“The Simpsons” paid tribute to the “True Detective” on Facebook and Twitter by revealing the villain to be none other than Homer Simpson. While the stunt is meant to be lighthearted, many observers feel that the Fox franchise may have crossed a line by associating Homer with a person who is linked to murder, child abuse and rape.
— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) March 7, 2014
On Facebook, “The Simpsons” shared an image of Homer Simpson with the tag “’True Detective’ spoiler: Homer Simpson is the Yellow King.” Homer is seen in a loin cloth, sitting in a recliner with a can of Duff beer, a partially eaten sandwich and a quote bubble saying, “mmm…spoiler.” He is also wearing antlers, much like those worn by Dora Lange, along with the spiral that has been an important symbol on “True Detective.”
The antlers were part of staged crime scene with Lange’s body at the center of it and the spiral has been the focal point of the mystery of the Yellow King, Carcosa and the people responsible for the murders of several girls.
Of course, the creators of “The Simpsons” are joining in on a cultural phenomenon that has captivated audiences every Sunday with intense discussions on the Internet throughout the week. Speculation about the Yellow King's identity, who is involved and the fate of Rustin Cohle and Marty Hart is rife on several sites, including the popular “True Detective” subReddit.
The image of Homer as the Yellow King also can be seen as a clever take at the character itself, as he is yellow and he has imagined himself as a “king,” such as in the season 3 episode, “Dog of Death.” Fans on Facebook and Twitter don’t seem to mind the image, with many leaving only positive comments and finding the image to be funny.
While “The Simpsons” creators evidently did not perceive this as anything more than a sight gag, recent attempts to connect with the Yellow King has met with plenty of criticism.
A fan-made shirt saying “I am the Yellow King” was seen as inappropriate, reports Badass Digest. According to Devin Faraci, “So what you're looking at here is a shirt that self-identifies with a ritualistic rapist and murderer.” The article notes that associating with a villain, such as in a horror movie or in “Breaking Bad,” is based on well-developed characters and the Yellow King has yet to be revealed so there is no way to be drawn in by the character. Another point is that these shows are movies set in a more fantastical realm, whereas “True Detective” is much more grounded in a sense of reality, with references to Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew.
While the appropriateness of identifying with the Yellow King is based on opinion, it's an undisputable fact that “True Detective” is popular. The HBO series has become a mainstream hit, much like “Game of Thrones,” and as the season finale airs on March 9, expect to hear plenty of discussion about its conclusion and whether or not all those hours of speculation and fan theories were accurate.