WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO
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