“Never stop, never whatever, Near and far, and always and everywhere and everything.”
-Donna Lewis, “I Love You Always Forever”
Marathons are not for the faint of heart. They’re grueling, test the limitations of each individual, and directly affect the daily functions in a person’s life. In the end, it’s an accomplishment that is rewarded with nothing monetary, but the physical strain provides a person with the sense of achievement; the fact that they reached a goal and conquered it. What about the professional marathons? Don’t the winners win money? Oh, I must apologize, I wasn’t talking about running. I can’t run a marathon and never plan to, but I have tuned in for an obscene amount of television viewing all dedicated to one program though. However, never to this extent.
FXX, a side network to FX, and a side side network to FOX, began airing The Simpsons marathon on Thursday, August 21st. This wasn’t your old “few hour a night” marathon, it was 24/7 for 12 days. All 25 seasons, all 552 episodes. People may say that it’s pointless to do such a marathon, who ever would watch a cartoon for that long? Well, FXX, a seemingly unknown network, is now a top-five rated cable channel since the beginning of the animated festival of comedy (Fox, 2014). Not only has this marathon ruined the health and employment status of quite possibly millions of people (don’t research that), it has also earned the right to continue…forever. FXX announced that they will be airing The Simpsons for six hours every Monday, four hours on Tuesdays, four hours on Thursdays, six hours on Fridays, and another four hours every Sunday (Fox, 2014). Therefore, I’m sure you had your calculator out and already know this, every week will have at least 24 hours of The Simpsons. Not bad for a cartoon that was once just a silly idea in the late 80’s. Oh man, the things that came out of the 80’s.
There isn’t much that hasn’t been said already about The Simpsons so I will simply state the facts (all facts provided by Wikipedia).
-25 Seasons (2013).
-Longest running American sitcom.
-Longest running American animated sitcom.
-Longest running American scripted primetime television program.
-The Simpsons Movie grossed over $527 million worldwide.
-Time Magazine named the show the 20th Century’s best television series.
-30 Annie Awards.
-Let’s not even get into merchandising.
The longevity of the program and the affect it has had on the world is astonishing. It’s not just a cartoon, it’s not just some television show that people tune into, it has become a cultural icon and a way of life. The Simpsons is a staple of American television that has spread internationally. No show has run for a longer period of time, and that’s in large part to the writing. Animation can survive in a world of sensitivity and regulations. One: it’s not reality. In this last decade or so reality show craze that audiences have been manipulated by, we forget that creation is a form of imagination; it’s a form of appreciating art and escaping the normal mundane life most people live, but still finding a relation to keep viewers coming back. Two: Cartoons push the limits of the FCC. They are able to poke fun at real life because no one takes it seriously; it’s a cartoon! Three: there’s no aging process. The characters remain consistent so humor can always be derived from current affairs, political follies, and pop culture.
Generations can relate to The Simpsons. Seriously think about, the show has spanned the life of college graduates who have gone onto complete their Master’s program. It’s simply amazing. Personally, after watching bits and pieces of the marathon every day, I can’t believe how many episodes I have actually seen, and now I even get some of the jokes that I didn’t understand as a kid. Everyone knows Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie; everyone knows the side characters; everyone knows quotes from the show and at least one song; everyone knows the famed actors, athletes, broadcasters, and politicians that have guest starred (vocally of course); and everyone knows that The Simpsons are an average American family struggling to get by for the last couple of decades like most of us. Hell, the influence has grown so much that I live in a town where the baseball team is directly related to the show! Now that’s great television.
Thank you Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon for everything.