Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Simpsons Halloween Special Criticizes Iraq War

I think it is safe to say that I am not alone in arguing that The Simpsons have outworn their stay on network television. I believe it was the ‘Who Shot Mr. Burns?’ episode(s) which clearly showed the long-running animated series had indeed ‘jumped the shark’ and demonstrated the ever declining quality of the program. And yet, in spite of this apparent fact, the show has continued. The number of guest-stars the show has employed each season has increased dramatically since the first season and now with FOX Broadcasting promoting the latest episode solely on who is guest-starring it has lost its purpose.

Hell, even the Halloween specials they run each year have run out of material. What do parodies of ‘Fantastic Voyage’, ‘Harry Potter’, and ‘A.I.: Artificial Intelligence’ have to do with Halloween? I bring this up because in the latest Treehouse of Horror episode (the sixteenth installment) the final segment in the episode entitled ‘The Day the Earth Looked Stupid’ takes a stab at the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. According to Radar Online, the segment features “aliens [who] invade Springfield to prevent mankind from obtaining ‘weapons of mass disintegration,’ but their mission, called ‘Operation Enduring Occupation,’ turns into a quagmire”. Script lines include “You said we would be greeted as liberators!" and “This sure is a lot like Iraq will be” (this one, producers claim, may not make it to broadcast). Producer Al Jean defends the segment saying, “I think we're expressing a viewpoint 69 percent of the country agrees with". I have contentions with that statement but I digress.

Should The Simpsons be allowed to say such things? Yes, they have a right to free speech as much as the rest of us. I do believe however that this is ‘comforting and abating the enemy’, a clear act of treason, but I doubt such charges would ever realistically be pressed against them. At the very least the producers of the program could be a little bit more creative and less ‘on the nose’ about their politics, toning down the in-your-face nature of it. But as I’ve said the declining quality of the program has me doubting this will ever happen.