S2, E9: “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge”

“I guess that one person can make a difference, but most of the time, they probably shouldn’t.” – Marge.

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Written by: John Swartzwelder.

Here’s what I love about this episode: it lets nobody off of the hook.

It goes after censorship do-gooders who want to impose their own personal morality on the entire world all the while consuming that art fervently underneath the guise of “cataloging” it.

It goes after bottom-line, bottom-feeding entertainment execs who hide behind the principle of free speech to purposely load the world with crap just because it sells.

It shows that Marge has a point, as Maggie is shown to be influenced by the cartoon no matter what it shows – and the children of Springfield stop watching Itchy & Scratchy toactually go outside and play when a more wholesome version airs.

It shows that the entertainment execs have a point, as the people who rallied around Marge want to next go after the nudity in Michelangelo’s “David” – and the children of Springfield stop watching Itchy & Scratchy toactually go outside and play when a more wholesome version airs.

Where I personally fall on this subject can probably gleaned from the fact that – in all of the long years – the only piece of non-content Simpsons memorabilia I ever purchased was an (long gone) Itchy & Scratchy Show T-shirt.

That said, I really hate art that beats me about the head with my own opinions, a la The Newsroom. As a comedy, even a comedy with a point of view, The Simpsons was always free to make fun of what was clearly that point of view, especially in service of a good joke.

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