[A] mix of imaginary recurring characters, absurd voices and a wealth of knowledge about everything Simpsons is what you get when you listen to Dan Mulhall and Jack Picone of the podcast series Worst Episode Ever. It’s a podcast about The Simpsons, by people who love The Simpsons, about how much they hate The Simpsons. Hosts Dan and Jack descend into madness reviewing and ranking all the “post-classic” episodes of the beloved animated sitcom in order to order to find the worst episode ever. It’s the podcast equivalent of getting together with your friends and complaining about why things suck the way they do, and it’s fucking brilliant.
The plunge in quality of the latter two-thirds of The Simpsons is a problem that is very apparent to fans who grew up with the series in the 1990s. Personally, my brother and I grew up watching The Simpsons each night after dinner and it shaped how I view comedy and storytelling today. But I remember losing touch with the show I loved, and once I was an adult I saw it turn into a crude caricature of itself. This situation is unexpectedly universal- and these two guys make a podcast about it.
Picone and Mulhall laugh, and mainly get pissed off about how the show has developed from a down to earth picture of American life to the well-known characters changing into “jerkass Homer” and “oversexualized Marge”.
I had the pleasure of talking with these two hosts about The Simpson’s, how TV has changed, and the downward spiral of absurdity the animated series has now become.
Below is the transcribed interview with Jack Picone and Dan Mulhall. It is edited for brevity and clarity.
Goomba Stomp: What makes The Simpsons, specifically the classic era so special to you guys?
Dan: Oh man, You know, I think there’s a few factors to it. Obviously, we grew up with the show, I mean we were both born in the mid-80s, so when The Simpsons was hitting its stride, is right around the time that we’re hitting our stride as 10-year-olds and 11-year-olds. But also I think just when the show came out, it was really unlike anything that came before it. I mean, there had been primetime animation and maybe even animation for adults to a certain extent, but I feel like the idea doing this idea of this kind of down to earth, dysfunctional sitcom that was also very satirical and just jam-packed with jokes and visual gags-
Jack: (interrupting) I think it’s more- as much as the quality is important and I think there’s almost more quantity than quality for me, because [The Simpsons] was on syndications, so it was on two episodes a night. I was raised mostly by my grandmother while my Mom worked, and I would watch- after dinner we would just watch an hour of Simpsons every day. So I would watch- you know this is why I’ve seen the classic episodes HUNDREDS of times. I guess we were just really lucky because that could have been anything, that could have been Home Improvement, which I did also watch two episodes a day, but we’re not doing a Home Improvement Podcast,
Dan: It could have been Different Strokes…
Jack: It could have been any one of these syndicated shows, and we got lucky that at the time, the syndicated shows that were on an hour, actually like two hours a day because they would also be on again at 11:00 at night, happened to be the greatest show, maybe ever. And Seinfeld too, we were really lucky, it was just the right place right time for me.
Dan: Yeah, and just as far the personal connections- like I watched The Simpsons with my entire family like it was a family show. We would eat dinner and watch The Simpsons syndicated episodes.
Jack: No, we didn’t watch TV, we had class in my house. We ate and then we watched TV.
Dan: (doing a voice) Well we ate garbage and we watched television. But then also just my friends, all my friends watched The Simpsons and [guest of the show], who’s been on the show several times, he’s one of my very good friends and we co-host Simpsons Trivia now and you know, that’s just something we used to do when we were kids, is ask each other Simpson’s Trivia questions.
Jack: But we’re lucky because imagine when we were 15 or 20 years younger, and like the best show on TV was The Office. The Office is a great show, even though maybe it’s ‘classic’ seasons are a little bit shorter range but if that’s the show we were watching in syndication at 7 o’clock, if people, kids probably don’t even watch in syndication anymore because of the smart apps and such.
Dan: They watch Youtube.
Jack: Yeah, but anyway, you go home, and you’re at the next day at school and you’re talking about “oh did you see Jim and Pam’s latest episode?” I think again we were lucky that The Simpsons was just maybe the greatest show ever. Top three, top five, whereas the best show in most eras is not going to make that list. It might be top 10, top 15, but it’s not the same.
Dan: So, the classic era was good because we were lucky.
GS: Yeah, and I agree. I’m only 24, I was born in 1992, The Simpsons to me was almost like a ritual. Because for me too, growing up it was, you know, we watch The Simpsons, we eat dinner, X-Files comes on, and I have to go to bed. So I definitely feel that sense.
GS: In that post classic era shift, how did that affect you? When did you know that The Simpsons became bad?
Jack: See, it’s again timing for me. It’s the post classics that started the Purgatorio started when I stopped watching The Simpsons because I was like, going into high school and I was like, hanging out with friends after- you know I wasn’t around at 7 o’clock in the evening. So I wasn’t watching it nearly as much and even if I did catch the primetime or caught a few episodes, I wasn’t seeing them hundred and hundreds of times like I saw the first eight seasons. So again I got really lucky that I don’t have a nostalgic tinge for season 10 and season 11 like some people do. And I think maybe that’s why I’m less prone to defend them. A lot of people say “oh no season 10 alright, season 9 alright” and I go “no! no, it’s not” and I think-
Dan: (interrupting) eh, I think they have their moments
Jack: yes, they have their moments, sure. But no, I think again the timing was right.
Dan: But we went to high school together so we were still watching the show at that point. I remember we used to talk about Simpsons back in the day.
Jack: And we were watching the repeats
Dan: We were watching both.
Jack: I wasn’t watching Sunday night.
Dan: I mean, when I was a kid, I used to record The Simpsons episodes off the TV, I have every episode from season 1 through 11, I think, recorded on VHS somewhere in my parent’s house. And I would rewatch them all the time. But for me, my breakup with the show, for lack of a better word, when I went to college and didn’t really have access to television, this was the 2002, 2003 season-
Jack: (interrupting) you went to Hobo College.
Dan: I went to Hobo College where there’s no television. It’s just bindles 101 and eating beans out of a can next to a flaming barrel.
Jack: That sounds like Cornell.
Dan: It’s a lot like that, BUT when I went to college, so many people were Simpsons fans, just my contemporaries, I guess, at Cornell?
Jack: Your contemporary Hobos. Three-toed Jim.
Dan: And three-toed Pam from The Office. From Hobo Office.
Jack: That’s a great show, Hobo Office! They work as an empty can of baked beans salesmen.
Dan: SO when I went to college my freshman year, people would gather in the common room, the only place where there was TV to watch The Simpsons on Sunday nights and I did, kind of at a loyalty to the show until the episode- and we’ve done this on the podcast- “The Great Louse Detective” which is the one where Sideshow Bob investigates Frank Grimes’s son. That episode, I thought was so bad and so stupid that I walked out of the room and I walked out of the show for, like, years and I didn’t watch new episodes.
Jack: Were there people in the room that like, weren’t as hardcore Simpson’s fans like ‘ugh, what’s up Dan’s ass?
Dan: No, in fact, I was surrounded by REALLY hardcore Simpsons fans. Especially this one kid whose name I don’t even remember who I didn’t like-
Jack: Three-Toed Jim
Dan: (laughing) Three-Toed Jim
Jack: You’re the one that took his toes-
Dan: I guess we got into a discussion, it wasn’t really an argument, because I didn’t really know this guy too well and I was just like “this episode sucks, it’s stupid” and he’s just like “yeah, but it’s The Simpsons, you gotta still watch it” and I was like “No, I don’t! If it’s bad- time is short, I’m gonna die one day, I don’t have time to sit around and watch these terrible episodes”. Now I’ve started a podcast to do just that.
Jack: So he won.
Dan: So he won in the long run. I hope he’s a listener.
“I’m starting to realize that there still wouldn’t be this deep emotional connection fans have to it 20 years down the line.”
GS: Yeah, when you’re younger you don’t really have a consciousness over what’s good or bad- it exists, therefore it must be good. I remember that was The Simpsons [for me] for a long time and it was the episode “Saddlesore Galactica” and that was the first where I was like “this isn’t good.” and I was still pretty young, and I was like “I don’t think I can watch Simpsons anymore”.
Jack: Even BABIES don’t like it.
Dan: I mean, look, there is a reason that was the first episode that we did on the show. Like that is one that I think- I don’t think you’re alone. I think a lot of people were just like “oh, this bad”. Like, “why are there elves who are jockeys and they’re singing a song in a tree?”
Jack: It didn’t feel like The Simpsons.
Dan: No, it just felt like crazy make-em-up cartoon land.
GS: Yeah, and not in a way that The Simpsons used to do it. Like, a play on meta things, it was just completely bizarre.
Dan (left) and Jack (right) on CBC Radio’s “The q”
GS: There’s obviously a lot of problems with post-classic era Simpsons, and if you had to pin down one thing that makes the episodes awful, what would it be?
Dan: I would probably say there’s much less of a focus on character-based humor and kind of tying the humor to the story. There’s so many more non-sequitur jokes, which they did back in the day, but we just had this conversation in the episode we just recorded, there’s so many things that kind of- jokes that would enhance the plot of the episode or would deepen a character somehow and that nowadays, I feel like they don’t put the effort in to do that kind of stuff. And it’s just like, ‘Homer’s going to sit in the corner and like go da duh da duh duh‘ because that’s a funny noise for someone to make.
Jack: although that was funny when he did that in Bart’s Comet.
[we lose some of the audio here]
GS: What was the tipping point then, that made you guys turn this complicated relationship with the Simpsons into a Podcast?
Jack: The long story was, I said ‘let’s buy a [raspberry pie]”. Let’s come up with some kind of amazing invention and become billionaires.
Dan: Yeah, you wanted to like, do something together basically.
Jack: Make a [small] business.
Dan: I’m a huge podcast guy, I listen to a ton of podcasts. At the time, there wasn’t really a Simpson’s podcast.
Jack: There weren’t any.
Dan: I mean, Podcasts I feel like now have blown up and there’s multiple podcasts for everything. At the time, that wasn’t totally the case, it was just becoming-
Jack: There were still way too many, but it was like the second wave and now the third way is even more exponentially more.
Dan: At the time, there weren’t really any Simpson’s podcasts. I thought of the idea about naming a podcast Worst Episode Ever, and I was like “well what would that show be?” you could watch the newer episodes [of The Simpsons] and figure out which one is the Worst Episode Ever. I would listen to a show like that, and who would be better to do it than me? I was very humble. So I called [Jack] up and was like “I got an idea for this thing do you want to try it out and see?” and [Jack] was like “I know a guy with some equipment, we can get some stuff, we can record some test shows” which ultimately were our first four to six episodes. We tried it out and it kind of took off a little bit to start.
Jack: We only did two test shows. We were cocky sons of bitches.
Dan: We recorded two in the same day and then that’s our first two episodes.
Jack: I was attracted to the idea- I don’t really, I have no faith or passion for lists, like subjective one hundred Rolling Stone’s best album lists, because it depends on your mood when you’re doing the ranks. I really don’t give a shit. You can tell when you listen to me do the rankings. I’m more as a writer, or whatever, I’m just fascinated with the idea of “how did the funniest show on television, maybe ever, become not funny?” Just the idea- how does that happen? I thought by watching an episode every week- also I was really curious to why- I was having fun with [Dan] the first few weeks because I watched post-classic Simpsons, [Dan] didn’t. The first two or three weeks before Dan became jaded it was great, he was so mind blown away by how different these season 22 episodes were.
Dan: It’s true.
Jack: But anyway, I thought by now I would have come up with some kind of theory on why the funniest show ever isn’t funny anymore and we have. We’ve touched it, but it’s still out of our reach.
Dan: I don’t know if there’s a grand unified theory.
Jack: There might not be.
Dan: We have lost our minds slowly over the years we’ve been doing the show.
Jack: Now we’ll watch the weirdest fucking episode and to us, it’s just like we’re still used to it. It’s just like, if that was the first episode we had watched after only watching the first 8 seasons, we’d probably be like ‘what the hell just happened?’ And now we can watch the Aliens Episode, the Lego episode and we’re just like “okay”. Another week, another weird post-classic episode.
Dan: Sure, why not, there’s still 600 more episodes to go, let’s keep going.
GS: Do you feel jaded my any means by watching all of these [episodes] or are you still gung-ho to keep going forward?
Jack: I’m shocked we find, every week we find something new to talk about. we certainly hit a lot of the same beats over and over, and I really thought, I originally thought the podcast would be 20 minutes per episode.
Dan: No way.
Jack: But then I thought by now they would be shorter and then maybe we could cover two or three episodes per episode. We would be like “well this is all the beats we’ve hit” but every week we find something new that they, that they find something new to fuck up every week.
Dan: Plus, I mean, it’s a lot of work to put the show together, but I think [Jack] and I, we have so much fun when we’re doing it, which is why like all of these characters and all of these little bits have kind of evolved just because we’re making ourselves laugh while we’re recording the show and putting it in there and people were like “do more of that” at least some people were.
Jack: I guess this is kind of obvious but yeah, the most fun part of the process is the actual recording.
GS: Now that you’ve ranked over 100 episodes, what has changed over that time?
Jack: I’ve noticed, Dan was like, hard on the show in the beginning, like “this is not The Simpsons, this is just terrible”. And I really, really went out of my way to give the benefit of the doubt. This is why maybe they’re making this joke- and I feel I’ve become more of the “angry dad” in the relationship over the last 20-30 episodes, where I’m the one where “no, I’m not budging, this is shit.“
Dan: I don’t even know about that. Because I feel like a lot of our recent episodes, the one we just did, the crosswords one, I was pretty hard on it and you, well maybe you convinced me to be harder actually. I mean, I think just over 100 episodes- Jack’s right, I mean, I kind of in the beginning didn’t know how bad it could get. I mean, we did a couple of episodes just kind of at random that we picked to start. One of them happened to be the episode where Bart impregnates his teacher by using voodoo?
Jack: Classic TV plot. Dick Van Dyke did it.
Dan: I mean that was- I was kind of shocked at how odd and terrible that episode was, but now I think if I watched it as episode 104, 105 of the podcast it probably wouldn’t have thrown me for nearly as much as it did when it was episode 2.
Jack: That’s why the rankings are so subjective. If we just watched any one of these episodes, especially the earlier episodes at a later date who knows what the score would be.
Jack [left] and Dan [right] attempting to do a reaction video to “The Last Jedi”
GS: Can you say that you’re satisfied with all the rankings so far?
Jack: We are satisfied with all the rankings so far.
Dan: Very satisfied.
Jack: Yeah, I don’t think there’s many that maybe feel like they’re in the wrong third or wrong quarter. I know Dan really wanted Moe’s rag to be the worst episode.
Dan: It was terrible.
Jack: And I really didn’t want it to be the worst episode. And I’m glad most of our Reddit seemed to agree that it’s not the worst, worst but number two is still pretty bad.
Dan: I don’t know- I think it’s unwatchable.
Jack: Number two is a worthy spot.
Dan: Yeah, it is.
Jack: Everybody remembers Buzz Aldrin.
Dan: That’s true. But do they remember the third guy?
Jack: Then what’s our third worst episode?
Dan: I have no idea! Uhh, no I think it’s the Israel one.
Jack: I think the third guy on the moon was Jewish, so there you go.
“We have lost our minds slowly over the years we’ve been doing the show.”
Dan: But just as far as being happy with the rankings, I think in general, they’re in the right areas. Maybe the item by item, line by line ranking could be tweaked a little bit, but it’s highly, highly unscientific and a lot of it is just how we feel on that day. The rankings are very subjective, despite the fact that we’ve numbers to them.
Jack: If I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, that episode is not going to be our least-worst episode.
GS: When I saw “Lisa Goes Gaga” I thought like, nothing could get worse than that. And then obviously it’s evolved over time. And “The Blue and the Gray” (WEEs current Worst Episode) is still just awful.
Jack: Yeah, that’s why saved “Moes Rag”. We knew we would do it for a big event and it turned out to be 100, but we were worried early on that if we found our worst episode ever, and then because, especially because the, we were going by, what is everybody recommending. And everybody is recommending “Moe’s Rag” and Everybody is recommending “Lisa Goes Gaga” and they’re recommending it because it’s obviously the worst episode, or it’s up there. So we were really worried we would find out worst episode very early on. And then for 600 episodes, nothing overtakes it. So I’m glad everyone in a while, especially because sometimes we get surprised by when an episode, like the sugar episode, we would just like, “alright here’s another run of the mill mediocre episode” and then it almost became our worst episode ever.
Dan: Yeah and I feel like an episode like “The Blue and the Gray” which has been at our worst episode for over 50 episodes now. I want to say like one or two people suggested that one. That wasn’t one of the most notorious episodes.
Jack: [a guest] brought that episode with them.
Dan: You’re right. Yeah, yeah yeah.
Jack: This might be controversial, our subjective ranking. I bet you different time of day, different moods we were in, that might not have even made it the worst- it’s representing the “Jerkass” Homer that we hate and that is- that’s why that’s the worst, worst episode ever. Is when Homer is just awful. But there’s a few that could have been. It could have been the breasts plant episode or it could have been- there’s a few we haven’t covered yet. It’s symbolic of a certain type of Homer we hate.
Dan: The breast plants episode is down there, “Bonfire of the Manatees” is down there.
Jack: But we covered it a lot earlier. We covered both of those a lot earlier. If we covered those later in the run, who knows? “Blue and the Gray” is almost our midpoint.
Dan: Yeah, it’s, you know, there’s things we clearly don’t like and I think a lot of worst episodes towards the bottom do have that Homer that’s just shoved in and really is an unfunny-
Jack: Mean spirited- that’s my least favorite.
Dan: and a lot of the Marge is kind of marginalized and
Dan: Yeah, sexualized. And there’s a lot of like misogyny and things like that I feel like maybe other Simpsons fans aren’t really thinking about that stuff? Because there’s none of that in “Moe Goes from Rags to Riches” or “[Lisa] Goes Gaga”.
Jack: The way the misogyny with Marge is always been around in the show but they were treating it as ‘this is bad, this is not cool’ like when Marge has her breakdown in Season 2, season 3, “Homer Alone”?
Dan: Season 3
Jack: Yeah, so she has like a breakdown and she’s the put-upon housewife and this is terrible, but this is a commentary on this is what American middle-class women are going through right now for most of them this is housewife life. Whereas now with like “The Blue and the Gray” it’s not, we’re not empathizing with her. We’re kind of ganging up on her like (doing a voice) “Ugh, gray hair on Marge? Bleh”
Dan: “How Disgusting”
Jack: “Bleh, she’s past her prime, she can’t make BABIES anymore, what’s the use?”
Dan: “ugh throw her away in the ol’ trash bin”
Jack: That was an intro course at Hobo College, throwing away old ladies in the trash bin.
Dan: yeah, yeah throw away the old ladies.
Jack: you got an A+
Dan: I did!
GS: Have you had any backlash from either of your fans or Simpsons fans based on your ratings?
Dan: Not really. People will disagree with us or a lot of times what will happen is- we’ll get people who see the episode get posted but haven’t listened to it yet, and they’ll be like “ohh, you guys are doing this one, I don’t think that one is that bad” I think this happened with “Sweet and Sour Marge” which [Jack] just mentioned, the sugar episode, where people were like “I don’t think that is that bad of an episode” and then it ended up being in our bottom five, I think? And based on the podcast episode people listened to it and were like “you know what, you guys brought out a lot of good points, that episode really sucks”
Jack: I think we’re spoiled. I really do think we’re blessed and we’re spoiled that we have such an awesome fanbase. Would I like our numbers to be larger? Sure, I can’t talk about that to other amateur podcasters usually, because our numbers are usually higher than they are and they’re like “be grateful for what you got” but I would love our numbers to be larger, but I think we’ve weeded out a lot of fans, and not just because of the silly voices and sometimes we’re just insufferable. I think we have a smarter than average like-minded fan base. You know left of spectrum politically, but just more open minded. They’re kind of smarter when it comes to analyzing art and pop-culture and writing and all that, and usually, we’re all on the same page. So yeah, they might disagree or agree, but they’re not, I guess what I mean is they’re not assholes. Like, the internet is full of just assholes, Reddit is just full of assholes, and we seem to have gotten like genuinely decent people who, you know we try to be genuinely decent people, and it looks like we’ve kind of attracted each other and I think we’re really lucky. Every once in awhile we’ll get a fan, and we try to engage with all our other fans, and they’ll say something like “oh, that’s kind of uncomfortable, I don’t know if I want to upvote that” but it happens so rarely that, and usually they just go away if we ignore them, and I’m not even talking about the political stuff. I mean, obviously we’ve lost a few Trump fans, but I’m just talking about that general troll-y-internet character that you find a lot on the internet, and we’ve just been blessed we haven’t had a lot. I’m probably just jinxing us, now we’re just going to get hacked and whatnot.
Dan: Yeah, I agree with everything you just said, except I think we’re always unbearable or whatever you said.
Dan: We’re always insufferable.
GS: Where do you see the future of The Simpsons headed and how do you feel it be perceived over time?
Dan: That is a great question. I think they’re already contractually up through season 30. My hope is that that would be the last season because they have been running on fumes for two decades now. I think at some point they’re going to do another movie. That’s pretty much inevitable, and they’ve said as much probably as- once the show’s over they’ll do a movie. As far as the show’s legacy, I mean, I think they’ve tarnished it for sure. It’s to the point now where give it 10, 15 years from now when I have kids of my own and I want to sit them down and be like “oh this was your Dad’s favorite show” The Simpsons, assuming TVs are still on and we’re not just watching brain waves going throughout everywhere. The likelihood is it’s going to be a bad episode because they’ll be 30 seasons and, you know if you’re saying well seasons 3-8 are their best seasons, that’s not what you’re likely to get.
Jack: That’s a very good point. Even if The Simpsons ended at season 8, and you just had the golden episodes, I’m starting to realize that there still wouldn’t be this deep emotional connection fans have to it 20 years down the line. The only reason we do have younger people that still like The Simpsons and classic Simpsons is because they got introduced to the show by the new episodes that were on, but once the show’s off the air, I don’t think- so like 50 years from now, I think there are academically people will go “oh the Simpsons was a great show” just like I will academically go “Hey, The Honeymooners is a great show” and if I watch The Honeymooners, there’s many times where I will laugh out loud, even though it’s dated and I don’t really understand the world and I don’t understand their jokes, but I wouldn’t consider, I don’t have this emotional connection to The Honeymooners. You know, I’m not going to get a Honeymooner’s Tattoo, I’m not gonna wear Honeymooner’s cufflinks to my wedding like Dan had Simpson’s cufflinks.
Dan: I wore Simpson’s cufflinks at my wedding.
Jack: It bums me out that 50 years from now the tastemakers, the people who will be making great art, The Simpsons will kind of just be this academic footnote as opposed to a core part of their DNA. You know, DNA is spread, you know, you have kids and they have your DNA, whereas this kind of DNA isn’t going to spread. Our kids or grandkids won’t have that connection.
Dan: I mean that television industry has changed so much too, so we’ll be watching youtube videos of cats and things, they won’t even watch traditional tv.
Jack: In terms of how the show will be I expect the next 2, 3, 4 whatever seasons will be similar to the last 4 or 5. This weird experimental, not very funny, sometimes okay, sometimes funny.
Dan: And almost like sci-fi in a lot of respects.
Jack: It might get a little weirder, but I don’t expect it to get any much worse or any much better. Also, that’s assuming nobody spontaneously dies. You never know, Harry Shearer could have a heart attack or Julie Kavner could be in a car crash and then do they do the movie?
Dan: Well let’s hope neither of that happens.
Jack: I know, but if something like that, you know, they’ve been, they’re very lucky that they’ve been on for 30 years and haven’t had too major, major cast deaths. You know, something like that happens it trips you up. And what do you do, do you get a voice replacement? or do you just not do Simpsons movie 2?
Dan: I feel like they would just get a voice replacement and probably do Simpsons Movie 2. But I agree with you, that would be very sad and they have been very lucky. But I’m always cautiously optimistic with really new episodes like when we do episodes from, what are they on, season 28 right now? You know-
Jack: There might be a better time there than a season 18.
Dan: Yeah, Like I go into those hoping that it will be great like maybe it will be like “oh season 3-8 and then season 29 are still really good”
Jack: Based on our listeners feedback I heard this season has been a dip.
Dan: Yeah this season- we don’t watch it, we like to save it for the show, but based on what episodes people have been suggesting and comments from our fans, this season has not been very good.
Jack:: and again I trust them because it’s a smart fanbase that knows what they’re talking about.
GS: Yeah, it’s kind of funny, I’ve noticed, you know, with how The Simpsons are perceived, people not that much younger than me aren’t actually fans of [the] Simpsons. They didn’t watch it, heard that it’s terrible, and won’t watch it. And with [binge] culture, I also feel that there’s just a lot of it and I feel like because it’s such a feat, and The Simpsons now is almost like an epic, people don’t even want to touch it. Like younger people.
Jack: Yeah, and they’re not even going to watch each episode 100 times like we did. Very rarely do I do that with a show I like now, and even with a show like Rick and Morty, which is one of the few shows in the last 10 years that I’ll watch more than once, maybe 2 or 3 times each, I’m not going to watch them 30-40 times.
Dan: Right, there’s too much. There’s so much out there now. We’re in peak TV, my friend.
GS: Lastly, you guys talk about how much you love marge so much, so why do you love so much?
Jack: Cause she’s HOT. She’s got great BOOBIES.
Dan: OH GOD. (laughs) You saw that Play Boy though, right? Ooooh yeah.
Jack: It’s my tattoo. I got a tattoo of her naked body on my uh-
Dan: I feel like Marge represents a kind of, like nowadays, almost like an innocence that the show has kind of lost. Like, Homer, they’ve just turned him into… I don’t even what anymore. A living cartoon character. I mean, I know he’s a cartoon character already.
Dan: It’s not a documentary, believe it or not.
Jack: Oh my god, but the shaky cam!
Dan: But, like, he can do anything and it’s just like “Homer’s wacky” and he can be wacky. You know, Bart and Lisa have had that a little bit to an extent. I don’t think Marge has been touched as much by that.
Jack: I want to go back to the innocence. I certainly think she can be wacky. But who are you’re innocent, decent characters on the show? Flanders, but he’s religious and there’s an arm’s distance. Lisa is obviously is very decent, but sometimes she gets a little pedantic and she talks down to you and a little condescending. Also, she’s an 8-year-old girl and that’s kind of weird. Marge really does seem to be the heart of the show. She’s the same one that’s keeping it all together and she almost had to be- she almost has to overcompensate to overcome that innocence, just to kind of be blind to how awful Homer is.
Dan: Yeah, and sometimes the Marge lines get the biggest laughs from us because it’s just, it’s a little more unexpected and it just hits harder when it’s coming from Marge.
Jack: A really great Homer joke about how stupid he is, it could be a really great joke but it’s just like comedy 101 “hey look how stupid this guy is” whereas-
Dan: “The fat guy feel down!”
Jack: Whereas a really great Marge joke is a little bit more nuanced. What was the one we just liked in that episode we just recorded? So Homer’s going to, he has to go to a hardcore Gay Bar so he goes “Marge! I’m going to a hardcore gay bar I’ll be back at 3 AM!” and Marge is just off camera and just hear “Have fun!”. And that’s just like Marge just being totally cool with it. and just like “I made homemade Coca-Cola for the Dance!” that’s a tougher joke to write than look how dumb this dumb guy is.
Dan: It is a tougher joke to write and a lot of times they fail. And they’ll go too far and make Marge, like all of these episodes in the bottom, she’s too stupid or she’s too like, out of it. They do it that that episode too.
Jack: and Lord knows why they did the playboy thing. To this day, like I know the show desperate to just be everywhere and be pop-culturally relevant. But that was just a poor decision.
Dan: That was just a phenomenally bad, in poor taste, odd choice.
Jack: But they didn’t show her naked they showed see-through lingerie where you could see her nipples through the lingerie. So it’s, you know, they’re “we’re not ridiculous, it’s not Porno.”
Dan: (Simultaneously) “We’re real classy tho’ they way we did it”
GS: (laughing) Um, awesome? That’s, that’s all I have for you. I really enjoyed talking to you.
The Simpsons ritual is something that is culturally relevant to many people and many families. There’s no knowing where the show is headed, or what kind of academic footnote it will leave in the future, but for now, we can re-watch the classics and bitch about the post-classics that ultimately bring us together.
Check out weepodcast.com for all of Dan and Jack’s work, including their other 90’s nostalgia podcast 90’s Percentile. If you’re already a WEE Studios fan, I encourage you to check out Worst Episode Ever’s Patreon, where you can listen to the extended audio of our conversation.