Thursday, December 17, 2009

D’oh! Twenty!

This is my Friday post, a little ahead of schedule in order to coincide with a special occasion. Today, the Simpsons turned 20! Woo hoo!

And, really, what’s more annoying than a 20-year-old? It takes 17 seconds to watch this video. Go ahead and watch it. We’ll wait. That used to be the brilliance of the Simpsons. Sadly, I stopped watching the Simpsons two or three years ago. I had a TiVo season pass for it, and it recorded every new episode whenever they got around to showing new episodes (I could never keep track – I think the damn World Series messed them up every fall or something). But sometime in mid-winter, I realized that I hadn’t really watched any of the episodes TiVo had recorded for me. I made an effort, but they just weren’t all that funny.

This year, I even tried to watch the most recent Treehouse of Horror, because those were often pretty good. No dice – it was distinctly unfunny. Yawn-inducing, even. Still, the fact that the show should have gone out on a high note (assuming somebody could define when that was) doesn’t change the fact that it hit high note after high note for many many years.

Heaven forefend anybody should mention a cube (or anything that rhymes with cube) in my house – my wife and I are sure to bust out the punchline of the scene I linked above. Goggles? They do nothing! (In a faux Schwartzenegger voice like that of Ahnold look-alike Ranier Wolfcastle). Better still, I’ll occasionally bust out Wolfcastle’s pronunciation lesson – Up and Atom! The Simpsons has enhanced our vocabulary with words like craptacular and cromulent. Thanks to Bart, occasionally we’ll remark how something both sucks and blows.

We actually know that Apu the Quik-e-Mart’s last name is Nahasapeemapetilon. And we miss Troy McClure and his voice actor Phil Hartman.

But all of this trivia is beside the point that the Simpsons in its day was insightful, irreverent, and in many ways “funny because it’s true.” Homer often said what many of us think (when he wasn’t saying things that were utterly off the wall but also hilarious). The Simpsons rose from a series of shorts on the Tracy Ullman show (and really, who watched that?) to become an American icon. It’s been nearly 20 wonderful years (and a few that weren’t so hot) – a claim few other shows can make, and none can make with the Simpsons’s former combination of sharp wit and outrageous humor. So here’s a cheer for the Simpsons – hip, hip, d’oh!

Homer: See Marge? And you said they couldn’t deep-fry my shirt.
Marge: I didn’t say they couldn’t, I said you shouldn’t.

Stay tuned - if my plan for the rest of the year works out, I hope to do a series of "best of" and "looking forward to" articles to finish out the year (in between holidays). With luck, that'll start on Monday.

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