The Simpsons has been a worldwide pop culture juggernaut for over twenty years. It holds most “long-running” TV records, it launched Fox into territory formerly occupied only by the Big Three, and its catchphrases end up in the OED. Emerging from a few less than memorable years, the show has become even more satirical and surreal as of late, albeit by sacrificing the sentimentality of its golden years.
Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK” is a pop sensation in its own right, a #1 song that holds the record for most digital downloads by a female artist ever – the true mark of music business dominance in 2010. So, when last night’s episode of The Simpsons bypassed its usual couch gag for a parody music video for the song, the move was totally unexpected but a natural fit.
Taking the ridiculous, self-indulgent lyrics at face value, the crew went for literal sight gags that involved big swaths of the Springfield universe. The minute long clip also shows off the ever-improving animation skills that remind us that The Simpsons is still the standard bearer of animated television.
Pop culture has always been at the heart of The Simpsons, so so-called purists who wince at what seems like an ephemeral tribute are not being intellectually honest. Ke$ha is not Poochie – it’s a one-off gag that re-inserted The Simpsons into Monday morning water cooler discussion. That’s something we still need. And it’s not even the most obnoxious Simpsons musical crossover.