We Now Live In A Simpsons World

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So FXX is holding the marathon we’ve all been waiting for: Every Simpsons episode, in order, constantly, for twelve days.  It’s pretty amazing to think that the Simpsons has been around since the late 80s.  In fact, some significant portion of my readership – living, breathing human beings who fuck and vote and eat filet mignon – are younger than the Simpsons.
And yet I just watched an episode which showed how crazily the world has mutated since the Simpsons began.
That episode is the tenth episode of the first season: Homer’s Night Out.  In it, Homer does a sexy tabletop dance with a bellydancer, Bart takes a picture, and it goes viral.  The next thing you know, everyone in Springfield is talking about the picture – people laughing and cheering Homer on, Mr. Burns asking Homer for lady advice, bars full of men admiring Homer as their Playboy-style hero.  Eventually, Homer does a pratfall-landing in the middle of a stripper nightclub during the emcee’s act – and the emcee, instantly recognizing Homer, uses him to draw in new crowds.
And it took me like fifteen minutes to remember that at the time this was written, this was fucking satire.
Back in the days before the Internet – hell, when faxes were still clunky and kind of high-tech – there is no way that a Xeroxed photo would be passed around that quickly.  The idea that Bart could just make fifty copies and post them around town and catapult Homer into ludicrous pseudo-stardom was, actually, something audiences at the time found absurd and funny.  Of course Homer wasn’t going to wake up one day to find that, while he slept, the entire town had passed around his antics.
But… today….
Shit, that happens all the time.
We now live in a world where the most comedic exaggerations of the Simpsons are now actually dwarfed by what can really happen.  Because if that photo goes viral, well, Homer could be worldwide famous.  They wouldn’t just cheer him on, they would make fan videos, cosplay as Sexy Dancing Homer, show him on networks, and Jesus if you think of what’s happened to Grumpy Cat or Chris Crocker, the reaction of Springfield – Springfield! – seems positively sane in comparison.
We have entered a time when the parody of twenty years ago actually cannot encompass the reality of today.
I’m not sure whether that’s scary or exhilarating.

1 Comment

  1. Marchbanks
    Aug 21, 2014

    And this is just why Tom Lehrer quit writing songs in the late ’60s … he said himself that the world had got so weird he couldn’t possibly exaggerate enough to satirize it.

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