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What Makes The Simpsons So Popular

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What makes "The Simpson's" so popular? "The Simpson's" is the world's longest running cartoon, the world's longest running sitcom, Tony Blair, Mel Gibson, Tom Jones, The Who, U2, Britney Spears and many more have contributed to it. It has been criticised by the president of the U.S.A, held up as an example to fathers in western society by experts in their field and its appeal transcends culture, class, age, gender and race. "The Simpson's" was created by Matt Groening, who has become a household name. Based on his own family the characters were created in a rush of genius when he realised he would have to sell the publishing rights to his cartoon rabbit if he wanted to use it on the Tracey Ulman show. They were originally shown on the Tracey Ullman show in a thirty second slot and by popular demand went on to have a prime time show of their own, the only other cartoon that has managed this is "The Flintstones" in the 1960's when there were fewer channels and less audience sophistication. It is undeniably popular, regularly drawing huge crowds of 24 million people from over 100 countries. But why has it achieved such huge popularity? The codes and conventions of a cartoon are different to any other medium. The cartoon medium allows "The Simpsons" to use both slapstick humour and biting satire, this gives it "kidult" appeal. ...read more.


"The Simpsons" blends this fast humour with the main plot seamlessly the action never stops. "The Simpsons" humour appeals to both my seven year old cousin, who enjoys Homer saying "Doh" to my seventy-four year old grandfather who enjoys the way the programme satirises the church culture he is part of. By analysing the title sequence in "The Simpson's many of its popular features can be observed. The title sequence of "The Simpson's" begins with the title appearing in the clouds with angelic music playing. This heavenly scene contrasts with the Simpsons' life. Bart often misbehaves and gets detention and Homer is always drinking "Duff". Straight after this we are given an overall view of Springfield which, to the casual observer, appears to be a normal town. If we look at the town carefully we soon see this is not the case, there is a small fire burning which seems to be made entirely of car tires. We then zoom in on the elementary school and the title sequence begins properly. During the title sequence we are introduced to the family and are given clues to the type of people they may be. For example at one point we see a band which Lisa is a member of the band are playing "The Simpsons'" theme music but Lisa decides to play her own music on her saxophone instead. This tells us she is an individual and has a strong force of will. ...read more.


By exaggerating our faults and strengths the show shows us what we need to do to become better people or what is wrong that we do not know about. For example in one episode Bart try's to learn the electric guitar and as he can't "get real good real fast" he gives up, this taught me the virtues of patience better than any ancient myth. "The Simpsons" is, as the Archbishop of Wales said, "one of the most subtle pieces of propaganda around in the cause of sense, humility and virtue. I think "The Simpsons" will not keep its popularity as a running series although it will always keep it in repeats. There are not simply enough situations to make comedy out, this is a problem that is inherent in all sit-coms and it is astonishing that "The Simpsons" has been going for this long without repeating itself. I have been watching some of the more recent episodes and I believe "The Simpsons" has peaked; some of the plots are bizarre others are stretched over a whole episode when they have only ten minutes of value and worst of all the characters in the family are beginning to appear in situations which do not make sense. The increasing number of characters in "The Simpsons" signals all three of these things. Despite all this I imagine many years from now historians will not use newspapers and government reports to find out about twenty first century culture, but will use episodes of "The Simpsons". ...read more.

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