For a show that’s a quarter of a century old, The Simpsons still knows how to grab headlines. Several emerged over the weekend and -SPOILER!- None of them involved the show’s cancellation!
BE WARNED: I’m gonna go off on a rant, but I’ve clearly labeled the important items in question, so feel free to skip over my drivel.
Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been rewatching The Simpsons Third Season throughout the last week for whatever reason, so I’m absolutely filled with love for the show. While I understand the simple act of writing about The Simpsons is essentially a call for people to yell about how the show hasn’t been good in years, but I’m feeling the absolute opposite. Perhaps its just that season 3 has me filled with so much appreciation, but my current state of emotion is to NOT root against one of the greatest shows ever made just because it doesn’t resemble the exact same program I watched long before High Definition, widescreen televisions, hybrid cars, the internet, Jesus Christ this show is OLD!
SO YES: I know about every episode coming to FXX, the ensuing 12-day marathon, and whatever app that’ll stream every episode to all our stupid smart devices. To the sweet folks messaging me about it, thank you. I know. It was announced months ago, and we’ve mentioned it several time on the air. Welcome to the party. So my current favorite piece of Simpsons news is the wonderful trailer FXX whipped up to unveil the notion to the world who doesn’t check the internet every day.
1. Trailer for every episode of The Simpsons coming to FXX/Streaming
This is splendid news indeed, and a great spot to boot. More importantly, I honestly feel like this is the perfect thing for people who want to hate on everything that happened after Season 10. “The show’s not funny anymore.” I can’t speak for everybody making that remark, but you’re probably wrong, and you almost definitely haven’t watched the show enough to be able to make that call. Now, it’s certainly okay to not like the show, but blaming the writers, Matt Greonig, or anybody other than yourself, is 90% of your problem. What’s important to remember you’re watching a show that founds its voice early 90s (1989, LET’S NOT ARGUE!) and what most of the Negative Nancies claim about The Simpsons’ quality is, let’s be honest, obviously viewed via a healthy helping of rose-tintery. But one thing no one can really ever argue is that The Simpsons was essentially everything television, at that time, was not. There were incredibly flawed characters, there was a lot of heart yet very few lessons, and it was penned with a nasty satirical wit that one could argue was bordering on dangerously cynical (that’s a compliment.) Before cable had anything to serve us, it was the anti-TGIF, which was reflective of basically everything on network TV that wasn’t Roseanne. Quite simply, there was nothing else like The Simpsons back then. But then there was. A lot of stuff like it actually, and to beautifully illustrate that point, here’s a lengthy five minute peek at Fox’s upcoming Family Guy/Simpsons crossover.
2. Five Minute Preview of Simpsons/Family Crossover
Now, it should be apparent to any true Simpsons fans that the Family Guys team is handling the writing duties here. And before you start calling for the head of Seth McFarlane, I actually think it serves as a beautiful example of how The Simpsons have remained remarkably true to itself over the years. I recently finished reading Zombie Simpsons, a book that seeks to posit that The Simpsons have been the walking dead of television, a brainless corpse of its former self that can’t die, forced to mindlessly roam the earth since season 10 or 12. Or more accurately, IMO, a very thoughtfully expose written by a butt hurt generation of pop culture consumers who seem to have zero understanding that as the Simpsons evolved over a decade or so, they too have aged at least ten years. If my math is correct…
One of the biggest complaint in the whole book is how the writers ramp up Homer’s threshold for pain. Pratfalls, head bonk gags, please don’t make me explain further. Yet, am I the only one who felt genuinely bad for Homer in the fight scene snippet with Peter Griffin? We’ve seen the guy get his head stuck in a fucking drawbridge, but the only time Homer took a beating this severe, Moe pulled him out of the ring, and even then it wasn’t nearly as physical. However much you feel The Simpsons’ has made Homer an indestructible jerk, it doesn’t really hold a candle to the animated possibilities in Peter Griffen’s universe.
Then there’s a scene with Stewie and Bart. Not only should Bart’s return to prank calling Moe’s Tavern emphasize The Simpsons’ age (Who doesn’t have caller ID/what 10-year-old in 2014 has a fucking landline in their room in 2014?) Stewie involving Bart in a rape joke does feel a little icky. Kinda like making your grandmother watch 2 Girls 1 Cup. But whether you like it or not, Family Guy represents a more modern comedic sensibility (because it’s only been on for only 15 YEARS.) And before anyone starts, shut the fuck up, Family Guy IS funny even if you don’t respect the way it’s funny. The Simpsons has largely stuck to its guns, and that all kind of hit me when I noticed how quaint it appears standing directly next to Family Guy. How antiquated do you think The Simpsons would look if they traveled down to South Park, or whatever universe Rick & Morty happen to be inhabiting? Animation’s come a long way since 1989, kids.
I LOVE watching old Simpsons with my Nostalgia Hat amped up all the way to 11, however, I also love looking at it as a 20+ year old show through the eyes of someone my current age. If you think the show, even during whatever you refer to as its heyday, wasn’t subject to the occasional flat joke, groan-worthy reference, or low brow slapstick, you’re absolutely fucking kidding yourself. If Warner Bros. were to relaunch Bugs Bunny in a series of shorts where he’s shoving dynamite in people’s pants, whacking old ladies with a giant mallet, and tricking Elmer Fudd into shooting himself in the face I’d be bouncing up and down like a retarded circus seal, but I’ll bet you the criticism would sound a lot more like “This feels a bit old, haven’t we seen this already?” rather than “Bugs Bunny isn’t funny anymore!” (And FYI: The Simpsons has been in active production for longer than Bugs Bunny.)
The Simpsons was funny, and while I certainly prefer the older episodes, it still is funny and at about the same ratio. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter what you think. The Simpsons continues to find an audience of people who do find it entertaining, so your participation is irrelevant and I think that’s kinda beautiful. Why? Because they’re animated characters; that’s what they’re supposed to do. Stand beyond the test of time. To dutifully be inserted into any scenario imaginable and act as kinetic catalysts of mayhem and satire. At the very least, something you couldn’t do with Tim Allen. The Simpsons should continue to work for many more years to come, and I honestly hope it never gets canceled. I want nothing more than for every generation, for as long as possible, to get the same enjoyment I did out of The Simpsons. Even if it’s not the Mr Plow episode, you selfish pricks!
After over 1000 words, we’ve come to our third and final item of the weekend, which really spurred this whole tirade that I sincerely hope you’ve all ignored. So… Homer pulled a Tupac at Comic-Con and I found the reaction of the audience, the internet, and myself to be pretty fucking irritating. Why do we call upon ourselves to over scrutinize every stupid thing The Simpsons do? Why does everything The Simpsons does have to be so fucking perfect? I mean, obviously, the hologram was a little bizarre and just a tad awkward, but it was certainly was something… neat? Fuck it, it was absolutely something cool! Yet every new adventure Homer embarks on seems to sound an arrogant horn somewhere beckoning a righteous defense force to appear and tell folks why they don’t and/or why others shouldn’t be entertained by a fucking cartoon. Where does that come from?!
3. Homer Hologram chats with Matt Greoning at Comic-Con
“Just let it die already” should also apply to every dipshit faction of internet trolls who think someone shouldn’t enjoy The Simpsons just because its easier for them to watch anime nowadays. Oh, but that Spongebob… DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HOW BAD THAT PILE OF SHIT’s GOTTEN! See how stupid that sounds?
GET SOME SIMPSONS AND SUPPORT LASER TIME!!