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This Simpsons fan theory explaining Bart’s prank calls to Moe is the saddest yet

We love a good fan theory here at ShortList. There's something quite satisfying about them, the way they paint a new picture of something that you’ve seen a bazillion times before in a completely new light. And this is one of the best we’ve heard so far in 2016.

Regarding Bart Simpson's infamous prank calls to downbeat bartender Moe Syzlack, you know the ones: “Hey, I’d like to speak to Al, last name Caholic…”, the ones that invariably end up with Moe looking like a big ol’ eejit in front of all of his customers. Well, Reddit user Senor_Schnarf has come up with an explanation that would lead us to believe that Moe always knew that the calls were pranks, and always knew that they were done by Bart, but, let them happen anyway.

In the words of Senor_Schnarf, here’s why:

“Let’s begin by proposing how Moe might know the caller is Bart. Well, frankly, it’s easy. It’s always the same voice which calls and pranks him with ridiculously obvious setups (“I’d like to speak to a Mr. Youcuddleme, first name, Will”). While very few people in Springfield are smart (even fewer when crayons get thrown into the mix…), the bar to hurdle this particular mental challenge is pretty low.”

“He is shown to know what Bart’s voice sounds like in some random episode whose exact spot in the series I can’t remember, where Bart goes to Moe’s with Homer, full of fear that Moe will recognize him and make good on his threats and flay him alive. Upon entering, Moe says “I know that voice… It’s little bitty Bart Simpson!” and picks him up to give him a hug. While people’s real life/phone voices aren’t EXACTLY the same, they’re generally similar enough that you can easily make out who’s who.”

“Why does Moe put up with these juvenile pranks every day? Because he’s a sad, lonely guy who loves children and always wanted a family of his own. He’s even shown to be particularly drawn towards Homer’s family, as evidenced by his first name basis with all family members, and the special, uncharacteristically kind treatment he gives the children. He’s shown to be kind to Lisa, and in one episode developed an extremely strong attachment to Maggie. It is not out to left field to think he may harbour similar sentiment towards Bart as well. Allowing Bart to make a fool of him is done in the same way parents will let their children play petty pranks on them, because Moe loves Bart and takes joy in his joy.”

“To further attest to Moe’s attachment to Bart, Moe has plenty of ways to easily foil Bart, but never does. He could *69 [1471] the number, he could go to the police, or he could just not honour any requests by the caller with Bart’s voice which he gets ALL THE TIME. But he chooses not to out of love for Bart, and possibly a loneliness so crippling he’s just happy to get a phone call of any sort.”

So there you have it. Now let’s all shed a tear for Moe.