When I was in second grade, the Simpsons debuted, and from the first time I saw Bart doing write-offs on the chalkboard, I was obsessed. Specifically, I can remember doing a fantasy invention project for school that year, and my dream product was a pair of tights embellished with my favorite Simpsons characters. Dream Big, I know. [Tangent: Frankly, that still doesn’t seem like a half bad idea. The Internet exists now, though, so I am sure they do, too!]
As much as I was tickled with my genius, my teacher wasn’t so impressed with the assignment. Not that my drawings weren’t lovely and my presentation skills weren’t top-notch, but more that a sweet little 8 year-old girl was so butt-crazy in love with a cartoon, that in those days was deemed “raunchy.” In retrospect, this series is incredibly tame by today’s standards. At that time it was as you needed to stir controversy have a nuclear family with a dad that drank a lot of beer and a son that was kind of a brat. [Tangent: This was long before my beloved South Park came on the scene with a character that is literally a talking piece of feces.]
The love fest with the Simpsons continued until college, where not unlike a lot of my childhood friends, we just kind of lost touch. I was at the library on Sunday nights studying during its time slot, and in our time apart, I had started seeing other cartoons. I needed to see what was out there. Doesn’t everyone have a Family Guy phase in college?
Over time, It was clear I had moved on in another direction. Bob’s Burgers and I were very happy together. So of course, like any love story, The Simpsons had to swoop back into my life, lookin’ all good and trying to make me relive our magical past.
First they started woo’ing me with the Simpsons Untapped app, where I rebuild Springfield to my specifications after a reactor at the nuclear plant wipes out the town. As I spent hours on this ridiculously addictive iPhone game, I began to remember all the fun times we’d had. I got to catch up with my old friends, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa , Maggie, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner (aka Armin Tanzerian), Chief Wiggum, Groundskeeper Willie, Otto, Apu, etc etc etc ad infinitum.
Then, only to drive the point home that I had been blind to what was right in front of me, the FXX station announced the 12 day event EVERY. SIMPSONS. EVER . All 552 episodes back to back to back! Was I ready for this kind of commitment? I decided to take it in steps. 2:00 AM would strike and I couldn’t sleep, so I would tune into the station to see what my old flame was up to. The magic was back. All my favorites. Monorail. Two Dozen and One Greyhounds. A Star is Burns. Bart VS. Australia.
Everything about it was nostalgic and comforting like an old blanket. Models Inc references…the voice work of Phil Hartman around every corner…even the excitement of the Who Shot Mr Burns? cliffhanger was fun to relive.
It was clear, due to persistence and our history together, the show is back in my life. We are not exclusive, but I am taking it slow. Thankfully, FXX is continuing the love by airing 24 hours of Simpsons episodes a week from now on, should I want to jump in with both feet. Looks like I will be dusting off that old “Simsons Sing the Blues” cassettes. [Tangent: After 20 years, I still am able to sing “The Bartman” a’Capella. It’s either sad or impressive. I can’t decide.] Oh, and I still want my Simpsons tights.