As we round the last few turns of the unprecedented 12 day marathon of The Simpsons on FXX, I think I’ve learned and been reminded of many things about the show. Watching the first half of the marathon was like growing up again: wonderful, hilarious, sentimental. Besides the hundreds of brilliant jokes I remember loving when they originally aired and still love just as much now, one moment I saw differently now, as an adult, was in an early season episode where Bart and Lisa ask Maggie to choose her favorite sibling. They are in the living room together; Maggie slowly crawls to the tv and gives it a loving embrace.
The prescience of such a scene is difficult to ignore, given the current state of our society, by which I mean that we all love the shit out of one kind of screen or another (phone, laptop, tv, something). Of course, The Simpsons has been aware of this growing screen dependency since its inception in the 1980’s: the title credits of the show appear on the tv screen, where the family rushes to sit down at the beginning of every episode.
I can’t share my favorite Simpsons moments here. I don’t have the time, and you don’t have the patience for another list. I’m not doing lists on this blog, I told myself. I already have a job and a hobby.
The more interesting part of the show’s development, to me, however, is the second half or perhaps last third, the episodes of the 2000’s, the entire seasons that are largely unknown to mainstream audiences. The Simpsons hasn’t enjoyed high ratings in a decade, having been long outpaced by their own imitators (maybe that’s a strong term–at least outpaced by shows they greatly influenced). Everyone you know will tell you these later episodes are bad. Those people, however, are totally, totally fucking wrong.
More on the new Simpsons in Part 2.