Abraham Jay "Abe" Simpson, often known simply as Grampa, is a fictional character in the animated television series, The Simpsons. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and he is also the patriarch of the Simpson family, the father of Homer Simpson, and the grandfather of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie Simpson. In the 1000th issue of Entertainment Weekly, Abe was selected as the Grandpa for "The Perfect TV Family.
Abe is a veteran of both World War I (by enlisting as a toddler) and World War II, who was later sent to the Springfield Retirement Castle by Homer. He is known for his long, rambling stories and incompetence. He shares his name with Matt Groening's grandfather. However, Groening says he refused to name him, leaving it to other writers to choose a name. By coincidence, the writers chose the name Abraham.
Role in The Simpsons
Abraham Simpson is the father to Homer Simpson, father-in-law to Marge Simpson and grandfather to siblings Bart Simpson, Lisa Simpson and Maggie Simpson. Abe has also fathered two illegitimate children; a daughter named Abbie by a British woman named Edwina while in England during World War II, and Herbert Powell by a carnival prostitute. Abe has an older brother named Cyrus, who lives in Tahiti and has multiple native wives. He also has a younger brother named Chet, who owns an unsuccessful shrimp company. Abe was briefly married to Amber, the same woman Homer married on a drinking binge in Las Vegas. Abe has also been briefly married to Marge's sister, Selma Bouvier, though Homer was against it, and was once romantically linked to Marge's mother, Jacqueline Bouvier.
Almost all of Abe's biographical information is supplied by himself. Many of his stories seem to be wildly inaccurate, often physically or historically impossible, and occasionally inconsistent even with each other, suggesting that Abe is quite senile. It is unknown where Abe was born. He claims that he came to America as a boy from the "Old country", but he cannot remember which country it was. Abe was raised in New York City with his parents, Orville J. Simpson and Yuma Hickman.
Abe is a veteran of World War II, where he served as Master Sergeant of the Flying Hellfish unit. At the very end of war in Europe, Abe's unit "liberated" a stash of priceless art from surrendering German forces. The Flying Hellfish formed a tontine, and buried the art in a trunk at sea. Decades later, Montgomery Burns, the second surviving member of the unit, tried to murder Abe in order to get the art, prompting Abe to violate the tontine. When Abe and Bart retrieved the art from Mr. Burns, the State Department arrived to give the art to their rightful owner.
Homer's mother, Mona Simpson, was married with Abe for several years. She became entranced with the hippie lifestyle after seeing Joe Namath's hair on television. She became a fugitive from justice after she abetted in the sabotage of a biological weapons research lab owned by Mr. Burns. To explain this to his then-six-year-old son, Abe said that Mona died while Homer was at the movies. Abe has a poor relationship with his son, who placed Abe in a nursing home as soon as he could, despite Abe selling his house in order to provide Homer with a mortgage, although its strongly and recurringly suggested that, while caring, Abe was abusive towards Homer and he still hasn't forgiven him for that.
The Simpson family will often do their best to avoid unnecessary contact with Abe, but Homer has shown feelings of love for his father from time to time.
Abe is an old, grizzled, periodically incontinent and quite senile man, who lives in the Springfield Retirement Castle, a sad, lonely place filled with demented, crippled and depressed old people. His closest friend appears to be Jasper, a fellow Retirement Castle resident. He often shares long-winded recollections about his past, many of which are often far-fetched rants. Among Abe's stories are the time he chased Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1922, the time John D. Rockefeller dropped silver dollars on him while floating in a Zeppelin, various times spent harassing Springfield's Irish immigrant community, listening to Thomas Edison recite the alphabet over the radio, when President Grover Cleveland spanked him on two nonconsecutive occasions, and when he "took a shot" at President Theodore Roosevelt. He also claims to have served in World War I, albeit as a small child. He states he is a member and carries the membership cards of the Elks, the Masons, the Communists, the Stonecutters and for some reason unbeknownst to him he carries a card listing him as the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance. He spends a good deal of his time writing complaint letters. He once wrote to the President, complaining that there were too many states, and requesting that they get rid of three of them, simultaneously insisting that he was "not a crackpot". He also wrote to "the sickos at Modern Bride Magazine" about his disgust at not seeing "one wrinkled face" or "a single toothless grin" in the publication. He also owns a 49-star American flag, because of his unexplained hatred of the state of Missouri: "I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah."
Abe claims to have attempted to kill Adolf Hitler on two occasions, one when he threw a javelin at him in the 1936 Summer Olympics, which barely missed and instead struck a would-be Hitler assassin, and once when he attempted to shoot him with a sniper rifle, missing only by a few centimeters due to unintentional interference by Montgomery Burns. Before taking the shot, he said to himself, "Now they'll never be able to save your brain, Hitler." Many of Abe's war stories contradict each other, as some have him serving in the Army, while others portray him having been in the Navy. He is also shown serving in both the European Theater and Pacific Theater, as well as witnessing many historical events and personally encountering Adolf Hitler. Abe claimed to have performed a drag show onstage to Hitler when he was caught many miles behind enemy lines. Bart called him out on the accuracy of his encounter with Hitler, in which Abe did say that the story was not true but then admitted that he did wear a dress during a period in the 1940s. In a bizarre flashback of World War II, Abe is seen coordinating tank movements through a minefield. He signals one tank to drive directly into a mine (and explode) and signals another tank in the opposite direction off a cliff. Because of his bumbling actions in the war, he ironically claims he was awarded the Iron Cross, which was an award given by the Germans. Another war story shows him on the Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 with a young John F. Kennedy. He says he was "the first to discover his terrible secret" after Kennedy mutters to himself, "Ich bin ein Berliner"; a phrase, in reality, Kennedy did not say until 20 years later. Hearing Kennedy speaking German, Abe proclaims, "He's a Nazi!" He and other sailors aboard the PT-109 then attack Kennedy. He also states that he never thought himself capable of shooting down a German plane but states, "Last year, I proved myself wrong." In the episode "Simpsons Christmas Stories", he is a Navy pilot.
Abe also is soundly rooted in his antiquated ways: "The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it." (This is approximately .002 mpg, 10.5 feet per gallon, or 0.8 meters per liter). Like many of his fellow Retirement Castle residents, Abe is a devoted follower of Matlock. He seems to believe Matlock is a real person, suggesting they call him in to solve real-life crimes. During a Matlock public appearance, Abe and Jasper swipe Matlock's pills, which were needed to prevent him from having a spastic heart failure. Once, reflecting on his lifetime, he lamented it as terribly boring and full of unruly teenagers, but then decided it was alright because "we did have two shows with Andy Griffith".