“I was twenty-four years old with a beautiful girlfriend and a job with a future. . . . Hey, you’re supposed to be listening to my story!” – Homer Simpson
“I thought it was over. You had a problem turning blades, you overcame it, the feel good story of the year.” – Bart Simpson
So the 25th anniversary of “Bart the Genius” was this week, which gave lots of people another chance to go back and talk about all the things the show has done. Most notably, this included internet pop culture factory The A.V. Club, which had a “Simpsons Week“. We’ve got a few of their articles linked below as well as a bunch more, plus the usual assortment of usage, fan made stuff, and weird stories from foreign countries.
10 Simpsons from the last 10 seasons that aren’t the… Worst. Episodes. Ever. – I’ll admit that part of the reason I’m linking this here is that it mentions us (thanks for the extra few thousand pageviews!). More importantly, however, are the pretzel like word-knots needed to in any way shape or form defend Zombie Simpsons. Observe:
Placed one episode after the other, 220-plus hours of Simpsons episodes doesn’t look like a steady rise through the early years, a pleasant plateau from seasons six through 10, and then a precipitous drop. Viewed in this context, with the filters of nostalgia and goosed-up memories removed, The Simpsons maintains a remarkable consistency through its 25 years on the air. Yes, it’s produced a few genuine clunkers over the years, but between the truly great moments and the truly regrettable ones, there’s a midrange of Simpsons episodes that any other series would be proud to claim.
That’s the opening paragraph. It would seem to not agree with the third one:
To admit that the “good” version of The Simpsons couldn’t last for 26 seasons is to admit that the greatest TV show ever made is also just another TV show. The Simpsons was so transcendently good for so long, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the vagaries of inspiration and production that every other show deals with.
So, wait, where’s the twenty-five years of “remarkable consistency” if it was “transcendently good for so long” before falling victim to the same forces that destroy all television shows? It can be consistent, or it can be great and then fall apart, hard to see how it can be both. Here’s the kicker, the last sentence of that paragraph:
Quality be damned, the show remains a cultural force.
Under all the verbiage, there remains no denying that the show that’s on now isn’t the same one that started all those years ago.
What’s your favorite Simpsons quote? – For further evidence, here’s nineteen A.V. Club people picking their favorite quote. Eighteen of them pick from a non-Zombie Simpsons season (including the author of “10 Episodes” link above). The one dissenter writes this:
I’m going to court controversy—and possibly incite a whacking stick-wielding mob—but my choice comes from an episode that aired within the last 10 years. “Papa Don’t Leech,” from the 19th season, is not, by any conceivable measure of quality, a good episode of The Simpsons. Its sins are various—the opening dream sequence of Homer gleefully murdering Abe is bad, but that’s nothing compared to the way the episode craps on the show’s past by unnecessarily revisiting country music seductress Lurleen Lumpkin, from the classic “Colonel Homer.”
You’ve got to pick through a lot of shit to find something worthwhile in Zombie Simpsons. The same cannot be said of The Simpsons.
The irrational rightness of The Simpsons – Our old friend Alec-Nevala Lee on the show’s inexplicable weirdness:
What I’d like to highlight here is a quality that doesn’t get mentioned often enough: the show’s underlying strangeness. Looking back at the golden years of the series, it’s striking how many lines, scenes, and images are both inexplicable and totally right. They’re often tangential beats that go on longer than seem comedically possible—not just the rake gag from “Cape Feare,” but Mr. Burns laughing over the crippled Irishman in “Last Exit to Springfield,” or Homer twiddling his thumbs in “Bart’s Comet.” They’re the comedic version of what Donald Richie, in his discussion of Kurosawa, calls “the irrational rightness of an apparently gratuitous image in its proper place,” and as Richie points out, they’re often the things we remember.
The Simpsons: The Genius of “Bart the Genius” After 25 Years – Den of Geek with a tremendous write up of “Bart the Genius”. A sample:
The episode crystallized the Simpsons vision. The writers turned intelligence and authority on its head. They ridiculed open education and peppered it with subversion. Left, right and center are all off-kilter in Springfield. Blue noses were tweaked and ratting was rewarded. Bart runs bare-assed across the family living room.
Top 5 Kubrick References in ‘The Simpsons’ – With no Zombie Simpsons whatsoever.
On Endings – Very true:
The truly sad thing about these endings is that they can all be done so well, yet many shows never get a chance to try them, since it is far easier to milk a show until it stops paying, then cancel it abruptly. If The Simpsons had ended when it seemed appropriate to wrap it up, a lot of money would have been lost.
Judd Apatow’s ‘Simpsons’ Episode — Season 26 Interview With Writer – Jean and Apatow doing a short publicity interview. I’d kinda like to read this:
JEAN | I actually had a Golden Girls [spec script]. … It was one where Dorothy had an auto accident with Mother Teresa and everyone hated Dorothy.
APATOW | Did you get the job?
JEAN | No, they hated it. [Laughs]
Springfield Stitches – Excellent fan made versions of Ralph not getting any valentines and Kirk van Houten’s master pictionary skills. Some are even for sale if you click through.
Here’s the unfinished first line of paintings at about 97% complete all around and many more to come soon on Etsy! – The devilish look on Bart’s face is great.
Russian Man to Build Copy of ‘The Simpsons’ House in Moscow Region – That’s a much better headline than “Man to Build House”.
This guy recorded alternate versions of your favorite TV theme songs, and they’re incredible – Here’s the Simpsons one:
Find Your Somate, Homer – Heh:
Sometimes, though, the curtain gets pulled back, and great search terms come through. Today, I was treated to this:
“Find your somate, Homer.”
This was either a typo (“find your soulmate, Homer” are the immortal words of Johnny Cash, in his guise as Space Coyote, to Homer Simpson) or an earnest call for Homer Simpson to manifest in the physical world.
What’s Marge Simpson’s problem? – Never thought of it like this:
The thing that bothers me is that in many previous episodes, Marge has consistently stood by Homer no matter how stupid he was, but in this episode, Marge is always against Homer and is constantly locking horns with him over religion. What I’m wondering is, in “Homer the Heretic”, why does Marge get so easily flared up over religion? In every episode where the family goes to church, Marge always has to play the role of the traffic cop, rushing the entire family to go to church looking clean.
Seems pretty Marge like to me for her to pray (“he just likes to sleep in on Sundays”), invite Reverend Lovejoy over, and just keep going back, but that’s just me.
Simpson And Delilah – Some Season 2 love.
Treehouse Of Horror – And some more.
Ript Apparel: Future City, Action Packed 1st Issue!, and Police Dept. of Springfield – Wink wink, indeed.
Wade Boggs — 107 Beers – Pitt the Elder!
Simpsons did it: Springfield’s denizens coming to Minecraft for Xbox – The headline tells you pretty much everything you need to know, but click through and try to count all the references in the actual article. I dare you.
The Simpsons Serves Up a Stinker – Man, people really didn’t like that alien episode.
I agree: You can’t really compare The Simpsons to Family Guy on television. They’re different shows and comparing those two would be like comparing cats to dogs. Whichever you like best is your own opinion. But, their mobile games… Those I can compare.
If You Can Do The Bartman, You’re Bad Like Michael Jackson – A history of the show’s early musical success.
Orange juice – Heh.
Why ‘The Simpsons’? – The show remains very useful:
do worry that one day “The Simpsons” will be completely out of date and every year I find fewer students who are able to fill in “how does this episode end?” questions. However, I still get good reception from students on the whole. I’ve had older students who said before class they avoided the show because it was “trashy” but really enjoyed the clips. That being said, most of my clips are from the first eight seasons when the show was focused on the characters much more than the newer episodes are.
Stick with those and you’ll be okay.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker-snax! – A guinea pig (I think) wearing sunglasses and a tiny Duff foam dome. Excellent.
Random Photos – Jan13 – Ah, the world of Legos, where Spider-man can drink a coffee next to Marge.
Flaming Moe’s – Episode #045 – Ash heads to a place right down the block where you can drink your misery away.
No Need To Worry When Playing With House Money – Oregon’s crushed football hopes put into perspective with excellent usage:
Homer: Will you remember this the next time I wreck your life?
Lisa: It’s a deal.
That episode reminds us that we can’t look at tonight’s game from the filter of where the season is now, but rather from where the season began, through a lens of the preseason narratives that the cynical fans believed and the optimistic feared going into the season.
Kitty Says Cobrashark – Pretty creepy Burns/skull design.
Unfortunately after all of those cuddles from the children within the nursery I am not poorly I’m all flued up with a poorly stomach so this is my perfect excuse for not moving and watching Simpson episode after Simpson episode there is something about the Simpsons that cheers me up im not quite sure whether its cause it takes me back to my childhood and sitting with my dad to watch them or whether its just because they are awesome and by awesome I mean seasons 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 there are none of the newest ones I don’t like them end of lol.