Five Ways Something Ruined My LifeFive Ways ‘The Simpsons' Ruined My LifeErin Mallory Long

I’ve been watching the trials of the Simpson family since they were just little cartoons on The Tracey Ullman Show. (I don’t want you to think I’m exaggerating; I literally remember watching Tracey Ullman as a little kid.) Watching The Simpsons was always something we did together as a family (and perhaps while eating dinner in front of the TV like our beloved TV counterparts) and it definitely shaped my life in many ways I’d probably rather not admit.

I have a bunch of Simpsons books (including that giant hardcover complete episode guide), a Flaming Moe’s pint glass, little figurines of the characters, a Lisa doll I picked out myself from the toy store at 8 years old, a souvenir tee shirt from Barcelona with the family on it, and a million other things I’ve collected over the years – including valentines I bought this year but never gave out. And obviously I was all over going to the 7-Eleven-turned-Kwik-E-Mart when the movie came out.

But it goes even further than that. The reason my husband and I initially started talking and then dating was because we discovered our mutual love for The Simpsons. I mean, it sounds crazy, but that was the start of it. He famously woo’d me by inviting me to his dorm while we were studying abroad in Dublin to “watch Simpsons and have orange juice” (because I was sick at the time) and we’ve been obsessively re-watching The Simpsons ever since.

1. Named My Cat After A Simpsons Non Sequitur

Do you immediately know that Rory Calhoun is a Simpsons reference? If you do, we’re now best friends. If not, you can make fun of me for asking.

It happens in the episode “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” which has that amazing ‘Be Our Guest’ song spoof in it.

Burns: There you are…there you go, little fellow…and you. Smithers, look: he’s standing up.  I’ve never seen anything so adorable!  Do you know who it reminds me of?

Smithers: Benji?

Burns: No.

Smithers: Lassie?

Burns: No, no, no, a person. You know who I mean.

Smithers: Snoop Doggy Dogg?  Bob Barker?  David Brenner?

Burns: No, no!  The person who’s always standing and walking.

Smithers: Rory Calhoun, sir?

Burns: That’s it!

So when my husband and I got a cat back in 2006 and noticed that she was really good at standing on her hind legs, we named her Rory Calhoun (we call her Callie usually, or just Cat. . . for hilarity’s sake).

Who gets pleasure out of this name? Mostly us. But it’s great to tell someone the cat’s name and have them get it and just bond.

Similarly, we were just “joking” about naming a potential future son of our Bort.

2. Became Obsessed With “Getting” Pop Culture References

We already know I like TV crossovers, but I’m just as interested in just references in pop culture to other media.

Watching The Simpsons as a kid definitely shaped the way I think about humor and what I find funny, but it also made me obsessed with understanding all the references they were making. I remember watching episodes with my parents and they’d laugh and I wouldn’t quite understand what was funny. So they’d explain “oh, they’re making fun of this” or “that was a show we used to watch”. I started understanding the concept but still wasn’t always getting the jokes. So every time they’d laugh and I didn’t know why it was funny, I assumed it was a “reference” and would demand that they explain it to me.

I was a great little kid.

But this has crossed over to everything I watch. It’s even a thing where if I DO get something, I am such a jerk about bringing it up to other people.

Erin [laughing too loudly]: Do you know what that’s a reference to? No? Oh man, it’s SO funny if you get it.

You can also replace this game with the Guess What Not Well-Known Actor That Is game. Also a crowd pleaser.

3. Can’t Be in a Dressing Room Without Thinking I’m Being Watched

This one is a little obscure, but bear with me, because this is a big one for me.

So, you know how you’ll go into a dressing room and sometimes it has that sign that says “dressing room may be monitored by same-sex personnel”? Well, I always imagine a series of hidden cameras behind the glass and a team of people monitoring the rooms from a giant security office.

“Why would you do that?” you may ask. The answer is simple.

An episode of The Simpsons called “Lisa the Greek.” In it, Lisa is spending time with Homer helping him bet on football games so Marge takes Bart out shopping so they can bond.

When Bart goes to try on the clothes you SEE A GIANT SECURITY OFFICE WITH A BUNCH OF PEOPLE MONITORING DRESSING ROOMS.

So I literally thought that’s what those signs meant! Obviously now I’m an adult and I “understand” that they don’t do that but I still get really paranoid in dressing rooms that someone is watching me in real time and making sure I’m walking out with the right socks on.

If the tag accidentally falls off when I’m in there or something, I just go into panic mode.

4. Cling To Other Simpsons Fans For Dear Life

Watching The Simpsons was some high-quality family bonding time for me as a child and was really my first foray into liking something my friends didn’t necessarily watch. Even now I don’t know MANY girls who watch the show or any who really grew up watching it. I always knew kids whose parents didn’t allow them to watch it and that was always really weird to me since my parents encouraged me to watch it so much.

As a result, I always got really excited when I found other fans, especially in high school and college. I remember having episode wrap-up conversations sophomore year of high school with two guys who I still totally associate with the line “China’s still cool, you pay later!” which is from “Bart to the Future”.

I mean, come on, I married someone just because he also loves The Simpsons (okay, maybe there were other reasons, but that was the main one). We even attend a Simpsons trivia night every month at a bar in Brooklyn, where we compete and bond with our fellow Simpsons nerds.

I guess all this means is my hilariousness can completely be traced back to (and blamed upon) my intense love for The Simpsons and I will at least always have something to talk to you about as long as you also love The Simpsons.

5. Inserted Totally Obscure Simpsons References Into My Wedding

Since we owed the show our relationship, when my husband and I started planning our wedding, we sat down and had to decide how to honor our love of The Simpsons without being insane. This meant: don’t anyone dress up like characters but maybe we can have some references sprinkled in.

We settled on naming each table after a place in The Simpsons with the caveat being that it couldn’t be a place that was too obvious. No “Springfield Elementary” tables for us! This became hilarious because then we got to make people sit at tables like “Little Pwagmattasquarmsettport” and “Crazy Vaclav’s Place of Automobiles.” We also gave out little buttons as favors that said, “…and it goes on like this.” Which, of course, comes from the wedding vows that Homer gives Reverend Lovejoy in “A Milhouse Divided” (very possibly the best episode of the series).

Reverend Lovejoy: I will now read these special vows which Homer has prepared for this occasion. Do you, Marge, take Homer, in richness and in poorness, poorness is underlined, in impotence and in potence, in quiet solitude or blasting across the alkali flats in a jet-powered, monkey-navigated… and it goes on like this.

The best part though was, since my parents are also really into The Simpsons, I was able to convince my dad to buy Jimmy pig cufflinks like Homer passes down to Lisa’s almost-husband, Hugh.

Brilliant.

Obviously, not everyone got the jokes, but it meant something to us and that’s basically all weddings are for. One day I’ll write a book called It’s Your Wedding, You Can Do Literally Whatever You Want.

I’m always going to watch The Simpsons and even though the episodes are not as good as when it was at its peak, I’ll still be one of those fans freaking out when the show gets canceled. It’s such an enormous part of my life, I don’t know what I’d do without it.

I mean, it’s a perfectly cromulent show.

(All images mine except the main image which is from here)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=536642259 Ashley Blevins

    I totally grew up watching The Simpsons religiously with my family. I have a ton of memories with them that include at the very least an episode of The Simpsons playing in the background. Love this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/erinmallorylong Erin Long

      I’m so glad that other people bonded with their family over The Simpsons!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=53401501 Anne Sullivan

    Absolutely wonderful! I remember growing up and being allowed to watch the show too, and it still baffles me when people I know say, my parents wouldn’t let me watch that! It reminds me of my cousins because it was something we all always had it common, the humor, the references, and specifics in the episodes. I too shall mourn the ending of such a wonderful show! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/elainelaura Elaine Laura

    I totally agree about the changing rooms!! ‘Those aren’t the socks she was wearing when she came in-lets roll..’

    Also looove the Simpsons-their quotes are pretty much apart of my everyday language.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1435902087 Patti Sauro

    Awesome post! Loved your wedding references. VERY creative! You’re a lucky girl to find such a kindred spirit. I, too, will freak out when (or if) it ever gets cancelled.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elise.swearingen Elise Swearingen

    you should convert to Unitarian Universalism – honestly, Simpsons is part of our religion. Most kids learned about jesus in sunday school – we learned about UU references in Simpsons’ episodes! ‘I hope its not Unitarian Ice Cream”…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/mcvmccarty Michael Christian Vincent

    there’s a big world outside the self

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000542550963 Robert Remillard

    I let my own intellect determine my fantasies. Letting others do it for you shows a lack of imagination. Besides, they never age!

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.dennison Phil Dennison

    Fun fact: Rory Calhoun’s current Wikipedia entry begins “Rory Calhoun (August 8, 1922 – April 28, 1999) was an American television and film actor, screenwriter and producer, best known for standing and walking.” It looks like it’s constantly being edited to remove that reference. Simpsons fans FTW!

    • http://www.facebook.com/erinmallorylong Erin Long

      That. Is. Amazing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=44200880 Jim Link

    I don’t see how this ruined your life. If anything it made it more awesome! I wrote a paper on the Simpsons my sophomore year of high school on how it influenced the generation. I got an A haha.

    • http://www.facebook.com/erinmallorylong Erin Long

      That’s awesome and yes the whole point is that it has improved my life. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashleylin1130 Ashley Lin Walters

    I definitely get it. I am the same way (not with The Simpsons but with the show Friends)….. Me to my two bosses and a college the other day: “That is three good friends references I have made before 10 am….I am SO cool”

    • http://www.facebook.com/erinmallorylong Erin Long

      I did a post on Friends too! I reference that show almost every day as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alicia.mcgill Alicia J McGill

    If I were completely insane, I would have sworn I wrote this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/selinaparra Selina Parra

    I absolutely love this! Awesome wedding idea, by the way. I’ve been a huge fan of The Simpsons for as long as I can remember. I spent most of my time in elementary school trying to piece together clues that would help me figure out in which state the Simpsons resided. I was totally obsessed with the show, and I still am. To this day, I can’t go to sleep at night without first thinking, “Go to bread.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/tamaramccoy Tamara McCoy-Carroll

    After reading this, I am convinced we need to be best friends. I easily could have written the same article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brianne.spinelli Brianne Spinelli

    I have the same problem in dressing rooms! So much so that most times I won’t even face the mirror until I’m fully dressed (can’t be giving strangers a free show!) I never knew where this strange neurosis came from, but now that you’ve brought it up, it’s most definitely the Simpsons buried deep in my subconscious!

    • http://www.facebook.com/erinmallorylong Erin Long

      I know. I only realized it recently upon a re-watch of that episode. I always just assumed I was extremely paranoid!

  • http://www.facebook.com/heavyraines17 Sean Raines

    I hope no one was offended if they were seated at the Donny’s Discount Gas table at your wedding.

    • http://www.facebook.com/erinmallorylong Erin Long

      For a while I really wanted to make an…older table for “Springfield Retirement Castle” but decided not offending my grandparents was a better idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deirdre.cowman Deirdre Cowman

    Love it! I think my dad uses the words ‘cromulent’ and ‘embiggens’ at least once a day. You guys could be best buds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1076580014 Regina Bluman

    We use the name “Stupider like a fox” for our pub quiz team name every week, and have yet to find one quiz master who gets the reference :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000376004861 Brian Nunn

    Huge Simpson’s fan,l wife went into labor shortly after we watched first Simpson’s Christmas special. We’ve been hooked every since! Is Marge there? Is this her sister? Also made local TV news and paper with life-size fullcolor Simpson’s snow sculptures. Love THE SIMPSON’S

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeteStarbuckzzz Pete Starbuckzz

    That is awesome. My friend also did the pig cuff links for his wedding. I really admire your obsessiveness. VERY M-pressive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/annafrejakorvin Anna Freja Korvin

    I feel like this with South Park.
    Except I don’t know every episode’s name :P

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