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rocksolid / Offtopic / Millenial watches "The Simpsons"

Subject: Millenial watches "The Simpsons"
From: AnonUser
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Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2018 04:40 UTC
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From: AnonU...@retrobbs.rocksolidbbs.com (AnonUser)
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Subject: Millenial watches "The Simpsons"
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2018 04:40:28 -0000 (UTC)
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And next, they should watch "All in the Family" and maybe have a stroke:


"THE SIMPSONS is horrible and problematic and not funny and Lisa is the
only good part and stop laughing at it," explains Vice's expert
millennial garbage baby.

For example:

    When Homer questions his religion in 'Homer the Heretic', he
    says it's okay to be "Christian, or Jewish or..." as he points
    at Apu's Ganesh shrine, "...whatever that is." That sort of
    othering feels very personal.

Okay... let's pick this nonsense apart.

1) It's not Homer who says that, it's Rev. Lovejoy.

2) He says, "Christian, Jew, or miscellaneous."

3) Apu is offended and SAYS SO.

And he notes that there are "1.5 billion of us". This is plainly one of
about 20,000 jokes at the *expense* of Christians that this fucking
idiot has managed to somehow decide is some other, very improbable thing.

And then there's this:

    It's about a white family in a small, mostly white town.

Umm.. no. It's about a yellow family in a small, mostly yellow town.

---------------

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5kwj7/i-watched-the-simpsons-for-the-
first-time-ever-and-i-couldnt-stand-it

Nicole Clark

Until this week, I had never seen a single episode of THE SIMPSONS. I
can see your gaping maw, so let me explain: My parents weren't fans of
animated television, and by the time I reached adulthood, I had no
desire to dredge up a box set or chase the episodes down online. The
"golden age" of the show-- season three to somewhere around season ten,
or so I've been told-- isn't available on any of the streaming services
I subscribe to. So I simply never watched. When I told my coworkers,

picture of the kid with blue hair and red glasses, asking, "Do you know
who this is?"

"Of course," I responded, pulling up the meme of him throwing a frisbee
to no one, running after it, and throwing it back.

"Do you know his name?" my coworker followed up. Nope.

I have always been familiar with the cultural cachet of the show-- the
celebrity cameos, the impact on popular culture, and yes, the memes. But
I didn't know the names of characters or even the vastness of the show's
run. I simply assumed THE SIMPSONS peaked in the 2000s, then vanished. I
had no idea it was still on air.

But when I decided-- really, was forced by my editors-- to check the
show out, I was intimidated by the nearly 639 episodes, so I searched
for someone who could be my guide. I found Tyler Shores, a PhD candidate
at Cambridge who taught a class at UC Berkeley called "THE SIMPSONS and
Philosophy" in 2003. "You see classes that reference pop culture more
frequently now, but at the time, there weren't really courses that used
non-academic or classic texts," Shores told me over Skype. "I designed
this course for a semester, and I really didn't expect so many students
to show up, but I had 500 the first year." The class became so well
known it was even recognized by THE SIMPSONS writers and featured in the
episode 'Little Girl in the Big Ten'.

Shores selected 11 episodes for me to watch, based off of my
self-professed interests, with the intent of providing a healthy range.
I trusted him; his knowledge of the show seemed impressively
encyclopedic, and I have to say, every single episode I watched, nearly
all from the golden age, gave me something different-- a different core
cast member feature, a different narrative formula, a different target
of satire, a celebrity cameo. He also included one of his favorites and
one of Matt Groening's favorites. Here is the full list:

Lisa the Vegetarian; season 7, episode 5
Homer the Heretic; season 4, episode 3
Last Exit to Springfield; season 4, episode 17
Homer's Enemy; season 8, episode 23
Marge vs. The Monorail; season 4, episode 12
And Maggie Makes Three; season 6, episode 13
Homer the Great; season 6, episode 12
One Fish Two Fish Blowfish Blue Fish; season 2, episode 11
Homer Badman; season 6, episode 9
Treehouse of Horror I; season 2, episode 3
Who Shot Mr. Burns?; season 6, episode 25 and season 7, episode 1

Bad news first: On balance, I did not enjoy this show. This isn't
particularly surprising-- I have never enjoyed sitcoms, and have always
found it difficult to sink my teeth into a show that isn't serialized or
at least features long narrative arcs. A lot of people enjoy shows
without continuity because anyone can watch any episode, no background
knowledge required, but that quality has always made a show less
enjoyable for me-- the only sitcom I truly love, THE GOOD PLACE, is
extremely serialized.

But my dislike of it extends beyond the sitcom format. You might as well
call me Frank Grimes, because I absolutely hate Homer, and couldn't
stand watching the show mostly due to his character. I don't find him
funny or likable-- he's an insufferable, pathetic freeloader. I don't
understand how people can bear him. You're either laughing at his
expense, which simply makes me sad, or you're supposed to laugh at the
scenarios he manages to get into and out of due to his inanity. And most
of his triumphs seem to be at the expense of people who are actually
conscientious and hard working.

It follows that 'Homer's Enemy', a sort of meta-episode where Homer's
charmed life is challenged by the hardworking Frank Grimes, was my
favorite episode of the bunch. Shores told me it was also one of Matt
Groening's favorites. I respect the show immensely for its willingness
to play devil's advocate toward one of its main characters, and the
episode displayed a level of awareness that the show has become famous
for, but I found myself wishing that it was Homer who died at the end of
the episode, rather than Grimey.

The other crux of my discontent with THE SIMPSONS comes from the way
Marge is continually treated like a doormat. Obviously, THE SIMPSONS
started in the 1989, before "political correctness"-- otherwise known as
being tolerant and conscientious towards people-- was a concern for a
lot of folks. I didn't go in expecting it to be free of prejudice, but
the fact that people still love the show and considered it progressive
for its time gave me a kernel of hope. Not so, at least not when it came
to the abuse heaped on Marge. I don't understand why she doesn't just
divorce Homer's dumb ass. I didn't even have to take notes as I watched
in order to remember these moments:

In 'Marge vs. The Monorail', she pitches the idea of using Springfield's
budgetary surplus for repairing the roads, which is only accepted after
Homer's father makes a case, ironically against road repairs (I assume
this is supposed to be funny). Marge gets ignored (is this supposed to
be satire?). She then investigates the monorail to learn it's a fraud.
Despite her having done all of the work, it's Homer who saves the day
despite being an idiot (I assume this is also supposed to be funny).
Yay, men take the credit once again.

In 'Homer's Enemy', Marge cooks a nice lobster dinner so Homer can
reconcile with Frank Grimes. Homer hasn't even told Marge that Grimes
doesn't know about this dinner (which, I guess, is also supposed to be
funny). At this point, this show feels like an infinite setup for Marge
to put in so much bloody work only to have her oafish husband fuck it
all up. I hate him. I hate him so much.

'And Maggie Makes Three' perhaps made me the angriest of the episodes--
an astounding assertion, given my blood pressure during the above
moments. Three separate people recommended this episode to me as
"heartfelt". It's the episode where Homer is able to quit his hated
nuclear plant gig in order to work his dream job at the bowling alley.
That premise, at least, is funny. When Marge becomes pregnant, she hides
it from her husband because she knows his dream job can't financially
support another child. Through flashbacks, we learn that every time
Marge is pregnant, Homer apparently gets so angry he rips his hair out
(which is somehow supposed to be funny). Homer is horrible at reading
his wife's emotions or caring for her in any way, including her morning
sickness (which is also somehow supposed to be funny). He then bitches
and moans-- even though SHE'S THE ONE literally giving birth-- until he
physically holds baby Maggie. He instantly loves Maggie and returns to
the power plant to financially support her. Mr. Burns erects the sign
"Don't forget: You're here forever", which Homer covers in Maggie's baby
photos so that the sign reads "do it for her". Cue the awwws. Because
Homer had feelings about his own child for approximately three seconds
on screen, it's a touching episode. Give Homer a fucking trophy.

In 'Homer Badman', when Homer goes to a candy convention, Marge is his
candy mule. Fun.

'Homer Badman' also made me angry more generally, in the way only a
episode of a 90s show could. In this one, Homer is indicted by the media
for "sexually harassing" a female grad student. Except he was only
really grabbing a gummy Venus de Milo off of her butt, not grabbing her
ass. He gets featured on a tabloid-style show that edits his interview
to make him "admit" to being a harasser. While this episode does a great
job demonstrating the way media can snowball out of control, the
episode's entire premise is a load of hogwash. No one, literally not a
single person on. the. planet. would protest about a female grad student
getting ass-grabbed.

The hyperbole of this isn't funny to me, nor does it read as satire.

observation. It's just how the world operates. Yesterday I got street
harassed five times on the way to work, and twice on the way back. I've
been inappropriately groped by too many strangers to keep count. If
anyone cared enough to do a damn thing about it, maybe I could watch
this episode and laugh. This episode feels like the least realistic of
all of them, including the Halloween special 'Treehouse of Horror'
episodes.

None of this even begins to touch on my disappointment at the way Lisa
is continually used as a punching bag. I can't go there right now. She
was my favorite.

That being said, I don't want to dismiss the importance of THE
SIMPSONS-- I appreciate the immense impact this show has had on pop
culture, animated and family sitcoms, and even politics. This type of
humor largely didn't exist before, and it has created its own
vocabulary. And there are aspects of the show I genuinely love:

The irreverent meta-humor. My absolute favorite line of any episode I
watched came from 'Lisa the Vegetarian'. After watching an episode of
Itchy and Scratchy, Lisa laments about the way cartoons peddle specific
ideologies. "Cartoons don't have messages Lisa," Bart responds, adding
that they're supposed to be mindlessly violent. At that exact moment
Homer violently opens the door into him. I love that willingness to
break the fourth wall in a way that makes us reflect on our own
entertainment consumption habits.

Incredible wordplay, like Stern Plumbing being the name of a company but
also featuring a logo of a plumber saying something stern. In that same
episode, 'Homer the Great'-- the Freemason-based satire about the
Stonecutters-- Marge says, "Kids can be so cruel" to comfort Homer,
which Bart takes to mean, "Kids are permitted by their mother to be so
cruel" and starts tormenting Lisa. There's the delightful line "a toast
to the host who can boast the most roast" in 'Lisa the Vegetarian'.
Other random moments: Bart pronouncing "macabre" as "mah-cah-bray", and
the line "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times."

I really loved the satire of the Freemasons. Obviously political and
historical satire are baked into the legacy of THE SIMPSONS, especially
with the vulture-like Mr. Burns and the nuclear power plant.

The celebrity cameos are magnificent, and give the show a sense of
really connecting to the real world. THE SIMPSONS is also obviously
historic for these, and I loved seeing Paul and Linda McCartney on the
roof of Apu's shop and Leonard Nimoy at the monorail unveiling. Even
from my limited perspective, I can see the echoes of this influence on
modern sitcoms, like Prince playing himself in THE NEW GIRL or Oprah on
30 ROCK. Likewise, I appreciated the show's encyclopedic range of
references, from Charles Dickens to TOM AND JERRY.

Weirdly, hair might be my absolute favorite thing about this show. It's
reductive but also a synecdoche for the show's insane attention to
detail. I love that no one else in the town has hair as ridiculous as
Marge-- that it bends when she sits in the car or puts it in a nightcap.
I love that a part of it gets snipped off in 'Last Exit to Springfield',
when Mr. Burns arrives at their home by helicopter. I love that Bart's
head crown sometimes functions as his head, but sometimes functions as


Unfortunately, my distaste for Homer and the way Marge and Lisa are
continually abused really soured my enjoyment of these incredible TV
gags. The upending of my enjoyment vis a vis the main narrative of the
show made it even more frustrating and irritating.

It is also worth noting that the treatment of Apu, and Asian characters
more broadly, contributed to my distaste. Just one example: When Homer
questions his religion in 'Homer the Heretic', he says it's okay to be
"Christian, or Jewish or..." as he points at Apu's Ganesh shrine,
"...whatever that is." That sort of othering feels very personal. Asians
also get weirdly-drawn faces in the show, though other characters simply
get to have the same face styles in different skin tones. I don't really
know how to think about it beyond recognizing that the white folks in
Springfield are already yellow, so the show had to sub in some other
racial features to indicate Asian characters. A lot has been said about
race in THE SIMPSONS and 90s shows more broadly-- I don't need or want
to dive into that here more than I already have.

The fundamental problem for me is I simply can't relate to THE SIMPSONS.
It's about a white family in a small, mostly white town. It imagines a
vision of America that has never been mine and could never be mine. And,
of course, I can't stomach Homer or the way he's supposed to be the hero
in so many episodes.

If you love THE SIMPSONS and the show is special to you, that's great.
If you used it as an accessible framework for philosophical matters-- as
Shores and his students have-- even better.

Just don't tell me to watch another episode.
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o Millenial watches "The Simpsons"

By: AnonUser on Mon, 2 Jul 2018

1AnonUser
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