The Inside Story of The Simpsons’ Remarkable Second Life

» — originally shared here on

Lest you think I’ve just been watching YouTube all night, here’s a really compelling article about The Simpsons.

This pull quote spoke to me:

“America has certainly turned into Springfield,” says Matt Selman, who is, along with Al Jean, the current showrunner. “I’m gonna generously say: Good people are easily misled. Terrifyingly easily misled. That’s always been in the DNA of the show, but now it’s in the DNA of America. It was a show about American groupthink, and how Americans are tricked—by advertising, by corporations, by religion, by all these other institutions that don’t have the best interests of people at heart.”

I’ve been rewatching clips from the first ten seasons sporadically over the past few months, and I think that’s an astute point that I hadn’t really considered.

The pro wrestling world has a term for fans who know quite a bit about the backstage politics which makes the show possible: a “smart mark” (with “mark” being a carny term for someone who can pull one over on).

But much like internet trolls, the only way you could ever “win” as a pro wrestling fan is by not engaging. By consuming the content, you’re still a mark (even if you are a smart one).

Perhaps the reason so many people are drawn to The Simpsons is similar: you feel like you’re in on the joke, even when you can’t escape the gravitational pull of the society which the show is lampooning.

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