June 25, 2005

Why can't I watch "The Simpsons"?

Every time somebody quotes "The Simpsons" -- like in the comments to this post -- I'm always terribly impressed. How smart and funny the writing is! I think, once again, I should watch that show. But the fact is, for the longest time, I haven't been able to. I just can't stand to see it or hear it.

What is it I hate so much about the look and the sound? I recognize the brilliance of the voice actors. But I don't want to hear them anymore. They just irritate me. And the look of the animation... What is it? Too much yellow?

I could just read the scripts, I suppose.

Anyone else feel the same way?


Dave said...


Contributors said...


I've never seen a single episode and also feel like I should but can't. It's just something about cartoons. Except for "The Incredibles" I've yet to love one. That includes "Toy Story" etc... And I find it hard to imagine watching "The Incredibles" again.

I have the whole Disney collection of DVD. Most aren't opened. I feel like I should own them but don't care to watch them.

It might be because no matter how smart they seem frivolous -- like watching E!.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

My father is a Roosevelt baby, so to speak, and loves the Simpsons.

My wife is a Reagan baby and hates the Simpsons.

I am a Nixon baby and love the Simpson.

The person who was President when you were born seems irrelevant to your like or dislike of the Simpsons.

P_J said...


I used to love the Simpsons but they finally got on my nerves, too. I haven't watched in years. Most of what I know is from the first 4 seasons or so.

I agree the art isn't nearly as good as "classic" cartoons like the old Bugs Bunny - but I found the satire as witty and cutting as anything Groucho or Bugs ever did. I guess I just got tired of constant satire.

If you want to read the episodes, though, I can recommend The Simpsons Archive.

Ann Althouse said...

SippicanCottage: I read all the "Life in Hell" collections back in the 80s. And I don't expect animation to be beautiful. I've enjoyed many of the "crude" style TV cartoons, from Hanna-Barbera stuff in the 60s to early Simpsons, South Park, Beavis & Butt Head. And for ugliness, nothing surpassed the great "Ren & Stimpy." I've watched all those things. Have watched a lot of the theater-released collections of shorts that go for the ugly look.

So it's not any of that.

It's more, perhaps, the sameness of all the episodes. I've just seen too many and maxed out.

Jim C. said...

I rarely watch the Simpsons. I find it shallow and obvious. It's not the animation style that bothers me. It's just the way details are plonked into the middle of things.

There's an episode that I think is about how Bart and Lisa go to s summer camp that turns out to be a hellhole. Bart leads a rebellion, and during it you see in the background a pig's head on a stake. Oh, look. A "Lord of the Flies" reference. Ho hum.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: You want to know who was president when I was born? Truman.

Pastor Jeff: My original post links to the archive. I wish Television Without Pity did recaps, but I can see why they don't. They need something that they can play off of.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P_J said...


Sorry, I should have at least scrolled over the link.

Does it have to do with the characters and plot lines? My wife and I loved E.R., then got tired of it for a few years when we didn't care about the characters and the plots seemed ridiculous. Now we have gotten back into watching it.

If you really don't like the characters, then no matter how witty and insightful they are, you aren't going to want to hear them (I have that problem with Oscar Wilde).

Ann Althouse said...

Sippican: "Some folks can't get past the look of the thing. Ann sounds like one." I loved the show at first, but after all these years, I'm tired of looking at the same things. Especially Homer's pants.

Pastor Jeff: I think part of it is hearing it in the background while other people watched and finding the distinctive voices annoying. Especially Marge. Part of it is that I don't feel "love" for the characters. I think some people actually feel love for, maybe, Marge and one or two of the others.

As to what cartoons I was "brought up on." I wasn't taken out to the movies that much. I watched TV. I loved Popeye, which was pretty well animated, but I spent a horrible amount of time watching things like "Top Cat" and "Huckleberry Hound." As drawing, that stuff was very cheap -- spinning legs on a stationary body with a repeating background. And I even watched a lot of "Clutch Cargo" -- a stationary drawing with actual human lips (like that thing Conan O'Brien does). I'm used to crude, believe me.

Ann Althouse said...

Jim C.: Yeah, getting the literary references. The writers went to college. I actually kind of like things like that, but I can see how it can be criticized -- just not actually funny.

Slac said...

When I first got on the Internet (all of 10 years ago... sheesh, I feel old), a big thing in my age group was to download sound clips from The Simpsons. Capturing those little nuggets of audible fun, setting them as sound effects on your computer, or playing them at an instant whenever you felt like hearing them, was just awesome.

"In this house we obey the laws of THERMODYNAMICS!"

It was more fun than watching it! But from that you realize that although The Simpsons has a lot of funny moments, it just isn't a very good show.

Oh yeah. And Phil Hartman is gone. What a downer that was... he was half the show!

"Mrs. Simpson, don't you worry. I watched Matlock in a bar last night. The sound wasn't on, but I think I got the gist of the it."

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nina said...

What a relief. I'm not the only one. I hate the show, but wont admit it. It's not fun to hate culty things. You have to defend yourself too much.

Kev said...

I'm still a big fan after all this time; I even own some of the DVD's. Some of the current episodes may not have the fresh energy that the ones from ten years ago did, but I still find myself laughing out loud a lot.

How about a tangent--what does the Althouse readership (or at least commentership) think of Family Guy? (I think it's one of the funniest shows on TV at the moment.)

chuck_b said...

It could be biological.

Dave said...

OK, re who was president when they were born and if they like the Simpsons: one of my grandfathers was a Teddy Roosevelt baby and the other was a Coolidge baby.

Both liked the Simpsons.

Justin said...


You have to watch each episode about 4-5 times to fully grasp all of the humor that is contained within the 30 minutes. I am serious.

And, no, I have not grown weary of the Simpsons.

Former student,

Justin Hein

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Garrett said...

I know a few people, like Ann, who were never able to watch the Simpsons in the first place. But a number of once-loyal fans like myself have left the show in the past couple of years for various reasons . . . it stood out for the longest time because, for a cartoon, it juggled an enormous amount of secondary characters (Moe, Apu, Groundskeeper Willie, etc) who kept the show fresh and interesting. Comparing it to Seinfeld, the Simpsons had 50 or so characters who performed the same role as Newman or George's dad. However, after 15 seasons or so, even the minor supporting characters feel tired and stale. The show's best episodes were terrific, but its at least six years past its prime.

Ann Althouse said...

Terrence: Not sure why people keep thinking I didn't used to watch the show. I did.

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Justin. Thanks for writing. Not sure how I'm going to watch it three times when it's irritating me... I'm pretty good at getting the humor though, I just don't want to have to look at the pictures and hear the sounds anymore.

Really, the show has just been on too long. It was really great when it first came out. I was even interested in the style of the animation, which, for all it's crudeness, had nice details, like the ears of corn on the kitchen curtains. The bright color was refreshing. The use of cartoon characters instead of actors opened up exciting new possibilities.

Just ... enough, already.

N. O'Brain said...

Ya gotta love a character who's chief pleasure in life is beer.


But then of course Comic book guy once said, "Beer is the nectar of the nitwit."

faeyth said...

If you don't like Simpsons your either old,boring,or just ignorant and don't get the social commentary.