About a year ago, I began listening to the podcast Talking Simpsons, a chronological exploration of every episode of The Simpsons. The passion and admiration that the host, Bob Mackey, Christopher Antista, and Henry Gilbert exhibit for classic Simpsons is inspiring, to say the least. While I do own seasons 1-8 on DVD, outside of the occasional clip, it has been years since I have immersed myself in anything Simpsons related. It’s been a pleasure to listen to some of my favorite podcast hosts pick apart and gush over the earlier seasons of The Simpsons every week. But at the same time, it has brought a melancholy reflection to my youth, when The Simpsons was a cornerstone of my life.
For years, I would get back home from school every day and watch syndicated episodes. The zany yellow designs, clever jokes, and heartwarming moments felt more real to me than any lame sitcom every could. But as time went on and the quality of the show dipped, I started watching less frequently. Stopping completely wasn’t an overnight decision. There never came an exact moment when I realized that The Simpsons had become a sad imitation of its former self. By Season 14, I felt that I had watched my fill of the show and had simply grown out of it. I couldn’t bring myself to acknowledge that the series I once loved so dearly could decline so heavily. It was easier to ignore the show and fondly look back at what it once than to try and defend what the show had become.
Fast Forward 13 years since I’ve actively watched the show. I’ll probably never get to experience the excitement for a new episode of The Simpsons again, but Talking Simpsons has renewed my interest in the show. Haven’t rewatched my old DVD’s in years, Talking Simpsons finally gave me a reason to go back and rewatch the show. I had almost forgotten what it was about The Simpsons that I had loved so much. It really was a one of a kind show, filled with witty dialogue, old-timey references, and lovable characters. Talking Simpsons has given me a brilliant insight into the production, cultural context, and creative forces behind the show. I now have a better appreciation for what the first 8 seasons set out to accomplish.
If you are an old-school Simpsons fan, I implore you to go and give Talking Simpsons a listen. And if you enjoy the show, make sure to support their Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/lasertime/