Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Divorce Papers

Once again we interrupt this blog for a special word from your friend and mine, Brian Hall:


May 21, 2007

Dear The Simpsons,

I’ve always explained my relationship with The Simpsons like a marriage. It was a torrid romance during the 90’s - one where we grew together and I learned much from my beloved bride. Then, in early 2000, my wife developed a ‘drinking problem’ and would start spouting weak imitations of her normally insightful and witty observations. She became an embarrassment at parties and friends of my wife - or ‘fans’ if you will - began to stop hanging out with us. I supported my wife through her rocky struggle because I had invested so much time into our relationship and was not yet ready to give up on her.

Every now and then she would show signs of recovery but it was last night’s 400th episode that proved to me that her problems run too deep, her disease at this point is incurable and that we must divorce for irreconcilable differences. It makes me sad thinking back on the early years of our relationship. Every night, reruns act as a photo album showcasing the joy that once was.

My wife, The Simpsons, was smart, funny, and had her pulse on the state of the country and even the American family. Cynicism mixed with satire and sentiment is a damn-near impossible feat to pull off but she did it and she did it well. Now she settles for Homer getting poked in the eye, among other very tired and very unfunny violent circumstances, and Marge saying something that rhymes. Remember when Itchy & Scratch used to be the sole receivers of cartoon violence on the show, reminding us that they were ‘fake’ and the Simpsons were ‘real?’

Don’t get me started with her take on politics. Having Homer repeatedly saying the word "liberals" with disdain (over and over, waiting for it to be funny), Flanders putting papers that say ‘Jesus’ onto windshields and taking digs at the Fox Network is not ‘important commentary,’ it’s lazy, it’s rehashed and it’s embarrassing. Republicans-are-dumb jokes are about as insightful and fresh as men-leaving-the-toilet-seat-up gags. My current mistress, South Park, has fortunately picked up the ball on this one. Hell, they even handled the 24 parody better.

I can’t believe I have stuck around for 400 episodes but I think it was necessary for me to see that it is time for us to part ways. I can never discredit you for all the good you’ve done for me and will always visit reruns to remember the good times. Scratch that, the great times.

I will miss you and truly do wish you the best of luck.

Your Former Husband,

Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo


It's a shame these kids couldn't make it work.


Andrew Wood said...

I share the concern of many Simpsons lovers. The show has indeed lost much of its spark over the past several years. Having said that, I'll be first in line to see the Simpsons movie. I guess my love for that show is the triumph of hope over experience :-)

Brian H said...

Haha! Wow. That was five years ago! It's funny rereading that because despite the fact that I'd reword it slightly, it still sums up what I can no longer stomach about the show's current run. It really does feel like a very meaningful relationship gone sour.

I will say though that I also recognize that 20+ years is a long time to consistently produce content, and the content I was in love with came from people who haven't been with the show for over ten years or more. These are a new crop of writers and a new crop of audience makes sense. And I'm okay with that.

The only people I won't indulge however, are the people who say that the first 8 or 9 seasons are only touted and claimed as everyones' favorites because of nostalgia. Simply not true. I re-watched them recently on a DVD bender and they are just as sharp, sweet, profoundly quotable and genuinely hysterical as they were when they first aired. More than several of them are masterpieces.

So I will walk away with my DVDs (or "photo albums" if you will) and let The Simpsons go in her respective direction, as I go - sadly, and always hoping she's going to be all right - in mine.