Morgan Spurlock always seems to enjoy himself, even when he's eating McDonald's food for a month (Super Size Me
) or trying to survive on minimum wage (30 Days
). But getting to document 20 years of The Simpsons
appears to have brought him extra glee, not to mention inspiration.
Rather than crank out a tortured clip show with cast members taking a bow and talking heads praising the series as a cultural touchstone, Spurlock explores the legacy of The Simpsons
from a variety of angles. He lets everyone from a sitar band to ZZ Top to Flea cover portions of the theme song, then branches out.
He shares some history how James L. Brooks and Matt Groening began working together to create Simpsons
vignettes for The Tracey Ullman Show
and looks at the animated series' cultural impact, commercial and otherwise.
"We wear Simpsons clothing, we get Simpsons tattoos, we take Simpsons classes, we even speak Simpsonese," he says, pointing out that Homer Simpson's exclamation "D'oh!" is now part of the dictionary.
He takes us to meet fanatics (one guy has an entire Simpsons scene tattooed on his back; another has a house packed with memorabilia), visits countries where the show is loved or hated and even talks to people, like Catholics and nuclear power plant workers, who feel wronged by the show.
Among the many treats are getting to meet the inspiration for Krusty the Clown, seeing fans answer obscure trivia and hearing Moby's ode to the Mr. Plow jingle.
It's not a comprehensive look at The Simpsons
by any means because, let's face it, you can't cover 20 years in an hour. It's simply an hourlong smile honoring a series that absolutely deserves the love.
Preceding this special is the 450th episode of The Simpsons
in which Krusty the Clown falls in love with his new co-star, a princess voiced by Anne Hathaway, and the owner of the Capital City nuclear power plant woos Homer, Lenny and Carl. Like a lot of Simpsons episodes these days, it doesn't have the zing of the early years, but it's still better than most of what's on TV.