Saying goodbye to The Simpsons with a proper gorging.
JUMP THE SHARK It was supposed to be a fun week of TV-watching at the DEVO compound this weekend, as Art and Mrs. DEVO would be enjoying (which we have) the “Every Simpsons ever” marathon on FXX—wherein the network celebrates acquiring The Simpsons’ syndication rights by airing all 522 episodes of the show in a row between Aug. 21 and Labor Day.
It’s not a stretch to say that The Simpsons has been a major part of our married life. It’s one of the shows we both enjoy, it started about the same time we did, and it’s provided a hilarious commentary on life as we lived it together and with the endearing Simpsons. We even recorded more than 300 of the episodes onto 40 or so VHS tapes (that we gave away a few years ago), and we quoted it to the point of weaving the show’s dialogue into our vernacular over the years: “I don’t know, was I drunk?” “It tastes like burning.” “You don’t make friends with salad!” “Remember when I took that home-winemaking course and forgot how to drive?”
However, despite the nice little nostalgic high we’ve been enjoying, my buzz has been kind of killed by ads for the new season of Family Guy, which have been promoting a (sigh) crossover with The Simpsons for its season opener. Even though I’ll admit to not digging the last several years of The Simpsons, I’ve never liked Family Guy—but not for the reasons given by its more uptight detractors. It doesn’t bother me that it’s insensitive, crude and lowbrow—many of my favorites (Jackass, South Park) peddle in the puerile. I just don’t enjoy the show’s modus operandi of stacking mismatched pop-culture references on top of strained nonsequiturs until it’s padded out its 20 minutes of air time. It’s like those gross-out junk-food experiments where Skittles are sprinkled on a Big Mac that’s wrapped in a family-size pizza before being deep-fried in one dense wad of nothing. (But only the food in this comparison will actually bust your gut.)
It wouldn’t really bother me (and yeah, I realize I’m spending precious moments of my life being bothered by something created by Seth MacFarlane) if the random bits and references were funny. I admit that I’ve seen only maybe a dozen partial Family Guys, but I’ve never laughed at a single bit while watching it. I’d seriously rather watch almost anything—dumb reality shows, Fox News, Mama’s Family, even hockey!
Sadly, much of the latter half of The Simpsons lifespan—with the exception of 2007’s The Simpsons Movie and a random episode here and there—has resided very close to the eye-rolling Family Guy dead zone that makes me groan and talk out loud to the TV. But this really is the end. Even though there have already been many sightings (and more than one episode depicting actual shark-jumping), on Sept. 28, The Simpsons will officially be dead.
Change the channel, Marge.
• Help the arts survey! I got a note from friendly local artist and arts activist Muir Hughes reminding me that the Chico Arts Commission is continuing to canvass Chico’s cultural events with an Arts and Economic Prosperity survey, and that they could use some more help in interviewing arts patrons at local happenings. If you’d like to volunteer, send her a note at email@example.com.
• New totem series: Starting Sept. 1, and continuing through September, Marilyn Jennings will have a new batch of “totem” paintings (see image) hanging in the window of Chico Paper Co.