Friday, January 10, 2014


Naughty and naked: The Simpsons strip off Eat my shorts ... the Simpsons have stripped off for a racy calendar. Alexsandro Palombo's satirical drawings are good for a laugh, but do they miss the point of the show?

by Jonathan Jones

Have you ever had erotic fantasies about Marge Simpson? If so, you may be a cartoon character. Bartender Moe used to be obsessed with Homer's wife. She has also drawn the unwelcome attentions of Mr Burns. And let's not forget her romance with a French bowling instructor.

Anyway, Simpsons fans, prepare to be thrilled, shocked or profoundly embarrassed. Because for all you Moes out there, here's a flamin' Marge. Italian comic artist Alexsandro Palombo, who is well known in the fashion world, apparently, for his satirical depictions of haute couture, has created a 2014 calendar full of extravagant images of Marge – and Homer – posing in sadomasochist gear in the high-fashion style of the photographer Helmut Newton. So you always wanted to see Springfield's suburban icon in a black leather number slit to the thigh? Or naked with big bazoomas? Get a loada this, playdudes.

But the decadent vibe is not just about men ogling women; Palombo has Homer posing as a Newtonian reprobate wearing scarlet high heels. It's all very sophisticated. Palombo has also drawn Marge as Kate Moss in her recent photoshoot for Playboy's 60th anniversary. Relentless, he has depicted her in 100 iconic dresses of the modern world, from Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier's notorious cone bra to Geri Halliwell in the union flag dress.

This is where it gets a bit redundant. Palombo portrays Marge wearing a pink Chanel suit modelled on one worn in the 1960s by Jackie Kennedy. In fact, a whole episode of The Simpsons turns on Marge – who shares Kennedy's pre-marriage name, Bouvier – buying a very similar Chanel suit in an outlet sale, then having to rework it on her sewing machine to pretend to a rich friend that she really is part of the elite. In the end, of course, she realises the futility of such pretences. The trouble with making jokes about The Simpsons is that the best writers in the TV business have been doing that for a long time in the scripts of the show itself.

Sex has never been off-limits for The Simpsons, either. Quite apart from their occasional affairs or visits to bordellos, Marge and Homer regularly "snuggle". They are not timid about sexual fantasy, either. Marge didn't mind Homer losing his snowplough business, as long as he occasionally puts on the Mr Plow costume in the bedroom. Palombo, it seems, is a bit late when it comes to sexing up Springfield's hottest couple.

Palombo has a lot of fun but misses the real humour of The Simpsons at its best: the humanity and warmth, the delight in the ridiculous. That name again is Mr Plow.

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