My thoughts on The Simpsons’ “Upstate New York” song

Truth be told, I haven’t watched The Simpsons on a regular basis in a very long time.  But after what appears to be a record amount of vitriol over last Sunday’s episode, “D’oh! Canada”, I found the episode on my AppleTV subscription and watched it.

Apparently … here’s the parody song in the video that’s gotten people along the New York State Thruway a bit … shall we say … miffed.

Okay … let’s see.  Niskayuna water tower that springs a leak?  Check.

Utica visitors sign with reducing population?  Check.

Kodak plant closing in Rochester?  Well, it’s a bit dated … but Check.

Homer being elected the Mayor of Oriskany?  Well, Check… but this sure would have been funnier if he had been elected mayor of the neighboring town of Oriskany Falls, based on the alleged urban legend

The Syracuse University mascot dancing with mascots for opioids and lotto scratchers?  Ha ha check…

I can tell you, though, there was plenty of pearl-clutching in our area over this parody song, with newscasters questioning New Yorkers about whether they were offended or upset about the video.

And there were also song responses to the “Upstate New York” clip, as Albany musicians Jocelyn and Chris Arndt did their own stripped-down answer to the Simpsons track.

That being said and all …

I had no problem with the parody.  I thought it was hilarious.  And it’s not like the Simpsons hasn’t parodied our area in the past…  I mean, thanks to one Simpsons episode, the Capital District is apparently the home of delicious steamed hams, which are definitely NOT fast food items … sure they’re not …

And the Simpsons isn’t the only Fox TV show this year to rib the upstate area.  Fox has skewered this area in their shows for AGES.  As an example:

  • The Fox sci-fi comedy-drama The Orville recently had an episode in which one of their characters discovers a cell phone from a time capsule.  The cell phone owner was from Saratoga Springs, and apparently people in Saratoga Springs love to have parties and drink.
  • The Fox sitcom The Cool Kids recently aired an episode in which one of their characters went on a date – and the date produced a wine and boasted about it being a vintage bottle from New York’s vineyards.  The character sipped a glass and said, “Yeah, you can really taste the Albany.”
  • Fox’s supernatural drama Sleepy Hollow even had an episode where the characters traveled from Sleepy Hollow NY (which is definitely NOT upstate) to UAlbany to find an artifact – and apparently their view of Albany’s education system is represented as a toga-party bacchanalia.  Oh the hilarity.
  • Heck, there was even an episode of House where Dr. House travels to Schenectady … or at least some odd representation of Schenectady, I think it involved a turkey hunt or something, I stopped watching House after that episode where Dr. House went through three diagnoses to find the true diagnosis and save the patient with three minutes left to spare.

Look, I get it.  This area has its quirks.  Heck, our biggest tourist attraction is a canine statue on top of a building, and this area would tear that building down and throw Nipper in the landfill if Wegmans said they wanted to  build a grocery store at that location.

Heck, we talk about traveling to “The City,” which amuses me in that Albany is a city … it’s not a town or a village or a hamlet, at least not to my knowledge…

But getting back to The Simpsons … it’s a cartoon, people!  It’s not a documentary!  Bart Simpson’s been in fourth grade for 30 years!  How have you not noticed this??

And besides … if you’re going to satirize local culture … hell, that’s old news.  Fox 23 did that TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, and we even got a young Jimmy Fallon to be part of it!

But the best part about the Simpsons video, if you ask me … is …

Wait, the Simpsons are still on the air?  After 30 years?!?

That in itself is surprising.