This summer, theaters will be embiggened by the silver screen debut of Springfield's first family.
The Simpsons Movie, premiering July 27th, will be an opportunity for fans old and new to indulge in this long-lived piece of Americana. And it is indeed a mainstay of our culture: though kids today may no longer express their contempt for authority with a snappy "Eat my shorts!", a variety of other cromulent phrases have entered our daily vernacular.
My earliest memory of this jaundiced clan features one of my own siblings hosting massive "Simpsons Sunday socials" in the basement, laughing uproariously at each quick, verbal punch in the latest round of animated sparring. I don't know if such parties are still held somewhere out there, and sadly, my own exposure to the Simpsons ended years ago, though not for lack of desire. Surely anything that's been on the air for nearly two decades — probably more than half the life of any one of its viewers — has some staying power.
OTOH, I'm a bit worried by what I'd find, were I to tune in again. Has this show, in my absence, jumped the shark? Could this film mark that point? Few shows have transitioned well to cinema, especially while the show is still being aired; witness X-Files and South Park, both of which met with mixed reviews. There just doesn't seem to be much incentive to pay $10 to see the same quantity of show as two free episodes back-to-back.
Based on the three trailers I've seen, I have no doubts that I'll be opening my car hole and heading to the theater this summer to reintroduce myself to Homer, Bart, and the gang.