Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, Where in the World is Osama bin Laden, 30 Days) embarks on a cross-country, globe-trotting mission to discover the cultural impact of America’s first animated family, The Simpsons. Throughout the special, Morgan will explore the history of America’s longest running TV sitcom and examine how the world sees the Simpsons and how the Simpsons lets us see the world. In an attempt to understand the epidemic spread of yellow fever, Morgan will discover how the show has become both the cash cow and sacred golden entertainment calf worshiped by the entire world. Throughout the special we’ll hear from the people on the front lines of obsessive fandom, explore how the Simpsons has helped undermine the status of America being the most beloved country in the world and discover how the show has touched the lives of millions.
The fictional world of The Simpsons is well documented. We have countless books, fan websites, and Wikipedia entries recording and categorizing every episode, character, and catchphrase. What has yet to be explored, is how the world sees The Simpsons, and how The Simpsons lets us see the world. For twenty years, the show has become a part of the national consciousness and a part of the global culture at large. In practically every country where you can find a TV set, you can find a channel that’s showing The Simpsons. Plenty of TV series become phenomena, but few have become as transcendent and engrained in our daily lives as The Simpsons. We wear Simpsons clothing, we speak Simpson’ese, we hear symphonies play the theme song, we take college classes centered around the show, we listen to our politicians quote it, and read books about what The Simpsons teaches us about philosophy, psychology, physics, and religion. Some of us even dress up as our favorite Simpsons characters…on our wedding day.
Morgan Spurlock’s Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special will both explore and celebrate how The Simpsons has permeated every level of our society, beginning with a look at its global appeal, then examining its impact on our national identity, seeing the show’s presence in American cities and towns, and finally turning to the core of the show, the family. Throughout the special, we’ll hear from some of the most important figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, politics, science, and sports – not to hear them fawn over The Simpsons, but to see how the show has managed to make a very real and indelible mark in their respective fields. We’ll then put our special guests alongside their Simpsons character counterparts to show that no other comedy reflects the world we live in from so many different angles and with more satirical precision than The Simpsons.
Our cross-country, globe trotting journey will take us to actual Moe’s Taverns, Ned Flanders Festivals, Homer-shaped crop circles, and Albuquerque Isotopes minor league baseball games – all providing a compelling backdrop to hammer home the fact that The Simpsons isn’t just a show, it’s a fixture of everyday life for millions – even billions – of people. And to get a glimpse at some of these people’s Simpsons devotion, we’ll meet Americans who see themselves as ‘real life’ versions of Simpsons characters. What better way to see how emotionally attached fans are to these characters than to see those fans dressing and acting as those same characters?
Along the way, the special will document the ways in which The Simpsons stands apart from every other show on television. We’ll take a look at its longevity, accolades, achievements, shattered records, and fandom as well as some of the controversies the show has courted over its twenty year history. Finally, the special will explore the effect The Simpsons has had on television itself. This includes the ever-lengthening list of shows created by Simpsons alumni, as well as television and film alumni who name The Simpsons at the top of their list of inspirations.
Plenty of fan sites, DVD commentaries, and books have given audiences an inside look at The Simpsons over the years, but The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special will stand apart by focusing not just on the show itself, but on the show’s place in our lives.