I'm not going complicated today. I dug up 11 quotes from "The Simpsons" that, in my opinion, are among the most profound, accurate and definitive takes on 11 different subjects ever made. Seriously. They're that good.
Drinking. Homer's toast after Springfield lifts its ban on prohibition clearly and succinctly summarizes mankind's relationship to alcohol through all eternity. "To alcohol: The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."
The Second Amendment. I try not to get too pinko too often, but I'm a big gun control guy. And I like this quote from the episode where Homer joins the NRA, where Krusty the Clown effectively juxtaposes the modern uses of guns and the actual theory behind Americans' Constitutional right to bear arms. "Guns aren't toys! They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face!"
And though it's not quote profound enough for this list, that episode also nails soccer (and why this country just can't get behind it) with a commercial for a soccer tournament that says, "Fast kicking! Low scoring! And ties... you bet!"
Jobs. I've worked at more than a dozen companies during college and adult life. And this Homer quote is as true as any quote ever. "No, no, no, Lisa. If adults don't like their jobs, they don't go on strike. They just go in every day and do it really half-assed."
But, the best one-liner they've ever had about religion... and my favorite satirical quote from the entire 20 years of the series... came in the episode where Homer and Bart go Catholic and a team of Reverend Lovejoy, Ned Flanders and Marge go to win them back.
No statement has ever summed up the folly of "my religious beliefs and only my beliefs are the guaranteed, definitive truth" like when Reverend Lovejoy says: "We're here to bring you back to the one true faith: the Western Branch of American Reform Presby-Lutheranism."
Modern love. There's nothing in the world that's immune from giant corporations trying to make money off it. Love just might be the most exploited of all. As Lisa says: "Mom, romance is dead. It was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized, and sold off piece by piece."
Entitlement. We want it all. But getting from point A to point B to have it all... well that sounds like a lot of work. Here's Homer's line about that sense of hypocritical entitlement: "If you really want something in life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers."
Handling the opposite gender. If only we'd start listening to Bart, and not reading (literally) billions of magazine articles and websites about what's really happening in the minds of the opposite sex... maybe we'd all stop overthinking relationships and just find good ones that naturally and easily work. Bart: "Women are easy, state capitals are hard."
Achievement. I'm really good at the old-school NES game Dr. Mario. I can consistently beat pretty much everyone I've ever played against. And yet, when I tore my ACL and, couch-bound, I started playing Dr. Mario on the Wii wireless against other people from around the world... a lot of them just destroyed me. Which led me to believe that Homer had it right: "No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you."
Generation gap. Older generations will generally think younger people are lazy. Or coddled. Or stupid. We usually agree on those, but not always. So let's thank Mr. Burns for putting words to the one thing that every member of an older generation will agree with... "I don't like being outdoors Smithers, for one thing, there's too many fat children."
Effort. I think this Homer quote neatly sums up the reason why people so often give up on their lofty, ambitious (and sometimes naive) goals: "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'."
Status. A Homer quote about the oft-futile battle to better one's station in life... we try, we work at it, but, in the end, we are what we are. Or, as he puts it, "Just once I'd like someone to call me 'Sir' without adding 'You're making a scene.'"
I will probably do a second edition of these, so feel free to bring on the plethora of ones I missed. Twitter 'em on over to me!
This post was originally published on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 12:01:00 AM under the category TV.