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…