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Does Matt Groening succeed in making his cartoon chow appeal to such a wide audience? Discuss one particular episode of 'TheSimpsons' in detail.

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Introduction

"Something that's really family entertainment will appeal to the least sophisticated member of the audience and the most sophisticated member of the audience on different levels." (Matt Groening, creator of 'The Simpsons') Does Matt Groening succeed in making his cartoon chow appeal to such a wide audience? Discuss one particular episode of 'The Simpsons' in detail. Since its first episode in January 1990, 'The Simpsons' has become a worldwide phenomenon. For the first time a show existed as an animated television sitcom, it addresses and satirises important issues through the fictional town of Springfield, (aka a typical American town). The show starts with 2 minutes of introductory credits, accompanied by boisterous music, through which the audience is shown around the town of Springfield and briefly glimpse the members of the community. As everybody in the town is a stereotyped member of American society, this is a fast and clever way of satirising American life. In fact, the credits are so speedy that most would not be able to notice the school bullies picking on the nerdy looking geek or the local news reporter wearing 'bling'. Though they are revealed over repeated viewings. These devices are small and un-noticeable. Whilst at the same time the more obvious actions in the sequence such as 'Marge' losing 'Maggie' in the supermarket would be pleasing to an audience with a lower intellectual level. ...read more.

Middle

The breadwinner of the family, upset by his family's lack of normality, is drowning his sorrows in the bar. The local police force enters the bar searching for the Simpson family who have been peeping in neighboring families. The police dog instinctively recognises the scent of Homer, but he claims he has hot dogs in his pockets so the police, who have just received free beer from the barman, leave the bar. This is 'The Simpsons' laughing directly at police corruption and stupidity, again a major issue in America. It shows that nothing is safe from this show. While boxing goes on in the background, a fight brakes out between Homer and his drinking buddy Barney. On a basic level, the show is highlighting the stupidity and drunkenness of these characters but when looking further it can be seen that the scene is making a very real point about a violent culture, which again is a major American issue. Homer regains from consciousness, to see Dr Marvin Monroe, the town's therapist advertising for family counseling. The advert comes directly after the bloody fight in the All-Star boxing ring. The advert for the therapy shows the average, dysfunctional American family in an extremely typical, humorous manor that once again shows the show's makers poking fun at traditional American values. The advert on its own is hilarious and with the added irony of a therapy clinic advertised on professional boxing, the show has a joke on two very different levels. ...read more.

Conclusion

By finding a gap in the television market, the show was able to form a whole new genre, the cartoon sitcom. Many other shows such as 'Southpark' and 'Beavis and Butthead' have joined the genre. The cartoon sitcom has the potential to use animation with cartoon effects in a way that can not be paralleled with real sitcoms. 'The Simpsons' can easily and clearly skip from the present to the past, future or a dream. The ability to have such a diverse and complicated plot is fantastic for the script writers and the show becomes as, if not more sophisticated than a real sitcom. The world of 'The Simpsons' is slightly different physically to the real one. The differences between 'Springfield' characters and real actors, apart from obviously being animated, are the trademark yellow skin and everybody having just four fingers. The yellow skin color adds to the cartoons viability to other cultures and increases the possibility profit from global marketing of spin off products. As a cartoon, it is astonishing how many issues 'The Simpsons' is able to address with such a well thought through and humorous way. It's ability to incorporate parodies, flashbacks and dreams into episodes only increase the level of sophistication. The degree to which 'The Simpsons' is complex is fantastically high, however, this level is equaled by its simplicity, which is why it draws an audience of all ages, nationalities, class and genders. Philip Holtam 11.8 English Coursework 5 Mr. Parker - 2 - ...read more.

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