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The end-times for Foodism are near, my friends. This Sunday, Marge Simpson turns into a food blogger, as reported in an extensive Grub Street interview with Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman. Too predictably, the episode features or at least name-checks such foodie superstars as Tom Colicchio, Gordon Ramsay, Ruth Reichl, Frank Bruni, Wylie Dufresne, and, of course, Anthony Bourdain.
Let’s forget for a moment this show should have been done, say, two or three years ago, when food blogging was hot. By now, many food bloggers of our acquaintance have out-migrated to paying gigs, and the concept of the food blog has been co-opted by every major media outlet, rendering real food blogs — the old-fashioned kind, where someone stood alone in their kitchen cooking things, or wandered the hinterlands seeking out unique deliciousness — nearly obsolete.
The first death knell was Julie & Julia, whereby food blogging was catapulted, somewhat uncomfortably, into the Hollywood realm. Tinseltown felt it necessary, naturally, to replace a real food blogger with a tried-and-true Hollywood star, and the characterization of Julia Child verged on parody. Nevertheless, there was something dead-on accurate about the portrayal of a lonely blogger in a cramped NYC apartment.
No one loves The Simpsons more than me, or maybe I should to say I once loved the show — South Park has long since replaced it in my affections. But The Simpsons can lay claim to being a big influence on Foodism from the start, making us scratch our heads at this rearguard action. Homer’s excessive food behavior was a paradigm for the modern obsessed foodie, testing his competitive appetite in all-you-can-eat restaurants, dreaming of donuts, becoming a food critic, and craving Duff beer — which eventually became a real beer, er, several of them.
From accounts of the show, which will air this Sunday, you could have written it yourself. There’s a segment on molecular gastronomy — by now, long past its prime — and another featuring a parody of Iron Chef, called Iron Cook, with the Simpsons family as judges. Who’s that guy with the bald head and the soul patch? You really have seen it all before, and for me the show will likely seem more like an animated nightmare than a cartoon. But I won’t be able to stay away.
Homer stands aloof from the Marge’s food blogging, apparently characterizing it as “pixie wangs and deep-fried walrus mustaches.” In this case, I’m with you, Homer.
Sunday, November 12
8 p.m. on the (right-wing) Fox Network