The Guillermo del Toro couch gag
It’s the sixth of September and the world appears to be cast under a sinister, gloomy cloud. Before today, there was a bright, blissful yellow object in the sky that appeared to be a sun, or Ralph Wiggum’s face, maybe. A new rendition of the disturbing Teletubbies’ sun, one might say.
Facebook’s newsfeed is an endless scroll of detailed status updates on how (white) trashed public college students got over Labor Day weekend — so trashed that they forgot what Labor Day celebrates and that Facebook isn’t even a “thing” anymore. Were they doing laborious activities on their rich (but not that rich ‘cause it’s public school) parents’ boat in Lake Havasu? Boat is a bit of a stretch, replace with inflatable tube instead. Actually, keeping that ice cooler full of beer afloat with some dumbass Oakley-wearing fraternity brothers splashing about must have been pretty hard work. Congrats. And good job thinking ahead to buy a waterproof iPhone case so Instagram can stay current as well. God bless those filters, and be sure to crop out all stomach rolls.
While that all seems horrible-ly fun, couch potatoes, sweatpants enthusiasts, and TV lovers had no desire to partake in anything else than The Simpsons Marathon. And now it’s over — what are we to do? A balding fat yellow man, by the name of Homer, with a mouthful of donut whispers, “Stream the episodes all over again, followed by Radioactive Man Re-Rises. It worked for me.”
The Simpsons Marathon (it truly deserves a capital “M”) lasted well over Labor Day weekend — it lasted a full 12 days on FXX; the sub-channel of FX aired all 552 episodes in order. That’s 288 hours and marks the longest marathon in television history. Now that’s what Labor Day’s all about. The gents of Lonely Island are the only ones who should be on boats. It’s historical moments like The Simpsons Marathon that divide the population into two categories: people who perceive lounging around for twelve days in sweatpants is a pathetic waste of time, and people who do not.
A quick message for the Sarah Marshall’s of the world who break up with boyfriends for TV binge watching and playing with Gandalf’s walking stick in sweats: stop reading this now. Instead, continue with the 9-5 job that you internally hate more than the parents who guilt you into applying.
Even the government is pro binge watching, how else are they to distract viewers from what’s really going on out there? The term “out there” didn’t even exist over the past twelve Simpsons days, and the only effort to reach out into the real world was to call Pizza Hut, for delivery only, none of this pick-up funny business. After all, “you don’t make friends with salad.”
This may seem unfathomable and impossible to believe now, but parents and television analysts predicted that The Simpsons would be the downfall of American civilization. No, that’s religion, silly. The population debated over what TV time-slot the show would get. Primetime? And if so, does that make The Simpsons suitable for children? Does that make Bart Simpson an emblem for kids, and Homer for adults? I sure hope so. What’s there to be so concerned about, anyway?
The Simpsons are like The Brady Bunch, but with jaundice — that’s not exactly true, but it’s a damn good family-oriented alibi to tell those uptight domineering PTA mothers. Nonetheless, there’s something to be learned from The Simpsons. Practices like, strangling your son is the only way to teach him, and, to your daughter, it’s better if she learns this at an early age: musical talent, care for the environment, and intelligence don’t matter to the opposite sex. That garbage only matters to boys like Milhouse, and he wets the bed, so, no thanks. If anything, The Simpson’s life resembles a fairytale because Maggie never cries and Apu never gets deported, close call, though.
With all these valuable lessons learned, it’s still normal to feel a little guilty to fall off the grid for twelve days. All going-out-with-friends plans declined, all work emails ignored, and — oh my god, who’s been feeding the dog?! I’ve been plopped on my friend’s couch covered in a moss-like mixture of tomato sauce and breadstick crumbs for over a week. After all, 288 hours is a long time to be doing nothing, and I mean nothing compared to what these people have done in that timeframe: Britney Spears got married to her childhood sweetheart in Vegas’ Little White Chapel, and then got divorced 55 hours later. A man named Pem Dorjee climbed Mount Everest in a record-breaking 8 hours and 10 minutes. Casual.
Lastly, the world’s longest traffic jam in Beijing of 2010 lasted the same amount of time, twelve days. Side thought: imagine if this Simpsons Marathon was on air during that time. One of two history-altering events could have occurred: 1) no one would have left the house, and this traffic jam never would have happened, 2) with the iPhone and 3G already in existence by 2007, drivers stuck on the Chinese 110 National Highway could have streamed the entire Simpsons Marathon on their phones to pass the time.
Strangely, that scenario sounds identical to the 405 Interstate here in Los Angeles. Just when the failed marriages of Britney Spears seemed inspirational enough to get off the couch, Homer’s rational words to Marge cut straight to the core, “what’s the point of going out? We’re just gonna wind up back here anyway.” The only thought stimulating enough to force a migration from TV to laptop is the leak of celebrity phone-hacked nude pictures. (Too soon?) Everything else seems too daunting and “unpossible.”
The emphasis to go out and be social only exists in cities where it’s sunny almost all year round, and unfortunately, Los Angeles is one of them. No one wants to make plans and leave the house when it’s raining. If it rained over the past twelve days, there would be no unread texts and missed calls to return. As a society we feel more comfortable lying about being busy, when in fact, we just don’t want to, and that’s precisely why the end to The Simpsons Marathon is so depressing. It was a perfect excuse and distraction that we no longer have. Time to face the real wo — wait a second, hold the f*ck on … Could it be? It’s football season, isn’t it? In that case, all men are busy for the next 17 weeks — 24 if you count the playoffs, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. All the ladies need now is a simultaneous Sex and the City Marathon. Sidereel, it is.
Sophie is a recent graduate from Arizona State University with a BA in Film and Media Studies. Born in London, and raised in Prague, she is a natural born traveller, which led to exploring Southeast Asia and most recently, Alaska. Whilst traveling, she’s expanded her knowledge and passion for foreign film and music. Upon moving to Los Angeles, she’s worked on television sets, a 2014 Sundance short, and participated in a live taping of “America’s Got Talent.” Sophie’s attentiveness for music began at seventeen, when she first gained access to the senior lounge’s speaker system, and often got into trouble for blasting explicit lyrics through her high school’s hallways. In her free time, Sophie spends countless hours at the movies, tattoo parlors, and local dog parks.