Highly Animated

Massachusetts had a shot at bragging rights for the hometown of The Simpsons but wound up losing out to our sugar shack neighbors to the north. Springfield, Vermont certainly has a better quirk factor than our Bay State equivalent, but if you’ve ever been to the the Pioneer Valley you’d certainly see plenty of Homer-esque characters. My one worry as the big screen version of The Simpsons arrives on Friday, will the show finally jumped the shark?

I don’t think so, and here’s why; As long as the writing roster remains strong, and it always has, animation holds onto its freshness longer the Hostess cakes. Those innocent looking, but oh so subversive characters can also get away with just about anything. Lampooning everything from religion, to politics, to sexuality, to celebrity — nothing is off limits. In a live action setting these topics would be watered down, or come off ham handed. Animation removes that annoying reality factor and allows for unfettered expression. Alright, there are limits on network television, but for me The Simpsons is the most spot on satire on TV. Only Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert can come close but admit it, in many ways they owe a debt to our friends in Springfield. There’s more than a little Troy McClure and Kent Brockman in those guys!

By the way you’ve got to go to The Simpsons movie website and create you own avatar. If you’ve ever wondered what you’d look like in Bart’s world, here’s your chance.http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/

While we’re on the animation subject, can I just give a quick shout out to anime fans — especially those of us with more than a few decades on the odometer. I’m currently watching Gundam Seed Destiny and it’s such an over the top delight. Unless you’ve watched its first incarnation, Gundam Seed, it won’t make any bloody sense at all to you, but if you’ve been on board this epic ride since the start it just keeps getting better. Yeah, yeah I know, teenage pilots, giant mechs, rather androgynous male characters — don’t care. This show creates a complex universe of issues — war, peace, love, loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness — and presents it all in 22 minute bursts of drama and energy. There’s constant plot twists to keep you hooked, and a J-pop soundtrack that’s delightfully eclectic.

It ain’t cheap but I buy the DVDs as each collection of episodes comes out. It’s worth it to me to get the audio options. I like the Japanese voices not the English dub. Subtitles can be a drag, but I like watching in the form the show was created in. No slag on American voice actors, many of them are brilliant, but I guess I’m just a purist about some things. Besides, I get to learn cool Japanese expressions that confound my work colleagues.



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