Woodworking: Even ‘His Holiness’ has come around to bless this TV gemFinally, one of my favorite television shows is getting the respect it has long deserved.
By: Dave Wood, columnist, River Falls Journal
Finally, one of my favorite television shows is getting the respect it has long deserved.
It all began almost two decades ago when I attended a bookseller’s convention in Las Vegas and was invited to dinner by one of the major publishers. It was a very big party with hundreds of guests.
The publishing company president got up and announced that this year’s big news was that they had signed a young man to a contract of several books soon to be written.
Then she mentioned his name. The young reviewers in the audience went wild with applause.
I sat there, an old dummy. I had never heard of Matt Groening.
Turns out Matt Groening, a new kid on TV’s block, was cranking out a sitcom made up of cartoon characters whose adventures had a satiric edge.
The series was called “The Simpsons.”
Now, after 20 years, “Simpsons” is a household word as is its creator. And ever since that embarrassing day in Las Vegas, I have been a very big fan of Homer (doh!), his bratty son Bart, his razor sharp daughter Lisa and the cast of characters that inhabit the fictional city of Springfield, where the mayor sounds like a member of the Kennedy Clan and Mrs. Marge Simpson has more hair to comb than she can imagine.
When I mention that it’s my favorite show on TV, people who have watched it once or twice look at me and wonder if I belong in a loony bin.
“What? A grown man watching a cartoon show about the high jinks of a pre-teen and his adolescent father?”
I try to explain that it’s a very adult show, and they look again and I can tell they think I really do belong in a loony bin.
But finally, last month, I found an ally — an important one, a big one. Last month newspapers around the world announced that the official Vatican newspaper had declared the Vatican had researched the show and concluded that that Bart and Homer Simpson were “good Roman Catholics.”
My heart leaped up. An august institution like the Roman Catholic Church had come to its senses and seen beyond the vulgar gluttonous and selfish surface of Homer Simpson’s character and even discovered that bratty little Bart was a pre-teen to be emulated.
Of course there were naysayers among the reporters who covered the story. The Associated Press surmised that the remark was merely the church’s attempt to appear “relevant” to the younger generation and to old fogies like me.
The good gray Star Tribune editorialist pointed out that the Simpsons regularly attend the Presbyterian church, whose pastor is Reverend Lovejoy, who is MARRIED.
Some of my friends had the temerity to suggest that the Vatican had never even watched the program.
Never mind. I’m neither Roman Catholic nor Presbyterian, but I’ll take my allies wherever I can find them.
The perky young woman who chirps endlessly about the benefits of Progressive Insurance: My friend claims the ad writers have accomplished their goal, because I remember the name of the insurance company. Maybe so, maybe so.
The reason I remember it is that every time I see one of those blasted ads, I remind myself never to buy Progressive or even take it if they gave it to me free.
Or the Holstein milk cows from the Midwest, the ones with Scandinavian accents who crawl under the fence and head for California, where they’ll be much happier -- penned up in a barn or crammed onto a feed lot.
The stern Geico Insurance spokesman who asks questions like, “Can I save money by switching to Geico?”
Followed by, “Does a woodchuck chuck wood?” Followed by woodchucks chucking wood.
Or, “Was Abe Lincoln really honest?”
Followed by a newsreel of Abe telling Mary Todd Lincoln that her new dress does make her behind look a little bit wider.
Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554.