Which is watching the season premiere of The Simpsons.

I cannot emphasize how important this show is to me, or at least the first eight or nine seasons. It was probably the one constant for me, entertainment-wise, during the '90s, the one show I kept watching throughout my teens and early-to-mid twenties. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie felt like members of my extended TV family: they were recognizably flawed and deep characters whose personalities belied their cartoon nature. Regardless of my living situation, I always had piles of Simpsons tapes recorded from various stations in the cities I'd lived in during the period. The only remotely close rival was Mystery Science Theater, which in some ways was the its spiritual cousin. The show helped me adjust to living away from home when I went to college the year it premiered, and helped me get through my senior year, when it went into syndication, and it later helped me score a graduate degree from a certain major Midwestern university. I can think of friendships enriched by a shared love of the program, and numerous situations where a pithy quote from Homer helped get me through a lousy day.

So I don't wanna talk about how the show went bad in its middle years, or the many attempts to regain the magic of the earlier years. I figure that the show isn't long for the world (though I thought the same in 1997), and I'd like to see if I can reconnect just one more time. Does this make me a sad nostalgia junkie? I'm primed for disappointment, but hey, Bob's Burgers starts tonight too.