It figures that the one time The Simpsons have an episode centering on Wiccans I miss out. Luckily Hulu has it on-line, so I was able to catch up. You may remember me mentioning the episode “Rednecks and Broomsticks” some time ago, when it was announced that Neve “The Craft” Campbell was going to be one of the star voices of the episode.
So how was it? It was OK. The show just doesn’t have the heart it used to, and relies ever-more on “Family Guy” style gags that can be pretty hit-or-miss (thought I do agree with Idol Chatter that the “her Buddhism has led directly to witchcraft” line was pretty funny). As for the Wiccans, they came out looking about as good as any stereotyped group on a cartoon can look, which seems to be the consensus of television critics who’ve watched the show.
“Poor Wiccans, they’re so misunderstood. And the three girls representing them weren’t really representing Wicca so much as they were representing wayward teens looking for something to latch onto … The writers did a nice job of tying the two stories together with the town’s blindness being blamed on the Wiccans. Can we even really call them that, though? Pretentious kids trying to be cool by pretending they understand Wicca. Yeah, that feels better. I enjoyed the whole Salem witch trial tone of it, including the ridiculous witchcraft testing contraption. I’m with Homer on that one; it looks like a fun ride.”
The Pagan Mom Blog runs down the Wiccan stereotypes used in the show, but ultimately finds that it would be hypocritical to get outraged about any of the slights.
“As a pagan I would find it hypocritical to be upset about this one episode and not every single episode ever done. Take a look at the next door neighbor, Ned Flanders. A Christian man whom they make fun of just about every show. I mean he was in this one claiming Buddhism leads to witchcraft. Is it ok for us to take offense only at what affects us directly? Or should we be taking offense at everything that affects us indirectly? I may not be Christian but it is a religion. And if we can’t laugh at religion of any kind, including our (or my) own then I should be offended by it all.”
So Wiccans, while obviously caricatured, seem to escape The Simpsons spotlight relatively unscathed. Or at least no more scathed than any other mainstream show that mentions Wiccans, and it was certainly better than that horrible episode of The Mentalist from last year. What did you think? Good? Bad? Funny?