Marge Simpson In Playboy Two Franchises On The Way Down

So it seems Marge Simpson is appearing in Playboy:

Simpsons matriarch Marge Simpson is gracing the cover of Playboy magazine, becoming the first cartoon character in the publication's history.

The November issue sees Marge posing on a chair with the distinctive Playboy Bunny logo. It marks the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons, viewed as America's most dysfunctional family.

The move to put Marge on the cover is an attempt to draw in a younger audience for the soft porn magazine.

"We knew that this would really appeal to the 20-something crowd," said Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey.

It is not yet known how much of Marge will be on show inside the issue, but "it's very, very racy," said editorial director James Jellinek.

Hey, guess what else "appeals to the 20-something crowd?" Actual pornography. You know, the kind that's freely accessible to them 24 hours a day from the comfort of their parents' computers, which they're supposed to be using to look for a job, the slackers.

And I hate to rain on your parade guys, but you can find already "racy" pictures of Marge Simpson out there as well, assuming by "racy" you mean "double-teaming Moe and Ned Flanders" (fun fact: the CEO of Playboy Enterprises is named Scott Flanders). In a similar vein, you can find "racy" pictures of Lois Griffin, Betty Rubble, Daphne, Velma, Cheetara, and pretty much every animated female character back to and (probably) including the Lascoux cave drawings.

And yet, while putting Marge in Hef's magazine isn't quite the coup landing those Brazilian triplets was, it's interesting for the way the two franchises are experiencing similar setbacks.

Playboy has been rendered more or less irrelevant in the last ten years, cutting its publication schedule down to 11 issues a year and steadily losing money as more and more people opt for ass-to-mouth over airbrushing. Meanwhile, ratings for The Simpsons continue to decline, and a few years back the show passed the point where the number of mediocre/bad seasons officially outnumbered good ones (a subjective call, but one I'm comfortable making). The tradition of starlets getting starkers to try and revive interest in their flagging careers is older than Lisa Rinna, so in that sense it's not surprising Fox hopes Marge showing some skin might draw some more viewers except...she's a freaking cartoon. Curious how she looks topless? Draw her yourself.

Is it sad that an otherwise positive female role model is stooping to this, as some people are saying? I suppose it would be, if -- again -- she wasn't a freaking cartoon. But if you insist on getting worked up about Marge's sense of self-worth, feel free to contact Barbara Bush on the matter, as I understand the two shared a brief correspondence some time ago.

In the end, little is likely to change. Simpsons fans will have another collectible to keep in their spare bedrooms, right between the stand-up arcade game and the stack of promotional 7-11 movie tie-in Squishee cups, Playboy will continue its steady slide into obsolescence, and nobody will get what they really want: a Jessica Rabbit pictorial.

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