AZUSA — Andrew Griffin's grades have sagged this semester. He blames Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.
Until he entered college, Griffin barely knew The Simpsons existed. He was homeschooled in rural Idaho and had a VCR but no television stations. Now "I've got a lot of catching up to do," he says.
Griffin was vaguely aware of the yellow cartoon family but thought they were "generalized symbols of cultural decadence." He believed the popular Bart Simpson "Don't have a cow, man" t-shirt was a pro-vegetarian slogan. He thought Homer Simpson was the Home Depot mascot.
But Griffin is now "hooked" after discovering his roommate's collection of Seasons 1 through 12 on DVD.
"We call him Rip Van Griffin" after the storybook character who slept for twenty years, says one dorm-mate. Students enjoy watching the show with Griffin because of the innocent pleasure he receives.
"It's like taking a kid to Disneyland," says his roommate. "The rest of us have moved on to Family Guy, but he gets such pure joy out of The Simpsons that we turn it on just to watch him."