Paddy and Selma

Patty and Selma Bouvier

Patty and Selma Bouvier are fictional characters in the Fox Broadcasting animated series, The Simpsons, and are voiced by Julie Kavner. They are Marge Simpson's older twin sisters, who work at the Springfield Department of Motor Vehicles, and possess a strong dislike for their brother-in-law, Homer. Selma is the elder by two minutes, and possesses a strong desire for family while her sister, Patty, is the show's only openly gay recurring character. Kavner voices them as characters "who suck the life out of everything".

Distinguishing features

Although the two have a similar look, there are several easy ways to distinguish them. Notable differences include:

  • Hair: Patty has an afro, while Selma's similarly textured hair is parted in the middle to form an "M".
  • Outfit: Patty wears a short-sleeved pink dress and pink shoes while Selma wears a sleeveless blue dress and blue shoes.
  • Earrings: Patty wears orange triangular earrings while Selma wears purple circular earrings (and, in earlier episodes, shaped in an "S").
  • Necklace: Patty wears orange spherical necklace pearls while Selma wears purple spheroid-shaped necklace pearls.


Both Patty and Selma are noted for their addiction to cigarettes and their raspy voices (although it is revealed in Three Men and a Comic Book that they had beautiful voices before they took up smoking). The two possess a strong, mutually reciprocated dislike for Homer. Unlike Homer, who usually tries to be polite to his sisters-in-law out of respect for Marge, Patty and Selma have no hesitation about treating Homer with open rudeness and disdain. On several occasions, they do not seem to care even when Homer faced a life-threatening situation; upon discovering that Homer was suffering a heart attack, the two continued cutting coupons as though nothing were wrong. The two attempt to set Marge up with a sleazy friend as a replacement for Homer, despite the fact that Homer was still alive. Shortly after Marge's wedding the two bought a tombstone inscribed with the epitaph "Homer J. Simpson. We are richer for having lost him.

They share an apartment at the Spinster Arms apartment complex and both work at the DMV. There have been several occasions where they've acted unprofessionally in the course of their jobs; they've given Otto Mann a driver's license due to their mutual dislike for Homer and deliberately failed Homer to show how much of a loser he was. Patty and Selma are very cynical. According to Marge, the two have very brittle necks. The two are avid, sometimes maniacal fans of the TV series, MacGyver, even getting the chance to star in their own subplot with him in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore". The two seem to be aroused by the character, taking cigarettes after every viewing of the show. In "A Star Is Burns", guest-star Jay Sherman, on advice from Homer, tells them MacGyver is gay; as a result, they suspend him from the gutter. Prior to Selma's marriage with Sideshow Bob, he insulted MacGyver and the wedding was almost canceled as a result.

Patty and Selma are often shown to have gone on vacations and bringing back long dull slide shows or other activities; in "Treehouse of Horror VI", they bring a pillowcase full of seashells from their trip to Sulfur Bay for them and the family to clean and organize; in "The Wife Aquatic", they display a boring home video about Barnacle Bay; in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", they eventually drive away Richard Dean Anderson by showing him slides of their trip to the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston, Alberta.

Selma Bouvier

Selma Bouvier was born two minutes before Patty. Due to a childhood bottle rocket accident, she lost the sense of taste and smell. Selma's favorite film actor was reportedly Troy McClure, to whom she was briefly married before discovering it was just a publicity stunt by McClure. She was willing to live a sham for a while, but broke it off when she realised she couldn't bring a child into a loveless marriage. According to Marge, Selma is "the one who likes Police Academy movies and Hummel figurines, and walking through the park on clear autumn days." Selma inherited her deceased aunt's iguana, Jub-Jub, instead of her mother, Jacqueline, due to Jacqueline's apparent dislike of Jub-Jub. Unlike Patty, who is very openly hostile towards Homer, Selma has shown brief moments of sympathy for Homer, and is able to see some good qualities in him. However, these instances are still very few and far between.


Despite being identical twins, Patty and Selma have very different track records when it comes to finding dates. According to Marge, Patty chose a life of celibacy, while Selma had celibacy thrust upon her. Her standards are extremely low, as evidenced by her comments on Mr. Burns: "Single, eh? Well, he passes the Selma Test."

Selma has actively sought out a husband, having been married a total of five times. Her current name has evolved into Selma Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Simpson and possibly -Stu, after failed marriages to Robert "Sideshow Bob" Terwilliger, Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure, Disco Stu, and Abraham Simpson. It is also implied in "Rome-old and Juli-eh" that Selma had a second failed marriage to Sideshow Bob. One person Selma refused to marry was Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, because she said her collection of last names was long enough without Nahasapeemapetilon added to it. In "Rome-old and Juli-eh", Selma began dating and later married Grandpa Simpson, who had previously dated her mother. Eventually however, they realized that they just cannot make it work because of his age and her career and called it quits. Selma has also dated Hans Moleman, Moe Szyslak, and pitifully, Barney Gumble.

Unable to find companionship in a husband, Selma has also sought to have children. At one point she was considering using a sperm donor. After babysitting Bart and Lisa for a day, she realized that although she wanted someone to love, she was not ready to have children and wound up adopting Jub-Jub. Finally, in "Goo Goo Gai Pan", a very menopausal Selma adopted a Chinese baby, Ling Bouvier. During the adoption process, Selma pretended to be married to Homer, since the Chinese government only allows children to be adopted by married couples. When the fraud was exposed, Selma managed to keep the baby, as a Chinese dignitary (voiced by Lucy Liu) who had also been raised by a single parent became sympathetic.

Patty Bouvier

Patty Bouvier is younger of the two. She is more vicious to Homer than Selma is, and unlike Selma (who experiences brief moments of kindness to Homer) has no pity for Homer's well-being.


In "There's Something About Marrying", Patty comes out of the closet as a lesbian. Hints of her sexual orientation have been dropped many times; in "Bart After Dark" she is seen coming out of a burlesque house. She is also seen saying "There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality", when Homer runs past her, naked and screaming, in "Treehouse of Horror III", and hiding in a closet with Smithers on a parade float during a gay pride parade in "Jaws Wired Shut".

After coming out, Marge is hurt that Patty had hidden her sexuality for years, but learns to respect her sister. In the episode "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife", Patty wooed a tenured professor of Yale University away from her husband.. In "Rome-old and Julie-eh", it is shown she is attracted to Edna Krabappel. In "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore", Selma says "I can't face prison" and Patty replies "I can." Long before coming out, Patty had dated Principal Skinner in the season 2 episode, "Principal Charming". She refused to marry him, claiming she was too devoted to Selma as a sister to leave her alone. However, she did consider Principal Skinner a gentleman and had seemed to take it hard that she could not marry him, ending their relationship with the words "Good night, sweet principal."

Relationship to the Simpson family

As children, Patty and Selma were apparently domineering towards Marge and ridiculed her ambition of becoming an astronaut. Their relationship seems to have improved over the years. As adults, the Bouvier twins have a friendly relationship with their sister and frequently visit the Simpsons. They seem relatively fond of their nieces and nephew, but seem to like them more when they are young as demonstrated by a quote from Lisa's First Word: "The older they get, the cuter they ain't." They have, on occasion, watched the kids when their parents were out of town. However, Bart and Lisa would rather not be around when their aunts visit. Their idea of bonding with Lisa includes tutoring her in the belief that men are pigs, using Homer as the prime example.

Their relationship with Homer remains one of mutual dislike, which involves a continuous exchange of insults from day one, although Selma gradually grows to like Homer. They unfavorably compare their brother-in-law to a caveman, suggesting him capable of trading Maggie for beer and a nudie magazine.

Patty and Selma have occasionally expressed their common hope that Marge will eventually divorce Homer. They are often quick in pointing out how close he has come to infidelity, and have unsuccessfully offered to help Marge find a replacement for Homer, although Selma eventually gave in and helped Marge find Homer after seeing how truly unhappy she was. In the episode "Three Gays of the Condo" the twins went so far as to have a billboard built trying to convince voters to have Homer kicked out of Springfield.

Selma once took the Simpson children on a disastrous trip to the Duff Gardens theme park in the episode "Selma's Choice." She is unable to control the children, as Bart manhandles several animatronic characters and Lisa goes on a psychedelic trip after drinking "water" from an It's a Small World-like boat ride, later swimming in the Fermentarium and exclaiming "I am the lizard queen!" After that, however, Selma returned home with the children and asked Homer how he does it, referring to raising children, implying that Selma is slightly more capable of overcoming her dislike of Homer than Patty. She told Homer she just couldn't cut it today, and he comforted her. As noted above, Homer was also willing to help Selma adopt a baby, further highlighting their comparative tolerance of each other.



Series creator Matt Groening said he suggested that Kavner voice Patty and Selma as characters who "suck the life out of everything...." Al Jean said Kavner makes Patty's voice more masculine and a lower register, while Selma's voice is a little sweeter. Kavner also provides the voices of every other female member of the Bouvier family and has a hard time performing the voices for every character. The origin of the characters' names is unknown. Matt Groening does have an older sister named Patty, but this would not explain where Selma's name came from, and unlike the usage of the names of Groening's parents and younger sisters, this has not been explicitly revealed.


In "There's Something About Marrying", Patty was revealed to be a lesbian and became the first openly gay character in the series. Prior to the episode, the producers had revealed that a character would come out, but didn't reveal who it would be. Despite information revealing the character appearing on the internet several months before the episode aired, bookmakers in the United States and the United Kingdom were taking bets as to which character would be revealed as homosexual, and whether there would be a kiss - posted odds on the kiss at 7 to 5, and laid odds on Patty as the favorite to come out of the closet. Positive reviews came from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, who described this episode as a "ray of light".


See also

External links

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