Did you catch Splitsider’s Classic Simpsons Week series? If so, you missed some great content that peered into the nuclei of creativity that led to one of the cleverest and funniest programming eras in the entire history of television. In addition to interviews with former writers and producers of the show, the series included this video, featuring every commercial that ran during the first Simpsons episode premier in December, 1989 (in Rhode Island, at least). And since it was a Christmas episode, we get some great holiday themed merchandising too (topical!).
As much as TV commercials today rank just below an animatronic rotten ground beef sculpture of will.i.am in terms of things I try to avoid at all costs, it’s amazing how much fun can be found in watching old commercials. The ads are a very specific and detailed cultural barometer, much more so than the programs they are wrapped around, telling us where our cultural focus was at the time, and — more often — how our silly and fleeting national obsessions allowed consumerism to dictate culture.
As Splitsider’s Adam Frucci writes,
Sure, there are references to politicians, celebrities and events from the early 90’s that date it a bit, but on the whole, [The Simpsons] aged incredibly well. So much so that watching this compilation of every commercial that ran alongside the premiere of the show is almost shocking. I mean, look at how old this stuff is! It’s amazing to see how dated the rest of American culture looks to us now when compared to how relevant those Simpsons episodes continue to be. That’s one major reason the show still gets as much love as it does.
I even sometimes wish DVDs of Transformers, He-Man and the like contained the original commercials, if nothing else for us to laugh at awesome sales on 1980s car phones or remember radical Super Mario Bros. 2/Pepsi contest. I fear for someone trying to do this commercial experiment 11 years from now, only because they will be forced to sit through a barrage of cringe-inducing “zombie Simpsons” episodes.
Also, it includes a double bonus: a teaser for the one of the BEST XMAS EPISODES EVER (featuring Sam Kinison!).