The Simpsons is a pretty harmlessly fun show that has been a part of my childhood and though I barely watch the show now and am not even sure if it is still in the air, I will still value the impact the series has done in me. The series had a perfect combination of episodes that posses enough humor to keep the the audience entertained but left room for other moral lessons to be taught that not many cartoons during the Fox Sunday evening block actually took the time to cover. That’s how I saw how The Simpsons were able to differentiate itself from the other cartoons at the time – covering many different topics in many different ways. And one way was the (for me, legendary) episode New Kids on the Blecch starring *N SYNC!
This was the episode where Bart, Nelson, Ralph, and Milhouse become boyband members called, “The Party Posse”. With their singing voices being done by the members of *N SYNC. Anyways, the band creates a hit single called “Drop Da Bomd” with the catchy phrase “Yvan Eht Nioj” (think Psy’s Oppa Gangnam Style but American). Lisa, being the smart girl she is, thought something was fishy and found out the song was actually projecting subliminal messages to people to join the navy. Eventually, the navy finds out that (for some reason they care) Mad magazine is going to talk shit about the band which will result in loss of audience influence. This leads to the Navy failing in their plot for recruitment and the band’s disbandment.
The most significant scene in this episode was when Lisa discovers the subliminal messages in the song and music video. Me being fairly young and innocent at the time to the dangers of the world, when the episode introduced the concept of subliminal messaging, it totally blew my mind. Like, I absolutely totally did not see it coming at all what-so-ever. And it freaked the hell out of me when Lisa rewind the tape from when the female singers said, “Yvan Eht Nioj” to “Join The Navy”.
I think the absurdly deep voice of the woman put the nail on the coffin and pretty much sent my mind to loony-ville because I can vividly recall when that episode first aired I literally got the shit scared out of me and immediately wished I did not watch this week’s episode of The Simpsons. And subsequent airings of that episode in the following years really did not lessen the scare factor. I was mentally shattered for years.
But now I am a strong-willed-husky-alpha male that don’t take shit from no one and can watch this with no twitching of the eye, shaking of the hand, turning of the head, and crying in the corner. Years of torment can change a man and can toughen him up. I guess everything really did come up milhouse in the end.