By BEN R. WILLIAMS
I love The Simpsons.
I don’t mean that I like to watch The Simpsons when it comes on TV. I mean that I consider seasons 3-8 of The Simpsons to be not only the finest comedy program ever created but one of mankind’s towering achievements. I have memorized massive amounts of dialogue from The Simpsons. I can relate any topic back to a joke from The Simpsons (just ask my long-suffering girlfriend). I own a Simpsons Pinball Party pinball machine. On one occasion, I played a game of Simpsons Trivial Pursuit at a Christmas party and I had to stop after one game because I knew every single answer and I was undefeatable.
I will confess, like many long-time fans of The Simpsons, I haven’t watched a lot of the newer episodes. I find they’re missing a lot of the heart and humor that the classic era episodes contained. There are still some gems in there, but it’s pretty hard for a show to maintain the same high level of quality for 33 years.
One example of this is a season 18 episode of The Simpsons called “That ‘90s Show.” In this episode, Homer recounts the early days of his relationship with Marge in the 1990s when he was in a grunge band.
For fans like me, this episode was — and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here — a war crime.
It has long been canonically established that Homer Simpson is in his late 30s. Since the show started in 1989 (or 1987, if you include the shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show), that means a young Homer went to Woodstock, and that Homer and Marge dated and married in the late 1970s.
It also means that this presents a problem for the writers of the modern-day Simpsons, because after 30-plus years on the air, Homer should at least be in his late 60s. However, since the characters cannot age, the writers instead occasionally attempt to retcon their history in order to modernize it. “That ‘90s Show” aired in 2008, so even that episode is already 14 years out of date.
You see, the weird thing about watching modern episodes of The Simpsons is that I’m now 37 years old, making me roughly the same age as Homer — he’s anywhere from 36-40, depending on the episode. That means Homer is a millennial! Even though the media often makes it sound as though millennials are whiny little children, millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, making members of my generation between 25 and 40 years old.
And this leads me to one of the main reasons I can’t get into new Simpsons episodes.
I generally have no problem suspending my disbelief. I can believe that Homer Simpson has been a professional boxer. I can accept that he’s collected used cooking grease to make easy money. I can accept that he’s been a monorail conductor. I can even accept that he’s been an astronaut.
But I simply cannot accept that Homer Simpson, a millennial, is able to afford a house and two cars and support a stay-at-home wife and three children on a single income.
Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.