Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Lost Relevancy of The Simpsons (And The Case For Reboots)

Sometimes I see a meme that encourages me to write a whole article.  

Recently there's been a couple of memes and Tweets floating around regarding the wealth of the Simpsons family.  

I post a lot of Simpsons .gifs on this blog, mostly just because they're so readily available and there's one for everything.  I was born in the '80s and so I got to enjoy the best age of the Simpsons at the height of its popularity.

But I haven't seen an episode in ten years.  In fact, I can recall, with crystal clarity, the last episode I saw.  

The Simpsons had already stopped being especially interesting to me, but watching it weekly was an ingrained habit at that point.  I did it without much thought or enthusiasm.  

But then, in May of 2012, I saw the 22nd episode of season 23, the infamous Lisa Goes Gaga.  That was the episode that was so bad that I was able to quit my Simpsons addiction cold turkey.  It was the lowest rated Simpsons episode to have ever aired at that time, with good reason.  It was pointless hero-worship; the episode's plot was that everyone in Springfield loves Lady Gaga.  That's pretty much it.  

 Lisa has a heartfelt discussion with Lady Gaga, becomes a fan, and there's a big song and dance number.  Seeing Lenny (Lenny!) dancing to Lady Gaga was the most gag-worthy thing I'd ever seen on the Simpsons and it was an indication to me that the show had completely lost itself.

Lisa Goes Gaga was painfully derivative of the episodes Lisa's Substitute and of Summer of 4 Ft. 2, and gave us nothing except for incredibly heavy-handed hero worship and some tame, censor-approved "edginess."  That episode, for me, was the death of the Simpsons, and every time the show gets renewed for yet another season, I wince a little.

The relevancy of the Simpsons collapsed under its own success.  And while I know everyone likes to complain about franchises being rebooted, the Simpsons is one I would love to see rebooted to make it once again culturally relevant.  I recently saw Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters, and every single trailer was a reboot: Matrix, Batman, Top Gun.  Reboots don't have to be bad; sometimes, retelling a story through a new cultural lens can breathe life into it.  I don't dislike reboots simply for being reboots; if they're offering a fresh take using familiar characters, then they can really resonate with people and provide useful commentary on present social and political issues.

Without further ado, here's a link to an article I wrote about the lose relevancy of the Simpsons, originally published on the Grand Geek Gathering on February 17th, and my proposal for a reboot.  It ain't much but, hey, neither is the Simpsons.


No comments:

Post a Comment