Hola Otters, today we’re talking about the most iconic animated television show of all time. Family Guy.
Nah I’m joking. We’re talking about the Flintstones.
Nah I’m joking. We’re talking about Home Movies.
Nah I’m joking. We’re talking about The Simpsons.
What’s your favorite Simpsons Episode? What’s your favorite Simpsons Quote? What’s your favorite Simpsons trivia? E-mail me a clip and I’ll post it below
It an (unlikely to succeed) attempt to be brief, I’ll put it simply. We are the Simpsons generation. If you are of a certain age, hovering somewhere between the ages of, say, 23-37, The Simpsons ARE a big part of your life, whether or not you’ve noticed it. It’s memes and catchphrases and characters are simply omnipresent. “D’oh”, “Eat My Shorts”, “Hey Everybody!” “Excelllenttt” and about fifty-seven other things have been pulled from The Simpsons and entered our lexicon like a virus, a yellow-skinned laughter virus.
I remember being 8ish years old, home on Halloween because some prisoners escaped from the local prison, and watching the Halloween special where Homer and Mr. Burns get their heads connected on the same body. I remember gaining a fascination for space and science fiction through that time Homer went into space and ate potato chips.
I’m not kidding when I say a young MeekinOnMovies heard the names Paul McCartney, Bob Hope, Albert Brooks, Howard Hughes, Barry White, and countless others through The Simpsons first. I had no clue the musical number from a Fish Called Selma was based on Amadeus. (Before Jobber calls me out, I was 10 at the time).
But more importantly than that, whether intentionally or not, The Simpsons manages to be about us. We all have a little Homer, a little Moe, a litte Bart, a little Lisa, a little Ralph, a little Milhouse in us, and probably know countless Marges, Flanders, Kent Brockmans, and Lenny and Carls. We want to be tough but aren’t, want to be cool but aren’t, want to be smart, but aren’t.
How many of us has felt like Ralph, fawning after the girl we’re perhaps too naive (nieve?) to realize won’t want us back, only to take refuge in their pity. How many of us have been like Homer, confounded by a rapidly changing world, ultimately deciding to ignore whatever the changing tide is in favor of chips, beer, and football? How many of us define a Muppet as not quite a mop, and not quite a puppet? How many of us had a tear in our eye when Bart stole that video-game he really really wanted from the Big Box store, only to be shunned from his Family, allowing him to finally realize the true meaning of Christmas?
That’s actually my favorite episode, for the record. I was 9 at the time, and with Mortal Kombat mania running wild, but I had a sneaking suspicion I would not be receiving that game for Christmas, and was kinda bummed about it, like any 9 year old boy thirsty for virtual blood would be. That was really the first time a piece of media spoke DIRECTLY to me on a personal level, allowing me to realize that regardless of what I ‘got’ for Christmas, every present came with love. Also I got some kick-ass Thunder Zords and Legos I still have somewhere, so I can’t complain.
That said, with a show that’s been on so long, naturally the question of “It’s not as good as it used to be” creeps up, which is tricky. The syndicated episodes are so burned into our skull, that anything new-ish isn’t going resonate the same way. That said, new episodes aren’t half bad either, as the writers they have on-board actually grew up watching the show, and have it, you guessed it, ingrained in their skull. I’m inviting my buddy David, who is a Simpsons historian (amateur) to the thread to provide some neat tid-bits and trivia.
Anyway, The Simpsons taught us about addiction, love, infidelity, temptation, and loss. It taught us the difference between a joke about race, and a racist joke. It gave us Mr. Smithers, who is the first gay character I can remember, though surely there were ones before him. Like “The Wire” It ultimately communicates / communicated that regardless of what kind of asshole you are, you’re still a person. Can you name one Simpsons character who isn’t sympathetic at all?
Neither can I.
Blog Otter Award: Eric Griffith for posting an awesome video by a lawyer about the legal process. I watched the whole damn thing.
1. So the take-away from the cops conversation yesterday is that I am a lucky motherfucker. I’ve never had a ‘bad’ run-in with cops, and never see them act in ways that would be considered uncouth. I recognize that isn’t everyone, and that just because I haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Great convo folks!
2. Supplementary Simpsons Material:
The Top 11 Simpsons Episodes of All Time. I generally dislike the Nostalgia Critic’s shtick, but this little retrospective isn’t half-bad, and communicates a little better the things I’m trying to say about the show.
Inside The Actors Studio with the cast of The Simpsons – This is cool, but ultimately you realize that the cast are just the voices, and not writers.
John Swartzwelder is probably the ‘best’ Simpsons writer, and you can point to any of his written episodes and get a near classic almost every time. That link points you to his written episodes.
3. I feel “Bob’s Burgers” has kind of nailed down that “Simpsons” vibe of being just-this-hair past realistic in terms of story and plotting. That’s a great show.