I probably first learnt of The Simpsons when ‘Do The Bartman’ hit the No1 spot in the U.K charts, it was 1991, I would have been about 12yrs old and Matt Groening’s animated series had become the biggest thing since sliced bread in the space of a year or so. I was a proud owner of the infamous ‘Bart Simpson: Underachiever’ T shirt and I had an inkling that Bart’s character is a sassy ‘rude dude with attitude’ but I don’t actually recall seeing an actual episode until about 2000 when the show aired on BBC2, it was a Friday 6pm and I happened across it flicking through the channels, the episode was ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ featuring the evil babysitter employed by an unwitting and rather indifferent Homer to look after the kids while Marge & Homer get some quality time in a hotel. That episode left a lasting impression on me from the antics of Bart, Lisa & Maggie to the interaction between Homer and Marge. What struck me is despite their strange but eye catching appearance, The Simpsons seemed so much like real people. In my mind you have to give so much credit to the voice actors and script writers behind this show, I really can’t think of anything quite like it.
I drifted away from TV in general and it would be a good decade or so before I watched another episode, somewhere between 09-10 I acquired a box set of season 20 and I decided to start with ‘Mypods and Boomsticks’, I fell in love with the story being told, it was funny but at the same time addressed ignorance and stereotypes in a brilliant way while also taking a dig at Apple. I must have watched that one episode countless times I was so impressed with it. Still, I wasn’t a die hard Simpsons fan and I floated away again up until about the last couple of years where it has become a habit to sit down most days and take in a few episodes, I’ve seen all of it now, all 26 Seasons and I’ve come to know about popular opinions about the show too, the much talked about concept of ‘Zombie Simpsons’, the perception that the show was at its best in the first 10 seasons. Blogs, review sites, you tubers and podcasters all repeat this ad nauseam and if you head over to the official facebook page for the show you will see comment threads full of comments along the lines of wishing it would end and lamenting how apparently bad the show now is. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, mine are just as subjective as anybody else’s but after watching the yellow dysfunctional family and their high jinks from the first to the very latest edition, I don’t share that opinion and here’s why:
1.The sheer number of characters!!!! Can you name them all? From the regulars to the numerous one off and occasional characters, as referenced in the Rick & Morty couch gag, not only are there a mind boggling number of personalities but many of them have had whole episodes centred around them, not least Moe Sizlak’s well spoken bar rag voiced by Jeremy Irons.
2.Awesome guest stars!!! C’mon, only Patrick Stewart, Ricky Gervais, Danny DeVito, the late Michael Jackson, Liam Neeson, Ronaldo and of course Kelsey Grammer to name just a few, not all of the names mentioned here and the many other great guests that have appeared in Springfield are from the first ten seasons.
3.If I were to spend a minute or two thinking of memorable moments from the Simpsons, then yes, there’s some gems in the early shows like obese yokel future projections of Bart & Lisa, Bart’s ‘Rag On A Stick’ line, Chief Wigum and Lisa in the Black Lodge (Don’t eat the clues!),Citizen Kang, the disturbing but rib splittingly funny utterance of ‘Stupid Sexy Flanders’ by Homer on a ski slope but theres also quite a few from the later seasons like Homer and Ned teaming up as bail bond bounty hunters and doing parkour, Homer’s Glen Beck parody even up to some great moments in season 26 like Bender and Peter Griffin buddying up with Homer, the Star Treks stills, the return of the Tracey Ulman show Simpsons and a jaw dropping sequence of animation at the end of that very episode, add to that the 2007 film which I’ve also watched numerous times.
4.Hilarious parodys: this is something of a speciality, theres too many to mention and even if you were a fan back in the day you would have many great memories of them, I enjoyed the parody of ‘The Warriors’ in season 25, check out the dialogue between Kearny, Dolph & JimBo at the end, another personal pick is the Peanuts parody from one of the Treehouse Of Horror episodes. On a side note, the spoofs are one of the nest things about the show for me and I would dearly love to see a Treehouse Of Horror short that properly spoofs Twin Peaks especially as David Lynch is about to produce the 3rd series.
5.Its not all played for laughs: The Simpsons has evolved over the years, the very first season was funny but it also touched the heartstrings, there was real emotion there, when Bart runs away from then returns home and makes up with his sister Lisa, the marital difficulties between Homer & Marge in the early seasons seemed all too real. Later it became much more zany and we got some of the most original comedy ever then in the latter years, its very clear that there is a message and storys going on too, season 26 saw a return to that older blend of sitcom like family tales and quirky humour, I know its my opinion and its subjective and biased but I still enjoy watching The Simpsons.
This is why I say ‘Meh’ and ‘Boo Urns’ to all the naysayers, as far as I’m concerned, they can eat my shorts, eagerly awaiting season 27!!!!