Happy birthday, The Simpsons. As of 2013, you’re 23 years old. Now what?
You’re the television show analog of a recent college graduate who either can’t find or has no interest in a desk job – a first-world vagabond. It’s like your days are spent scanning bar codes at Trader Joe’s, dreaming of infinite creative executions; while your nights are spent banging out freelance graphic design work for an uncle of a friend of a friend. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. And in the midst of this modern nomadism, you still have our attention.
We’re still watching: because syndication mixed with nostalgia makes heroin seem like green tea with a dash of honey. You’re finest moments genuinely shaped those of us who came of age in the 90s.
Remember when Homer rejected church and God acquiesced? That was a profound and zeitgeist-y moment – both spiritually and comedically.
Remember when Maggie shot Mr. Burns? Some of us still harbor doubts in the form of Springfield-based night terrors.
Remember when Bart Simpson was the lead and we all wore those daring skateboard t-shirts to elementary school? Our teachers totally had cows, man.
Remember when you made irony cool before irony was cool? We should write an IOU from the city of Seattle and Alanis Morissette.
And fret not: We’re still tuning in.
Ridiculous society marches on, and someone needs to poke it with an animated stick. We know what you’re capable of. We know where you’ve been and we liked it, so we contemplate the ebb of now and chalk it up to a natural part of the process. Plus, your voices and go-to thematic thought provocation provide familiarity and security, which feels good in a somewhat uncertain age. Perhaps we’re merely waxing nostalgic, but you still stir light-hearted hope in all of us.
The reality of The Simpsons in 2013 isn’t a secret. At 23, you’re a far cry from your magical infancy and astounding tweens. But it’s not so bad. You’ve aged with us. Each new episode now is like an ice-cold Tecate; we trust it even if we don’t love it. Your cynical wit and still-sharp social commentary is a lot like how we all complain about the shallow missteps of the Obama administration even though we still voted for him.
You have a duty to keep America glancing in the mirror. That is the depth of our bond.
Ahem, maybe I should pump the brakes. This is getting way too metaphorical and emotional. I mean, you’re just an animated show featuring donuts and big blue hair, right?
Wrong. You’re so much more than that. And, really, it’s amazing you’ve made it this far. We owe you a million hat tips and then some. For now though, we offer ceaseless quotations and inexplicably loyal DVR space.
Here’s to another trip around the sun and to the next stage of your small-screen adulthood.