The Influence of The Simpsons on Real Life; More! More- is the single demand of people all over the world, from every single product or service they spend their money, time or efforts into. More out of everything, more beyond what is on offer. Sometimes, people even don’t care if the quality of those ‘more’ is compromised or not, all they care about is how much they are gaining at how less of spending. It may sound, irrelevant here, but this has also been the same with the mode of entertainment. People, nowadays, want all types of stories to be told in one single movie or show. Probably, to cater to this very need, a series of drama and cartoon was introduced in the world of entertainment.
In this tradition, our life has never been touched so much by any other form of entertainment than that has been done by the legendary TV series in the form of a cartoon named- The Simpsons. Although, it’s presented as a cartoon show, it’s actually meant for a much older generation than mere kids. Creator Matt Groening started it as a series of animated short films that were presented in ‘The Tracey Ullman Show’ in April 1987. Later, after 3 seasons, it started as a sitcom and a scripted primetime series on television in December 1989. Since then, in total 31 series and 667 episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast, and this fact makes the show the longest-running one on American television. Clearly, the above statements made by the former first couple of America don’t apply to the series’ influence on its audience.
“We’re going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.”
- George HW Bush, 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, Texas
“The dumbest thing I have ever seen.”
- Barbara Bush, 1992, People Magazine
The Lead Characters
The Simpsons, first & foremost, is a story of a family- a typical American family living in a typical American society named Springfield. Groening created this family with oddball members and named those characters after his own family, only substituted his own name for the one of Bart. This family consists of Homer- a middle-aged father who isn’t much educated and irritatingly stupid, an almost good for nothing, working as a supervisor at the local Nuclear Power Plant; Marge- a mother who almost takes care of the entire family and an ideal housewife with her own uniqueness; Lisa- a geeky daughter whose conscious belief and approach towards the world is met with the opposite in the typical world making her accept the world as it is; Bart- an uncontrollable son who seems to be taken a pledge of creating troubles in everyone’s life, especially his father’s; and Maggie- a second daughter that never grows up.
Centered on this family there are many other characters that have been included from time to time in order to make the entire story relevant to an average American citizen. The events & incidents happening to families at home, to the kids happening at the school, to the father happening at work, to the mother happening at the various places she has to go & visit- are all created aligned with the regular daily incidents that happen in the lives of regular American people. Also, there are appearances of famous people from around the world like a one-off appearance in different episodes, especially if there’s a relevant event happening in real life. The characters of The Simpsons include various races, nationalities, religions, and professions i.e. people from all classes of the society. Different social & political issues are portrayed in this show through the lives of these people.
The first thing that anyone notices about the show is that it’s actually a family show. The show is so much relevant to the real-life that it reflects Matt Groening’s skepticism towards the idea of the perfect patriarch who makes everything right, and that’s why The Simpsons represent a much more nuanced and more realistic view of life. And, as we have seen in another weird family-oriented cartoon series ‘The Addams Family’, no matter how much grief they cause one another, they always end up affirming their love for one another.
As weird as it can get, just like that The Simpsons show how the modern civilization is ruining the environment in the name of progress; however, to keep things realistic, in the end, the bad guys in this case always win. Lisa Simpsons is the geeky, conscious soul of this family, although she fails to align her thoughts along with the real world around. But her efforts didn’t go totally unrecognized. Her environmental concerns have won her numerous appreciations, including a Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award at the Environmental Media Awards and a place on animal rights organization PETA’s list of ‘Most Animal-friendly TV characters of all time’. But to keep Lisa believing her ethics and yet managing to go along with the world around, one of the other popular characters of the show, Apu, came to her rescue saying:
“I learned long ago, Lisa, to tolerate others rather than forcing my beliefs on them. You know you can influence people without badgering them always.”
Although, the show never encourages any kind of racism or such controversial issues it has a lot of characters belonging to various races and nationalities. The very character of Apu is a colored Indian and often is seen creating jokes & sarcastic comments that ignited the racial issues. The situation got so intense that even the producers decided to kill the character of Apu. There had been a long time when the character was missing from the scene, clearly reflecting the fact that the Indian-American character was having some potential threat to the show itself; however, it’s also a matter of concern that the show itself has lost its charm for despite being the longest-running prime time television series, it is losing the number of viewers.
Every country the show portrays is limited to the most unsophisticated stereotypes: Africa is a generic continent of witchdoctors, lions and elephants; Britain is a land of heritage, the Queen and Mini Coopers with Union flags painted on the front; India – in the episode called ‘Kiss Kiss Bangalore’ was shown as part of a sociology course at Berkeley University in California, deconstructing what The Simpsons says about ‘the other’ – is a land of sacred cows and cheap outsourced labor.
Like this, the show also reflects on other issues that are taking place in our daily life ranging from the age-old values of marriage, religion that have become almost irrelevant to our modern life; the promises and attitude of the politicians throughout the world; the reaction and activities being taken in the world regarding the same-sex relationship and so on. A cartoon show is the easiest, yet strongest medium to convey a message to the real-life people and The Simpsons have been an ultimate success in this regard.
This post was created with our nice and easy submission form. Create your post!