A narcolepsy patient tells The Week that The Simpsons did a decent job in portraying narcolepsy in its season premiere.
Along the way, The Simpsons actually weaves in truths about the realities of living with narcolepsy.
Dr. Hibbert links Homer’s sleep disorder to low levels of the neurotransmitter hypocretin, which is spot-on for most narcolepsy patients like Homer, who experience cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscle tone that temporarily renders part or all of the body immobile. Before Homer leaves the hospital, Bart excitedly asks Dr. Hibbert if it’s time to pull the plug on his father. The doctor firmly shuts down Bart, stressing that people with narcolepsy lead normal lives. It’s a quick but crucial moment that sets the tone for an episode intent on making narcolepsy funny without being disrespectful.