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Monday, April 05, 2004
  A very brief post, which seems quite inadequate as I have just read the piece on Brimstone and Treacle at K-Punk, needless to say, I enjoyed it.

Last week I acquired two series of Futurama on DVD, and after watching about ten episodes over the weekend and the sick day I took today, it strikes me that there's a real imbalance in the appreciation of Matt Groening's output. The famous 'more like the Waltons, less like the Simpsons' line by Bush senior is easy enough to skewer, mainly because trite bullshit comparisons like that are always wrong... but the point to me seems to be the extent to which Bush was wrong. The Simpsons and Futurama are funny and occasionally nastily satirical, but if satire alone was a good thing, Rory Bremner wouldn't just be a pompous cricket-loving tosser.

I can't be bothered to actually substantiate this with references from the recent media, but I'd say I've read on three separate occasions in the past month about the gradual shift in social units of support from the family, to an equally concrete circle of friends. No doubt there is a print-friendly psycho-jargon name for this group, which has nothing to do with Minnie Driver, but I don't know it, and don't really want to know it, just in case anyone does and is tempted to pollute the comments box with their verbal carrion. The reason I mention this little piece of sociological jiggery-pokery is to point out that while it might be true, its kind of irrelevant. A more important consideration than who you are behaving towards is surely that of how you are behaving towards them...

A far more serious treatment of an aspect of the point that I promise I'm eventually going to make has already been explored on various other pages, in their sober appreciation of comicbook art. So in keeping with that, I feel its my duty to be far more shallow and presumptuous (and provide fewer jpegs for the eye-weary).

Ok, here it is. The one sentence that I could probably have written just as profitably for any readers enduring this far without all the preceding fuckwittery. Matt Groening's shows, more than any other series on tv, make me feel optimistic. Optimism is a very serious business, it's incredibly hard to marshall. It's not kids' stuff. The Simpsons and Futurama regularly provide just about the most sane moral education in the modern media, while also managing to be funny and visually exciting. Lets just think about that for a few more seconds, as its actually probably slightly underplayed in that previous flabby sentence. A program that manages to be highly principled and actually probably does you some good... performs that non-specific miracle of 'making you a better person', but is also FUNNY... FUNNY.

I both hate and love big claims.

Matt Groening is a good man. 
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