The most common thing you hear about the lasting Simpsons franchise is that the show has “lost its touch,” that while it remains popular, viewers continue to tune in only because of nostalgia for the series’ “golden years” (which most fans place between seasons 3 and 8). Granted, Bart evading Sideshow Bob for the umpteenth time, Homer and Marge re-writing their romantic history, and the Simpson family traveling to Tokyo just feels a little exhausting when we remember the days Bart sold his soul and Homer “did it for her.”
Has the show gotten any less funny, though? Any less edgy, witty, silly, surprising, or relevant? For some [...]
As fans of comedy, we often forget — or try to forget — that The Simpsons is a franchise as much as it is a source of humor. Bart dolls that say, “Eat my shorts!” don’t really explore the human condition and the Simpsons comforter I had on my bed under my Spider-Man pillow was less early postmodernism and more childhood commercialism.
Which is why it’s so hard to discuss The Simpsons video games: they exist somewhere between licensed toy and expansion on the humor of the series. They represent the nexus of the duality of The Simpsons franchise. Are they cheap knockoffs or unique interactive episodes?
If you follow the stories about the beginnings of The Simpsons, chances are you're heard of Army Man. But just as likely, chances are you haven't read it. Army Man exists mainly in lore, a rare, brilliant, short-lived moment of a magazine that, as one of the show's former producers called it, was "the father of The Simpsons."
Army Man was started by George Meyer in 1988. At the time, Meyer was a 32-year-old former writer for Letterman and SNL who had grown tired of New York and television and fled to Boulder, Colorado. He wrote the first issue mostly himself, with help from some college friends. He typed [...]
Back when I was a skinny, orthodontically fortified knot of sprouting-limbs in the junior-high hallways of the Newburgh City School District, making friends wasn't hard. It was worse than hard: it was never even an option. The very idea of making friends was contrary to my 8th-grade survival instincts. The daily goal for someone in my social standing was not to make friends but the opposite: to go unnoticed. Notoriety in junior high was a very bad thing, unless it was for making JV lacrosse (not likely in my case). For me, notoriety meant your mid-pubescent voice cracked while delivering a civics presentation or you were spotted playing [...]