When FXX started airing every single episode in a row last week, it shattered the record for the longest-running marathon in TV history.
FXX is airing all 552 episodes of the Simpsons over the course of the next two weeks. Though I have not seen all 552 episodes, I have watched many, and The Simpsons have intersected with my life in important ways.
My best friend and I watched the very first episode of The Simpsons back in 1990. We were living together in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and we had been eagerly awaiting the debut of this new show for weeks. We had seen The Simpsons on the Tracy Ullman Show and couldn’t wait for them to get their own time slot. We watched on a 19-inch color television that was set atop a baby changing table in a living room covered with posters of heavy metal bands and super models.
We loved the show immediately. Within a week, we were quoting Bart Simpson and planning Simpsons TV parties. Within a month, a poster of Bart Simpson was hanging in our living room above the television. We watched The Simpsons religiously for three years before my friend left for a job in Connecticut and I moved into my car.
Fast forward to 2003. Elysha and I are on our first date of sorts. We've been colleagues for two years and friends for a year, but our friendship had been shifting over the previous months into something more. We hiked up Mount Caramel in Hamden, Connecticut as friends one day, but on the way down, Elysha reached out and took my hand, signaling to me that things in our relationship had changed.
When we arrived back at my apartment, we sat on an uncomfortable futon, talking about our families, our friends, and our dreams for the future. In mid-sentence, Elysha stopped me. “I’m sorry, but The Simpsons are on in a couple minutes. Would you mind if we watched?”
It was as if the roof of my apartment had split open and the purest, warmest rays of the sun were pouring down upon me. Never in all of human history has there been a man more certain of his future with a woman.
We watched The Simpsons, sitting side by side, laughing at the antics of Homer and Bart. The show was already 13 years old by then. My TV was much larger, and the posters on the living room wall were gone. I was in Connecticut now, too, and I was sitting beside my future wife.
But The Simpsons played on. And more than a decade after that first date, The Simpsons continue to play on. Today, Elysha and I are married. We have two children. Our first is entering kindergarten tomorrow. So much in this world changes so fast, and so few things remain as markers of our past.
The Simpsons is one of those few treasures that have endured while so many other cultural icons have fallen. The show began airing in my first year spent living on my own, and it still is airing today, 25 years later, as my daughter takes her first big step outside the home.