Back when I was still sporting a pair of depressing grey pants and monotonous white shirts five days a week I was also quickly coming to the completion of my senior high school years. One business studies subject that I elected to take was particularly memorable as lots of hilarity ensued in the weekly class times. In between laughing at the teacher for his blasé attitude to teaching, sometimes deciding not to even show up to class, and parodying his regular Gil-from-Simpsons-like stories of near success that came crashing down, we made lots of other jokes and musings.
Once a friend and I made a passing observation that any topic, especially if it’s humorous can be linked to a Simpsons reference. You might have noticed how I did exactly that in referencing Gil, the unsuccessful and unlucky businessman of Springfield, to my former teacher in the above sentence.
I use to watch lots of Simpsons when I was growing up, and would probably wage that I have seen every episode multiple times up to some double digit season rangin in the mid-teens. These days I may catch a passing episode on TV everyone now and then. As of the day I am writing this the 23rd season of the show will be airing in September 2011. Approaching the 500th episode and over 20 years running (started in 1989) its little wonder that the show has referenced so many things in those years.
In the yearly seasons, which I would class as the classic Simpsons, majority of the humour was inspired by and focused on, family issues. The Simpsons family it self is meant to be the typical nuclear family in the suburban America.
As the seasons progressed the amount of jokes that could be milked by the producers from the limited characters and their traits ran a bit dry. More characters were introduced, some became more complex e.g. (Mr Burns who was originally a one-dimensional villain) and I noticed that the show expanded its references from old media and historic events to include current hot issues of the day. In the recent episodes I managed to catch there were references to current political figures and events i.e. the 2008 presidential election as well as the mention of news topics that were in the media.
Returning back to me reminiscing of my time in class and the observation that my friend and I made about the Simpsons; it does seem that the statement is true as more and more episodes are pumped out each season.
Southpark a few years ago had an episode that closely paralleled our thought – it was titled ‘Simpsons Already Did It’. It basically had one of the characters, Butters, devising evil plots only to be told that the Simpsons have thought of the idea already. Eventually Butters who couldn’t take it anymore had a breakdown and starts seeing his friends as Simpsons characters.
There is an idea on the internet called ‘six degrees of separation’. The premise is that any person on earth can be linked to another by knowing someone else who then knows someone else (as an acquaintance at least) etc. Within those six steps I can give a ficticious example of the six degrees of separation between me and Kevin Bacon. Because I have a friend who knows a guy in America, who knows a movie producer in Hollywood who worked with Kevin Bacon there is a chain between him and I. The reason I mention this is because the idea my friend and I mentioned, that any topic has a Simpsons reference, is similar to the above rule but with only ONE-degree of separation.
Devising a maxim to sum up the above, it could be stated as such:
Any topic or theme references back to the Simpsons
I have never met any diehard Simpson’s fans, which is surprising considering the popularity of the show. When I say diehard, I am talking about people who take the show religiously and defend it similarly to some sports fans defending their favorite team – taking any insult directed at the team/show as deeply personal slander.
I am also wondering why there hasn’t been some sort of religious order, centering on the Simpsons, forming together – Simpsonology? Perhaps taking the above maxim as its core dogma and emulating favorite characters in their daily lives, they may be ‘Groewning’ in knowledge. That’s right they may even have their own jargon (Simpsons-speak), for example ‘Groewning’; describing the personal growth in Simpsons knowledge, while paying homage to Matt Groening (PBUH :p) the creator of the show.
Furthermore instilling the order of dressing in bold contrasting colors and the insistence on muttering memorable catch-phrases to help etch their favorite scenes from the show deep into the hippocampuses would be the norm. In case they are arrested or in anyway unable to re-watch another late-night Simpsons marathon they may still relive the sweet melody of Krusties voice, or meditate on Apu’s soothing Indian accent.
I say I am surprised that the above hasn’t occurred already because these has been many other examples of a whole culture and religion forming around a particular Movie or Movie set.
Here are three most famous ones I know of:
Star wars – Jedi religion
Did you know in Australia more than 70,000 people (0.37%) declared themselves members of the Jedi order in the 2001 census. Most of those are probably just people thinking it would be funny to put Jedi as their religion, but there are serious George Lucas fans who take the whole philosophy of being a Jedi to heart.
Here are some sites dedicated to ‘Jediism’
The Big Lebowski – Dudeism
Dudeism is a religious following that sprang up from the character named ‘The Dude’ from the hit movie ‘The Big Lebowski’. The Dude is a hippy like character who has an easy laid back attitude to life and enjoys bowling. Yep that’s all it took for the followers of Dudeism to unite under a common mission to spread.. lost my train of thought there, well something important.
The Matrix – Simulated reality
Not really a religion, but more of a wide ranging belief in a world that is a simulation of some form. Whether we are all brains in a vat, or are part of a computer model. The later idea especially reinvigorated people into postulating the computer simulation, after the release of the movie The Matrix. The idea is not new in any sense, but did receive a movie themed following after it’s release.