Welcome back to our season-by-season look at the official Greatest TV Show of All Time. Every month (in theory), I track The Simpsons‘ development, in an attempt to identify whether each season has its own character, and whether the show really does have a clearly-defined ‘Golden Age’.
Welcome back to our season-by-season look at the official Greatest TV Show of All Time. Every month, I track The Simpsons‘ development, in an attempt to identify whether each season has its own character, and whether the show really does have a clearly-defined ‘Golden Age’.
This month, change is afoot – so what does that mean for everyone’s favourite Springfieldians, and does it push The Simpsons closer to the kind of jokes and episodes we all remember?
Welcome back to our season-by-season look at the official Greatest TV Show of All Time. Every month, I track The Simpsons‘ development in an attempt to whether the show really does have a clearly-defined ‘Golden Age’. How does the second season hold up to criticisms of racist stereotyping, and how does that sit alongside the show’s burgeoning interest in politics and morality? Plus, what’s with all the fish?
There aren’t many things in pop culture as huge as The Simpsons. In the sense of how dominant the show became as a cultural force, but also just the sheer amount of it that exists. 629 episodes as I write this, quite probably more by the time you read it.
It’s an impossible thing to hold in your head all at once, even if you have seen all of those episodes, but I reckon most people have a very specific idea of what the show is. The types of jokes, the structure of episodes, all the stuff that makes it The Simpsons.
Most people also have an idea of when it stops being, in any meaningful sense, that show. You’ll hear people talking about the Golden Years, and the darkness that has followed. No one quite agrees on the exact boundaries of this golden age, but the rough agreement seems to be seasons three to nine.
I’ve never been exactly clear on my own canon. It’s my favourite TV programme of all time – possibly my favourite thing of all time – but I’ve never watched the episodes in anything even approaching the correct order. I can reel off favourite jokes, episodes and characters, but I couldn’t pin down the era when the show feels most like The Simpsons to me.
Hence, this here project. I’m going to watch through all of the seasons in order, one a month, and report back. Starting here, now, with…
Here’s an incredibly obvious statement: The Wicked + The Divine is a comic about performance. Like, yeah, dude, do you remember the very first double-page spread? It’s like page 10 of issue #1.
‘Performance’ is always the word WicDiv chooses for the gods doing their artistic thing. Not show, or concert, or act. Most likely, that’s to help separate it from music – especially important when dealing with past pantheons, with their writer gods, cinema gods, theatre gods and so on – but I think it’s a telling choice.
Look at what Ananke – who is presumably the arbiter of this vocabulary – has to say about performance, in issue #9:She means that it’s easier to decapitate a god when they’re performing, but it makes sense because of the truth in the underlying metaphor. Art is a way of bearing your soul to people, and doing that live, with people in the room, who probably paid to be there? Well, I’m just thankful I’m a writer.
This isn’t the only kind of performance in WicDiv, though. There’s also a kind that has the opposite effect: performed identity.
We’re now staring down the barrel of 2018, so it’s time for a few non-music recommendations from the year gone by. Here are five of the comics I enjoyed most in 2017, in no particular order.
There is a glaring exception in the form of The Wicked + The Divine but frankly I have already spent more than enough words on that comic this year. If you want to read us going on about WicDiv, head here. Otherwise, see you below the cut.