As I've been saying for what I can only describe as Quite Some Time Now, there's a lie, largely propagated by those bastards in the media (particularly arts journalists, if that can even be called journalism, pah), that The Simpsons is still as funny as it was.
Admittedly this lie has been aided by The Simpsons Movie, which is actually pretty funny, the contrary bastard, but in general terms... well, the TV show's just ridiculous now, a completely insane and out of control Homer running around between countries gibbering incoherently to a slew of crassly shoehorned in celeb guests. But people keep talking about it as if it really is the same as it was in the ninieties... it's a bit like children pretending their parents are still in love or whatever when in fact ma and pa now only communicate with violence and are only staying together for the kids. Maybe, I don't know, my parents are still happily married. Ha.
Anyway, it's ridiculous, but seeing as hardly anybody watches new Simpsons it really didn't matter that much, as you could pretty much ignore it save to grumble about the odd article. But now, Christ on a bike, every fucker's gone onto the Simpsons Movie website and done that desogn yourself as a Simpsons character thing and is now sporting an avatar of themselves that looks a bit like them and urgh, I dunno, it's a horribly brilliant viral campaign, but it's really depressing in some ways, I think. It just seems to mean The Simpsons is now in a position where it can trade off past glories so much that it's genuinely irrelevant what it does now - if it sells off a little bit of itself then that's all it needs to do to get everyone enthused all over again without actually needing to be good - it's become another brand, which is sad.
My even more tortured opinions on Transformers shall wait for another blog, but I do think there's a certain degree of hypocricy in that while Transformers has been slammed for being in part a glorified plug for some toys/cars, The Simpsons has been praised for shamelessly OTT marketing tactics (renaming 7/11s Kwik E Marts, that big Homer on the hil by that dude with the penis and the club) which are devoted to keeping a very profitable brand that's long past its sell by date afloat. NME presumably wasn't paid to plug the Simpsons avatar maker ad nauseum for an entire issue, for instance, but the uber-cool guys and gals there - headed up by Conor McNicholas, pictured, oh yes - got so giddy over the picture maker that the basically spent an issue plugging it when really some stuff about bands would have been nice...
Maybe I am just bitter because the two versions of me that got done got deleted by accident. Or maybe 'accident'. Either way I feel terribly left out, and yet unable to muster the enthusiasm to do a third avatar. Sob.