The life and times of Homer J.(Vol. IV)
The best and worst of The Simpsons - from the Monorail to Michael Jackson
Chris Selley, Marco Ursi & Jaime J. Weinman | Jul 26, 2007 | 22:05:33
About to begin its 19th season on Fox, few television programs - animated or otherwise - can claim the celebration and cynicism that has surrounded The Simpsons almost from the very start. And now, to the delight and/or chagrin of Simpsons fans everywhere, the much-anticipated Simpsons Movie is set to be released this Friday.
In a four-part discussion this week, Maclean's writers Jaime J. Weinman, Marco Ursi and Chris Selley will debate the highs and lows of the last two decades and nervously anticipate the Simpson family's move to the big screen. Volume I can be read here. Volume II can be read here. And Volume III is here.
From: Jaime J. Weinman
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 5:02 PM
To: Marco Ursi; Chris Selley
Well, Marco and Chris, I’ve enjoyed our educational seminar on this weighty subject. Let’s end in the tried-and-true manner, by naming some of our favourites and least favourites from the first 20 years of The Simpsons.
Favourite episode: “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment” from Season 2 was, in my opinion, the first truly great episode - the one that established The Simpsons as the funniest and most multi-layered sitcom around. The story of Homer stealing cable was an excuse for dozens of parodies of early 90s cable TV, but it was also a story about Homer and his daughter and an examination of how we rationalize little acts of theft in our daily lives. All this and the introduction of Troy McClure and prizefighter Drederick Tatum in “The Bout to Knock the Other Guy Out.”
Least favourite episode: If “Homer vs. Lisa” signaled that The Simpsons had become great, its decline was equally announced by Season 10’s “Homer Simpson in Kidney Trouble.” Homer causes his father’s kidneys to burst, and then runs away rather than donate one of his own. No episode better exemplifies the mean-spirited jokes, gruesome violence and “Jerkass Homer” behaviour that the Mike Scully era was known for. Plus, the exact same plot had already been done by Duckman: a year earlier.
Favourite character: I actually like Marge(not in that way - as cartoon characters go, she’s no Red Hot Riding Hood). Lately, she’s become a pun machine like all the other characters, but it used to be that her relentless squareness, combined with her obvious denial about her crummy life, challenged the writers to come up with some of the best, weirdest lines, like "you should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head like a certain uncle did one grey December morn.”
Least favourite character: Sideshow Mel. His outraged, overacted yelling was funny - once. In “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” Now the show cuts to Mel yelling whenever the writers can’t think of a joke. Bring back Sideshow Raheem instead.
Favourite line: “He is like some kind of… non-giving-up… school guy!”(“The Boy Who Knew Too Much”)
Least favourite line: “Just because you’re a lesbian doesn’t make you less of a bein’.”(“There’s Something About Marrying”). A note to the writers: bad puns are not, in fact, meta-ironic commentaries on bad puns. They’re just unfunny.