A previous boss and friend of mine had a theory: Everything in life can be related back to an episode of The Simpsons.
He was only a couple of years older than me, so we both belong to the generation that grew up watching the yellow, dysfunctional family. And after giving his theory due consideration, I agree with it 100 per cent.
Sure, there are the broad overarching parallels. I mean you may have – or be – an uptight, overworked, underappreciated nagging wife, an inadequate, alcoholic husband and father, a juvenile delinquent son, a studious, overachieving, know-it-all daughter or the overlooked youngest child.
(As a side note, according to this personality test, I am either Lisa Simpson or Edna Krabappel … interesting. I think I relate more to poor Edna, except for the liaison with Comic Book Guy. Go on, take it, you know you want to, and please share which character you are.)
But even if you don’t particularly empathise with the characters, there’s bound to be at least one episode that can relate to almost any life scenario you’re confronted with.
And sure, you could spoil my fun by saying that’s because the show has been running forever, but that’s not at all the point. Besides, you don’t even have to look to the slightly disappointing later series for your life reference – it’s all there in the earlier stuff.
Take my ballet class last night. It was the first class after the summer break, and my ever ungraceful limbs seem to have forgotten how to turn out and, even more basically, how to plie.
I’d love it if my class was like the episode where Bart discovers a great talent for ballet; instead, it’s like the episode where Lisa attempts to learn to dance. It doesn’t end well for poor Lisa.
Then there’s the issue of me being homeless right now. Well, naturally, that’s happened to the Simpsons too. Of course, their homeless situation didn’t come about in quite the same boring way as mine – previous plans collapsing and it being near impossible to find somewhere to live in my city at this time of year.
No, they lost their house to a carnie and his son, after Homer invites them to stay when he destroys their home. Of course, the Simpsons get the house back again by the end of the half hour, in a satisfactory manner.
However, it could be worse: I could relate to the episode where the much-put-upon religious nutbar Ned Flanders loses his wife because of a T-shirt cannon.
Clearly, I have a particular affection for the show – I do often slide a Simpsons quote into conversation, though my brother and a colleague are the only ones who always pick it up.
I think my favourite episode, besides the Treehouse of Horror pieces, is the one where Homer, fearing Bart is gay, takes him to a steel mill. It isn't quite the visit Homer was expecting.
There are many factors that make The Simpsons a centrepiece of generational zeitgeist and I’m not even going to attempt to write an analysis of it. If anybody needs me, I’ll be in my room.
What do you think about the theory of life and the Simpsons? Any scenarios where your own life relates to an episode of The Simpsons?
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