There’s hardly a person in America that doesn’t recognize Homer Simpson’s signature “D’oh!” For the past 24 seasons, The Simpsons have been a fixture on more than just prime time television. They’ve found their way onto video games, toys, theme park rides, t-shirts, pop music, posters, movies, and even a line of USPS stamps.

The Simpsons have been airing since 1989. That makes this year the show’s 25th anniversary. 25 years is a long time, by anyone’s standard. The show has been on for so long that it’s recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running American sitcom in history.

The show has been successful for a quarter century due to its sharp-edged humor, tongue-in-cheek satire, and iconic characters. Perhaps what’s most interesting about The Simpsons is this: Each of the four main characters has their own distinctive personality, and together perfectly exemplify all four DISC personality types.

D Personality: Homer Simpson

“Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”

Homer is the head of the household and the leader of the Simpson family. When Homer has an idea or hatches a scheme, the rest of the family usually follows along (even when his ideas are harebrained). He is direct, quick to confrontation, and always speaks his mind.

Throughout the past 24 seasons, Homer has proven himself to be incredibly impulsive. As is sometimes the case with high D personalities, he is impatient and sometimes rushes to action before getting all of the facts or thinking through the consequences. He quits his job frequently, gets into arguments with strangers, makes huge purchases before thinking things through, and is generally the instigator of most of the family’s wild adventures. Even though Homer is the source of most of the family’s problems, he is also quick to come up with (often equally problematic) solutions to the chaos he causes.

Like many D personalities, Homer is competitive and quick-tempered. He can be extremely tenacious when it’s something he cares about. Another classic “D style” trait: Homer hates to be taken advantage of, and is often at his most angry when he catches his children trying to trick, disrespect, or fool him.

I Personality: Bart Simpson

“I don’t know! I don’t know why I did it, I don’t know why I enjoyed it, and I don’t know why I’ll do it again!

Bart Simpson exemplifies a model “I” personality. Fun-loving, energetic, and extraverted, Bart is a constant source of entertainment (and frustration) to the people around him. A self-diagnosed “class clown,” Bart always behaves like he’s in the spotlight. He craves attention, and will do anything to pull focus away from others and onto himself.

A classic “Tom Sawyer” figure, Bart can be charming and extremely persuasive. He has no problem starting a conversation with someone he’s never met, and uses his quick wit to influence others and bend the people around him to his will. Though not focused enough to be a good student, he is clever, creative, and colorful.

Bart also has a highly-developed sense of humor, and constantly jokes around with everyone. Though many of his pranks can verge on cruel, it’s clear that he’s driven by a need for attention. Because he loves to be the center of attention, he is at his most unhappy when he feels excluded or overlooked. This is very common for an I personality, whose greatest fear is rejection.

S Personality: Marge Simpson

“Accidental motherhood is the best thing that can happen to a woman.”


Marge is the heart and soul of the Simpsons family. Loyal and fiercely devoted to her family, she is the perfect embodiment of the best characteristics of an S personality type: steady, consistent, trustworthy, hard-working, and nurturing.

Like many S personalities, Marge is an excellent negotiator. She keeps the peace in the house, mediating major conflicts between her children and her husband. Unlike her husband, she doesn’t like to take risks. She prefers a more cautious approach, and likes to stick to the rules.

Marge is peaceful and agreeable, and tends to avoid direct conflict unless it’s absolutely necessary. She resists change, as evidenced by her “over mothering” of her children. She often treats her kids as being younger and more dependent than they actually are, likely due to her being uncomfortable with the idea of them growing up. She likes to be needed, and wants the family to depend on her emotionally.

S personality types are also the most likely to stay in a bad relationship for a long period of time, which certainly is the case between Homer and Marge. Despite Homer’s many faults, she chooses to see the good in him and always forgives his many mistakes.

C Personality: Lisa Simpson

“All my extra credit points are like frequent flier miles on a bankrupt airline.”

In many ways, Lisa Simpson is the opposite of her brother Bart. As a C personality, she is introverted, cautious, and sensitive. Very much a perfectionist, Lisa is crushed by anything other than an A in her schoolwork. She is organized, detail-oriented, and the first to ask questions in every situation. In other words, a classic “C.”

The way that Lisa controls the chaos around her is by investigating, gathering information, and thoroughly exploring all sides of the problem. She has great amounts of self-discipline, and her analytical mind makes her excellent at problem solving. Any time anyone needs something researched (usually a legal precedent to get them out of a jam), they turn to Lisa.

Like many C personalities, Lisa is shy and sensitive. She’s happy spending time alone, practicing her saxophone, studying, or reading books. She hates to be criticized, and nothing makes her more unhappy than failing at a task of being caught doing something incorrectly. She puts a great deal of unnecessary pressure on herself to be perfect, as is often the case with a C personality.


Though The Simpsons has introduced hundreds of characters over the past 25 years, none exemplify DISC theory better than the four main characters. Homer, Bart, Marge, and Lisa are an interesting (and oddly authentic) family because their personalities and interactions echo patterns that we see every day in our own interactions with friends and family. For a cartoon based in slapstick and satire, the personalities of the characters are surprisingly real.

Who knows how much longer The Simpsons will be on our televisions? Even after they’re long gone, though, the characters will remain a huge fixture on our collective pop culture consciousness, and stand as another great example of DISC theory in action.



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