Friday, June 22, 2012
Before The Simpsons and Futurama, there was Matt Groening's simple, caustic comic strip Life in Hell. Last week, after 35 years, Groening decided to stop drawing the comic. Here's a few examples of its bleak humor. It's dark and dry and and gives you a little insight into where the Simpsons got it's edge. (Remember, The Simpsons was edgy when the series began airing). There were also moments of guarded hope in Life in Hell.
The end of Life in Hell is a reminder that someday, eventually, by the laws of nature, The Simpsons will come to an end. The series has never gotten back to the greatness of seasons, say, 2-8* but it has stayed on the air for 23 seasons. And there have been some good moments in the last, say, decade. The Simpsons is a collaborative effort, Life in Hell was, from what I've read, Groening's baby entirely. The Simpsons couldn't just end in one day. There will be an earth-shaking announcement and gnashing of teeth. That's too bad. There was something nice about Groening just pulling the plug without the culture-shaking, preening send-off The Simpsons will probably get.
*reasonable people can disagree on how long the golden age of The Simpsons lasted.