Believe it or not, I still watch and enjoy The Simpsons. Just not on Sundays when it’s new.
I wait however long is necessary until it’s on YouTube, and I watch it then. Alone. Often years after it aired. Why?
Because there’s no other way to judge it fairly. It’s ruined in its proper time slot.
There are bloggers who are paid to “critique” The Simpsons, as well as every other sitcom on Fox’s Sunday line-up. They got the job by having watched just enough of the show to entertainingly hate on it (in theory). Their work appealed to people who hate The Simpsons, for any number of reasons, ranging from barely legitimate to wholly capricious, and so they helped normalize an unsustainable business model. Blogging looks (and is) easy, which resulted in a multitude of armchair critics typing out their complaints into the latest CSS. Nobody reads any of it, but it feels like “accomplishment”.
This is an outbreak of fancer. Seemingly benign, but actually aggressive and malignant. People who are only “fans” of something so they can hate on it, and appear superior to whatever might be popular. Actually- it doesn’t even have to be popular. It can simply be something that someone likes, enjoys, or discovers organically.
However, this is only one form of fancer. There are others, equally as deadly.
For example, in recent years, The Simpsons began renting out its hoary opening “couch gag” to other animation studios, with results of widely varying quality. Don Herzfeldt produced one that, had I been armed while watching it when it premiered, I would have accidentally murdered my neighbors by unleashing a hail of gunfire into the TV screen and the wall behind it. All due respect to Mr. Herzfeldt, but I would be in prison right now. It’s a good thing I waited and saw it on YouTube, where I could use the slider to see where I should skip so that I can watch the actual, broadcast-suitable cartoon that I desired.
Again- all due respect. Adult Swim’s staff would screen this and say “sorry, we don’t despise our viewer base that much.”
My dad and I used to watch The Simpsons together. Were he alive to see the above, he would have turned it off at 30 seconds in, and that would be the last time that program darkened our television screen. It would have made both of us as angry as it makes me, and we wouldn’t speak of it again. We want to laugh and be entertained, not become irritated and confused.
I bring this up because I guarantee that intro has torn families apart. Anyone with any sense or wisdom can clearly see that it sucks, and would say so, and then… fancer sets in.
One of the kids claims to love it, after seeing how aggravated it makes the grown-ups. His sister brings up Don Herzfeldt, and how hurt his feelings would be if he saw her parents reacting so negatively. She’s never met him and never will, but she saw a cute picture of him in a blog interview, so she instinctively takes his side. Her older brother calls his mother and father “bigots”, even though he’s had pubes for a total of two years, and is himself subconsciously confused by rumors of Herzfeldt’s agenda. The grown-ups give up and let it go, but the children can’t, and won’t. They’ve found the Achilles heel. So it goes.
This is why people don’t watch TV as a family anymore. Fancer.
Not because of the quality of the program, or lack thereof, but because the show is specifically designed to divide viewers. To enforce diversity. The polar opposite of unity.
I get pretty touchy about this, because I live in the fucking United States. Have you heard of us? Almost every single second of television is designed to break that unity. Whatever it takes: we’re all fat, we’re all gun-crazy, we’re Bible-thumpers, our kids never have fathers, our schools are rotten to the core, et cetera. You’re so used to it at this point that you talk trash about your own soil. Your own people. Your own nationality. You joke about it on social media.
Then when someone calls you on it, you label them a tin-foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist. How could your little japes about the shittiness of the USA possibly be harmful? Everybody does it!
That’s the problem.
Show me one person that’s huge in 2018 showbiz, who mentions, even in passing, that America is great. One. One person is all I ask.
Don’t bother. No one does. The ones that do are destroyed soon afterward. Putting “America” and “great” in the same sentence is a career-ender. That’s what a bunch of fucking punks we’ve become. And I mean punks who get raped up the ass in prison, not the “cool” kind, if ever one existed.
Guess what- America is great. The greatest. (It used to be even greater.) If you live here, and you don’t feel the same even in some small way, you’re a fucking asshole and no one respects you. You look like a spoiled piece of shit. You use the worst examples of Americans to back up your disdain. The truth is, you’re the worst example. Good people have respect for the advantages they’ve been given in life; they don’t act like their faults are the world’s faults. You want to talk “privilege”? Walking is a privilege. Functioning legs are a privilege. Every breath that fills your lungs is a privilege, you sad little monster.
This is how deep the fancer goes. It became normal to judge your own life against the totally made-up existence of TV characters. You see Bill Cosby as a doctor and wise family man, instead of a cock-slinging date rapist. You see Roseanne Barr as a loving matriarch, making do for her children during hard times, instead of a shrieking, brain-damaged harpy. You see Jimmy Kimmel as one of the guys, instead of an dead-eyed, empty shill impersonating David Letterman’s voice.
Then when a friend verbally attacks one of these showbiz people, whom you do not know personally, you turn against that friend. Why would you do such a thing? Because the fancer got into your marrow. You’re dead.
Back to The Simpsons. Another couch gag of the past handful of years was from the company that produces Rick & Morty.
I have never watched Rick & Morty. It doesn’t matter what my reasons are; they will be invalid to any fan of the show. Because the fans turned me off of it. I don’t want to have any common ground with those people. Rick & Morty fans are primarily young adults whose lives were so empty and devoid of meaning, they latched onto the first new cartoon that divided its audience. They were so insanely jealous of the voracious fandoms of other shows, they decided to outdo them all, and be the lamest, most annoying bunch of fuckheads to draw breath. Rick & Morty‘s fans are fancer incarnate*.
[*Fans of Disney’s “Star Wars” are even worse, but that’s another article.]
So it happens that the first footage I ever saw of Rick & Morty was their Simpsons couch spot.
Am I on Newgrounds right now? Is this 2004? I know the couch gags aren’t generally good, but I’m seriously asking- why is this funny? Why would I sit through almost three minutes of that?
Why’s it good, because it kinda looks like all the other cartoons on FOX, vaguely? Same bug eyes and spastic movements? Why is it humorous, because the guy drinks a lot and burps in the middle of his lines? Because it’s all AAAHHH ZANY AND WACKY and then there’s some weird alien stuff, like Futurama did for two fucking decades? Is the old guy Lisa Simpson after gender-reassignment surgery, with spiky gray hair? Is the kid supposed to be Bart, or the kid from American Dad, or Bob’s Burgers? Why is this worth causing a stink over Szechuan sauce?
Maybe it’s good because it’s on Adult Swim all the time, because lord knows their standard of quality is sky-high; I mean, this is the programming block that aired Perfect Hair Forever. Which I might add, has its own rabid fanbase of jerky assholes, despite being something that shouldn’t even have aired on public access. Or at all.
The people who program these network schedules saw that even the cheapest, shittiest shows can have the loudest fans, and here we are. We’re not viewers anymore.
We’re candy-stripers in a never-ending fancer ward.