WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - YIANNI AGISILAOU, CO­ME­DIAN TOBY SYMONDS

ISTARTED watch­ing The Simpsons when it started on TV in Aus­tralia in 1991. I was 13. When the show started it wasn’t like now; now you can turn on one of the Fox sta­tions and they’ll screen 10 episodes of The Simpsons in one day. Time was you got to watch some­thing once and then maybe they’d re­peat it.

In Aus­tralia we had to wait around two years be­tween sea­son four and sea­son five. There was about a year and a half where it was on five nights a week and they would re­peat all the episodes. By the time the fifth sea­son came along ev­ery­one was well versed in the first four sea­sons. My­self and a bunch of friends would tape them and watch and re­watch them.

I’ve prob­a­bly al­ways known more than the av­er­age per­son about The Simpsons but I be­came a su­per Simpsons geek about three or four years ago.

One time a bunch of the Simpsons writ­ers or­gan­ised to go to a Simpsons trivia night. They were all talk­ing be­fore­hand about how they thought they’d do and one of the writ­ers was like: “We’ve got to do pretty well,” and all of the rest of them were like, “Are you kid­ding? No way we will win. Fans know much more about the show than we do.” Sure enough, they got slaugh­tered.

The qual­ity dropped around the year 2000 but there were so many good episodes be­fore that. It was such a rel­e­vant show; it’s got that densely packed pop-cul­ture ref­er­ence­ness to it. If you take the best parts you can al­most an­a­lyse ev­ery­thing with it. You couldn’t come up with an episode about some­thing The Simpsons hasn’t al­ready done.

There’s an episode in sea­son seven called Much Apu about Noth­ing, where Mayor Quimby tries to di­vert at­ten­tion from be­ing a ter­ri­ble politi­cian by scape­goat­ing im­mi­grants. They’re go­ing to de­port Apu and then the joke at the end is that Marge says: “Thank God ev­ery­thing worked out for all the peo­ple we care about,” and it cuts to Groundskeeper Willie with his bags on a ship be­ing de­ported.

I’ve got a joke in the show to draw the par­al­lels be­tween that episode and Brexit and Trump, be­cause there’s a lot of sim­i­lar things. The irony is that that episode ended ex­actly the same way Brexit’s go­ing to end, be­cause the pic­ture of Willie with his bag packed is the last im­age of the episode. It’s go­ing to end ex­actly the way Brexit’s go­ing to

end: with Scot­land pack­ing its bags.

I like Scot­land as a coun­try and I like the peo­ple. I think Aus­tralians and Scot­tish peo­ple have a sim­i­lar sort of ir­rev­er­ence and don’t take things too se­ri­ously.

I don’t re­ally have a favourite Simpsons episode. I don’t think you can ask a par­ent to choose from 450 chil­dren but you can nar­row it down to a good 200. Yianni Agisilaou’s show The Simpsons Taught Me Ev­ery­thing I Know is at The Stand, Ed­in­burgh on Septem­ber 26, and The Stand, Glas­gow on Septem­ber 27

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