Do the Bartman!

Emily and I had talked about going to see the new Simpsons movie today, but it doesn't seem like it was an idea we were particularly serious about, as it turns out. I'm sure we will see it-- it's been very well-reviewed so far-- but, somehow, going to the movie theater to see a longer episode of a TV show we no longer follow religiously seems like it might not be the best use of our time.

Still, I've really loved The Simpsons in the past, and I like the show well enough now. However, The Onion's AV Club has posted a Crosstalk debate over whether it's time for the show to be put out to pasture. I'm inclined to say yes, and this article explains why. Essentially, nearly a third of the show's regular viewers describe themselves as "conservative." In other words, the show has become the kind of bland, inoffensive comedy that people who don't generally get irony watch week after week.

Okay. I'm probably oversimplifying the situation. Maybe some conservatives get irony, and maybe the show hasn't become boring or bland. But when I was a kid, our parents were kind of worried that watching The Simpsons would warp our young minds and pervert our values. When I was in college, the show was hip in its knowledge that suburan values are often absurd and worthy of parody-- just like I was realizing in my own little hipster commune/ liberal arts university in upstate New York, far from Mom and Dad. And now that I'm at the age where people buy mini-vans and get mortgages... The Simpsons has begun to appeal to people who buy mini-vans and get mortgages.

That's not to say that 30-something Americans are all Conservative. But we're not exactly hip anymore, either. The Simpsons kinda grew up alongside people around my age-- from Bart's adolescent "underachiever and proud of it" phase through Homer's appearance ay Lollapalooza. I think I'd prefer it if The Simpsons fade away now, while the bulk of its seasons (available on DVD) are concerned with a rebellious, absurdist point-of-view, rather than have it slowly turn into the kind of show that grandparents and toddlers can watch together, knowing that they won't see anything that upsets or challenges them.

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