micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Unorganized comments about The Simpsons
I didn't watch the premiere but do remember many of my sixth grade classmates at Cadillac High School talking about it. It wasn't till January 28, 1990 and "There's No Disgrace Like Home" that I watched my first episode. From that moment on I was hooked and remember for the rest of the year watching the show weekly regardless of whether or not I had seen the episode before. My dad wasn't as religious about it as me but if it was an episode he hadn't seen before, he made a point of seeing it. At the time we weren't getting along and watching the show was one of the few things we could do together without yelling at the other. I find this interesting because I have since talked with a number of people about my age who wer forbidden to watch the show by their parents.
As much as I loved The Simpsons, at first I assumed it would be just a fad and quickly become something other than "must see tv." Those thoughts ended on December 6, 1990 and the airing of "Bart the Daredevil." The plot involves Bart's dreams of becoming a daredevil like his idol, Evel Knievel parody Captain Lance Murdoch. In a dream about this vocation Bart hears an announcer say:
Ladies and gentlemen, the ten-year old who's brave and bold,My dad and I burst out with uncontrollable laughter at the point and hardly stopped till we had seen the whole tale of how Homer J. Simpson suffered great pain to prevent Bart from doing so. The episode was hillarious but also established the characters as likeable people.
I started watching reruns daily during the summer of 1996 and didn't stop when I went to college that fall. I didn't have many friends in college and I spent more than three of my four years in school highly depressed but The Simpsons gave me great joy during many times when music was the only other source of that feeling. I was quite proud in the spring of 1997 when I realized I said "Doh!" naturally when something went wrong. People who know me know are often amazed by how it sometimes seems I can't get through a conversation without referencing the show. That's come from watching the episodes over and over, something I don't regret at all.
One could be quite philosophical about the greatness of The Simpsons by making comparisons to Plato’s Republic and the like but my honest feeling is that the show succeeds because of great writing for characters that I care about. I believe it really is that simple, and that important.