The Simpsons was created by Matt Groening. The programme is mainly about a crazy “yellow” family. It’s been broadcasting for about over a decade. The idea of creating The Simpsons came from a framed cartoon strip “Life in Hell”. It was hanging in the office of James L. Brooks, executive producer of “The Tracy Ulman Show” for the Twentieth century Fox in America. Groening then wrote and directed 30- and 60 second sections using The Simpsons characters to lead in to and out of commercials for the Tracy Ulman Show. The characters are based on Matt Groening’s family, Homer is his Father and Marge (Margeret) is his mother.
To make the animated T.V show, it takes the whole production team 9-10 months to complete it. Firstly, they have to write it, re-write it approximately eight times, pitch it, read it, record it, edit it, storyboard it using the recorded material, review the storyboards, send off to the artists; they get shot, drawings are turned in animation, sent to Korea, then finally re-written again just in case there needs to be any slight adjustment.
The Simpsons has been successful with two very different types of audiences; children and adults. Firstly this is because the children can relate to Bart. For example, he is naughty, mischievous, has an appalling behaviour and misbehaves in school. This links to what most youths do, and therefore find it funny for the reason that they can see themselves in the character of Bart.
It also uses different kinds of humour; one of which is slap-stick humour. The character of Homer frequently uses this technique. Such as, he bumps into things and falls over them, and so on; this causes the children to laugh.
For the adults, it has references that link back to movies they’ve already watched. The Simpsons make a parody out of it, adults recognize it, and it becomes humours as the way they mock the movie is comical and amusing.
The animated T.V. show has been very controversial- this causes much arguments and dispute because, mainly, it has bad influence on everyone; from the way it deals with family life to its xenophobia – being prejudice to other countries like Mexico, Africa, France and so on.
Homer drinks and drives, therefore he’s not the ideal role model for anyone; neither children nor adults. Homer drinking heavily encourages alcoholism to everyone who watches the programme. This can lead to people in power saying Simpsons are a bad influence.
The Simpsons are also racist, leading to more hatred and controversy within the public, but even though after all of this is happening; people accept it and carry on watching because of the humour.
Furthermore, The Simpsons are totally diverse from other fictional T.V. families. This is because, instead of giving good values across like “Leave it to Beaver” which gives out a moral message at the end of each episode, it focuses more on the immoral side of the situation. As this being a new perspective, more people get attached to it.
Most T.V. programmes are acted out by humans, but “Simpsons” is presented through animation. It works so well as a cartoon because, to put it in simple words, it can break the rules, therefore it can go beyond reality. One other reason is that it can bring anyone from the past, present and future which would be highly unlikely in a real T.V. serial.
The Simpsons is a sitcom. The word “Sitcom” comes from SITuation and COMedy. In this case, Simpson’s family is the situation and from there comes the comedy.
Many people have asked why Simpsons are human. There are many reasons behind this; firstly, it can break the rules; secondly, it can stretch reality without a limit, for example: if they wanted to, they could send Bart to space within seconds – hence rubber band reality. Finally, in the real world, they would not be able to use the same principles as they do in the fictional form; for instance, they have been through seventeen years being the same age has they’ve always been – this would not be possible in real life.
There are numerous types of humours used in the show. For example rubber band reality as mentioned before, slapstick (physical humour) mainly aimed at children, visnal gags( things happening in the background), jokes, sative (sativical humour, used to mock politics, irony/commenting on everyday events/topical news, film references and many more. Using all of these techniques makes the programme witty and entertaining as it uses different ways to see the humorous side of things. Adults, in particular, would find the last three funny because it takes scenes from well known movies/serials like Star Wars, and makes a parody out of them.
In “The Simpsons” lots of stereotypes are used for the characters. For example, Homer is a middle aged, working man with a family he needs to supply food for. Marge is a stereotypical mother who does not work and looks after her children. Mr Burns is cold hearted, rich and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. Personally, I think this is the case because, as commented before, “The Simpsons” is a sitcom, which means the humour comes from the situation. So if we have a stereotypical family instead of an abnormal family like Aliens, it makes everything be seen in normality, until the joke comes across.
Every individual in the family has been given an inimitable characteristic of their own. Homer is the dopey husband, Marge is the caring mother, Bart is the impish child, Lisa is the intellectually gifted one, and Maggie is the innocent baby; each are yellow, bizarre looking and have 3 fingers. And no doubt they behave oddly compared to an ordinary family.
In my opinion, I view the Simpsons as a realistic family as a whole. This is because they are a representation of the American nuclear family seen in the shows like “Father knows best” or “Leave it to Beaver”. Simpsons present a family unit that is unique and lovable, unlike those in the other two.
Homer lacks intelligence and any measurable skills. Most Americans think that an intelligent and good humoured father can solve all the family problems. But this is not the case, for example in “A Streetcar Named Marge”, Homer’s imperfections shine. Marge talks about her plans to participate in a play, Bart being ill mannered makes hideous remarks about it. Homer then tells Bart off for making horrible comments about the play. This implies that although Homer is not very idealistic nor is he bright, he still has the knowledge on how to discipline his children; in this case, the difference between what is right and wrong.
The animated cartoon show has been so successful for thirteen years and still remains popular today because they are so dissimilar from other sitcom T.V. shows. It pokes fun at the current world issues and sees the joke side of the situation to make the public see their standpoint to the circumstances. Also, another reason is its cartoon format – the cartoon set-up is so flexible and adaptable, that the writers can create a storyboard based on practically everything and anything. Also, the characters’ personalities contrast in such a way that the possible for amusing storylines is endless. Even if the Simpsons seem to be incredibly dysfunctional at times, they always end up back to normal at the end of each episode, ready to start it all over again and so on and so forth.
Despite the show not really illustrating an educational value to the viewers, it does on the contrary seem to show some sort of lesson where the family sees what it has done wrong at the end of the day and how to resolve each other’s dilemmas.