GOOD

Homer Simpson (Almost) Discovered The Elusive ‘God Particle’ Fourteen Years Before Science Did

Thanks to some sly mathematical in-joking, The Simpsons nearly predicted a major scientific breakthrough

image via (cc) flickr user erica_anderson

That, at its height, The Simpsons was one the funniest, smartest, most influential shows in the history of television, is a fairly uncontroversial assessment at this point. Even after its pivot away from focusing on Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie’s family dynamic, and toward increasingly unrealistic plot lines (sometime after around season 8 or 9) The Simpsons was–and continues to be–a reliable source of laughs. But while the show’s primary function has always been to entertain, that doesn’t mean its writers weren’t slipping in some serious business while we weren’t looking.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Did The Simpsons Just Make a Plea to Help Save Watts Towers?

Homer and Marge make a visit to the endangered towers in this week's episode, drawing much-needed attention to the local landmark.



Many of us here in Los Angeles know that the Watts Towers—the famous folk art sculpture in South L.A. which Italian immigrant Simon Rodia hand-crafted from scrap metal and found objects—are in trouble. The 60-year-old towers suffer from severe lack of funding and possible staff cuts, and an adjacent art center has also been threatened. Doh! Last year, the county museum LACMA took control of the towers' management, and earlier this year it received a $500,000 grant to help with upkeep. But the real issue with preserving the towers' heritage is their invisibility. Tucked into a part of the city without many services (and still perceived as dangerous), visitors have to make a special trip to see the historic monument, and not many do. This week's episode of The Simpsons not only portrayed the towers beautifully, it encouraged its viewers to go there.

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.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

How They Wrote The Simpsons, by a Vintage Writer

A writer from The Simpsons' glory years tells how they made the classic episodes.

During the glory years of The Simpsons—either the first 10 seasons or seasons three through eight if you want to get picky—the show was groundbreaking, incomparably clever, and built on a foundation of unprecedented use of allusion. Bill Oakley, who wrote for the show for seasons four through six and produced it during seasons seven and eight, just penned a reflection for The Awl on how the impressive roster or writers crafted those classic episodes.

Here's a bit about the biannual writers' pitch retreats:

Keep Reading Show less
Articles


If it has invented more new words than any other show on television, why hasn't the Futurama language caught on?

I was among the legions of fans delighted when Futurama returned to the air on June 24. This inventive comedy scratches my humor itch, my sci-fi itch, and, to a ridiculous degree, my word-nerd itch. Hard as it is to believe, Futurama might even top The Simpsons, The Colbert Report, and Seinfeld in terms of volume of new words.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Today Show Unveils Colleges' 'Practical' Courses

This week, NBC's Today Show ran a segment on so-called "practical" courses being offered by universities around the country. (Unfortunately, can't...

Keep Reading Show less
Articles