As a first-time viewer, I couldn’t stand ‘The Simpsons’

As a first-time viewer, I couldn’t stand ‘The Simpsons’
Image: YouTube screen grab

[Ed. – The thing I love about this review is the rigorous research approach.  I never watched the Simpsons myself, but if you’re a fan, I assume you can mine a lot out of the article.  The complaints about Apu do seem to recur.]

I have always been familiar with the cultural cachet of the show—the celebrity cameos, the impact on popular culture, and yes, the memes. But I didn’t know the names of characters or even the vastness of the show’s run. I simply assumed The Simpsons peaked in the 2000s, then vanished. I had no idea it was still on air.

But when I decided—really, was forced by my editors—to check the show out, I was intimidated by the nearly 639 episodes, so I searched for someone who could be my guide. I found Tyler Shores, a PhD candidate at Cambridge who taught a class at UC Berkeley called “The Simpsons and Philosophy” in 2003. …

Shores selected 11 episodes for me to watch, based off of my self-professed interests, with the intent of providing a healthy range. … And I have to say, every single episode I watched, nearly all from the golden age, gave me something different—a different core cast member feature, a different narrative formula, a different target of satire, a celebrity cameo. He also included one of his favorites and one of Matt Groening’s favorites. Here is the full list…

You might as well call me Frank Grimes, because I absolutely hate Homer, and couldn’t stand watching the show mostly due to his character. I don’t find him funny or likable—he’s an insufferable, pathetic freeloader. I don’t understand how people can bear him.

[…]

It is also worth noting that the treatment of Apu, and Asian characters more broadly, contributed to my distaste.

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