"Homer Simpson, sir, one of your carbon blobs from sector 7G ..."

I don't think words can ever justify just how much I love "The Simpsons".

It didn't use to be like this, however. "The Simpsons" first came to Belgium in 1995, when one of the crappiest channels we have here bought the first seven seasons. When I eventually caught an episode, I wasn't convinced. I didn't understand the hype.

But I was 10/11 years old at that time, not an ideal age to fully enjoy "The Simpsons". After all, with all winks and inside jokes in every episode, it's hard to grasp what's going on. Plus, the subtitles don't work that well with "The Simpsons". Some jokes just can't be translated. A basic knowledge of English is a must to enjoy the series.

In May 1998, my parents brought home the "The Simpsons - A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family"-book from a brief trip to New York. I don't think there's one book in my collection that is read more than this one. I still read bits and pieces from it weekly, almost 7 years after me folks purchased it. It's a rich and full encyclopedia with 1,000's of facts. I also bought the follow-up, "Simpsons Forever - A Complete Guide ... Continued", but that isn't nearly as good.

Whenever someone is talking about something that has happened in his or her life, I can't help it but think of "The Simpsons". For example : when one of my friends says : "Hmm, that doesn't ring a bell", I immediately think of this classic Mr. Burns-Smithers dialogue (from the "Last Exit To Springfield"-episode) :

Mr. Burns : "Who's that firebrand, Smithers?"

Smithers : "Homer Simpson, sir, one of your carbon blobs from sector 7G ..."

Mr. Burns : "Simpson, eh? New man?"

Smithers : "Actually sir, he thwarted your campaign for governor, you ran over his son, he saved the plant from meltdown, his wife painted you in the nude ..."

Mr. Burns : "Hmm, doesn't ring a bell"

When the DVD-box of the first season was announced, I declared I would be buying the fourth and fifth season initially. Quite obvious why - they contain my favourite episodes ever : "The Front" and "Last Exit From Springfield" (Season 4) and my all-time fave "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" from Season 5.

Season 5 is due this month! Can't wait!

Julian De Backer, 1 April 2005