Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tribute to the Simpsons or Worst Blog Ever

This Sunday September 10th The Simpsons will start an unprecedented 18th season.

This means most kids who graduate High School this year – never knew what it was like to have a Sunday night without the show. The show has been through a number of Presidents – including George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton appearing in episodes – and even George and Jeb Bush as cardboard cut outs in “Two bad Neighbors.” It inspired a new age of adult animation – paving the way for South Park, The Family Guy, and most of the shows running on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim.

It was the show that proved animation could be for kids and adults, and could be profitable in prime time. It featured some of the best writers in television and some of the best talent – and guest voices – including (though not at the same time) all of the surviving Beatles, most of the biggest baseball players on the 1990’s, a slew of the most influential comics musicians and actors of the last 20 years and a few politicians. Check out IGN’s list of Top 25 guest appearances and then of course the list of fan favorites they missed for a nice recap)

The show started of course in 1987 – as seven shorts on the Tracy Ullman show – now next year 20 years since we were first introduced to Bart, Marge, Lisa, Maggie and Homer they will be seen on the big screen.

I know it’s not saying much – but I think the show has done more for me socially then I could ever imagine. I think about all of the Monday morning talking about the episode that ran the night before. My friends grew up talking about it before class growing up – and then over e-mail and instant messenger when were split up and in college. During my job interview here in California - my now boss picked up on an obscure Simpson’s reference I used casually to answer a question – a moment that made me somewhat confident I would get the job.

Its funny – how much I remember about the show. How many lines and inside jokes there are – and things that seemed almost throw away in connection to the episode became a part of the lexicon of our language.

Granted a lot of people think the show peaked in the sixth, seventh, and eighth seasons. But even now as I watch on Sunday nights as religiously as going to church – there are moments smart, sarcastic, satirical lines that make me at worst smile and at best outright role on the floor in laughter. It’s also great to go back and watch old episodes again thanks to the technology of DVD. David O. Selznick was the man who produced "Gone with the Wind" and "Rebecca" and several other award winning pictures .He was impossible to work with , Directors often walked off the set and actors and actresses had some sort of break down. Comparing him to the dog was funny - then showing he could be tamed with a sort of Vulcan death grip was hilarious at least to me. It was a refernce only a few probably got - and was even funnier since I had just learned about it.
It was a moment that showed me as smart as I was the show was still smarter, and could still teach me a few things about culture. It's the same reason I love going back and watching old episodes, since jokes I didn't get at 15 I do get now that I am 24.

It’s easy to have a favorite moment that is out and out funny – Bart and Homer chasing down a run away pig in Lisa the Vegetarian. Homer doing his best Fred Flintstone impression sliding down the side of the plant flying through the window of his car and starting to sing – to the prior animated shows theme song - “Simpson, Homer Simpson, he’s the greatest guy in history…Simpson Homer Simpson he’s about to hit a chestnut tree.” Or Ralph saying “Me fail English? That’s unpossible,” or “I bent my Wookie.” But there is a moment I think for all Simpson’s fans that they think is just for them. A joke that is just for them that no one in the room laughs at – or no one else remembers on Monday. It’s these moments and a wealth of these moments throughout 18 seasons – that make the show a classic while its still on the air. So I end this with a Thank you to Matt Groening and the entire team of producers and writers – far to many to name or list here – for 17 great seasons – and hopefully two or three years more – enough to beat Gunsmoke as the longest running American sitcom ever.


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