Your uni life explained by The Simpsons

April 15, 2015
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There’s a reason The Simpsons is still a go-to reference nearly 12 years since it stopped being funny (that’s right, I went there – cue bitter and protracted internet debate). It’s tempting to chalk up the show’s immortal popularity to nostalgia, but that’s only part of it.

In its heyday, The Simpsons was a near perfect combination of biting social satire, razor sharp comedy and heartfelt family drama. The writers’ skill lay in commenting without being preachy, evoking emotion without being schmaltzy, and just being downright hilarious. All of this married splendidly with the directors’ knack for animated slapstick, the visual idiosyncrasies of the characters and the talents of the voice actors.

The result was a show that is still relatable to this day, especially when it comes to uni. So what better way to explore tertiary life than through the lens of everyone's favourite animated '90s sitcom?

"Actually, I've been working on a plan. During the exam, I'll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out." – Homer Simpson

You haven’t studied, you’re underprepared, you didn’t get any sleep and you’re probably going to be late. A responsible person would tell you to get to the exam no matter what and just try your best, and an irresponsible one would suggest you cram like you’ve never crammed before. But we all know that never works. I was raised by television and I’m telling you that Homer’s plan is foolproof.

“Won’t somebody please think of the children?” – Helen Lovejoy

The answer from the Australian Government is a firm and decisive “no”, as they persistently try to raise university fees and use our student benefits to line Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s cage.

“Can you repeat the part of the stuff where you said all about the… things?” – Homer Simpson

You’re sitting in the lecture theatre, iPad 2 or Macbook Pro or whatever hipster device you use at the ready, text cursor blinking. You want to focus on the lecturer’s in-depth exploration of the ethics of market forces, but your attention is as slippery as touchscreen glass. So, after what seems like two minutes thinking about why people who don’t own cats just don’t get it or something equally irrelevant, you realise you’ve missed out on half an hour’s worth of slides. Looks like another night dedicating precious bandwidth to lecture streams instead of uTorrent.

“Shut up, brain, I have friends now – I don’t need you anymore.” – Lisa Simpson

We all start off the semester with such good intentions. But then we go to tutes, we make friends, a bar night is organised, and things start to change. Before we know it, our textbooks are little more than sullied coasters used to accommodate the endless parade of drinking buddies traipsing through our living rooms, too stained to absorb our tears once exam period regret sets in.

“There’s a four-thirty in the morning now?” – Bart Simpson

There is, but most of us know it as give-up-and-crawl-into-bed o’clock.

“Oh wow, windows! I don’t think I could afford this place.” – Otto the Bus Driver

Renting on a student budget is like running on a treadmill: you’re trying, but you’re not going anywhere, and the numbers just keep going up.

“It tastes like burning!” – Ralph Wiggum

Ralph‘s reaction to purple berries is typically invoked after someone has eaten something distasteful, or added Sriracha to their Mi Goreng. It’s also a common reaction to downing straight vodka and the aspirin that follows straight vodka, or the regurgitation that follows mixing straight vodka with aspirin (seriously, what were you thinking?).

“I’ll just have a cup of coffee.” – Marge Simpson
“Beer it is then!” – Australian bartender

Marge’s culture clash with a bartender from Down Under exemplifies the student’s eternal dilemma: do I down a latte and push through this essay, or say "eff this" and revert to Australia’s favourite boozy pastime? The correct answer should always be “coffee”, but there’s a tiny Australian barkeep in all of us insisting that all we really want is “be-ER.”

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and sometime voice-actor, Joel Svensson pretends to be smart at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Image: Official FOX8 The Simpsons website