Ever fancied framing your boss for armed robbery in order to take over his clown-based entertainment show, but been struggling to find a suitable location? Maybe you’ve been desperate to have an affair with a seductive Squishee lady, but haven’t yet found the right grotty broom closet. Or perhaps you’re just bored of the regular 9-5 and feel the need to take up a job for which you’ll need to stay awake for so long that you will believe you have turned into a hummingbird. Fear not America, there is finally a store for you!
In great news for Simpsons fans across the country, the first ever permanent Kwik-E Mart has opened up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Minus the workaholic, bullet-ridden shopkeeper, the store is a replica of the cartoon original in every detail, from frozen Squishee machines to potentially dubious hot dogs. For aficionados of America’s longest running scripted series, a visit to the new location must be pretty near the top of the bucket list.
The designers have taken their job incredibly seriously. The outside is decorated exactly as it appears on television, with the exception of a few choice murals. These scenes show Bart Simpson sitting on the roof, slurping on a drink, Chief Wiggum scoffing donuts in the window, and Jimbo Jones and Nelson Muntz ridiculing a terrified looking Milhouse. But, for lifelong viewers of the show, the real excitement starts inside.
Within the store itself, fans can stock up on foods including Buzz Cola, Heat Lamp Hot Dogs, Lard Lad Donuts, Flaming Moe’s Energy Drinks, as well as the aforementioned semi-frozen Squishees. There’s also an opportunity to grab memorabilia from everyone’s favourite Simpsons characters, including clothes, cooking gear and all manner of other crap. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of Simpsons supplies.
The Kiwk-E Mart isn’t the only Simpsons themed destination planning on being featured at Myrtle Beach. Developers have also announced plans to open a reconstructed Aztec Theatre next door to the store. The hope is that the cinema will screen a Simpsons-themed film festival later in the year, as well as show episodes in all new 4-D.
The new openings come after what has been a turbulent 2018 for the TVs longest running sitcom. Accusations ranging between cultural appropriation to outright racism were levelled at the show on account of Indian Kwik-E Mart operator Apu Nahasapeemapetilon being voiced by white actor Hank Azaria. The discussion was brought to a head by Asian comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary, “The Problem With Apu”, released in late 2017. No doubt the show’s bosses are hoping that the new openings can deliver some much needed positive press.
It’s too early to tell whether or not the real life Kwik-E Mart will prove to be as big a hit in South Carolina as it is in Springfield. What is obvious is that any show that’s been on the air for 29 seasons is going to have an enormous fan base on which to draw. Speaking to CNN, project developer Mark Cornell revealed that among the first guests had been a family of three generations, all eager to test each other on who had the best knowledge. As he put it, “To see three generations walk through the door that all love The Simpsons, how can you say that about anything else?” Even if it isn’t the touchstone it once was, The Simpsons can obviously still inspire people like little else on TV.