This is the absurd humor short that Homer Groening made in the 60s

This is the absurd humor short that Homer Groening made in the 60s
This is the absurd humor short that Homer Groening made in the 60s

‘Here’s Homer’ was a series of experimental Paramount shorts where Groening exhibited his artistic skills

Each artist usually has their influences very clear, in the case of Matt Groening, creator of ‘The Simpsons’, this has more to do with his personal life than with other works in particular. Most of his family members share names with the iconic characters, and there is part of his mischievous childhood that inspired him to create the character of Bart.

Who didn’t look much like his animated counterpart is Homer Groening. Unlike that unpredictable, irresponsible and short-tempered man, Matt Groening’s real father was a calm and fun man. It also turns out that, like his son years later, he had the audiovisual bug. Groening was a designer, documentary filmmaker and cartoonist and had a special interest in comedy.

Much of his work is in advertising, but being someone very restless, It wouldn’t take long for him to have his dalliances with fiction. He started with comic strips and soon began filming his own works. One of his most notable works was the series called ‘Here’s Homer’, a series of six shorts for Paramount that were quite experimental and mixed humor with documentaries.

‘Basic Brown, Basic Blue’ (1969)

This is one of the few works by Groening that are available online. It is an experimental short film with absurd humor with strong roots in documentary. If you’ve seen it and you haven’t laughed even a little, it’s normal. Like the vast majority of absurd humor (and even more so when it’s a few years old), the comedy resources are somewhat abstract, and in this case the premise is how the tourists dress like their trips (“some want to take their trip by the big blue in his indigo helicopter”).

As he progresses, Groening twists his own formula and embellishes it with frequent word and visual jokes (“two jellyfish and you have a living bra”). Homer Groening’s style was fresh, but not new. His comedy was based on other absurd comedy works of the 1930s and 1940s, especially the work of Peter Smith and Robert Benchley, who used narration similar to what Groening would imitate in “tutorial” type videos, such as this one by Smith on memory tricks (‘Memory Tricks’) or this one from Benchley on how to sleep (‘How to sleep’).

The comic spirit is one that Matt Groening would clearly inherit for ‘The Simpsons’, with some particularities that are repeated from father to son such as the use of satire and the absurd. Although both worked in very different industries and products and there are not many direct references between both filmographies, there is a clear tribute that Matt made to his father’s work, since The Curiosity Company logo is based on a still from ‘A Study in Wet’ by Homer Groening. This was the company with which Matt made the ‘Futurama’ series.

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