It’s hard to believe that new episodes of The Simpsons are still airing.
Next month marks the beginning of the show’s 26th season, making it the longest running American sitcom in history, as well as the longest running animated show ever.
Any one can make the argument that the show has long run it’s course, that it should have been canceled years ago, and that it’s way past its hey day.
That made sense to me, at least.
But there’s no doubting that The Simpsons is a fantastic show. It epitomizes the American family. The dim witted, beer-bellied dad. The obedient, submissive mom. The brainchild middle daughter. The rebellious son. The baby.
Maybe those roles have evolved a little bit over time — the show did begin 25 years ago — but it’s still inherently American.
In case you forgot how brilliant it is, you’re in luck. FXX, which landed the syndication rights to the show last November in a $750 million deal, began airing every single episode this morning at 10 a.m., from start to finish.
In other words, if you have your DVR automatically set to record The Simpsons, then you’re about to enter Dante’s ninth circle of hell.
I was a big fan of the show in the mid-90s. Many say that’s when it was at its best. I was 8ish, approximately the same age as Bart, and at a perfect age to absorb the show’s homely, campy sense of humor.
I made a point to watch a little bit today, from the show’s first and second seasons, and I must say it still holds up pretty well. I’m also genuinely excited to see those episodes from the seventh, eighth and ninth seasons, which I have long forgotten.
It’s also a brilliant marketing strategy for FXX, a channel most people likely didn’t know existed until today.
I’m actually uncertain why more channels don’t do this with other popular shows. If a network aired every Friends episode back-to-back, I’d be all over it. I wouldn’t care if it’s Oxygen or Women’s Entertainment. I’d be game.
(I have Women’s Entertainment on my favorites, anyway.)
For a couple of weeks, there’s going to be a lot of nostalgia. Bart riding on his skateboard. Homer strangling Bart. The word “D’oh!”. Mary Bobbins. The Tree House of Horrors. And the creative way the family sits on the couch at the open of each episode.
Family Guy was the “it show” that stole a little bit of The Simpsons’ thunder a decade or so ago. But Family Guy is old news at this point. Its cheap, borderline-racist humor could only last so long. The Simpsons has lasted two and a half decades while appealing to people of all ages, and without resorting to lewd humor.
That deserves some recognition. And for two weeks, it’ll get it.
Thanks to a channel whose name I already forgot.