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The Success of The Simpsons

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English Coursework Magazine Article The Success of "The Simpsons" by Betty Lam Vo "Marge, cartoons don't have any deep meaning. They're just stupid drawings that give you a cheap laugh," explains Homer Simpson with his rear end exposed above his trousers. And yet, the animated sitcom "The Simpsons" has been on the air for 14 years and has achieved a rare combination of cult status and mainstream popularity. Even though its straight-forward bluntness drew much heat at first, time has given the show critical acclaim as it has proved to be unlike other cartoons. Matt Groening's yellow creations are not 'just an animation', and this is shown by the diversity of its audience, having both child and adult spectators with concerns outside the realm of cartoons. It seems most have joined the millions in the worldwide Simpsonian community, not being able to get enough of the dysfunctional family: Homer, the patriarch and idiot; Marge, his long-distressed, amusingly boring wife with the blue, gravity defying hair; the mischievous 10-year-old Bart; world-weary swot, Lisa; and of course, baby Maggie, who never talks. This animated household has crossed the plain from existing as nothing more than a TV show to being imbedded in the very fibers that make up modern day society. ...read more.


I'll make the money back by selling one of my livers. I can get by with one." One couldn't speak differently about his na�ve selfishness, either: "Oh my God! Space aliens! Don't eat me, I have a wife and kids! Eat them!" Contrary to the typical expectancy of cheaply animated cartoons such as "The Simpsons", even the outrageously childish slapstick really is quite entertaining! And then there is the use of satire, the humour intended for the mature audience. It seems that the times before cartoons unhinged themselves and acquired a delicious, forbidden naughtiness beneath the form have been forgotten since the arrival of "The Simpsons". It never fails to make a mockery of all that is sacred, even including a subtle ridicule of Christianity (think Reverend Lovejoy using the public's donations for personal luxury, and his book entitled "Hell; It's Not Just for Christians Anymore") which sparked controversial views and received criticism for its inappropriateness. But one could not deny that this unsuspectingly clever humour is one of the main reasons for the millions in worldwide viewing figures. It is, in a word, ingenious. Well, the celebrities agree; Danny DeVito, Susan Sarandon, Kirk Douglas are just three amongst a whole host of Hollywood names who have done guest voices for the show. ...read more.


The Simpsons has lasted so long because it has done this and so cleverly interwoven numerous genres of TV, from comedy to satire, to drama. It is animated, but not just another meaningless source of amusement for children. Even reruns are always interesting because there is always a joke that is missed first time round (Remember to read signs in the background- a sign on a rocket which was to be sent to blow up a comet in space read, "Caution! Aim Away from Face." Classic). No other TV show can capture the attention of an audience and educate them without even knowing it the way "The Simpsons" can; the show's subtle way of making its points allows the viewer to enjoy it but also absorb information easily. It has proved to the cynical that with its diversity and dry wit, it could educate the viewer without him or her being aware, and become a staple of a generation. The Simpsons have taught us to love the damaged, crass, grossly over-advertised world- being our own. Let's just pray that Homer continues to eat doughnuts and may Bart keep serving detentions. The world is not quite ready for the demise of the Simpsons just yet. And maybe it never will be. ...read more.

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