The “Every. Simpsons. Ever.” marathon has been going for four days and they are now up to the 10th season with over 200 episodes aired. As the popular British rock band Coldplay once said, “…and it was all yellow.” But there is an unexpected side effect of watching every Simpsons episode ever, back-to-back-to-back for four straight days, and no, we’re not talking about wonky aspect ratios, even though we have brought it up here on The Inquisitr.
It seems that social media has taken the event and turned it into a nostalgic time capsule as world events from as early as 1989 when the characters first appeared are spoofed and mocked all through the 1990s, and in coming days, will reach into the 2000s. The series, when viewed all at once (with breaks for sleep, if necessary) acts as a type of history lesson.
The Simpsons has been on the air for 25 years, and the 26th season is set to premiere this fall on Fox. In that time, there have been four sitting U.S. Presidents (George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barrack Obama) with four different policies, domestic and foreign. The new millennium came and went, all without the Y2K incidents that were threatened. And that become the basis for a series of jokes in the 11th and 12th seasons and beyond.
The Simpsons was on the air before, during, and after September 11, 2001, and they dealt with it in typical Simpsons fashion, which in this case meant poignant, thought provoking stories involving Lisa. There is even a conspiracy theory out there that The Simpsons predicted the tragedy. The Berlin Wall fell and communism lost the Cold War. Saddam Hussein came and went, as did Manuel Noriega and Momar Khaddafi. Each was the butt of more than one joke during the show’s run and have been revisited in the “Every. Simpsons. Ever.” marathon.
Kids in high school when “Do The Bartman” hit the music charts are now grandparents, meaning two brand new generations have been created since the show premiered in 1989. Michael Jackson lent his voice to the season three episode, “Stark Raving Dad,” went through myriad legal troubles, and then passed away all during the show’s phenomenal run.
In the sports world, the New York Yankees were terrible when the show premiered and were even the butt of jokes in those early seasons. They went on to dominate the mid-to-late 90s and re-established themselves as one of sports preeminent franchises. In fact, four “new” MLB franchises (Florida — now Miami, Tampa, Colorado, and Arizona) were created during the run. Canada was awarded two NBA franchises in Toronto and Vancouver, even if the Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis a few years later. In football, the Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens and then Cleveland got another team that they also named the Browns. The Los Angeles Rams moved to St. Louis. Houston, Jacksonville, and Carolina all got franchises. There have been eight World Cups during the run.
The Simpsons has always made jokes at the expense of sports teams, and each of these moves have been addressed in one way or another. In “Homer at The Bat,” MLB stars like Mike Scoscia, Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey, Jr. starred as themselves. Scoscia now manages the Angels, Thomas is in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Junior is retired and will be eligible for the Hall of Fame as early as next year.
Death has also visited The Simpsons as former SNL actor and funny man Phil Hartman, who voiced Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, was killed by his wife, and most recently, Marcia Wallace, who voiced Edna Krabbappel, Bart’s teacher, passed away just last year.
Technology grew in leaps and bounds, as when The Simpsons first hit bulky CRT televisions, “high-defintion” was just a theory, and personal satellite broadcasting was still being developed. There was no internet when Homer placed all of his Santa money on a slow-witted racing dog. Now, you could very well be reading this article on your phone. Video tapes were replaced by DVRs, and Apple figured out a way to put large amounts of music on devices the size of a pack of cards and later the size of a pack of gum. Apple and their gadgets have been featured multiple times during the last six seasons or so.
Real world events have always been fodder for The Simpsons writers, and this is but a small sampling of how the “Every. Simpsons. Ever.” marathon has brought all of this back into the public zeitgeist. The historic run of all 552 episodes on FXX is more than just a fun, nostalgic trip down memory lane. It’s also a history lesson, as performed by Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Who knew learning history could be so fun? The “Every. Simpsons. Ever.” marathon continues every half hour through September 2nd on FXX.