CALGARY — Marcia Andreychuk and Joel Hamilton are living in a Simpson-esque orange, blue and purple dream.
The two have been slowly transforming the kitchen in their home in southeast Calgary into a replica of the one inhabited by Marge and Homer Simpson, the popular cartoon family on "The Simpsons,'' which has been on TV for 26 seasons.
"It's not a renovation. It's a retrovation,'' said Andreychuk, 43, with a laugh. "I don't like those gutted, new, modular, everybody-has-them kitchens. I like the colour. I love the style. It just delights us.''
So far the cupboards are a match — oversized, cartoonish cabinets and doorknobs. Andreychuk managed to find a perfect match for the corncob curtains above the kitchen sink.
"I was able to order the fabric off of a website that you can upload any graphic to and they will take it and print it on fabric.''
She used contact paper, which is similar to shelf liner, to provide the correct colour to countertops, cabinets, fridge and stove.
Renovations began on what has become a labour of love at the beginning of the year and the room remains a work in progress.
Andreychuk is still hoping for actual avocado green appliances, which are expensive, and an orange slimline telephone.
"When I suggested to Joel I kind of want to update the kitchen — let's do it like the Simpsons — he bought in immediately,'' Andreychuk said.
"He is a huge Simpsons fan. He's been following the show since he was the age of Bart, when the show first started, and so there was no discussion, nothing but, yes, let's do this.''
Hamilton, 34, said he was hooked on the show after watching the first episode.
"I was the one raised into it. I didn't have a choice. At the age I was at and the impressionable state I was at, I automatically was given into the Simpsons cult.''
The couple has been together for four years and intends to complete the kitchen as close to the original design as possible. The key to that is the appliances.
"They're just like a diamond ring,'' said Hamilton. "That's what I told Marcia — that she's going to get a $100 engagement ring and a $3,000 range.
"I think that is a commitment of cultural status.''
The couple don't expect to completely redo the house in Simpsons style, but joke about turning the basement into Moe's Tavern, Homer's favourite watering hole.
Hamilton said every time he goes into the kitchen it catches him by surprise.
"When you see it, it kind of brings a smile to your face. The colours are very vibrant.''
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After suffering another embarrassing mishap, Homer was prescribed medical marijuana to help with his pain in the episode 'Weekend At Burnsie's'. Because of the explicit drug use, as well as scenes of Homer being attacked by animals, the episode was only aired in the UK after the 9pm watershed.
'The Simpsons' came to Britain in the episode 'The Regina Monologues', featuring cameos from JK Rowling, Sir Ian McKellen and none other than then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. However, his appearance in the episode didn't go uncriticised, with some questioning whether the PM could have better uses for his time than appearing in cartoon form on 'The Simpsons'.
Last year, a much-awaited crossover between 'The Simpsons' and 'Family Guy' finally aired, though it ended up attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. As if the fact the episode was a load of old rubbish wasn't offensive enough, it also contained an ill-advised rape joke, which went down like a cup of cold sick with both viewers and critics.
The show's couch gags have become one of the signatures of 'The Simpsons', leading underground artist Banksy to design one for the episode 'MoneyBART', where he lampooned the way the show is animated in South Korea, as well as capitalism in general. However, it turned out the animators themselves weren't exactly thrilled with their portrayal, with the founder of animation company AKOM said he found it "excessive and offending", adding: "Most of the content was about degrading people from Korea, China, Mexico and Vietnam. If Banksy wants to criticise these things… I suggest that he learn more about it first."
U2's guest spot on the show's 200th episode included a repeated use of the word "wankers". Essentially meaningless in the US, the episode aired uncensored without any qualms, though when it aired here in the UK, people weren't pleased when the word was shown before the watershed as they tucked into their dinner on an evening. It's since been removed from subsequent broadcasts.
In one of Homer's more unpleasant moments, 'Homer's Phobia' shows him struggling to get to grips with the fact his new friend, voiced by John Waters, is openly gay. Later in the episode, in yet more uncomfortable scenes, Homer worries that John is having a negative influence on Bart, though he later learns to accept him (in the final scene, that is). While gay magazine The Advocate gave it a positive review at the time, years later it is looked on slightly less favourably, with one reviewer claiming it "leaves a bad taste in the mouth".
By the 16th season of 'The Simpsons', Homer had clearly changed his view of gay people, and in 'There's Something About Marrying', even became a minister so he could perform weddings for same-sex couples. The episode was praised by gay rights advocacy groups, though it was criticised by many right-wing and Christian organisations claiming it unbiased in favour of same-sex marriages.
One of the show's earliest controversies came when the family took a trip Down Under, after Bart inadvertently manages to offend the entire of Australia with a prank he pulled. Unfortunately, life ended up imitating art when Australian people took offence over the portrayal of their country, and 'The Simpsons' even ended up being condemned by the Australian Parliament over the episode.
It seemed show bosses hadn't learned their lesson, and when 'The Simpsons' ended up taking a trip to Brazil, a similar controversy erupted, due to a storyline where Homer ends up kidnapped by a gang, and several inaccuracies about Brazilian heritage and culture. The tourist board of Rio de Janeiro even threatened to sue The Simpsons over the episode, claiming it undid millions of dollars worth of campaigning to get people to visit the city. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso branded it "a distorted view of Brazilian reality".
'That '90s Show' rubbed viewers up the wrong way, not because of its unsuitable or offensive content, bit because it completely re-wrote the narrative of The Simpsons, with many outraged fans of the show lambasting writers for setting Homer and Marge's early romance in the 1990s, despite the fact the classic episode 'The Way We Was' - which first pairs them up as a couple - was actually set in the late 1970s.