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Defending the Cavemen

Unpopular Opinions is a new weekly column in which a writer takes a stand against popular opinion, whether it's asserting the true merit of a supposedly guilty pleasure or dissenting against the universally lauded.

In Mike Sacks’ tremendous book of interviews with comedy luminaries And Here’s the Kicker… the legendary Simpsons scribe George Meyer says that, given the choice between getting rid of ads and getting rid of nuclear weapons, he’d choose the ads. I am right there with him. Naturally, a show inspired by a commercial would presumably be terrible, right?

You may have seen one of those ads for Geico featuring cavemen. When I heard that they were going to make a show based on them, I was not expecting anything that rose above the station of a show like Small Wonder, or any other go-to show used for humorous comparisons. The knives were out for Cavemen before it even hit the air. I had no intention of watching until I happened to catch a couple commercials. What I saw surprised me, and shook me to my very core. The show didn’t look bad, in fact, it looked like it might be good. Thus, I found myself thinking words I never thought would cross my mind: “Shit, I’m going to give Cavemen a shot, aren’t I?”

I watched every episode that made it to television before the writer’s strike ushered in its demise. Its ratings were terrible. It was critically lambasted. To a large swath of people, it became the standard of a bad TV show idea. I, on the other hand, liked Cavemen. I even told other people to watch it. That’s right, I was recommending Cavemen to other people. Since then, my opinion hasn’t changed. I still think it was a good show, one that deserved a better fate than it received. READ MORE

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Was The Larry Sanders Show's "Larry Sanders Show" Any Good?

The Larry Sanders Show is a really enjoyable viewing experience, but is “The Larry Sanders Show” any good? Confused? Well, I’m talking about two things here. The first is HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show starring Garry Shandling. In said show, Shandling plays the titular Larry Sanders, a neurotic talk show host joined by the likes of Jeffrey Tambor’s “Hey Now!” Hank Kingsley and Rip Torn as the show’s best character, the producer Artie. The show chronicles the making of Sanders’ program, which also happens to be called “The Larry Sanders Show.” That’s the show that I’m pondering here. I know that The Larry Sanders Show is good, but is the show within the show worthwhile? Basically, if “The Larry Sanders Show” were real and on television now, would I watch it? READ MORE

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The Seasons of The Simpsons, In Order

22. Season 20

21. Season 14

20. Season 17

19. Season 21

18. Season 19

17. Season 22 READ MORE

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The Changing Role of Guest Stars on The Simpsons

The Simpsons has been around for ages, and its characters have become deeply engrained in popular culture. Even secondary characters such as Groundskeeper Willie and Milhouse Van Houten are better known than the main characters in most other sitcoms. However, there are many, many characters, some recurring and some seen only once, voiced by people who aren’t in the show’s supremely talented cast: guest stars.

Guest stars have played a large role in The Simpsons since nearly the beginning of the show, but how the show has used them has changed drastically over the years. Looking at the use of guest stars over so long gives a good glimpse into how the show itself has changed. So let's do just that. READ MORE

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Milhouse-ian Characters: An Appreciation

The unwieldy behemoth known as The Simpsons has had a massive, indelible impact on popular culture. Its characters are iconic, and to many embody particular archetypes of characters you find in the world of comedy. There are so many great characters on the show who deserve to be lauded to the heavens, but there is one character I would like to focus on: Milhouse Van Houten.

Milhouse is so perfectly indicative of a particular brand of comedic character I go as far as to call such characters “Milhouse-ian,” though that may also be owed to the amount of time I’ve invested in the world of The Simpsons. Barney Gumble isn’t the first comical drunk, but he’s the first thing I think of when I think of such characters. Milhouse lives an existence that can only be described as tragicomic. He is perpetually beleaguered and put upon by a cruel, uncaring world, a world that includes his closest (and perhaps only) friend Bart Simpson. In a world currently (and hopefully temporarily) swept up in Charlie Sheen’s bizarre preoccupation with the concept of “winning,” Milhouse certainly could be held up as a manifestation of “losing.” READ MORE