25
Feb
12

More of a Good Thing

Flaming Moe's8

All these years later, people still love watching The Simpsons.  I’m not internet-omniscient or anything, so I don’t actually know if this is more or less prevalent than for any other old television program, but earlier this week I came across another blog dedicated to rewatching the show.  (500) Days of Homer popped up one week ago, and is currently through the first five episodes.  The about page explains:

The idea was born while I was reading countless articles about the huge 500-episode milestone that The Simpsons is hitting. As I read, I realized that I’d only seen maybe a handful of those episodes. Being a person that lives for pop culture, this was a criminal oversight that I needed to fix.

So, in a typical over-reaction, I declared that I’d watch the entire series, from the beginning, one episode a day. I’d then write about each episode, every single day, until I was caught up with the show. Conveniently, the quest will take about 500 days, give or take however many new episodes air between now and July 2013. This is by far the stupidest thing I’ve gotten myself into, but I plan on going through with it. I may soon hate myself for giving myself at least 500 writing assignments, but hopefully I’ll truly understand one of the most important pieces of American culture by the end.

I’d strongly recommend tapering off around Season 10 or so, you can skip around from there and not miss much of anything, but this is the internet and everyone gets to do what they want.  So far though, this one is going very well.  From the post on “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”:

Perhaps that’s why, even more than its live-action counterparts, The Simpsons hit a nerve that revealed deep insecurities in the population. Despite the creative team not quite knowing its characters completely (this episode is full of strange character work—Marge being drunk, Mr. Burns welcoming his workers, Homer being embarrassed by everyone else), they put honesty over consistency. Without that prioritization, the show would have never become what we know it as.

It would have just been another cartoon.

Indeed.  The honesty of Season 1 is one of its most durable features.  Good luck, Hunter Phillips, I hope you keep it up.

On another “watch them all” blog, our old friend Mike Amato has gotten to “The Principal and the Pauper”.  I would like to heartily agree with all of this:

I can sort of understand what they’re going for in the third act. We see the real Skinner in action, and he’s just out of touch enough with the rest of the characters that they’d feel uneasy about him and want the old Skinner back. But what did he do so wrong? As a man who was a POW for decades, he took mild offense to Bart’s warped version of the pledge. And he borrows his mother’s car. We gotta get this guy the fuck out of here; I guess that’s the point, that the characters are quick to act to get rid of this mild shake-up in their daily lives. The whole story is just so bloated and large that the final act feels so rushed and rash.

Exactly.  They had to cut so many corners to cram that story in to twenty-two minutes that not only was there hardly any room for humor, there wasn’t even enough time to make it work.  Continuing:

Now I can’t besmirch Keeler; the man’s written some of the best episodes of Futurama, so he’s pretty skilled with a pen. But I will say if the aim here was to make a meta episode, they certainly kept it to themselves. Everything in the episode is handled so seriously, with dramatic music cues and scenes of serious dialogue. There’s no real wink to the audience; call back to “Poochie” where Roy shows up to spice up the show, but there’s nothing like that here.

Again, those are exactly my sentiments.  I can see how that originated as a way to mock the audience for taking a cartoon character too seriously, but they just didn’t have time to get that idea into the episode. 

Read Mike’s whole post, and check out (500) Days of Homer.  While we’re at it, maybe we can even get Drunk Rambles going again.  Mark left off with “Life On the Fast Lane” and hasn’t updated in a while, but he did a great job of illustrating his points with screen grabs, and it’d be cool if he kept going. 


2 Responses to “More of a Good Thing”


  1. 25 February 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Yeah I’ve always felt “The Principal and the Pauper” would have benefited from some kind of Leonard Nimoy-type narration bookend.

  2. 2 monoceros4
    26 February 2012 at 9:15 pm

    My partner and I actually did a few years set ourselves the task of gradually watching all “Simpsons”. Both of us had drifted away from the show at about the same time and we felt a little bad about it–at the time. But once we got to the ninth season our interest in the project began to wane quickly and I don’t think we even made it all the way through the tenth season before we started skipping episodes that we already knew were horrible. So much for completism. We watched just a scattering of episodes from subsequent seasons and nothing later than, I think, about 16th season or so…I hope you’ll forgive me for the imprecision but all those later seasons just sort of blur into each other in my mind.


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