On The Simpsons, Ralph Wiggum is widely understood to be the biggest dimwit in school. When he eats paste, glues his head to his shoulder and gives us classic lines like “my cat’s breath smells like cat food,” it’s hard to picture him being particularly intelligent. But what if Ralph is actually smarter than we all realize? He has certain moments that give the indication that he might be more intelligent than he lets on, or at least that his super-awkward personality is the result of something other than mere stupidity. Here’s the evidence.
He Used To Be Smart
Before Ralph was made into what we recognize him as now, he was just another kid at Springfield Elementary — a kid with a knack for a good witty remark. In “Lisa’s Pony,” when Ralph and an unnamed friend see Lisa ride by, the friend remarks, “she’s certainly tamed that horse,” to which Ralph replies “yes, but what been can tame her?” Weirdly enough, he actually sounds more like Nelson in this clip.
Then, in “Lisa The Beauty Queen,” a classmate compliments her “chewing gum walk,” which Ralph describes as “very Wrigley.” That’s a reference that requires at least moderate awareness. So, Ralph seems fairly intelligent in these episodes, and one can only wonder what changed him.
He Sure Can Act
Ralph may have only gotten the part because Chief Wiggum put a boot on Miss Hoover’s car, but he nails it. Still hurting from Lisa’s rejection, he channels his sadness and anger into a powerhouse performance (“can’t we just give in to the British?” “NEVER!”).
Ralph might not be the best student, but he’s a surprisingly great actor and stereotypes aside, it does take some mind-power to channel your emotions on a stage.
In “Lisa The Vegetarian,” Ralph delivers the immortal line “oh boy, sleep! That’s where I’m a Viking!” Now, this begs some questions. First off, Ralph knows what a Viking is? Like, he understands the historical context? Or, does he perhaps mean that in his dreams, Ralph plays for the Minnesota Vikings? In which case, he understands football? Well, considering he brings a basketball to practice in “Bart Star,” that seems a bit far-fetched. Either way, Ralph is apparently capable of predicting (or planning) his dreams in advance. Or, at the very least, he retains enough information from them to know that he frequently dreams of being a Viking.
What If Some Of His Lines Are Just His Way Of Trying To Be Funny?
In “Lisa On Ice,” when Principal Skinner tells Ralph he’s failing English, he gives us the following immortal reply: “Me fail English? That’s unpossible!” This would seem to illustrate Ralph’s dimwittedness, but what if he’s just making a joke at his own expense? After all, as nonsensical as most of Ralph’s lines are, they tend to be grammatically correct. So, this line could simply be Ralph poking fun at his struggles in English by deliberately saying a grammatically incorrect sentence. And hey, he could just be failing English because he doesn’t apply himself — it’s not like Miss Hoover is an especially motivational teacher. Likewise, “Super Nintendo Chalmers” could just be his attempt to give Chalmers a whimsical nickname. The reason why these lines might not land with his classmates is because he just seems so dumb.