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Explore the techniques used to introduce the key characters and themes of 'The Simpsons' in the shows opening credits.

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Introduction

Explore the techniques used to introduce the key characters and themes of 'The Simpsons' in the shows opening credits. 'The Simpsons' is a very popular cartoon and also the longest running comedy series in American television history. This is due largely to its ability to entertain people of all ages, with its variety of humour and its true to life style, although it is often exaggerated. The show itself centres around a stereotypical American family living in Springfield (the most common town name in the US) and their everyday lives, conflicts and arguments. Although a cartoon, 'The Simpsons' is presented much more as sitcom. Each show has a main story line with a few smaller ones in the background. Despite its strong sitcom style it disguises this with its simple cartoon appearance, especially the yellow skin of the characters. The family depicted are based on the creator, Matt Groening's own family, only substituting himself for Bart (an anagram of brat.) The show has been criticised by many who suggest that its true to life style gives a bad impression of the American public. This even went as far as the then president George Bush, mentioning the show in his 1992 speech when he said, "The nation needs to be more like the Waltons than the Simpsons." ...read more.

Middle

We can see in the background that there is a "caution" sign next to a nuclear symbol, but even this does not stop him from simply taking off his mask and leaving. Although they are not the focus of this scene, we also see Homer's boss Mr Burns and his assistant, Smithers in the background. From their small appearance, we already get the impression that they are watching over the employees to make sure that noone is messing about or perhaps they are there to fire someone. Marge & Maggie The next of the family we meet is the mother, Marge. She is in the supermarket at the checkout with baby Maggie. While she is reading a magazine called "Mom", Marge does not notice that Maggie is picked up and passed over the scanner with the rest of the food. Ironically "Mom" is probably about how to be the 'perfect' mother. Although I'm sure she tries to be, from what we see, Marge is anything but the perfect mother. When Marge does finally notice that Maggie is nowhere to be seen she looks about and seems worried. Luckily Maggie comes out of hiding in the brown paper bag she was put in and Marge sighs with relief before leaving the supermarket with Maggie in her trolley. ...read more.

Conclusion

Next we see the inside of 'the Simpsons' house for the first time. Everything seems to be focused around the television and their houses, which like them, seems very unsafe and careless. This suggests that their lives revolve around watching TV and that this is the only time that they all spend together. Each episode, how they scramble onto the sofa changes, just like Bart's lines and this is another part that people always like to watch for to see what they do this time. This is fairly ironic, seeing as people are watching TV just to see how they are going to watch TV. The music here builds up to the final moment when they watch TV, the music all dies down for the moment when they are getting to their places on the sofa. At the start of the opening credits the music was like heaven, but now it is more like hell, loud and furious. This could be a possible link to Matt Greoning's first comic strip 'Life In Hell' which was later the influence for 'the Simpsons' At the end of the opening credits for 'The Simpsons' you are definitely left knowing that this is not just another idea family. No, this is 'the Simpsons' ...read more.

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