It has been brought to my attention that Harry Shearer will not be returning for the two seasons that this institution was just renewed for. This means that Flanders, Principal Skinner, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Kent Brockman, Scratchy, and Lenny- just off the top of my head- will sound different going forward.
I know people born in the 80s might have a knee jerk reaction of "So what?!" Then follow that up with a statement like, "I haven't watched that show since high school" then smile smugly as everyone around them kind of just averts their eyes and grumbles.
However, I propose we recognize that most of us have had our lexicon shaped by The Simpsons. Most of us have decided what is and is not funny because of The Simpsons. To say nothing of the fact that most people quote the show to the point that just four letters can mean so much in a moment.
I guess I'm saying, it doesn't matter when you stopped watching, or if you stopped watching at all. This show is a part of many people's lives; even if the time you have watched it pales in comparison to the amount of time you haven't been watching it.
So let's get upset that Harry Shearer is leaving and the show is still going. Let's get upset, because, no matter what you thought of the writing, hearing someone else or even two different people playing out any scenario with Mr. Burns and Smithers interacting will just seem off.
And quite possibly wrong. I know we're not all going to be able to process our emotions the right way. But we have to try, for Lenny's sake.
Mostly because those shows just don't have the same effect on me. But, more to the point, it's because the powers that be on those shows did not try to trick me into thinking everything was business as usual when those people left their respective shows.
I guess it's like when South Park had to switch out character voices once Mary Kay Bergman passed away or when Mila Kulis took over from Lacey Chabert on Family Guy. My parents might even cite the case of multiple Darrins on Bewitched. What about the multiple Bobby Drapers?
Unfortunately for you people who want to prove me wrong, the fact remains that none of those switches happened after decades of screen time. 20 plus seasons is nothing to scoff at.
Am I saying they should retire Harry's characters? Kind of. I know that won't be the case though. And as such I must formally say good bye to a cherished show. This doesn't mean I won't have my DVDs to re-watch all my favourite episodes. It just means I think they made a mistake and I'm going to have to be one of those guys who laments the passing of the good ol' days when Harry Shearer voiced Otto and countless others.