Do Alligators Alligate? The Teachings of Ralph Wiggum

Of all the Simpsons characters over the years, Ralph Wiggum is by far my favourite. He’s sweet and innocent, refusing to be corrupted by those around him. He’s… special. After hearing that every Simpsons episode will be aired in chronological order on FXX, I thought it would be a nice idea to delve into the many sides of Ralph’s personality and discover the life lessons that he can teach us.


The Lover

“I love Lisa Simpson, and when I grow up, I’m gonna marry her!”

(Lisa feels sorry for Ralph when he doesn’t receive any cards on Valentines’s Day, and so she presents him with one that says ‘I choo-choo-choose you.’ After breaking his heart on national television, Ralph forgives her and moves on, proclaiming “I can’t believe I ever went out with you.”)

What Ralph teaches us: There is nothing wrong with putting yourself out there and wearing your heart on your sleeve. If you get your heart broken, you can pick yourself up and put it down to a bad learning experience. And more than likely, you’ll look at your ex and wonder what you ever saw in them in the first place…



The Medical Practitioner

“The doctor said I wouldn’t have as many nosebleeds if I kept my finger outta there…”

“And when the doctor told me I didn’t have worms anymore, that was the happiest day of my life…”

What Ralph teaches us: Our health is important. Make sure that you look after yourself and visit your doctor if you have concerns. Most importantly, don’t stick your finger up your nose. It’s probably best not to stick crayons up there either.



The Non-Conformist

Bart: Be there or be square!

Ralph: I want to be a triangle!

“I’m pedalling backwards!”

What Ralph teaches us: Be yourself – you don’t have to conform to other people’s expectations. In your personal life you should feel free to do what you want, when you want, and as long as you enjoy it and it isn’t deliberately hurting anybody else then that is all that matters. Never apologise for doing something that makes you happy.


image The Philosopher

Lisa: Players play and managers manage.

Ralph: Do alligators alligate?

What Ralph teaches us: It’s good to think outside the box and question the world around us. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Challenge yourself and those around you. Do alligators alligate? I’ve been asking myself this question all morning.


imageThe Careerist.

“When I grow up, I’m going to Bovine University!”

What Ralph teaches us: Education and ambition is important, even degrees from Bovine University. Whatever your career path, it is always good to want to work for something in your future, and having a plan will help you achieve your goal. I probably wouldn’t want to go to Bovine University, but each to his own…



The Conversationalist

“My breath smells like cat food.”

(During a conversation between Lisa and her new friend Allison, in which they decide to exchange anagrams as they walk home. Ralph, instead of participating, informs them of the status of his breath instead).

“My cat’s name is Mittens.”

What Ralph teaches us: It’s good to open the conversation up and discuss other subjects. There may be times where you feel out of your depth or are bored by the conversation, so listen and then gradually steer the conversation towards something that you may be more comfortable with. And, to be honest, anyone who enjoys talking about their cats is fine by me.



The Fantasist

“Mrs Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and the baby looked at me.”

“Oh sleep, that’s where I am a Viking.”

What Ralph teaches us: It’s good to have an active imagination. For those of us that consider ourselves writers, the more active the imagination the better. However, in the real world, it is important at this point to know the difference between fantasy and downright lies.



The Achiever

“I dress myself.”

What Ralph teaches us: Be proud of your achievements, however small. It isn’t arrogant to tell others of your successes – we all need praise occasionally and doing this will inspire you to continue in your endeavours. I remember when I dressed myself for the first time. I told everybody. It was awesome.


What about you? What life lessons have you learnt from your favourite cartoon characters?

You can also find me at Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog


21 thoughts on “Do Alligators Alligate? The Teachings of Ralph Wiggum

  1. I want to be a triangle, is now, my new mantra!
    Wile E. Coyote has taught me that innovation and persistence are invaluable in learning the innumerable ways of how not to catch a road runner.

  2. Suzie, this was just plain delightful. I haven’t watched The Simpsons with any regularity since my college days, but this flooded back the memories. I remember every one of those Ralph moments and reading about the lessons of Ralph made me smile ear to ear.

  3. When my son was four his Aunt snuck up behind him and gave him a hug telling him “I’ve got you.” He grabbed her hands and said, “On the contrary Auntie, I’ve got you.” She was so surprised and asked where he learned something like that and I proudly said, “Bugs Bunny cartoons.”.

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