In an attempt to fight boredom in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one local Ontario family has come together to recreate the iconic opening to The Simpsons.
Along with his wife Colleen and three children, Joel A. Sutherland — an author based out of Durham Region — used the self-isolation time to not only bond with his family and overcome the quarantine slump, too, but to also help spread the word about proper social distancing etiquette in a very creative manner.
After spending nearly four weeks together in quarantine, Joel and Colleen, both 39, resorted to cleaning their basement in hopes of finding something new to keep their kids entertained.
What they eventually stumbled across sparked the overall project: their 2018 joint-family costume — which, of course, was the much-beloved animated family.
So on April 8, after two weeks of hard work and dedication, the Sutherland’s posted their fully-costumed, scene-by-scene take on The Simpsons’ opening to YouTube for the rest of the world to see.
Similar to the animated TV show’s opening — where Bart Simpson spends detention owning up to his mistakes by writing them down on a chalkboard — Joel’s 10-year-old son, Charles, can be seen writing “I will social distance” on his own chalkboard in the parody, before jumping on his scooter and riding through the town.
Viewers then encounter the rest of the Simpsons (or Sutherlands). Daughters Bronwen, 8, and Fiona, 3, fill the roles of Lisa and Maggie Simpson, respectively, while Joel is portrayed as the bumbling Homer Simpson and Colleen, 39, plays the blue-haired Marge Simpson.
On their inspiration for the idea, Joel, 39, told Global News that he and Colleen were “trying to keep the kids from feeling any stress during this challenging time.”
Expanding on the challenges the quarantine has brought for his children, Joel continued: “It’s hard for them to not have their activities or friends, so we thought that doing a video — which we would usually not have time for — would be a great way to look for the positives in this situation.”
“We had a ton of fun brainstorming the shot list with the kids, filming each scene, and editing it all together,” he added.
“It turned out much better than we had hoped!”
At the end of their homage, the Sutherlands even share their own unique approach on The Simpsons’ “couch gag,” which is different on every episode of the award-winning show.
This time around, the “Simpsons” are about to exchange high-fives, before stopping themselves short — effectively promoting proper hand-washing technique.
Since The Simpsons’ premiere in 1989, Joel has been a fan of the show. Colleen, too, said she enjoys the series, adding they all enjoyed their visit to “The Simpsons Land” at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
Among a myriad of other novels, Joel is best known as the author of Scholastic Canada’s best-selling Haunted Canada series, so he revealed he’s been spending a lot of his free time working on and writing future books.
Colleen, on the other hand, said she is doing her best to keep the children occupied while simultaneously “stress-baking a lot.”
“I wouldn’t say we’re bored,” said told Global News, “but there is a lot of sameness to every day, so we try to mix it up as we can.”
On Canada’s response to the novel coronavirus, the family said: “We think they are doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.”‘
“The most important thing is to try and take care of each other, and while it may not be perfect, I think they really are trying,” they concluded.
For more information on Joel’s work, you can visit the official Joel Sutherland website.
Joel does not have the right to The Simpsons, its characters, music or title credit format. This video was created as a parody.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
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