My wife is upset with me.
Which is par the course. I’m a dumb fella and can get under anyone’s skin. So someone being angry with me, much less someone I share a home with, is not surprising. The specific reason for the ire of my missus, however, is troublesome.
My wife is miffed because I let our kiddos, ages 5 and 7, watch The Simpsons.
“Inappropriate!” says she.
South Park? Sure, they’re probably not ready for that. Family Guy? Another one they’ll have to wait for. But The Simpsons? I think my better half is having a knee-jerk reaction to something she’s not overly familiar with.
To be fair, I have a decade of life on my wife. When The Simpsons premiered, I was the right age to both love the humor, and respect the life lessons the early episodes contained. I slowly backed away from the show around season nine, when (in my opinion) the series started to lose its luster. Given the age discrepancy between us, my Mrs. was too young to appreciate the early, classic episodes as they aired, and then conversely old enough to understand that what she was seeing (from seasons ten and onward) wasn’t quality television.
So I understand, in part, why she might not want our kids watching the show.
In part, that is.
But I disagree that the show is inherently inappropriate for kids, and can reference numerous episodes to prove my point.
- Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, a tale involving the meaning of Christmas, financial insecurity, and the importance of family.
- Bart the General, an episode about bullying.
- Old Money, where Grandpa Simpson inherits $100,000 and uses it to better the lives of his companions in the elder care facility.
- The Telltale Head, which offers a lesson on wanting to fit in.
- There’s no Disgrace Like Home… where Homer wanting nothing more than his family to be a better family; to eat home-cooked meals around the dining room table, not microwave dinners off their laps in front of the TV.
- Lisa’s Substitute, one of my all time favorites, because it’s about not feeling so alone in the world…
- …and of course, my favorite episode, Bart Sells His Soul. To me, that’s the show’s apex. It’s a near-perfect 20 (or so) minutes, with the only unnecessary moment coming from an out-of-place jokey-joke involving a street sweeper. But those few (“let’s throw in a stupid jokey-joke!”) seconds aside, Bart Sells His Soul is full of humor, and more importantly, heart. It is about personality, humanity, sibling rivalry, and sibling love.
When The Simpsons premiered it was wildly popular. Which means that naturally, there was backlash. Today it seems comical, but Bart Simpson was once demonized as being a terrible influence on children.
“What if children start to act like Bart?” concerned parents cried.
Well, then you’re probably a little too hands-off as parents. If a cartoon character is able to sway your child from the values you’ve instilled in them, then you didn’t do a great job. I may have been a sullen, angsty-angry teenager, but I wasn’t a rotten person. I listened to Slayer because the aggression spoke to me, but listening to music didn’t make me want to worship Satan (or even believe in Satan, for that matter).
I would much rather have my kids watching The Simpsons than half the crap they’re into. If given the opportunity, my daughter will watch Bunk’d, a show that will make your eyeballs bleed and your brain hurt. My son likes something grating called “Morphle.” Both shows make you want to day-drink like an NFL fan on Sunday.
Even worse, my daughter once stumbled across one of those YouTube channels where kids open presents. What’s worse for her overall development: mindless garbage like that, or a cartoon chock full of family values?
You watch what you want; I’ll stick with the four-fingered yellow cartoon characters.
At least, the first eight or nine years of them.
Like the way I think? Give my comedy a listen.