Homer and Marge make a visit to the endangered towers in this week's episode, drawing much-needed attention to the local landmark.
Of course, they did it in a predictably perverse manner. When Bart's movie Angry Dad gets nominated for an Oscar, the family heads to Hollywood, but Bart wants to keep Homer far away from the ceremony so he doesn't steal his glory. So he gives Homer and Marge a list of "highlights" to visit in the city (a bunch of insider jokes for Angelenos: the 405/10 freeway interchange, a car dealership with perhaps the most pervasive jingle on local radio—"Keyes, Keyes, Keyes, Keyes on Van Nuys"—and, simply, "The Valley"). Watts Towers tops that list.
The representation of the towers themselves is pretty true to life. The shot where Marge and Homer are standing before the 99-foot structures accurately conveys the scale as well as the detail in the mosaics. Poking fun at the seemingly flimsy construction of the towers is especially funny because they were actually tested for their structural integrity and ended up damaging the crane that was testing them. And the Rodia name-check by the guys in the passing car is a nice touch. I do think The Simpsons meant it as a gentle urge for people to visit the towers, no matter what "must-see" list they're on. Just think what wonders Homer did for Spider-Pig!
It also made me think about more unique ways that Angelenos—with their unique grasp of international media—could help bring attention to the towers. For ideas, visit this Save Watts Towers site, or check out the urban revitalization initiative across the street called the Watts House Project.