We are currently in the golden age of scripted TV. For every Bachelore-esque reality show, there is a Breaking Bad, The Wire, Sopranos, Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire, Archer, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, so on and so forth.
While I can’t vouch for the entire body of work, my favorite show is The Simpsons. While this may be because I remember the halcyon days of its prime (yes, I’m older than you), I also believe that it was (no longer is) a necessary satire of the American experience, completely devoid of rationale and consequences. Whether or not you agree is beside the point. South Park provides the same service, but in a timelier manner and with more crudeness and general insanity. King of the Hill provided a sober perspective, and in a universe beholden to the same rules as ours. If you prefer Family Guy, I can only apologize that this is not written in crayon.
Some of the finer episodes in the series – indeed the first episode, back in 1989 – revolve around money issues faced by the Simpson family, and oftentimes focused on whatever occupation Homer takes either as a cause or effect of the financial difficulties. Due to the longevity of the series, (596 episodes and counting) Homer has spent time in a fair amount of professions. This has allowed some folks over at Vox to devote an absurd amount of resources to document and analyze the many pursuits of Homer Simpson.
I have quite a few quibbles with the list they’ve compiled. For instance, “Navy reserve sailor” isn’t an actual position, and he did end up as the Captain of a nuclear submarine at the end of the episode. Also, I’m glad to see he was rewarded for his time at Globex, but I have to assume that his resulting ownership of the Denver Broncos netted him more than $389k annually. There are quite a few that did not make the list, like the time he collected all the grease in town, or the time he stumbled across an overturned truck full of sugar, and Vox’s cop out of saying there is no reliable data falls on deaf ears.
The main finding they glean is that after plotting the salaries of all of Homer’s different jobs, he has not really advanced in the 27 years that he has been on the air. Is this a good opportunity to equate this to the shrinking middle class? Of course, it is! Except this is also a fictional cartoon series in which the previous week’s adventures have no bearing or application on the following week, in which Homer will inevitably wake up and once again be a safety inspector in sector 7-G.
In the end, I appreciate the list of jobs and their concurrent salaries, but this article is what happens when grad students become bloggers with too much time on their hands..
Image via Youtube