Here in the satirical but not derisive offices of The Curmudgeon, I am tickled orange at the new Simpsons milestone. Woo-hoo! By getting renewed by Fox for another 2 seasons, The Simpsons will surpass Gunsmoke as TV’s longest running prime-time drama. Gunsmoke, with their 20 year run, ended in 1975 and has held the record since. The Simpsons, currently in their 20th season, will go on to at least do their 21st and 22nd. And they don’t even have that “do-able” Miss Kitty.
It should probably be noted here that that still doesn’t even come close to the number of Gunsmoke episodes, which was an astounding 635 compared to The Simpsons paltry 493. Like baseball pitchers, people today just don’t work as hard as they did back in the good old days when things were done for the love of it and money came second. And like ball players, actors salaries have skyrocketed too. The main characters on The Simpsons will now earn Mr. Burns type money of $400,000 per episode. That’s enough to turn Homer’s “D’oh” into Dough! I would even marry one of Marge’s sisters for that kind of green.
I, for one, think the Simpsons is brilliant, especially in the earlier years, and I am not alone: It is broadcast in over 60 countries, won 24 Emmy’s, a Peabody, and lots of other stuff. The writing, sparkling and packed with innuendo and inside jokes (show-biz people love it) has a knack for satirizing human foibles, and the genius Danny Elfman’s theme song is easily the best TV theme music ever (my opinion).
There have been protests along the way. Anytime there is a cultural phenomena and it’s on television, you’re going to get your whiners trying to draw attention to themselves and their wacky cause. Last Sunday’s episode was no exception. Nelson, the big bully on the playground, said to Milhouse, “That’s so gay.” Uh-oh. Lookout. Here come the support-me-and-support-my-cause commando’s. Tiptoeing from the tulips on this one is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Seems that such humorous slogans are bad for gay people since it uses “gay” as a general taunt. Speaking out in support of GLSEN (ThinkB4YouSpeak.com) comes comedian Wanda Sykes (gay) and Hilary Duff (don’t know hope not). Spokesman Daryl Presgraves said, “Many people say gay without even realizing what they’re saying is bad.” Come on, Presgraves, It’s not bad…it’s funny. You’re soooo gay!
I wish they’d complain about me. I could sure use the publicity, even gay publicity. Before anyone sends me any nasty letters threatening me to grow a mustache or else, let me say, I have been in professional theatre – and show business in general – since I was 16, a very long time ago. Some of my best friends really are gay. Besides, you really can’t win that argument. I suspect you know this. If you call me a homophobe, I’ll call you a homoprobe. Ha, ha. Now, that’s gay! For a funny look at the opening for The Simpsons in India, please see the video below.
The Simpsons won’t change or become more politically correct anytime soon, so pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and hit the yellow brick road. When are the gays going to stop getting bent over…uh…bent out of shape over a little funny joke?