We have been on a bit of a Simpsons binge lately.
We have been loyal Simpsons fans since the beginning. My husband and I even remember them on The Tracey Ullman Show (yes, we are that old). And our children have watched the Simpsons since they could see. In fact, when they were little and hadn’t figured out “time” yet, we’d explain longer car trips in terms of the equivalent number of Simpsons episodes.
I remember the furor of discussion around whether or not The Simpsons was appropriate for children. Not only did ours watch The Simpsons regularly, but my daughter’s favorite stuff animal was a Bart Simpson rag doll we found at a garage sale. In fact, lines from various Simpsons episodes made it into our family lexicon and remain there to this day. From “Eeeeexcelllllent…” courtesy of Mr. Burns to “I can’t believe you don’t shut up!” made famous by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, it’s difficult to have a conversation in our house if you don’t speak “Simpson-ese.”
But I digress, people actually questioned us about the fact that we not only watched but encouraged the kids to watch The Simpsons. My answer was simple. It’s a cartoon. If I can’t teach my children the difference between real life and a cartoon…or any form of television…then I’m really not doing a pretty basic part of my job as a parent.
In addition to that, a number of Simpsons episodes started really interesting family conversations about religion, homeless people, love, faith and a number of other “heavy” topics. Which gave us as parents a chance to share our views without sounding preachy, and the kids a chance to share how they were starting to form their own opinions, which might be different from ours, without feeling vulnerable.
Finally, if you take the time to see past the sarcasm and slightly inappropriate comments (which look pretty tame these days!), every episode really ends with an affirmation that for all the fighting, they are a family who loves each other and has each other’s back…which frankly, is the family that I want.
Not to mention that even the early episodes still pack enough laughter for us that it’s totally worth a repeat watch.
Some of you may not agree, and that’s fine. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. But remember, “I’ve had quite enough of your Vassar bashing!”