The Simpsons

“Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says ‘Genius at Work’ spend all of his time watching a children’s cartoon show”

Homer Simpson, Itchy, Scratchy & Poochy

Yes, I love the Simpsons. That’s me at left, after I’ve been Simpsonized. Give me any social situation, and I can usually reach way down for a quote from some long-forgotten episode from Season Three. And for the last several years I’ve been waiting in breathless anticipation of this moment.

I was quite prepared to say ‘Doh!’ at the end of The Simpsons Movie. Too many times has Hollywood led me along the garden path, heightened my anticipation, only to provide a creative hoof to the cojones: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, even-numbered Star Trek movies, Batman & Robin, Jar-Jar Binks.

So again, it was a sense of dread that followed me into the Galaxy Theatre on Tuesday night, even as I hoped against hope that Hollywood would not, once again, let me down.

For once, I wanted Hollywood to give me a chance to say ‘Woo-Hoo!’

“I’m no art critic, but I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this”

Montgomery Burns, Brush With Greatness

There will be no need to worry about a spoiler alert – I ain’t giving anything away. The animation is a wonderful combination of the style of seasons three through eight, and Futurama, eschewing the clean but sterile look of the digital animation of recent seasons. The level of plot and character development explains what’s happened to the series the last several years – all the work and effort has gone into the movie while the writers have been left the series to wallow in non-sensical endings and a loss of any sense of character. Where once Homer was stupid and tender, he would only be stupid. Where Bart was once cruel and protective of Lisa, he would only be cruel.

And Marge, wonderful Marge. The writers returned the depth and strength to this character, something I haven’t seen in years.

When Jon Stewart had Simpsons creator Matt Groening on The Daily Show a couple of weeks ago, for a moment I hoped he would reach across the desk, give Groening a shake, and say, “What the f**k… Please explain just what the f**k your writers have been thinking the last few years.” Sadly, however, Stewart tends to get fawning and sycophantic when certainly people appear across the desk, so there was none of that…

Why do I invest so much interest and energy in a fictional world of 2-D characters? For the tenderness and poignency of Lisa’s Substitute or Saturday’s of Thunder, the pointed social commentary of Homer’s Phobia or Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington, the absurdity of all those Treehouse of Horror episodes.

And for the sheer laugh-out-loud antics Sideshow Bob.

Us Simpson fan have been waiting a long time – not just for this movie, but also a return to all the things that made The Simpsons such a great show.

The movie delivers, and more.

The movie makes up for nearly all the sins of the last few years; well, except for The Principal and the Pauper – nothing makes up for that one, and I think even Groening will admit that…