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02/23/2003

Jake and the Simpsons

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As you may know I am something of a Simpsons freak. It really is my favorite show on television. I don't watch a lot of T.V. but this is one show that I just can't miss. The fact that for the past two or three years, the reruns have been showing twice a day on the FOX affiliate doesn't hurt. Jake has been watching The Simpsons with me for at least as long as he could sit up. His earliest memories in regard to television will be Barney, Sesame Street and The Simpsons. Recently Jake had two interesting comments while watching The Simpsons.

Tonight, poor Edna Krabapple was lamenting to Bart that if she doesn't end up with Seymour Skinner than who else is out there for her? Bart paused a moment while a thought balloon appeared over his head. He was mentally running through all the eligible bachelors in Springfield. Among those that appeared were Mr. Burns, Kent Brockman, Bumblebee Man, Professor Frink, Waylon Smithers, Kang (or Kodos, I'm not sure), Comic book Guy, and The Sea Captain. Jake looks at me and says, "Smithers wouldn't do it, he's GAY!" Now for some reason I found that incredibly funny. And rather astute. One, that my six year old understands at least the basic concept of someone being gay. I know I wasn't even aware that there WERE gay people when I was six years old. Two, that the gay thing stuck out in his head. Because the way he phrased his comment was kind of indignant. Like he was angry at the creators of the Simpsons for even including Smithers in that group. He didn't seem to mind that Kang was included - he didn't say, "Kang wouldn't do it, he's an ALIEN!" But Smithers he noticed. I don't think he was being exclusionary. Meaning I don't think that he was somehow against gay people. I think he meant it more in terms of "Hey he's gay, did you forget?" I'd like to think that this shows he will have a healthy outlook on the concept of people being homosexual. As if the concept of being gay is barely an afterthought in terms of judging an individual.

The other observation that Jake made regarding The Simpsons was much more technical. I can't remember what the episode was but we were about halfway through it when he turned to me and said, "ya know, that every Simpsons episode has two details?" Wha? I asked him what he meant by that. He said, "There are always two details, two stories in each episode. Like today Homer is doing [whatever was in the episode] and Lisa is doing [whatever was in the episode]. I realized that he had caught on to the concept of the A story and the B story - the formula that 90% of all sitcom episodes are based on. Again, I don't know when I realized or read about the concept of the A and B story but I'm sure it wasn't at six years old.

I'm sure most of you have read this and thought "hmmm, how self-indulgent. The whole entry is him bragging about how smart he thinks his kid is." No, no, no, (well, yes), no. What I'm trying to say is that I think The Simpsons is a great learning aid. What I mean is that I think that The Simpsons should be in the curriculum of every kindergarten through 2nd grade school in this country.

Ok, you caught me. I was just bragging.