Sunday, October 01, 2017

22 Short Pieces About Springfield: Zero - Starts and Beginnings

The first episode of The Simpsons I ever saw was "Call Of The Simpsons", and it was terrible.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
I was aware that The Simpsons was a thing, but as a stranger to Sky TV in its early years, was not swept along on the wave.  A show about an annoying, essentially unsupportable kid, with poor animation, moral lessons by the back door and gentle (if any) humour, I honestly thought the hype was due to the relatively low take-up of Sky TV, and the social stock that came from being someone who could view the show in this country.

The third episode I ever saw was "Bart Gets Hit By A Car", and I still wasn't convinced.

However, this was nowhere near as unengaging as the first season offerings, but it still seemed to be a show that would not be able to appeal to me; the comedy was definitely connecting better with me though, and I did make a mental note to check back later and see how it was coming along.

So what hooked me?

Courtesy 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.

Truckasaurus, of course.  The fifth episode I ever saw was "Bart The Daredevil".

Now here was an episode I could get behind: less mawkish, more relatable and with the ultimate swerve at the end, a happy ending realistically denied, albeit in arguably the most cartoonish sequence the show would offer up for some time.  So I can get human drama AND Wile E Coyote-style slapstick?  Sold.

Since then, thanks in no small part to a) getting cable TV in 1996 and b) The Simpsons coming to terrestrial television in the UK, I have become a fully paid-up Simpsons obsessive.

Quite simply put, and despite my love of "Doctor Who", "House", "Father Ted" and a plethora of other shows, I believe that seasons four to nine (inclusive) of The Simpsons is the greatest television ever made - comedy, animation or otherwise.

I quote The Simpsons every day, with bonus points for doing it in meetings; usually the bit about "weaselling out of things", although - and this was a stretch - I did once manage "this is worse than your song about Mr. T!"  I've promoted a Simpsons-themed punk rock and quiz night, at which I appeared dressed as Troy McClure, and recently won a different Simpsons quiz thanks to the able help of TV's Clangers expert, Tim Worthington.

A bootleg DVD of Season Fifteen got me through the choppy early weeks of my 'adventure' at university - though like all of my kind, I am legally obliged not to like anything after Season 10 (but I do still secretly love seeing new episodes - as will be borne out by my upcoming list).  I once bonded with a stranger in Bristol over my Globex Industries t-shirt.  I made a point of looking for "BORT" licence plates on a recent trip to Texas.

My favourite though is this little doozy: on an early date, my girlfriend impressed me greatly by making a Simpsons reference I didn't recognise, and I adored her even more for it - though it is with great regret that I must refute her accusation (note to self: possible cologne idea).

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox, via Frinkiac.
Lately I've been at a creative low ebb, in part due to laziness, but also due to some genuine personal inconveniences.  I've therefore decided to mine my deep vein of Simpsons knowledge and appreciation and present my top 30 episodes, in hope that it will spark me to greater writing and/or musical highs.  It probably won't, though.

So every Thursday for the next 30 weeks, you'll go where I've gone!  Defile what I've defiled!  Eat who I've eaten!...  Oh, wait, no: that was Genghis Khan.  But if you tune in here each Thursday, I'll try and tell you why I like each of the episodes I've chosen.  And you might even stumble across a couple of very special bonus blog posts along the way!

But come not to judge, friend; these are merely opinions.  Creating debate is good, but slating others for their views on a television show is not.  Remember: everybody has a favourite Simpsons episode - and everyone is right.

How can you afford to miss this cavalcade of fun?  Colour yourself tickled pink to join us on Thursday for number 30, or we'll have to give your noggin a-floggin'!

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