Marge Simpson -- you know her, the one with the blue hair -- has a new pen pal -- and you certainly know her, the one with the white hair.

It all started when Barbara Bush called Marge's family, "The Simpsons," the all-too-real TV cartoon series, "the dumbest thing" she'd ever seen.

"Deeply hurt," as Marge described herself in a letter to the First Lady on Sept. 28, she wrote that "Heaven knows we're far from perfect and, if truth be known, maybe just a wee bit short of normal; but as Dr. Seuss says, 'a person is a person.' "

Marge, being Marge, didn't sign off there. She went on to explain that she tries to teach her children "always to give somebody the benefit of the doubt and not talk badly about them, even if they're rich."

"It's hard to get them to understand this advice," Marge continued, "when the very First Lady in the country calls us not only dumb, but 'the dumbest thing' she ever saw. Ma'am, if we're the dumbest thing you ever saw, Washington must be a good deal different than what they teach me at the current events group at the church."

As a matter of fact, Marge noted, she always "believed in my heart" that she and Mrs. Bush had a lot in common.

"Each of us living our lives to serve an exceptional man. I hope there is some way out of this controversy. I thought, perhaps, it would be a good start to just speak my mind." She signed it "With great respect, Marge Simpson."

In what the White House described yesterday as "a thoughtful answer," Mrs. Bush replied to Marge on Oct. 9.

"How kind of you to write. I'm glad you spoke your mind ... I foolishly didn't know you had one," the First Lady wrote.

"I am looking at a picture of you ... depicted on a plastic cup ... with your blue hair filled with pink birds peeking out all over. Evidently, you and your charming family ... Lisa, Homer, Bart and Maggie ... are camping out. It is a nice family scene. Clearly you are setting a good example for the rest of the country. Please forgive a loose tongue." She signed it, "Warmly, Barbara Bush," and then added a postscript about Marge's husband: "Homer looks like a handsome fella!"

Reached by telephone in Hollywood, James L. Brooks, executive producer of the show -- who some people think helped Marge write the letter -- said he had talked to her and that she was thrilled by Mrs. Bush's reply.

"It's the most exciting thing to ever happen to any of them," Brooks said. "As a matter of fact, they were so proud that Homer took it to Mo's Tavern to show everybody and he lost it. And he came home late, and a little tipsy, but that's not Barbara's problem. And if there's a way to get a copy, it would be great, because nobody would believe she got a letter."

Unlike "Simpsons" fans, the First Lady had another commitment and wasn't expected to watch the Fox comedy's season premiere last night.

"She doesn't watch a lot of TV at night," said spokeswoman Anna Perez. "She barely has time to eat, much less watch television."