hiding in a closet with Smithers on a parade float during a gay pride parade in "Jaws Wired Shut" (Albeit as part of a float on being in the closet where only their arms were visible and voices heard). While Marge was genuinely surprised when Patty came out to her, Homer sarcastically said, "Here's another bomb for ya, Marge: I like beer!"; something that suggests that Patty's homosexuality was obvious even to him.
After Patty comes out, Homer accepts her sexuality despite his past problems with her. However, Marge is hurt and betrayed that Patty had hidden her sexuality for years (though there were obvious signs). She refused to let Patty be with Veronica and still insisted that she marries a man. Patty was obviously angry with Marge because she was always liberal about same-sex relationships, but couldn't accept her like family should. Despite this, Marge ultimately learns to respect her sister. In the episode "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife", Patty wooed a tenured professor of Yale University away from her husband. In "Rome-old and Julie-eh", it is shown she is attracted to Edna Krabappel. In "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore", Selma says "I can't face prison" and Patty replies "I can."
Long before coming out, Patty's only notable relationship with a man was Principal Skinner in the season 2 episode, "Principal Charming". She dated him for a while, but she refused to marry him, claiming she was too devoted to Selma as a sister to leave her alone. However, she did consider Principal Skinner a gentleman and had seemed to take it hard that she could not marry him, ending their relationship with the words "Good night, sweet principal." Despite vowing to get her back, Skinner later attended her lesbian wedding in There's Something About Marrying. During early episodes (and one later episode) Patty, like Selma has also had an honest sexual fixation on MacGyver for many years, although this aspect of her personality was played out in later years.
Patty's only notable relationship with a woman however was with Veronica, who was a pro-golfer. However, it was later discovered by Marge and revealed during Patty's wedding that Veronica was actually a man in disguise.
Selma Bouvier 
Selma Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Stu-Simpson-D'Amico was born two minutes before Patty. Due to a childhood bottle rocket accident, she lost the sense of taste and smell. Selma's favorite film actor was reportedly Troy McClure, to whom she was briefly married before discovering it was just a publicity stunt by McClure. She was willing to live a sham for a while, but broke it off when she realized she couldn't bring a child into a loveless marriage. According to Marge, Selma is "the one who likes Police Academy movies and Hummel figurines, and walking through the park on clear autumn days." Selma inherited her deceased aunt's iguana, Jub-Jub, instead of her mother, Jacqueline, due to Jacqueline's apparent dislike of Jub-Jub. Unlike Patty, Selma has shown brief moments of sympathy for Homer, primarily due to his unwavering loyalty to his family (implying that she's more willing to put up with their brother-in-law since he and Marge are happy together). In fact, in "I Married Marge", Selma is responsible for reuniting Homer with Marge after they had split up, despite an agreement with Patty not to do so. Homer has also demonstrated moments of kindness towards Selma such as offering advice and sympathy, when she began to question her own ability to be a mother after attempting to take care of Bart and Lisa for an afternoon. In a later episode, Homer was convinced by Marge to act as Selma's husband so that she could adopt a Chinese baby and did all he could to make sure that Selma got to keep said baby. He also helped her and Patty keep their jobs after they were caught smoking at work (although this was more for Marge's sake). However, these instances are still very few and far between.
Despite being identical twins, Patty and Selma have very different track records when it comes to finding dates. According to Marge, Patty chose a life of celibacy, while Selma had celibacy thrust upon her. Her standards are extremely low, as evidenced by her comments on Mr. Burns: "Single, eh? Well, he passes the Selma Test."
Selma has actively sought out a husband, having been married a total of six times. Her current name has evolved into Selma Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Stu-Simpson-D'Amico, after failed marriages to Robert "Sideshow Bob" Terwilliger, Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure, Disco Stu, Abraham Simpson, and Fat Tony. It is also implied in "Rome-old and Juli-eh" that Selma had a second failed marriage to Sideshow Bob, giving her a total of seven marriages. One person Selma refused to marry was Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, because she said her collection of last names was long enough without Nahasapeemapetilon added to it. However in season 20 there is photographic evidence that she slept with Apu after Homer and Marge's second wedding. In "Rome-old and Juli-eh", Selma began dating and later married Grandpa Simpson, who had previously dated her mother. Eventually however, they realized that they just cannot make it work because of his age and her career and called it quits. Selma has also dated Hans Moleman, Moe Szyslak, and pitifully, Barney Gumble. She had been rejected by Groundskeeper Willie, who upon seeing her dating video remarked "Back to the Loch with you Nessie" (during the episode "Selma's Choice").
Unable to find companionship in a husband, Selma has also sought to have children. At one point she was considering using a sperm donor. After babysitting Bart and Lisa for a day, she realized that although she wanted someone to love, she was not ready to have children and wound up adopting Jub-Jub, her Aunt Gladis's pet iguana. Finally, in "Goo Goo Gai Pan", a very menopausal Selma adopted a Chinese baby, Ling Bouvier. During the adoption process, Selma pretended to be married to Homer, since the Chinese government only allows children to be adopted by married couples. When the fraud was exposed, Selma managed to keep the baby, as a Chinese dignitary (voiced by Lucy Liu) who had also been raised by a single parent became sympathetic.
Relationship to the Simpson family 
As children, Patty and Selma were apparently domineering towards Marge and ridiculed her ambition of becoming an astronaut. Their relationship seems to have improved over the years. As adults, the Bouvier twins have a friendly relationship with their sister and seem very protective of her and thus frequently visit the Simpsons. They seem relatively fond of their nieces and nephew, but seem to like them more when they are young as demonstrated by a quote from Lisa's First Word: "The older they get, the cuter they ain't." They have, on occasion, watched the kids when their parents were out of town. However, Bart and Lisa would rather not be around when their aunts visit. Their idea of bonding with Lisa includes tutoring her in the belief that men are pigs, using Homer as the prime example.
Their relationship with Homer remains one of mutual dislike, which involves a continuous exchange of insults from day one. They unfavorably compare their brother-in-law to a caveman, suggesting him capable of trading Maggie for a beer and a nudie magazine.
Patty and Selma have occasionally expressed their common hope that Marge will eventually divorce Homer. They are often quick in pointing out how close he has come to infidelity, and have unsuccessfully offered to help Marge find a replacement for Homer, although Selma eventually gave in and helped Marge find Homer after seeing how truly unhappy she was. In the episode "Three Gays of the Condo" the twins went so far as to have a billboard built trying to convince voters to have Homer kicked out of Springfield. When Homer once faked his death, the sisters produced a gravestone that they had apparently been saving up to buy for years, which proclaimed "HOMER J. SIMPSON: WE ARE RICHER FOR HAVING LOST HIM." They then used the tombstone as a coffee table, when Police Chief Wiggum questioned them on the whereabouts on Mona Simpson, a destroyer of Mr. Burns's instruments of germ warfare. However, of all the wickedness that they have readied against Homer, the most extreme happened in Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind where they tried to kill Homer by pushing him out of the bridge, but Homer survived due to a moon bouncer in a ship. Homer mistakenly believed that Patty and Selma were aware of the boat, and they reluctantly agree in order to avoid criminal charges against them.
Selma once took the Simpson children on a disastrous trip to the Duff Gardens theme park in the episode "Selma's Choice." She is unable to control the children, as Bart manhandles several animatronic characters and Lisa goes on a psychedelic trip after drinking "water" from an It's a Small World-like boat ride, later swimming in the Fermentarium and exclaiming "I am the lizard queen!" After that, however, Selma returned home with the children and asked Homer how he does it, referring to raising children, implying that Selma is slightly more capable of overcoming her dislike of Homer than Patty. She told Homer she just couldn't cut it today, and wearing a sympathetic expression, Homer took her hand to comfort her. As noted above, Homer has also helped Selma adopt a baby, further highlighting their comparative tolerance of each other.
In "Wedding for Disaster", the two put their dislike for Homer aside after realizing that even close to death, Homer truly loves Marge, and even still has kind words for her sisters. When the twins hear this, they save Homer's life (after endangering it) and are stricken with tears. However, Bart and Lisa with the help of Sideshow Bob and the spare key to their apartment, confronted Patty and Selma for the way they mistreated Homer. They threatened to tell Marge the truth about their kidnapping scheme unless they pay for their remarriage ceremony. Patty and Selma reluctantly agree to pay for it.
In many episodes, Selma has been seen as The lesser of two evils towards Homer, as shown in the episode I Married Marge, when Patty and Selma see Homer and while Patty attempts to keep Homer and Marge apart, Selma decides to tell Marge after seeing her upset.
Series creator Matt Groening said he suggested that Kavner voice Patty and Selma as characters who "suck the life out of everything...." Al Jean said Kavner makes Patty's voice more masculine and a lower register, while Selma's voice is a little sweeter.
In the 2005 episode "There's Something About Marrying" of the sixteenth season, Patty was revealed to be a lesbian and became the first openly gay recurring character in the series. Groening has stated that the staff wanted to out Patty as gay because portraying her as a "love-starved spinster [...] seemed old" on the show. There had previously been hints about Patty's orientation. For example, in the season thirteen episode "Jaws Wired Shut" she is part of the Springfield Gay Pride Parade's "stayin' in the closet" float, though only her voice was heard and she was not seen.
According to the publications Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture and Value War: Public Opinion and the Politics of Gay Rights, it was the controversial lesbian outing of the main character (played by Ellen DeGeneres) in the sitcom Ellen in 1997 that paved the way for Patty's coming-out in "There's Something About Marrying", as well as for many other gay characters on other television shows. In his book Queers in American Popular Culture, Jim Elledge noted that it is possible the Simpsons staff chose Patty to come out as gay instead of a male character because lesbians were "traditionally considered more acceptable" on television. She did, however, not "adhere to the eroticized male lesbian fantasy or fit into the loveable, asexual guise of the comedy lesbian" that had previously been seen on shows such as Ellen. Instead, Patty is "rude, crude, and not ashamed of declaring her sexual preferences", and this could make her unpalatable to some viewers according to Elledge.
It was reported a long time in advance of the episode's airing in 2005 that a major character would come out as gay during the episode. There was a widespread debate among fans of the series as to who the character would be. Patty was suspected by many fans and the press because she had not often been seen dating men on the show. The tabloid newspaper The Sun revealed already in September 2004 that character who would come out was Patty, though this was regarded as a rumor and The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean would not confirm it. Bookmakers in the United States and the United Kingdom took bets on which character would be uncovered as homosexual—BetUS laid odds at four to five that it was Patty, while Smithers had four to one odds and Ned Flanders fifteen to one odds. BetUS said gamblers made more than 900 bets on the coming-out on their website. According to The Baltimore Sun, another bookmaker Paddy Power "stopped taking wagers because so much money was being placed on [Patty]."
See also 
- The Simpsons "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" - December 17, 1989
- Rhodes, Joe. "Flash! 24 Simpsons Stars Reveal Themselves", TV Guide October 21, 2000, via The Simpsons Archive: "[Matt] Groening says: 'My original idea about Marge's family was they were utterly joyless. The original note I gave to Julie was that they suck the life out of everything they see'".
- The Simpsons. "Homer's Triple Bypass"
- The Simpsons - "Mother Simpson"
- The Simpsons. "The Otto Show"
- The Simpsons. "Homer vs. Patty and Selma"
- The Simpsons. "Wedding for Disaster"
- The Simpsons. "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore"
- The Simpsons. "There's Something About Marrying"
- The Simpsons. "Principal Charming"
- Rome-old and Julie-eh"
- The Simpsons. "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife"
- The Simpsons. "Black Widower"
- The Simpsons. "A Fish Called Selma"
- The Simpsons. "Selma's Choice"
- According to a The Simpsons DVD commentary and by episode writer O'Brien on Late Night with Conan O'Brien
- The Simpsons "Much Apu About Nothing"
- The Simpsons. "The Real Housewives of Fat Tony"
- The Simpsons. "'Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky"
- "In the Family Way", The Next Big Thing, 10 October 2003. Julia Sweeney tells about the messages she received from Chinese adoption agencies trying to confirm her heterosexuality due to government opposition to gay adoption
- Groening, Matt (2001). The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Jean, Al (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Selma's Choice" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Finn, Natalie (2007-11-07). ""Simpsons'" Smithers Part of Shrinking Minority?". E! News. Retrieved 2006-08-22.
- The Advocate: Issues 985-991. Liberation Publications. 2007.
- McCann, Jesse L.; Matt Groening (2005). The Simpsons One Step Beyond Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued Yet Again. HarperCollins. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-06-081754-2.
- Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture. Metatronics, Inc. 2005. p. 78.
- Brewer, Paul Ryan (2008). Value War: Public Opinion and the Politics of Gay Rights. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-7425-6211-0.
- Elledge, Jim (2010). Queers in American Popular Culture (Volume 2). ABC-CLIO. pp. 266–269. ISBN 978-0-313-35457-1.
- "Simpsons to reveal gay character". BBC News. July 28, 2004. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
- "Inventory: 15 Simpsons Moments That Perfectly Captured Their Eras". The A.V. Club. July 23, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
- Kiehl, Stephen (The Baltimore Sun) (February 2, 2005). "'The Simpsons' to 'out' a character". The Gainesville Sun. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Maurstad, Tom (The Dallas Morning News) (February 19, 2005). "Gay character revealed on 'Simpsons'". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Wilkes, Neil (September 30, 2004). "Gay 'Simpsons' character revealed". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Hiatt, Brian (November 5, 2004). "Springfield Fever". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Waxman, Sharon (February 21, 2005), "'Simpsons' Animates Gay Nuptials, and a Debate", The New York Times, retrieved 2011-06-19
- "Public Eye". The San Diego Union-Tribune. January 21, 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- The Simpsons Archive: The Patty and Selma File
- Patty Bouvier at the Internet Movie Database
- Selma Bouvier at the Internet Movie Database
|The Simpsons characters|
|The Simpson family and relatives|
|Springfield Elementary School faculty, staff, and students|
|Springfield Nuclear Power Plant||Villains||Lists|