A few years ago a short sketch from The Simpsons blew up the internet mostly through the unique ways that fans interacted and modified it. I covered the story then and you can read about it here.
It’s not a stretch to say that it is now one of the most iconic scenes in the show’s long run. Recently, Mel Magazine did a story about the famed bit and we now have a little more context on the history of the scene as well as commentary from those that helped the meme version blow up.
What’s interesting is that show runner Bill Oakley, who also wrote the bit, said that during the initial table read it didn’t get any laughs. This is surprising to me since the scene on its own is actually quite funny and a smart take on both characters.
“The thing is, at the time, I didn’t even know if it was funny. The table read for the episode wasn’t all that successful, but we decided to do it anyway. After it broadcasted, we never really heard anything about it for years afterwards” said Oakley.
What’s great about the piece is that there is a surprising amount of depth. The sources include the aforementioned Bill Oakley, Buzzfeed, the creators of Steamed Hams Facebook and Reddit groups, the editor-in-chief of KnowYourMeme and a host of other commentaries from a variety of people.
The second half of the piece delves into how the meme blew up and is a great example of how jokes are created and the momentum that the internet can generate. Once the fire was ignited there was no stopping it.
“I’m delighted that people actually did think the sketch was funny, because it took me approximately 20 years to find out that people liked it,” Oakley said. “I’m even more delighted that people find it so user-friendly because I love all these remixes. It’s hard to get into the specific weirdness of its success, but I think that part of the reason it’s successful is because it pushes that nostalgia buzzer for Simpsons fans.”
It’s a great read and thoughtfully put together. You can check out the full piece here.