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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hypocrite, Thy Name is Helen Lovejoy

I do have some business to take care of before I go ahead with today's blog topic. And, while today's topic has nothing to do with either man, I thought I would mention them at the very beginning of this entry.

On January 16, 2014, we said goodbye to two actors who certainly made their mark on pop culture and entertainment – Russell Johnson, 89, who played the role of The Professor on “Gilligan's Island”, and Dave Madden, 82, who played the role of Reuben Kincaid on “The Partridge Family”. Although I was too young to watch either show when they were brand new, I remember watching “Gilligan's Island” in reruns and loving every single episode. Truth be told, the Professor was always one of my favourite characters from the show. And of course, “The Partridge Family” aired on MuchMusic for many years, and that's how I got to remember watching Reuben Kincaid act as the band's manager.

Both men certainly were a huge part of my childhood, and the childhoods of an entire generation and their children, and both will be dearly missed by those who remember watching them, and for those who were lucky enough to have worked with them both.

And now on with this week's blog topic, which is technically supposed to be an animated show (which it is), but never really aired on Saturday mornings (even though on some channels, it can air on Saturday afternoons). But you know, there's something that has been on my mind. It's kind of a ranting piece, if you will...and this is sort of surprising, as I usually don't rant. But in this case, I'll be ranting about who I would consider to be my least favourite character on this particular show.

I imagine that some of you probably feel as though I've focused a lot of blog entries on “The Simpsons”, and you're probably right. But when you consider that the show is the longest running sitcom (and animated program) of all time and has a total of over five hundred episodes, I'd say that it's worth writing another entry on.

Now, as you may know, “The Simpsons” have had the same five main characters featured in every episode. And, certainly, I love everything about Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and little Maggie. But what about the secondary and tertiary characters of “The Simpsons”? Well, I admit that I like most of them too from Apu to Artie Ziff (hey, what can I say, Artie Ziff is easy to make fun of). You can count on Sideshow Bob coming up with an elaborate scheme to kill Bart off, you can shake your head at Principal Skinner's stupidity, and you probably enjoy hearing all of the wonderful quotable quotes that Ralph “What's a diorama” Wiggum says.

But admittedly, there are some Simpson characters that I cannot say I enjoy. In small doses, I can handle Ned Flanders, but when he starts with the diddly-iddlys and the okely-dokelies, I tune out in a big way. I can't say that I enjoy those heinous twins...what are their names? Sherri and Terri? Yeah, they can get sent away somewhere. And Lisa's supposed best friend Janey? She's a complete fraud.

And, of course, I'm sure everyone has thought about shooting Mr. Burns at one point.

But you know, not even Mr. Burns is a character that I can say I absolutely despise. Truth be told, I actually kind of like the guy, only because Harry Shearer does such a fantastic job playing him. And, I think part of the reason why I cannot stand this Simpsons character is because she represents everything in a person that I absolutely loathe. She has all the qualities and quirks that I find a real turn-off in real people, and I have my doubts that I could be friendly with anybody who acts the same way that she does.

I suppose that her husband is someone who could also be someone who I could probably dislike as well, but the thing is that at least he doesn't try to hide who he is. He generally doesn't care about helping people and openly admits to it. At least Reverend Lovejoy is honest about how he feels about people – which is really not much.

His wife on the other hand...well, she's a real piece of work. I actually happen to have come across quite a few people in my life who act just like her, and I actually kind of refer to those people as the “Helen Lovejoys of the World”.

And that's what this blog is all about. Helen Lovejoy and the many traits that make her my least liked Simpsons character ever.

Now, upon first glance, you might not understand what makes this woman so bad. I mean, judging her from appearance, you'd probably make the assumption that she is actually quite the nice, respectable woman. And, in some instances, I suppose that she does look the part. Her hair is always neatly styled, her clothes are modest but somewhat fashionable, and she is very heavily involved in her church and her community. On paper, she seems like the perfect woman.

But if you were to really dig deep...dig really, really deep into the various layers that make up the personality of Helen Lovejoy, you might find a woman who is absolutely blind to the fact that she comes across as a shrieking harpy shrew, a judgmental hypocrite, and basically not a nice person at all.

I mean, sure, Helen Lovejoy might come across as being a nice churchgoing wife. But that's just the image that she wants to give off. You might think that she's hanging around Marge Simpson, Agnes Skinner, and the late Maude Flanders because she genuinely likes to be in their company and wants to be a true blue friend...but in reality, she's secretly judging each and every single person in Springfield. She's secretly taking notes of everything they say, everything they do, and everyone they hang around – all for the sole purpose of using it against you on a later date. And certainly, when that time comes, she wastes no time in taking all of those secrets and exposing them to every single person who will ever listen to her. And what is very interesting about it is that most often than not, nobody in town ever suspects her of intentionally stirring the pot.

But she does...hoo boy she does.

I mean, how could you forget the time in which she spearheaded Marge Simpson's buyout from their own business entrepreneurial group just so she could take the credit for starting up her own pita business? I mean, sure, Marge ended up starting up her own pretzel wagon which also did some success before the two groups began hiring hitmen to put the other out of business, but the fact is that Helen Lovejoy essentially managed to turn all of their mutual friends against Marge with just a snap of her fingers. That's cold.

And, remember that time in which Homer promised Marge that he would not have one drop of alcohol at the Springfield Chili Cook-Off (which ended up being a promise that Homer couldn't keep as he overindulged on beer and hot chili which caused him to hallucinate a talking fox voiced by the late Johnny Cash).

Anyway, while Marge was trying to enjoy herself at the cook-off, Helen just couldn't help herself in telling Marge that Homer was downing enough beer to supply the Duff Beer warehouses for the next six months. And, I don't mean that she simply told Marge...she practically rubbed it in her face until her face turned red and Marge was about ready to punch her in the face. Of course, the sullen-faced Reverend Lovejoy actually somewhat liked Marge Simpson, and tried to diffuse the situation as best he could, but the fact that Helen took great delight in other people's mistakes and misery...well, there's a word for that. Schadenfreude. A German word meaning shameful joy.

(And, yes...I learned that from an episode of “The Simpsons” too. Who says that TV doesn't teach you things?)

Oh, and can we talk about Helen Lovejoy's most famous, yet incredibly annoying catchphrase? I believe it goes something like this...

Oh, please! Won't somebody please think of the children? Anybody? I mean, Bart, Lisa, Milhouse, Sherri, Terri, Martin Prince, Nelson, Jimbo, Maggie, the unibrowed baby who hates Maggie, Uter...hell, anybody in Springfield under the age of sixteen, really. Someone has to think of the children! Won't somebody please think of the children?

I mean, seriously, someone has to – since Helen Lovejoy sure doesn't. Heck, she can't even make sure that her own kid is always on the straight and narrow as her daughter Jessica is as bad as they come. Heck, Jessica Lovejoy even made a naturally born hellion like Bartholomew J. Simpson seem like the most angelic of choir boys in comparison.

And, when you stop and think of it, she only seems to care about the children when she wants them to stop having fun. She was one of the people who protested against the Itchy and Scratchy show when she agreed with her fair-weather friend Marge that it was too violent. Yet, she's not one to shy away from using violence to get what she wants. Case in point, the episode “24 Minutes”, which had Helen getting into a physical confrontation with Marge Simpson over a box of raisins!

Can we say...hypocrite much?

And, when Marge was sent to prison for shoplifting a bottle of bourbon from the Kwik-E-Mart, upon her release, Helen promised that she would use her gossip for good instead of evil!

I mean, I don't use abbreviations much in this blog, but WTF?!? Gossip is still gossip, and spreading half-truths and lies about people in the community isn't exactly something that I would consider good behaviour.

And, I mean, I know so many people who are just like Helen Lovejoy. People who claim to act one way in a public setting, and when people's backs are turned, they turn into something completely deplorable. It's absolutely ridiculous and impossible to try and deal with someone like that, so I don't even try to have a relationship with them. I'd rather focus my time on someone who does appreciate me for who I am and will hold my feelings and thoughs in confidence...not someone who uses my secrets against me and who only befriends people so they can use them against themselves or someone else later on.

Hmm...maybe a better way to describe Helen Lovejoy is that she's a human dustbuster...

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