QUADRIVIUM

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Smash Cut – The Simpsons Movie

with one comment

I was eight when The Simpsons first appeared on Fox.  My mother would not let me watch it, but that didn’t stop me from sneaking a viewing here and there.  (Hi, Mom)  As I got older I started appreciating the humor—a more satire laden comedy than anything meant to undermine parents—and when word of the movie came out, a friend of mine asked me if I’d go with him to an opening night showing.  Of course, I said yes. 

This movie is as irreverent as any thoughtful parent might fear.  It’s PG-13 for a reason, you know, but that did not stop a gaggle of parents I saw from dragging their nine-year-olds into the theater. 

Everything we’ve come to expect from The Simpsons makes its way onto the film.  The movie is quick to criticize anything, even the audience.  Yes, there is a certain level of fanaticism involved in paying eight bucks to sit and watch something at the theater that I would ordinarily be able to watch at home for free.  If that makes me a sucker, then a sucker I shall be.

If you take this kind of thing too seriously, it would be easy to walk out of the film feeling like someone just spent an hour insulting your mother.  The government is portrayed as evil and inept; religion is still the bane of Homer Simpson’s existence.  In the midst of crisis, he frantically flips through the pages of scripture declaring, “This book doesn’t have any answers!” 

This would no doubt strike a nerve with any Christian in the audience if Homer was portrayed as the hero.  Homer, however, displays anything but heroics.  The one counterpoint, of course, is Ned Flanders, the okely-dokely, humbly religious next door neighbor.  And although believers might see Flanders as a prime example of over-simplistic Christianity, a closer look at the character reveals two important details: Flanders is always Homer’s foil, and he always wins.  The film continues this paradigm.  Even when opportunities for scorn and self-righteousness present itself, Flanders never folds; his steady faith and character consistently move him to do the right thing. 

Homer is, in every measure, the anti-father, and the hyper-dysfunctions of his family serve to highlight our own.  That’s why I laugh, at least.  I can understand the concerns parents have about this kind of comedy, and if so many parents weren’t taking their children to see this kind of movie, I might be more willing to jump off that cliff.  As it is, I am more content to just sit back and enjoy it. 

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Written by taj

July 30, 2007 at 12:04 pm

One Response

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  1. I think you are great! “Clap for Alaska”!

    Thank you,

    Spider Pigs owner…A.K.A. Harry Popper

    Homer Simpson

    August 8, 2007 at 4:38 pm


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