How “Simpsons Shitposting” Brilliantly Recontextualizes the Show’s Best Jokes
If you’re reading this, you’re probably quite familiar with The Simpsons. After all, this website looks at the world of modern comedy, and it’s hard to think of anything that has contributed more to the form than the world’s most beloved (and longest running) sitcom. Phrases like “steamed hams” and “I call the big one bitey” are firmly ingrained in our minds. The show’s material lands so well that it’s difficult to ever get tired of it, no matter how many times you’ve watched “Mr. Plow” or “Cape Feare.” And yet, it would still be nice to absorb these brilliant bits for the first time, and that’s where the manic genius that is Simpsons Shitposting comes in.
One could reasonably ask just what exactly “shitposting” is. Well, the Facebook group currently has almost 180,000 members and gives us the following guidelines:
A freeflowing definition.
A simpsons shitpost has no regard for quality nor is it defined by how shit it is.
Post because you want to.
Post what you want to.
No ulterior motive.
No care for how terrible it may be.
No care for how many likes it may garner.
Just shitpost the simpsons.
Art is Subjective.
In a group with that many members, of course, the “no edgelords” rule is sadly broken from time to time, but for the most part, the group gives us some of the most innovative memes on the web. Rather than simply taking a screenshot and making a caption for the dialogue, members often take two popular bits and combine them using Photoshop. Take, for instance, this recent meme, which combines Linguo the grammar robot from “Trilogy of Error” with Martin’s turn as The Phantom of the Opera from “Lisa’s Wedding”:
Several other memes combine Simpsons material with references to other shows, or even references to pop culture. Let’s consider this one:
There’s a lot going on here — Sideshow Bob’s head is photoshopped onto Todd Flanders, the good-natured Christian boy who famously picked up some curse words from Homer when he tried to build a doghouse in “Bart the Lover.” Because Sideshow Bob was played by Kelsey Grammer, the meme gives a nod to Frasier‘s episode-closing theme song, where he famously professes his affection for tossed salads and scrambled eggs. Theoretically, this would seem like something of a niche joke. Sure, some people might get it, but there can only be so much appeal, right? Well, just eight hours after posting, the meme accrued over 750 likes. It says quite a bit about the longevity of The Simpsons that the group can take 20-25 year old jokes, use Photoshop to combine them with other 20-25 year old jokes, and somehow, a ton of people know exactly what is going on and love it.
Is Simpsons Shitposting perfect? Well, almost. As stated earlier, you get the occasional shock-for-the-sake-of-shock memes, but the admins tend to be vigilant about deleting any truly offensive material (actually, a common way of expressing disdain for a meme is the phrase “delet this,” a misspelling that has become part of the culture, much in the same way “pwned” did). And for the most part, the group represents Simpsons fans paying homage to the show with unbridled creativity. What made peak Simpsons so great was the endless number of directions the writers were willing to go in their search for great comedy. The stunning inventiveness on display in Simpsons Shitposting is a fitting tribute to their spirit.