Although I might be a little late in commenting on it, I was quite surprised to see FOX’s seminal prime-time animated family, The Simpsons, tackle New York City’s highly debated rubber room this past Sunday.
The rubber room is a euphemism for the reassignment center where problem teachers of all shapes and sizes are taken out of their classrooms for reasons legitimate and not-so legitimate.
The rubber room subplot was used as a device to pull Bart’s teacher Mrs. Krabappel out of her classroom so that she could meet Ned Flanders and the two could begin a romance.
I thought the subplot was a missed opportunity for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s been shown that an awful lot of teachers who land themselves in NYC Department Of Education’s rubber room are guilty of nothing more than falling on the wrong side of a principal or trying to enforce school policy. Showcasing that aspect of the problem would have been a nice way to highlight the unfairness of the situation. Instead Edna goes to the rubber room for a legitimate reason- she hits a student, something I’ve NEVER seen the character do in two decades of watching The Simpsons.
I’m sure bringing focus to an issue was NOT foremost on the minds of the writing staff of The Simpsons when this episode was made, but I still thought the problem could have been handled more delicately. It certainly could have been done in a way that went against almost every characterization of Mrs. Krabappel I’ve ever seen on the show.
Secondly, New York City just did away with rubber rooms last month …so, not very timely. Of course, the vagaries of production of an animated series preclude The Simpsons from being a timely commenter on most news events, major or minor. Still, the timing was unfortunate.
I just finished Tina Fey’s Bossypants.
I’ve enjoyed Fey’s work on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, but I wasn’t entirely excited about her book. Too many comedians have disappointed me by cashing in their celebrity for a buck with a quickie book. They’ll rewrite their routines slightly, include a bunch of pictures in the middle pages and call it a day. I should have cut Tina Fey a LOT more slack, seeing as she was an award winning writer before she was a performer.
There’s some genuinely hilarious stuff in Bossypants. My personal favorite chapter was the ode she writes to her father, but everything in here’s worth a read.
Say hey boys and girls, I’m on summer break! I thought I’d clarify my posting schedule a little over the next few weeks. Sometimes I just think about closing up shop for the summer, but I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with myself. The schedule is, as follows:
Mondays: Overheard in the Halls- Comic strips featuring student conversations.
Tuesdays: Family journal comic – Comic strips with my wife and kids.
Wednesdays: Sketchbook posting – I’m going to try to do a little more sketchbook work over the summer.
Thursdays: Free day… I haven’t quite decided what, but I’ll have something new up.
Fridays: Odds & Ends (as usual)
Saturdays: Thrift Store Finds (as usual)
Sundays: Student drawings of me!
Of course, being summer, that schedule is subject to massive change. I already know that I’ll be on vacation mid-July and at the beginning of August.