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Life as a ten year old boy at the podium

COLORADO SPRINGS- The voice of Bart Simpson spoke at Colorado College last night. What began as a the memoir My Life as a Ten Year Old Boy, and debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival four years ago as a “one woman play” reached CC’s Armstrong Hall looking like 52 card pickup with that too many index cards. There might once have been a day when Simpsons fans raved like Trekkies, but the show’s longevity has lapped this generation. It didn’t help that Nancy Cartwright dissed South Park and Family Guy as uninteresting.

I don’t think The Simpsons has lost any of its vitality, but its audience has certainly evolved an appetite for alternately focused irreverence. I’d think too, a tip celebrities shouldn’t ignore from their publicists is to refrain from telling their fans that the stars themselves don’t watch television. We know you are too busy, all of us ought to have better things to do. Would Fox pay you $80,000/hour if more viewers wised up to whose resources and energy are really being consumed by the half-hour financial exchange?

My best question for “Bart” Cartwright might have been how Fox, network of illest repute, manages Matt Groening’s subversive message.

Cartwright’s only questions came from middle school children because the college students had begun pulling out, pretty embarrassed for voice-of-Bart’s unselfconscious star tripping. The lecturer was prepared to detail the minutia of Simpsons lore, and to say she enjoyed the plots which carried a social message, but was unprepared to explain any, and even lacked for a favorite episode.

No one was unsurprised or unimpressed with the breadth of Cartwright’s animation voice experience. She’d worked from My Little Pony to Pound Puppies to Kim Possible, and had been the uncredited gurgle of Maggie Simpson, among others. But those in the audience who left early, whom I came so close to envying, missed the absolute highlight of the evening, when practically as an afterthought, Cartwright revealed that her most challenging character was Chuckie Finster of the Rugrats. A hushed swoon enveloped the crowd at the mere mention. There was Cartwright’s real impact in the waning Simpsons era. Today’s Simpsons viewers only recognize Ralph Wiggum’s voice as they bump him off in the Simpsons video game.

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