For most of my life, my dream job was a position that required me not just to watch The Simpsons, but quote them relentlessly. (A man who doesn’t react to “The goggles do nothing!” is a man I don’t want to know.)
I assumed this would forever remain an unfulfilled desire, seeing as there was as much need for this service as there were firms recruiting me for my ability to drink too much beer and sleep through lectures where they didn’t take attendance. Younger Sean did not imagine there would be a thing called “social media” requiring endless amounts of short sharable content… and leading to me being one of the team from Story Worldwide hired to handle the Facebook page and Twitter account for FXX’s #EverySimpsonsEver marathon.
For those unaware, from August 21 through midnight on Labor Day, FXX is doing just what the hashtag says: airing 25 seasons worth of Simpsons episodes (552 total) plus The Simpsons Movie, enough content to fill nearly 12 straight days of 24-hour-a-day programming. (It will set Guinness World Records for the longest marathon in TV history and the longest live tweet in Twitter’s existence, which is very cool, albeit slightly less so when I’m on TweetDeck for the midnight to 6am shift.)
We root for Homer, even as he inadvertently causes Grimey’s death and for good measure hijacks his funeral. So remember, the fun guy not only wins: he survives.
Before the marathon even started, I was assigned to locate classic tweetable quotes from every episode, which meant once we settled on our favorite 140-character-or-less phrases from a beloved episode, we only had to do it 551 more times. (All this work needed to be completed and approved in advance, so I essentially get to experience the marathon twice.)
As the marathon continues, here’s the advance takeaway from hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and more hundreds of episodes of Homer and company:
1. Love is a strange mix of independence and complete and utter dependence.
In “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”, Homer finally pushes Marge too far and winds up living in the family treehouse. He wins her back by declaring he can’t risk losing her again because he literally needs her to survive. (“We’ve been separated for a day and I’m as dirty as a Frenchman. In another few hours I’ll be dead!”) That said, two episodes later he steals hundreds of pounds of sugar and Marge’s love remains blissfully unaffected, as it does for most of the hundreds of crazy schemes that followed, with more still to come. Having recently gotten engaged, I am attempting to apply this to my own life. (I’ve also stopped eating the fancy soaps she buys for the bathroom.) Related…
2. If you’re in a relationship with a woman way out of your league, try to do something nice for her at least once a season.
In “Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, Homer panhandles for jewelry money. And suddenly it doesn’t matter so much that he was late and drunk for their reconciliation dinner in “Three Gays of the Condo.”
3. It’s better to be fun than to be right.
This paraphrases Simpsons show runner Al Jean’s summary of “Homer’s Enemy”, where bumbling Homer encounters the extremely deserving and capable Frank Grimes (a man who “lives above a bowling alley and below another bowling alley”), who, alas, is a killjoy and fails to delight in the antics of his nuclear power plant coworker just because they might get everyone killed. We root for Homer, even as he inadvertently causes Grimey’s death and for good measure hijacks his funeral. So remember, the fun guy not only wins: he survives.
4. Humanity will fulfill Mr. Burns’ dream of destroying the sun.
A generation grew up watching the man who once compared himself to Oskar Schindler (“We both made shells for the Nazis, but mine worked, dammit!”) episode after episode, season after season. At least a few capable young minds will view him less as a cautionary tale than an aspirational figure. Get set for some darkness, folks.
5. Even if they never age, people still change over time.
In “Team Homer”, Homer notes: “I guess some people never change. Or they quickly change and then quickly change back.” (For perhaps the only time, he was mistaken; witness Waylon Smithers’ blackness in Season 1’s “Homer’s Odyssey.”)
Now if you’ll excuse me, just under 200 episodes to go.