the simpsons game of thrones joke

The 29th season of The Simpsons premiered last night. Season 29. Goodness gracious.

Anyway, the episode takes place outside of the usual Simpsons canon (if you want to call this show’s sprawling, intentionally contradictory world that), transporting viewers to a fantasy realm populated by characters from the long-running animated series. And yes, there was a Game of Thrones joke. And yes, it was a Game of Thrones joke delivered through a very familiar Simpsons joke template. And yes, you can watch it right here.

The set-up should prove familiar to anyone who has owned a television in the past 30 years (even if the aesthetics are a bit more fantastical). Moe, the long-suffering bartender, is just trying to do his job in a tavern filled with his regulars when a messenger raven arrives with a small scroll, Game of Thrones-style. And yes, the message is intended for a person who does not exist, whose name, when spoken out loud, proves rather embarrassing.

Yes, the classic “Bart prank calls Moe” has been Game of Thrones-ified.

It’s a cute joke, the kind of gag that feels built to go viral the next day. In fact, that’s most of what The Simpsons seems to do these days: run on fumes while occasionally doing something daring or weird and tied into something massively popular to remind people that this show is still on. I’m not sure that opening your 29th season with a parody episode set in a medieval fantasy world is enough to get lapsed fans like me watching again, but it’s certainly enough to make me drop a YouTube embed into a news post and write “Hey, this is kind of amusing.”

(In all honesty, gimmick episodes like this are a chief reason for why I stopped watching so many years ago. Am I missing out? Has the show gotten good again? Let me know!)

Anyway, you can watch the season premiere, titled “The Serfsons,” however you watch your television shows the day after they initially air. For more on The Simpsons season 29, you can read our interview with showrunner Al Jean.

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