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Life in Hell

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki


Life in Hell
Life-inhell.jpg
Comic Information
Release date: 1977 to 2012
Publisher: Matt Groening


Life in Hell was a 1977-2012 weekly comic strip by Matt Groening. The strip featured a family of anthropomorphic rabbits (father Binky, mother Sheba and son Bongo) and a pair of identical-looking gay lovers (Akbar and Jeff). Groening used these characters to explore a wide range of topics about love, sex, work, and death. His drawings are full of expressions of angst, alienation, self-loathing, and fear of inevitable doom.

Life in Hell started in 1977 as a self-published comic book Groening used to describe life in Los Angeles to his friends. Groening photocopied and distributed it in a small "punk" corner of the record store in which he worked, Licorice Pizza on Sunset Boulevard. Life in Hell debuted as a comic strip in the avant-garde Wet magazine in 1978 [1], to which Groening made his first professional cartoon sale. The first strip, entitled "Forbidden Words", appeared in the September/October issue. Popular in the underground, Life in Hell was picked up by the Los Angeles Reader[2] (an alternative weekly newspaper where Groening also worked as a typesetter, editor, paste-up artist and music critic) in 1980, where it began appearing weekly.

Life in Hell reached the attention of Hollywood producer James L. Brooks, who received one strip — "The Los Angeles Way of Death" from 1982. [3]In 1985, Brooks contacted Groening with the proposition of developing a series of short animated skits, called "bumpers", for The Tracey Ullman Show. Originally, Brooks had wanted Groening to adapt his Life in Hell characters for the show. Fearing the loss of ownership rights to his characters, Groening instead created an entirely new batch of characters, the Simpsons. Groening continued Life in Hell' until 2012. [4]

References to Life in Hell on The Simpsons[edit]

References in the Tracey Ullman shorts[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Picture Season Episode number Episode name Reference
The Pacifier - Binky 3.png 1 5 "The Pacifier" Rabbit dolls can be seen on the floor of Maggie's room and a framed picture of Binky is seen on the TV room.
The Funeral - Binky.png 2 9 "The Funeral" Lisa holds a Binky doll.
2 15 "Bart's Haircut" Lisa holds a Binky doll.
2 18 "Scary Stories" Lisa holds a Binky doll.
2 25 "Family Portrait" Lisa plays with a Binky doll.
2 26 "Bart's Hiccups" Maggie and Lisa are seen with Bongo and Binky dolls.
2 27 "The Money Jar" Lisa holds an eyeless Binky doll.
3 29 "Shut Up Simpsons" Maggie squeaks a Binky doll.
3 32 "The Bart Simpson Show" Bart names his Binky doll "Ed".
Binky.png 3 34 "Simpson Christmas" Maggie gets Binky and Bongo dolls.
3 36 "Bart the Hero" A Binky doll is seen on the floor.
3 37 "Bart's Little Fantasy" A Binky doll is seen on the floor.
3 39 "Home Hypnotism" A Binky doll is seen on the floor.
3 41 "Echo Canyon" Bart and Lisa read 'Life in Hell' comics.
00 43 Bart's Nightmare.png 3 43 "Bart's Nightmare" Homer's shadow is cast on the floor as he looks down at Bart and the broken cookie jar, which is an allusion to the "Shadow Rabbit" gag in Life in Hell.
3 46 & 47 "Maggie in Peril (Chapter One)" and "Maggie in Peril (The Thrilling Conclusion)" A Bongo doll is seen in Maggie's crib.

References to Life in Hell in the regular seasons[edit]

Picture Season Episode number Episode name Reference
1 6 "Moaning Lisa" The referee in the video game looks like Akbar or Jeff.
1 9 "Life on the Fast Lane" Lisa's research "about what happens to kids whose parents no longer love and cherish each other" bares a striking resemblance to the 'Life in Hell' strip "The 12 Stages of Divorce for Kids", along with stage two (denial), and stage three (fear). However, Lisa's version is only 8 stages and "self-pity" is stage five (it is stage eight in the strip).
2 16 "Treehouse of Horror" In the segment “Bad Dream House” a Binky doll is seen beside the box Bart unpacks. Later Maggie is seen sleeping next to a Bongo doll...
I Can't Believe It's A Law Firm!.png 2 23 "Bart Gets Hit By a Car" Lionel Hutz' office is is next to Yogurt Nook, where the proprietors look like Akbar and Jeff. Later they can also be seen in the courtroom.
3 36 "Stark Raving Dad" Lisa is seen sleeping next to a Binky doll.
4 61 "A Streetcar Named Marge" Sheba appears in a pop-up book, opened by a baby to warn Maggie that the school principal is coming.
5 90 "The Last Temptation of Homer" When Homer’s sweat has made the writing on his palm unreadable he tries to decipher the text anyway, which spells out: “Nom Yo Ho Renge Kyo”, a mantra once sang by Akbar and Jeff.
5 108 "Sideshow Bob Roberts" Maggie has a green Binky doll in her crib.
7 134 "Treehouse of Horror VI" Matt Groening’s name turns up in the opening credits as “Funk Lord of the USA”. He used to describe himself as such at the start of each ‘Life in Hell’ comic.
7 138 "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" In Matt Groening’s office a 'Life in Hell' poster can be seen. Later Troy McClure says: "Yes, the Simpsons have come a long way since an old drunk made humans out of his rabbit characters to pay off old gambling debts."
8 158 "Bart After Dark" In the Itchy and Scratchy short Good Cats, Bad Choices Bongo is in the audience.
8 165 "Mountain of Madness" Bart asks Lisa to come and look at two identical snowflakes, a nod to the Life in Hell episode: Lies My Older Brother and Sister Told Me (1986).
9 188 "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" Chief Wiggum steals a Life in Hell rabbit from The Simpsons' house.
9 195 "Lisa the Simpson" As a last-minute science project, Lisa makes a pig out of an eraser and pushpins, a make-your-own-office-toy featured in a 1982 Life in Hell strip entitled "How To Kill 8 Hours A Day And Still Keep Your Job" .
9 196 "This Little Wiggy" A Binky doll is seen in Ralph Wiggum's room.
10 219 "Make Room for Lisa" Maggie has a Bongo doll.
Akbar.png 10 222 "Mom and Pop Art" Homer notices a drawing of Akbar and Jeff in a museum and feels that Matt Groening doesn't belong in a museum as he "can barely draw."
11 237 "Faith Off" The Springfield Church picks out "Life in Hell" as their "topic for today".
Bongo.png 12 259 "Worst Episode Ever" Comic Book Guy pours a can of soda over a Radioactive Man comic, which bounces off and lands on a Bongo Comics issue instead.
13 270 "Treehouse of Horror XII" One of the rabbits in the hole full of Trix is Bongo.
13 278 "Jaws Wired Shut" Maggie plays with a Bongo doll.

Sources[edit]


External links[edit]

The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to Life in Hell.