My friends the Simpsons

There are certain comforts I seek when life is getting me down. When I’m really low, I want nothing more than to curl up with a blanket and some junk food and zone out with something familiar on the TV. Some of the series I own on DVD are too emotionally intense to shore up a fragile constitution. I won’t need to see Felicity and Ben getting together, breaking up, and getting together again for a long long time. These days I prefer a little more comedy, a little less sore-spot-touching drama.

My DVD drawer holds the first eight seasons of The Simpsons—one of the all-time greatest shows. Back in its early days it was rather sweet, with notes of general optimism and family togetherness. At least, it was one of the things binding my own family together when I was growing up. All four of us gathered to watch the original episodes. My dad recorded them, and my brother and I would watch the tapes over and over again during breaks from school. Even now we can toss bits of dialog back and forth to the mystification of our parents. It was definitive for our generation, not theirs.

I haven’t followed the show in many years, but the earlier episodes are like dear old friends to me. We are so familiar that I could turn off the sound and recite a good chunk of the lines myself. It’s brilliant, and still makes me smile no matter how many times I’ve heard the gags. Having it on the TV is like sharing my house with a cheerful companion. Even the fact that it’s something I shared with my ex doesn’t keep me from watching it on these sad evenings. I won’t let anybody take this away from me.

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