More Simpsons: Memories of a Musical-Theater Geek
Speaking of The Simpsons, I was a fan from the start in part because I already loved everyone involved in its creation. I was a Taxi maniac, so I'd heard of James Brooks. I watched The Tracey Ullman show (I'd loved Tracey Ullman from the adorable "They Don't Know About Us" video), so I'd been watching those primitive Simpsons interstitials between the skits. And I'd read every single brilliantly subversive Life Is Hell strip by Matt Groening — angry, odd art that still holds up. (In my deranged fantasy universe, I had somehow transferred to Evergreen college and magically developed collaborative friendships with Groening and Lynda Barry. I'm not kidding. I remember literally fantasizing about attending parties with them. I was having kind of a bad year.)
Anyway, I did love the show, but it was almost hard to take for a while because the connected cultural craze — "Do the Bartman!" — was deafening. (Reading the Ortved book brought back all sorts of ridiculous memories: Anyone remember when George Bush the First attacked the show by saying families should be "more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons"?)
Then I saw the "Streetcar Named Marge" episode — it was one of the earliest TV musical parodies I can remember, and as a musical-theater geek, it hit all my buttons. I remember my friend Tim and me shouting "Streetcar!" at odd moments. I wanted to find the Apu solo from "Oh! Streetcar!" ("Will this bewitching floozy / Seduce this humble newsie?"), but it's not online. Here's the closing number instead.