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"Discuss the portrayal of the family in 'The Simpsons'. Why does this portrayal work so well as a television cartoon?

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Introduction

"Discuss the portrayal of the family in 'The Simpsons'. Why does this portrayal work so well as a television cartoon? In the majority of episodes of The Simpsons, the plots are similar in the respect that one or more family members are involved in a predicament that always has a comical element, and involves Homer Simpson saying 'D'oh!'. The plots are more often than not character driven, for example, in the episode 'Brother Where Art Thou?' Homer Simpson finds out that he has a half brother that he never knew. Homer then embarks on a journey to find him, when he does; he discovers that his brother is a millionaire. In the end, he manages to bankrupt his long lost brother, and they part ways on bad terms. The central character in that particular episode is Homer; in the episode 'Lisa's Pony', the central character is Lisa. Even though the plots are always similar, the resolutions differ so that the viewer is kept interested in the series. To say that the Simpson's are a stereotypical 'nuclear family' would be a dubious statement. They all have their own personalities, which have elements of certain stereotypes, but not enough of one in particular to dominate the others in their personality. Homer Simpson is a beer drinking couch potato who likes nothing more than to watch the football game on the television. Marge Simpson is a maternal housewife and a possible nag of the family. ...read more.

Middle

Their skin colour can be argued whether it is realistic or unrealistic because, yellow may have been used because it is a primary colour, and primary colours are attractive and eye catching, but; on the other hand it may have a meaning which could be 'universal' because it is neither black nor white. Using yellow as a skin colour makes it known to viewers that racism is ruled out and I believe that yellow is a good example for this because it is warm, bright and welcoming; and this makes a good statement. Another argument could arise that their skin colour is yellow because if they were to be a real life equivalent you would assume them to be Caucasian; and so their skin is drawn as yellow to combat the idea of the common 'black or white' situation. The fact that all the characters in The Simpsons have four fingers shows that they are all a unique and unified community despite age and race, this also makes a good statement. Both the skin colour and the four fingers are attractive to young viewers but they also have meaning to older viewers, and different parts of the show are aimed at different audiences. An example of this would be in the episode 'Lisa's Pony'; it could be argued that it is aimed at younger children, especially girls. The episode 'Brother, Where Art Thou?' ...read more.

Conclusion

An example of a sentimental moment would be in the episode 'Brother Where Art Thou' where Homer meets his half brother for the first time. It can be argued that family values are criticised in the programme, but not to a great extent. For example, when Lisa gets a pony, the fact that Homer brought her the pony; this would not occur in an average family, and this indicates that their family values are ridiculed or somewhat debatable. The one thing that makes The Simpsons stand out from other animations is the fact that it appeals to a wider range of viewers. There is also a large usage of primary colours, which gives an immediate visual effect and acts as a benefit because it differentiates the programme further. This is accentuated by the programmes more relevant content, especially compared to other programmes using the same type of colour scheme. The thing that The Simpsons have in common with other filmed situation comedies is the fact that it uses real life situations, and makes use of music, along with other situation comedies. I think The Simpsons is a cartoon because it enables the writers to reach out to a wider age range, and yet still talk about issues, and encompass comedy into the show; just like filmed situation comedies. The fact that it is a cartoon also means there are no need for stuntmen and women, so a lot more can be achieved in that area of things, and the comedy in the show can be enhanced further providing more excitement for the viewers. English Coursework 1 ...read more.

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