Who is ‘The Simpsons’ character Gumbly? Hoax, explained

If you asked someone to name their favorite character from The Simpsons and they told you it was ‘Gumbly’ or ‘Graggle’ Simpson, you’d probably do a double-take. The truth is, the character doesn’t really exist (you can check the entire series for yourself on Disney Plus). Not in reality, at least, but in the hearts and minds of fans, it’s an altogether different story.

Who is Gumbly?

The first mention of Gumbly among Simpsons fans is as good a place as any to start. He first appeared in 2015 on the message board 2channel, essentially the Japanese version of 4chan. A strange naked humanoid character with a big mouth was edited into a picture of the Simpson family, standing behind them while they are sitting on the iconic couch. There’s not much context to the picture, but the character was referred to as “Baseball Bro” a character who is frequently seen on the 2channel /livejupiter/ board.

For a while, the weird edited image was forgotten. Until 2021, when it was picked up on 4chan and Twitter. A new image was used that had Baseball Bro edited to be standing with the Simpsons outside their house. The 4chan post claimed that the weird yellow man was a self-insert for Matt Groening. 

A post on Twitter used the same image claiming that a new character called Gumbly had been added to The Simpsons cast in later seasons. The tweet has since been deleted but screenshots still remain for the sake of preserving the origin of this legendary character.

“Watched a new episode of The Simpsons for the first time in 5 years and I guess they added this hideous new character called Gumbly to the family? What in the fuck is this shit, please just cancel the show already”

Obviously, both of these stories are untrue, but it started to snowball in early 2021 as more and more people began joining in on the joke. Basically, the objective was to gaslight as many people as possible into thinking that the creators of The Simpsons had actually added a new character to the show and that this character was the Gumbly figure from the pictures.

Many joined in with detailed descriptions of plotlines involving the character and some even went as far as to photoshop him into even more still images from the show. These tweets received quite a lot of attention which made the meme spread even faster. Many tweets criticized the character, attributing him to the show’s overall decline in quality. However, there were some that defended Gumbly, citing some episodes that would have been pretty good if they were real.

“I used to dislike Gumbly, but after the season finale he became one of my 5 favorite characters. Not to spoil that incredibly emotional moment, but Gumbly is more of a father to Lisa than Homer ever were.”

As time went on, fans of the character expanded their scope. They no longer claimed that Gumbly was a new addition to the show, but that he had always been there. He was photoshopped into older pictures from older episodes and the gaslighting started all over again.

Things really blew up in the middle of 2022 when a Facebook post was made referring to the character as Graggle Simpson. Once again it showed the character standing alongside the Simpson family. The caption read:


Aside from the name change, the game was still the same. Some derided the post for getting the name wrong (d’oh), however, this Facebook post received the most attention out of all of the edits so far and so many came to know the character as Graggle. 

The concept continued to blow up, with full-blown clips of the character walking and talking in the show appearing on YouTube and TikTok, further solidifying the character in the collective consciousness of Simpsons fans.

Gumbly’s backstory changed multiple times, now he was an OG Simpson who was slowly written out after season 9. Or was it that he had a few cameos in the early seasons before becoming a regular after the fifth season? Obviously, none of the stories matched up (because none of this is real!)

But why do all of this?

What initially started out as some harmless fun quickly turned into a borderline obsession for some. The initial joke regarding Gumbly seemed to take aim at the poor creative decisions made by whoever’s been running the show for the last 20 or so years. It’s undeniable that The Simpsons is not the comedy juggernaut it once was, and Gumbly makes a mockery out of what the show has become.

However, Gumbly also satirizes the idea of the Mandela effect as well by being so overtly ridiculous. Obviously, no-one actually remembers Gumbly or Graggle, but it all goes to show just how obsessed people can become over something to the point that it almost feels like it is real.

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