March 13, 2020

"When I happen upon almost any image from one of the 'Simpsons' Instagram [accounts that post single frames from the show], I am struck by how absolutely visually gorgeous it is."

"This is, perhaps, especially true when it comes to @scenic_simpsons, with its visions of a violet car, its headlights on, cruising in a darkened parking lot full of silent vehicles; or an abstract thicket of trees, their tops as dense and foreboding as storm clouds; or a digital clock on a bedside table, its face glowing 7:59, next to an orange phone. Though they come to us via our hubbub-filled Instagram feeds, these stand-alone pictures are as quietly stunning as any made by our greatest American artists of alienation and loneliness, from Edward Hopper to Arthur Dove."

From "The Aesthetic Splendor of 'The Simpsons'" by Naomi Fry (in The New Yorker).

23 comments:

Unknown said...

Meh.

Personally, I love the interior house images in the big budget MGM "Tom & Jerry" shorts from the 40s.

Howard said...

The light pattern looks like an ass and legs

Fernandistein said...

I loved The Simpsons until they became imaginary and I'm not going to spoil that love by reading trashy articles about them.

Quaestor said...

Naomi Fry is not a fan of Aristotelian ethics.

tcrosse said...

What a fiddly bit of over-writing. I'll have to dig out some Robertson Davies to cleanse my palate.

Leland said...

I don't see it, but to each their own.

Ann Althouse said...

"The light pattern looks like an ass and legs."

That's exactly what I thought just before scrolling down and seeing that you'd already said it.

Howard said...

Dirty minds...

Krumhorn said...

I have the emotional range of a slide rule when it comes to visual art so while she may be an art beast...it goes right past me in the “visually stunning” department.

- Krumhorn

Krumhorn said...

Now any random screenshot from Downton Abbey, particularly in the later seasons, that’s where I see visually stunning. And, by the way, brilliant scripts.

- Krumhorn

Howard said...

You just cashed in your man-card, Krumhorn ;^)

daskol said...

That's definitely overwrought. There is a lot of homage in the Simpsons, often to famous scenes or compositions drawn not just from TV and movies but from famous paintings, but the hat tip rarely exceeds the original if ever (unless you're just a huge Simpsons fan).

Static Ping said...

The problem with The Simpsons has never been the animation. It has always been in the serviceable to good range, occasionally venturing into great territory. The problem is the show got really lazy after a while and became less and less amusing. I probably haven't watched an episode in over a decade, and this is coming from someone who thinks that some episodes are among the greatest comedic animation ever made.

Wilbur said...

I love The Simpsons, and watched it since the beginning, but in recent years it is no longer must-see viewing. The quality of writing has fallen dramatically.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The problem is the show got really lazy after a while and became less and less amusing.

I too was a fan who quit watching because the show's writing devolved into leftist shibboleths.

But this will always be my favorite scene from the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlhwGTnHw0o

Joan said...

I agree some still images are quite beautiful. The problem for me is watching for more than a few seconds, the oversaturated palette exhausts my eyes. I am literally too old to watch the Simpsons.

Krumhorn said...

You just cashed in your man-card, Krumhorn ;^

I know! Right? But I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than being in the writers room when they write Maggie Smith’s dialogue.

- Krumhorn

Howard said...

I've been in love with Maggie Smith since the prime of Miss Jean Brodie. I took my three girls to see Emma last weekend. Probably the last motion picture we will see in a theater for a while.

daskol said...

Maggie Smith is go good at playing old, I don't even want to see her as a younger lass.

KellyM said...

We've stopped watching new episodes of The Simpsons as well. It seems as if it became 'All Lisa All The Time'. Hopping on the AGW bandwagon and the rest of the so-called science screeds turned me right off.

Three was a 5 episode Christmas DVD put out about 15 years ago, which is in our regular holiday viewing. Some I like better than others but on the whole hilarious. My fave is "Mr. Plow".

Matt said...

Naomi Fry sounds like a real serious lady who doesn't waste time on trivial nonsense.

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Focko Smitherman said...

A calamity threatens Earth. Professor Frink has called together the world's top scientists to find a solution. He stands at the lectern: "Quiet, please!" The audience hushes. The greatest minds alive are here for one thing--to save humanity. Professor Frink opens his mouth to speak, and from the very back of the hall comes a tiny voice: "Let's not listen."