MFX Ramblings, More Than A-Peeling

Ahhhh… Just End It….

Wha’gwan Galaxy? Peel here, reppin’ the 01382.

Before we get started today, cheers to those of you who retweet/share the links to all the blogs that go up. Speaking as someone who’s written a fair bit for a variety of sites, it helps us a lot when people take a second or two to spread the word.

So far, “More than A-Peeling” has covered sectarianism, politics and the sheer magnificence that is the MFX Galaxy.

Today’s topic is about something that I’m sure we all grew up loving – and that’s The Simpsons. A cartoon phenomenon that’s been on the air for around 25 years or so, but I’m about to throw some controversy your way. I think it’s time for the creators to do the decent thing and ah… just end it.

There are a few reasons for this.

In it’s prime, the Simpsons was what Family Guy/American Dad/South Park is to the generation after me – a gags aplenty cartoon that kids and adults could watch. It was easily accessible and funny as fuck.

Surely every single one of us is familiar with the yellow animated family with massive overbits:

  • Homer – the token oaf, a village idiot, but with a heart of gold in there somewhere
  • Marge – the downtrodden wife who ages terribly as a result of her family’s shenanigans
  • Bart – the renegade kid, but not a cool kid. In MFX terms, he’d probably be the vigilante of the airwaves!
  • Lisa – the smart kid, but again, not a cool kid
  • Maggie – the silent assassin

Add into the mix the crew of sensational supporting characters like Moe, Barney, Chief Wiggum, Flanders, Ralph Wiggum and Groundskeeper Willie (to name just a few), and it made for an easy-to-watch, funny, 25-minute escape from school or whatever bullshit was going on in our lives at the time.

It saddens me to say it, but for the last 10-15 years – AT LEAST – the Simpsons has become almost a parody of itself. It’s become so self-righteous and so far removed from what made it famous in the first place – the laughs!

You sit and watch any episode from series 3-10, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’re getting hit by proper laugh out loud gags from start to finish. Favourites of mine include the April Fools’ episode where Homer ends up in a coma, and of course, the Frank Grimes masterpiece. There are countless others though, and we’ll all have our favourites.

As we sit/stand here today though, I genuinely can’t remember the last time I laughed at a “newer” Simpsons episode. You could argue that the Simpsons has been shit for longer than it was good. And that’s sad. It’s like kids nowadays who’ve grown up seeing/knowing John Cena is the be all, end all of WWE. There’s so much more to the Simpsons (and WWE for that matter) than that.

It genuinely feels like the Simpsons has carried on because of it’s name, and not because it’s consistently good/funny. The show has been living off it’s name for way more than a decade now.

Take a look at a couple of the finest comedy programmes ever – Fawlty Towers and The Office. Two British sitcoms that will go down in history as some of the best programming ever made.

And why’s that? Because they were produced in short, sharp bursts – a minimal number of series, with no more than 6 episodes in one run. You get more bang for your buck that way. Because they weren’t on all year round, those 6 episodes HAD to be funny. They HAD to make an impact.

There are over 20 episodes in every series of the Simpsons. But how many gags are in there? I mean proper gags, not just ones that make you smirk – but ones that make you roar with laughter? Very few, if any.

If you’re not swayed by what I’m saying, then just Google Simpsons DVD releases.

Recently, it’s been made known that Simpsons DVD boxsets will no longer be released. Instead, they’ll be digitised, and released as single episodes.

The cynic in me (which gets more prevalent on a weekly basis) would suggest that while society has indeed changed both in terms of the way we view and buy TV shows, it’s more the fact that demand and interest in the Simpsons has waned since it’s heyday.

But…I’m not a comedian. From a technical standpoint, I couldn’t tell you the intricate details of constructing a joke. I just know what’s funny. And for the last 10 years, the Simpsons hasn’t been.

I used to LOVE that show. LOVE it. I could quote chapter and verse of the jokes I love. In fact, me and a couple of mates sometimes spend HOURS searching for funny Simpsons jokes on YouTube, and sit and text each other the links back and forward, laughing our asses off. Some of it is just gold. And it’s not just one character. There’s a bunch of gold in there from a variety of different people. It’s kind of sad, and slightly depressing, to see what it’s become.

Another contributing factor has been the sad passing of one of the show’s original creators, Sam Simon – someone who’s drive, vision and passion for the show shone through whenever he talked about it. It’s always sad when someone passes away, so maybe it’s time for Matt Groening to say “enough’s enough” and be done with it.

It’s not like he’s short of cash, and the royalties will continue to roll in even if they don’t do any new shows. There’s 25 years worth of royalties in there, not to mention the money he’s made from merchandising etc.

The Simpsons fan in me wants to see it stop, before it’s reputation is damaged beyond repair. There’s still time to salvage it, whether that’s by cutting down the number of episodes they do, or just ending it altogether. The Simpsons meant/means so much to a lot of people, and the show’s creators have to ensure that they don’t continue to do any long-term damage to either their, or the show’s, legacy.