Musings and Meanderings By John Allen Small

Marge Simpson: Sex Symbol?
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Diagonally parked in a parallel universe

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It isn't the sort of thing that I myself would have ordinarily paid much attention to if someone else hadn't pointed it out to me. But, in case you missed it, one of the big news items of the past week was the report that Marge Simpson - the blue haired, bug-eyed matriarch of "The Simpsons" - is slated to appear on the cover of the November edition of Playboy magazine.

It is reportedly the first time a cartoon or comics character has been so featured by the magazine. (Seeing as how Playboy has never been a regular staple of my reading list, I'll take them at their word.) And apparently this is being seen as a pretty big deal; not only did last Sunday's edition of the area daily paper here where I live devote almost half a page to the story, but it was also featured on one of our local TV station's evening newscasts as well.

According to the newspaper report, this "special collector's issue" is actually a celebration of the popular TV program's 20th anniversary. In addition to appearing on the cover, Marge will be the focus of an interview and a two-page centerfold... and believe me when I tell you that even I can't believe I'm talking about this.

I have no doubt that the issue will be a tremendous seller for the magazine. Frankly I don't see what the fuss is all about, but I'll admit my reaction derives from the fact that I have never been a fan of "The Simpsons." I don't find it particularly funny, and both Bart and Homer Simpson remind me entirely too much of people I have known in real life and would just as soon forget.

Besides, if a cover model from the world of cartoons and comics was something Playboy felt it just had to have, it occurs to me that there are any number of better candidates out there for consideration than Marge Simpson.

Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, Archie's longtime girlfriends, both spring immediately to mind - as do a couple of superheroes' significant others, Superman's Lois Lane and Spider-Man's Mary Jane Parker. Or perhaps even a superheroine might have been persuaded to reveal just a bit more than just her secret identity; I was just enough of a nerd as a adolescent in the early to mid 1970s to have thought that Supergirl looked really good in those hot pants she was wearing at the time. (I wonder if I should have admitted that...) I had a pretty strong crush on Batgirl around that same time, as well, but a lot of that had to do with the way Yvonne Craig looked in her Batgirl uniform when I would watch reruns of Batman after school.

Or, if it really just absolutely HAD to be a character from a popular television cartoon, then why not Scooby Doo's friend Daphne? Or Josie or one of her Pussycats? Or Speed Racer's gal pal Trixie? Or, again, Betty or Veronica from the 1960s Archie cartoons? Or the teenaged version of Pebbles Flintstones?

Come to think of it, why not Pebbles' mom Wilma, or her best friend Betty Rubble? They still look pretty good for a couple of women their age...


Maybe this would be a good time to change the subject....

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