The Simpsons Marathon on FXX is the Most Addictive Drug I’ve Ever Taken

Posted: August 27, 2014 in Uncategorized
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At this very moment, FXX is about halfway through their Every Simpsons Ever Marathon, and I am already worried about what I’m going to watch when it ends.

Sure, HuffPo can tell us that they’re ruining the whole thing by meddling with the aspect ratio, but does anyone really care? Maybe some do, but I sure as Hell don’t. All I really care about is this blissful trip down memory lane that I’m taking these last few days.  I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve said, “This is a classic! This is the one where Homer…” I know I throw that word “classic” around a lot these days (because I’m so damn old), but some of those early Simpsons episodes truly are. I mean, they’re almost 25 years old, so I think that technically qualifies as “classic.”

Seriously, though, I think when a show becomes an institution like this (I’ve had students ask me, “Is that show still on?”) it’s easy to forget how great and different it was in the beginning.  It started off as an animated take on the wacky, family sitcom, and also a satire of the middle-class American lifestyle. Over the years, it kind of just became wacky. But not in a “Modern Family” kind of way, where they think they can just add a gay couple and hilarity will ensue. It’s hard for me to say it’s a “situational comedy” at all, really, because the characters on the Simpsons create the situations. And the situations can be anything, because that’s the beauty of animation. The characters don’t grow old or tired. They don’t have to put shopping bags in front of the pregnant women. They can have aliens come from space and interact with the characters and not have it be weird. They can have NSYNC guest star (as I saw last night) and interact with Bart’s boy band, and people buy it. You would never buy that on a regular sitcom. I would think it was a lame, ratings-grabbing stunt, like when Bill Cosby and his family hung out with Stevie Wonder. Incidentally, I’m sure ardent fans know that the Simpsons originally aired opposite the Cosby Show, and so they even created a character, Dr. Hibbert, to spoof Healthcliff Huxtible; the doctor who laughs at everything. They’ve also spoofed Cosby numerous times, which is a great segue into one of my favorite Simpsons quotes:

Which can also segue into why I’m writing this thing in the first place: Simpsons quotes. I have long-time friends with whom I can have entire conversations made up of just quotes from this show. I don’t even think we realize we’re doing it.  Some of my favorites being the Krusty The Clown, raspy, down-trodden “Oooohhh,” Homer’s “Mmmmmm” when he’s thinking of something delicious, and the Marge grumble, which can also be spelled “Mmmmm,” but pronounced much differently. and of course, another all-time favorite:

Those friends and I are part of what can be called The Simpsons Generation, because this is our show.  We watched it as children, and obviously can still enjoy it today.  There aren’t many shows that i can say that about.  I mean, I can watch reruns of Seinfeld and still laugh, but I pretty much have memorized all nine seasons of that.  I can watch old cartoons for the nostalgia factor, but I don’t enjoy them in the same way i did.  You could say that watching the first season of The Simpsons is nostalgia, but it’s different because you can see how it has changed, you can see how you’ve changed, and you can laugh at the ridiculousness.  I can see now why people from my parents’ generation talked about M*A*S*H and shows like that with such reverence. But The Simpsons, with 78 Emmy nominations and 31 wins, and even an Academy Award nomination in the Animated Shorts category, still trumps them all.

I know there are people who never got into it, and who aren’t buying what I’m selling, and that’s cool. But i was about 13 when the series debuted, and I remember watching the first episode, many times, on VHS.  I know who shot Mr. Burns.  I know who does most of the voices. I even had a Goddamn Bart Simpson T-shirt:

Who the Hell are you?

Who the Hell are you?

But I never even realized how much of an an impact a silly, animated show had on my life, and what a fan I really was, until now. The good news is is it’s not too late.  I have six more days.

Just one more quote before I go:

  Heh-heh. Classic.

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